(The Swift at anchor in the deserted cove at Butterfly Beach, near Palolem, Goa)
Ashwin Tombat left a journalist’s career in (then) Bombay to settle down in Goa. And he confesses it has been a great ride. And now he combines his professional role as the Editor of Herald, Goa’s second most circulated English newspaper, with his passion for sailing as a coordinator for the Goa Yachting Association.
I have never sailed before although the idea has always held appeal. So, I took up on Ashwin’s offer to take me sailing. And on a fine, sunny afternoon last week, I joined Ashwin on his 20 ft sailboat, The Swift at the Don Paula jetty for what turned out a bad case of amour. The last time this happened to me was when I was 20 years old and as you would suspect it was a girl. This time it was the absolutely seductive charm of softly lapping waves, the breeze across your face and the companionable silence of men on a voyage of no purpose.
We set sail at about 2 pm and held course for the small & relatively less visited beach at Bambolim. It took us about an hour-and-a-half to get there. And after a 3 hour orgy of seafood at the completely deserted beach shack (pomfret, kingfish, mackerel, prawns and mussels) we decided to return just as the sun was setting. Sailing in the afternoon was great. But the return journey with the setting sun soon giving way to an almost-full moon was magical.
Ashwin picked up sailing relatively late in life & I cannot think of a reason to respect a man more than his willingness to learn something new all the time. Especially something new that helps you enjoy life.
(above: Ashwin’s son Kabir framed against an eclipsed sunrise on the morning of Gudi Padwa (Ugadi) day 2007. 18 km out at sea off Cabo de Rama)
(The Swift on another sail)
(The contented man on the left, in the specs, with waving hair and mousch, is Ashwin)
(All photos courtesy Ashwin Tombat)