Open Letter From a Goan Boy
|The once-tranquil mandovi, now clogged with numerous floating casinos. On the opposite shore, yet another goan hillside fighting a losing battle with commercialisation|
This letter is not just another blogpost. It’s a vent to a long pent up frustration, that more and more goans are feeling, EVERY SINGLE DAY. As every non-goan businessman who makes his fortune in goa tries to sell goa the wrong way, this frustration is only multiplying. And I have a problem with too many of them.
First of all, the tourists. Don’t get me wrong. Goans love to entertain guests. I do too.We are probably the most hospitable lot in this country which worships its guests.I personally love helping out tourists, directing them to the right places, helping them out. But we seem to be having too many of the wrong kind lately.
For example, the domestic tourists on a budget looking for a ‘phoren’ destination without moving out of the contry. Its easy to spot these. The uncles with their pants fighting a losing battle with the bulging tummies, the aunties who think sarees are great swim wears, the guys who think the a-size-too-small T shirts make them look sexy and the born-in-a-ghagra-choli-wearing-fake-roberto-cavalli girls. And they rarely come as one family. They usually come in these buses. Then they discover Goa. Suddenly, the entire bus wears a uniform of White sleevless Goa T-Shirts and shorts. And the sunglasses come out. Then they throng the roads like herds of cattle, occupying half the road, giggling in that idiotic way at their own stupid jokes. There is no hint of decency in their behavior.they are loud, noisy and messy wherever they go. they don't even think before dirtying the crap out of a place. The sheer mediocrity of this class irks the susegadness out of me!
Then comes the college groups and youngsters. Brought up on a firm belief that Goa is the Las Vegas of India, these people almost believe anything and everything is ok in Goa.So be it driving with your shirts off, roaming around drunk, eve-teasing any and every girl on the road, everything is a must-do in goa.And then they see this exotic species called foreigners. I dunno why the fascination with the white skin but somehow too many of these youngsters seem to lose their senses at the sight of them. And then they try to woo them with Inglis. No guys, saying ‘Hullo madaam! Yennjoying goa?’, doing that Rajni style acrobatics with your fake Gucci sunglasses isn’t gonna woo them.No sir. And for god sake guys, would you ever ask ‘yahan ladki kahaan milegi?(where can I get a girl here?)’ to anyone in your hometown?? That’s down-right filthy! These guys, with an excuse of a mustache and faces as sexy as the extras in regional films, are suddenly looking forward to becoming Macho Man in this land without a law.Sure you maybe looking for one, but asking that to anyone on the road, assuming its ok, is an insult to our values! No matter how you see goa, we goans respect our women! Every girl here is NOT available and every guy is not a pimp. Sure there are wrong elements here but you’ll be surprised to see how little of it is run by Goans. Either case, for god’s sake, respect the state. And its people.Goa is nothing like its portrayed to be. Carnival happens once a year. Everyone does not stay on the beach. Everyone is not perpetually drunk. We do go to schools/colleges/offices. Everyone is not a Gonsalves/Dsouza/peter.
Then come the foreign tourists. This is one category that brings in most of the money that runs the industry. That’s great. But can you guys please come, stay and return as tourists?? Can you guys please try and stop ruining my state?? The Russians have taken over entire costal stretches here! You’ll be hard-pressed to find a sign-board in Hindi but you’ll find entire menus, instructions and shop names written in Russian! I’m not really a language chauvinist but its outrageous that Russians have infiltrated our state to this level. You guys have one of the largest country in the world! Why eye the smallest state in our country??
I understand its hot here and you guys have to drive around shirt less and in other bare minimum clothing,but our religious places have some code of conduct. Dress codes aren’t strict here, ‘cause we can live with that, but is it asking too much if we ask you to dress up modestly? And when you go the temples, ask around what is to be done. The people will help you more than willingly. For example, the garlands sold outside are meant for the gods. They are not meant to be put around your neck 1st and then offered to god.I know you don’t do it on purpose, but we have some culture freaks here who blow up any and every issue. We don’t want that to lead to insanely strict measures, so please be careful.
And its not just about the screwing of culture. Its an open secret that pedophilia, drug trade flourish in Goa because of these foreign tourists. One look at some foreigners and you can make out how stoned they are!
These are by far not the only categories of tourists that irk me.There are too many of them. And our state is getting choked. Jus venture out on the roads during season and the roads are choked with tourist vehicles. One-way and no parking signs are blissfully ignored by these tourist vehicles.
After tourists come the migrants. Unfortunately, goa happens to be an oasis in a poor neighbourhood. Areas around goa don’t exactly have a good standard of living or employment opportunities. So everyone comes to goa. It pays more, it’s a better place to live in and hey, its GOA! So first one member comes, followed by his entire extended family. Before you know it, Goa has almost as many migrants, probably more,then the locals, doing business in goa. So now every every vegetable vendor, every small business owner and ever sweet/cashew/liquor shop owner is a migrant. (Insider tip to the tourists—do not buy liquor/cashew from non-goan shops. There’s a reson you’re getting too cheap a price there. And no, shops named Goa Cashew are not necessarily goan). The migrants from Karnataka, UP and the omni-present Marwaris have completely taken over the trade. And you know the worst thing? These people do not have the goan courtesy. So when a tourist has a bad experience, Its goa that takes the bad name, not the migrant. In addition, the lamani and hawkers make sure goa’s image is marred.
But outsiders are not always migrants. The ultra-rich from Delhi/Mumbai, the glitterati for whom a property in goa as must-have accessory have ensured a systematic rape of our treasured land. So trees after trees are felled to build luxurious villas with scenic views which will be probably used for less than a month a year! And the sadder part is, we goans suddenly becomes ‘Tresspasers’. So when we go to a beach for a stroll(no we don’t do it everyday), we are suddenly being chased by Gurkhas(also a migrant) of these properties!. That’s insulting to say the least!
But perhaps the one section to blame for all this mess is or ruling class.These 40 thieves who fill their pockets at the expense of a systematic loot of our land. So while the mafia dines and the businessman mines with gay abandon, our politicos conveniently look the other way. A little political will can do wonders. But the only wonder they focus on is the next election victory. So the migrant vote bank is ever welcome so are the businessman that will fund the election.
Goa is losing its goan'ness.Its still tons better than any other place in India.but its fast losing its character. The coconut trees are being replaced with luxury resorts, the silent mandovi river being clogged with casinos.
There are too many people I’m angry at. Too many people who are ruining a paradise. Everyone is welcome in goa. But please enjoy it the right way, and bloody leave!
Goa is not a whore. Please stop screwing it.