Yup I know it and you know it.The mere mention of Goa takes you into a dreamlike mode, doesn’t it?
Whoever you may be, whether you are a party animal or a yogi seeking solitude, Goa brings that enigmatic smile, that twinkle in your eyes and you want to go back there, you wish to live there, hell you wish Your whole life was Goa 🙂
Whatever am writing am sure most of you have done it, been there, still exploring and some of you might have just dreamed of going there once you get a break from all the shit that happens in our lives.
My experience of traveling to Goa all these years has been a roller coaster ride truly.
I remember my mum who traveled a lot with Dad before I was born. She spoke almost reverently and contemptuously of Goa at the same time. She visited it when the Hippie culture was at it’s peak. Nudist beaches, hippies, open public display of affection and of course the ‘grass’. Music on the beach and all.
Even though my mum’s ancestry is from Goa, her grandfather a true blue Portuguese man left Goa and moved to other cities, her heritage was just a remembrance. Now existing in recipes, food, customs and certain rituals and nothing else.
After moving to Secunderabad Cantonment area, they completely embraced the local Christian Culture. So I used to be quite surprised as to how she used to talk about Goa with a glint yet with a contempt on the ‘free love’ open to all practiced by the hippies mostly due to her conservative Christian upbringing.
So when I finally got a chance to visit Goa on one of my trips to India, I was pretty much excited like any other tourist. Well a tourist that was Indian but not living in her home country. Having traveled all over the Caribbean, Fiji islands to Mexico and Central America, I thought Goa would be like well, the rest of India but a tad better.
And here I must admit something the initial trips was about partying too, yup I did the beach bumming but yes there was late night partying ,dancing going the way that usual urban tourists do.
Then it started slowing down..All I wanted to do was to gaze at the sea, be a proper beach bum, swim, relax, read a book , eat local food and sleep early and start beach bumming all over again and that’s what I started doing on my visits to Goa from the past 5 years.
As an entrepreneur, trying to make sense of the hospitality business meant talking to more and more people which also meant the need to seek solitude, to shut out and shut up and be in that silence.
That’s when I started truly seeing the other side, or should I say the real side of Goa? The intermixing of cultures, customs, food, the attitude towards life.
I also felt their panic with the influx of camera trigger happy tourists, the alarming rise of drugs, Russian mafia, human trafficking on an all time high,party culture with sunburn whatnot events, the absolute recklessness on the part of the tourists in wrecking the beaches, as if it wasn’t wrecked already over the years.
And I remember telling this to my mom, to my partner about this and his words were, ‘This is not the effing Goa I know! ‘This is not how it was even in the 80’s , he said.
All you needed then was some money, get on a bike, take a beach shack and you could chill with a beer, read a book, play chess. Life was simple. You made friends, not hook ups or pick ups. And Yes the grass was not a big deal then. You smoked it because you wanted to, not because it was cool. Not because you were at a loud party/event trying to be something you never were.
And this year I had made a resolution to travel within my country as much as possible than travel abroad all the time. This land has the breadth and width of cultures and paradoxes that cannot be matched by any other country in the world.
So finally I decided to visit Goa, not with any definite plan in my mind but truly to experience being in Goa like a local,not like a tourist.. and just as the title says it.. It tickled my senses and more!
Read on 🙂