Thursday, April 1, 2010

Being a Goan outside Goa

Hello everyone
I know it has been quite a long time since my last post (about a month I guess). I have been a bit busy these days, so couldn't update. Also I am getting a writer's block. The stories of my life that seemed damn interesting when they happened, no longer seem interesting once i wrote them. So this post is gonna deviate a bit from the original idea of this blog. In this post, I am not writing any story or fictional work. These are my thoughts regarding certain facts that do exist even though we might try hard to ignore them. One of my more serious posts, but I hope you would like it. As soon as this block is cleared, I would be back to tracing the events of my life.

The title states "Being a Goan outside Goa". I got this feeling first when I left my beloved state to pursue my Engineering degree in MNNIT, Allahabad. Till then, I had never as such "lived" outside Goa if you discount the occasional vacations we had and those were also mostly in Maharashtra and Karnataka areas which are geographically and culturally similar to Goa. And then arrived one of the biggest decisions I have ever made for myself, accepting the admission letter during the counselling at NIT Surathkal.
It was 11th July 2006 when I first landed in this very unfamiliar place called Allahabad. Supposed to be one of the better cities of Uttar Pradesh. There were no apprehensions that the college would be good, but regarding the place, well we knew for what reasons U.P was in the news most of the time. It had taken quite a lot of me convincing myself that I could survive in a place where violence is not uncommon, where the culture is very much different from the environment I had been brought up in. And till today, I don't regret that I took the decision to leave behind the seat in Goa Engg College and a readily available and coveted seat in the Goa Medical College to pursue my education here.

Now let's get back to the point. A Goan outside Goa. NIT's are a place where you get to meet the real India. I say real India because there are students here from literally every nook and corner of the country and I believe India is all about the cultural diversity it holds. So during the initial introductions with the people, there was that typical look on everybody's face when I said that I came from Goa. The same fantasizing look that dog's have when you place a bone in front of them.
"Goa......wowwwww. Gosh, you are damn lucky man!!" was the most common reply.
"Am I really?" I would ask.
"Seriously dude. So many things Goa is famous for....the beaches, the tourists, and what do you call that cashew liquor thing.....ahh live in heaven out there and you are asking if you are lucky. I could do anything to live in a place like that!!!!!!!"
"Well, the beaches all tend to look similar even though they are really scenic. Now about the tourists, if you mean females strutting around in bikini's, then yes you do get them at some places but 90 percent are overweight ones with flab hanging all over them, so if you find that appealing then suit yourself. Regarding the Feni, I never tasted it so I really dont know. But it comes under the category of the "Desi daaru"."
The look I got in return for these statements was that of utter surprise. I did not appreciate my own homeland. One person once told me that for them, Goa is all about the three B's; Beaches, Babes and Booze. However the question that took the prize was,
"Have you ever been to the nude beaches in Goa?"
Now I actually didn't know what I was supposed to say.
"Are there really?" I would ask. "I have lived there for 18 years, but have never managed to find one."
"Man, you are such a loser. You live through your puberty in Goa and haven't yet been to a nude beach there. What the hell do you do there huh? No nude beaches, no girlfriends, no alcohol. You should be staying in a hermitage."

So that was what a Goan was supposed to do. That was the identity associated with any person who hailed from Goa. Drink all day long, party at night, lay around naked in the sand and "enjoy" with girls. You try to explain what actually Goa is all about, and you are shunned away as a loser who does not know how to enjoy life. Why?????????????????
When you see anything about Goa on T.V, what is it that they say?
"Goa, 365 days on a holiday!!". That tagline may have worked somewhat for the booming tourism industry, but what does it convey in reality? That Goa is just a place where you can "enjoy", and for majority of the people this "enjoyment" means booze, drugs and many times a chance to evade the law. And I don't deny at all that this is what my beloved hometown is turning into. Though the tourism industry is one of the biggest contributors to the state's revenue, what it has invited is trouble. The night parties at the sea-side shacks have turned into an easy opportunity for drug abuse. Also the recent cases of sexual assaults during these parties (some of them on minors) have been hogging the limelight on national news creating a very negative image of Goa. Any girl who's a native of Goa is assumed to be easily "available" and in many cases, having a "loose" character. This may sound far fetched, but it is the reality that I have seen.
-- Alcohol is considerably very cheap in Goa as compared to other states.
-- Whenever Goa is shown in movies, its always white ladies sunbathing in bikini's on the beaches.
-- You move on any 2 kilometre road stretch in the state and you will find at least 3 "Bar and Restaurant"'s.

When we ourselves want to portray out state like this, what can you expect the others to believe? And the famous politics of the land do not help matters. An Education minister who is not educated, a Health minister who is not "healthy", Governments that change more often than seasons.
Since I have been highlighting mostly the negative aspects of Goa, that does not mean that I dont appreciate what has been bestowed upon us. I am a proud Goemkar (Goan) myself. Some of the facts I am proud of ---
-- Goa has been voted as the best place to live and work in this country.
-- We have one of the richest history (including the pre-Portuguese rule era, of which very little is known to the masses) and cultural heritage in the country.
-- Among the highest percentage in terms of education.
-- One place that has never witnessed religious riots or disturbances.
-- One of the few places where a mosque can be owned and maintained by a Catholic.
-- We have a biological hotspot in the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary which has the highest biodiversity in the whole of Asia.
-- A place where women have equal rights as men especially where inheriting property is concerned.
-- And lastly, a place that welcomes everyone irrespective of color, caste, religion, region to have a share in the wealth bestowed on it.

Frankly speaking I don't blame the rest of the country for looking at us in this way, because that's the way we have been portrayed always. Finally it is up to us how we want to be viewed by the public. So the ball is definitely in our court, whether we want this to continue, or do we require a drastic makeover or a facelift??

Expecting everyone's views on this. Do comment.

Adios till the next post!!!!!


  1. I Like , I Like
    You really know how to express everything in words :)
    Loved this one :D

  2. Thanx a lot buddy....u for one know for how long I have been having these thoughts.. :)

  3. its a message for those who think dat way... and an appeal to change their views...gud job..

  4. Kudos to you to write this. This matter is very close to my heart n it hurts when ppl call us licentious. We happen to be the only state where a Uniform Civil Code exists since umpteen years.Our health parameters r those of highly developed countries.If only the political scene was not such a sham!!!

  5. The post comes from a heartfelt anger which stems from almost any Goan who has to hear the slur from the misinformed, especially Hippocrates. I am really amazed at how you have put this into words.
    This must be a feeling of all those who hear these comments about an falsely portrayed image of their homeland, culture or background. Ive not seen anyone express it better than this. Kudos!

  6. Yeah, you have well articulated the points we goans should be proud of. Many goans themselves dont seem to be aware that we are the only state to have Uniform Civil Code.