Pyāsā – Soda at Rāmnāthi

Photos of the Soda store owner at the Neeta Canteen by the Ramnathi Devasthan Goa by Arun Shanbhag

During Maha Shivratri, as I waited for a rickshaw outside the Ramnathi Devasthan, I shot pics of colorful soda bottles arrayed in crates. The hovering owner felt neglected and offers, “Maegel bhī photo kād” (take a pic of me too). I obliged. I loved the confident pose he struck in front of the red wall. You can imagine him in a previous avatār, curling his handlebar mustache and astride a horse. Quintessential Goa. For that, he gets the opening pic.

Soda at the Neeta Canteen by the Ramnathi Devasthan Goa
(see larger image on Arun Eyes)

Tiny canteens and stores by the Ramnathi Devasthan (and all over India) are picturesque outposts. As you sip hot chai (chai 2) or kaapi, you can sit and discuss the many wonders of the universe with a fellow stranger, or ponder on them in silence. Not unlike the Absinthe bars in France, which served as focal points during the Impressionist period, desi canteens with their cutting chais or kaapi are revolutionizing a spiritual renaissance. Join me for chai sometime.

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