Sanjeev Kotnala: An unfinished tale at Goafest?

04 Apr,2018

By Sanjeev Kotnala


I am attending Goafest 2017 on April 5-7 at Grand Hyatt, Goa. It is a place where many stories take shape, find an end, and some starve for the next chapter. I am waiting for the possible twist in my story that started two years back.



It was Saturday night, the last night of the Goafest 2016. The after party was in full swing. It was around 2 am. I was near to the registration area with few friends. I, of course, was a bit tipsy.

There I saw her coming out. She realised she was short of cigarettes. I ask me, and I lend her one. We start a conversation. For the next 90 minutes, we cover a range of topics. Blame it on few more beers and vodka that night, I don’t recall her name, and most likely she doesn’t remember me. However, I know she was in the digital space and planning do an MBA from one of the IIMs. At least that’s what she said.



I use a 140-character tweet to announce my desire to meet her. ‘Dear young lady, if you are attending Goafest this year too, do connect. And yes, you can find me around 1230, you know where”.



I was not expecting much. The results were beyond expectation. There was a twist in the tale.

My message, the invite and the desire were in the tweet, on my blog, and my weekly column on MxM. I was trying to address an audience of one. It was a wild swipe. Mission impossible in every word. However, few exciting possibilities kept raising nasty naughty unanswered questions.



Nothing happened on Thursday night. I was at the reception area between 1130 pm to 1230 am. There was no one to meet.



Next day I tweeted an update ‘Who Nahi Aayi’.

My identity was open. My article carried my picture. And I had no way to tag her. All I had was a faint memory of an overtly tipsy lady in mid-twenties, standing in a light-coloured dress and sharing the smoke. She had a light dimple on her left cheek. Maybe I was a now imagined thing.

In the afternoon, I got two emails. They were cryptic suggesting a meet-up. It confused me. Was someone making a fool of me?



I avoided the award function and slept in the evening. Later I went to the bait area; where the registration counters were. I killed time, taking small swigs from the beer bottle, and lazily smoking a cigarette while my eyes cautiously scanned the area.

After three bottles of beer and four cigarettes, I gave up. I was sure; it was a prank. It took the long walk back to the room.

A short SMS hit my phone. ‘Meet me tomorrow the same place. Do not reply or call. Have left for my hotel’.

I checked Truecaller, the number belonged to Priyanka (name changed). I decided to follow the instructions. Tomorrow was the last chance to meet-up.



The day went in a furry of sessions. I was waiting for the night.

It was 1215 a.m. I checked my stock of cigarettes and then hurried to the reception area.

This girl (Meeta) was sitting in the corner. I strategically stayed at a distance and lit my first cigarette. She walked up and asked if she could borrow one. It was like a code. My eyes lit up. However, I knew she was not my Miss2016. The conversation this time was smooth and unhurried. We spoke of work, Goa, IPL, creativity, knowledge session, women empowerment and many other uninteresting things.



I did a double-take. Another girl (Priyanka) came out from the party hall. She looked around and approached us. She calmly said ‘Finally, so do you have a smoke to spare’. I smiled and pushed the pack forward.

We did the introductions. Priyanka and Meeta were meeting for the first time. The girls were bored of the party and same set of friends through the last three days. I anyway was alone with no one for the company. They knew about the tweet. Surprisingly (I believe that), they had independently sent me the cryptic emails.

Last night they had seen my harmless dedication to the cause and decided to meet. Maybe it was single re-tweet by Pratap Bose that did the trick.

We ended up in my room. There were enough cigarettes and beer.

We finally called it a day at 2:30 a.m. they had an early flight to Mumbai.

I selfishly believe original MISS2016 did not attend Goafest 2017.


GOAFEST 2018. Will there be a twist in the tale?

I like meeting and sharing stories.  Miss2016, I will be there, meet me if you attend this year. It is true for Priyanka, Meeta and anyone else who wishes to catch up.

If you have a story from Goafest or you want to just catch up, tweet at S_Kotnala or connect on Facebook.  You can usually catch me around 11 p.m. – 1230 a.m. at the same place.

This is a true story. Not the complete truth. But the desire to catch up is true. Life anyway is perception adulterated with reality.


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