Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The True State of Goa

I had an epiphany when I went with my godson to the Sinquerim Dolphin Ride at St. Lauren's.

Good Konkani music playing, a well defined booth with a barricade to ensure people entered through a queue, lots of local people selling coconut water and other local delectables. But the Pièce de résistance,
had to be the question by the ticket issuer "Did you park your vehicle properly?"! This really showed the true Goan spirit of Music, Food and care for the fellow man. Even the tour guide, was kind enough to tell you the stories of places around him.
Sadly, the shack owners just a kilometre down the road, would rather shoo away tourists, rather than welcome them, believing more in conducting tours, rather than offering a drink.

Contrast this, with the scene just a day later, yesterday, where in the evening near the casino on Baga beach, what we see, or hear rather, is the dB war between two neighbouring shacks, on who can play their music louder. Who was the sufferer? We, the people, or in this case, my poor godson who was covering his ears most of the time.

And sad to say, this isn't just the beach warlord scene. We have the local MLA and Panch, engaging in various media battles, while construction around the Baga Bridge, the Arpora Bridge, continue un-abated, building larger concrete structure in the middle of fields, for newer and bigger music festivals, while festivals held in other parts of the world, like the Reading Festival, were more about
adapting to the local environment, rather than changing it.

Watch the AAP and understand why just making noise is not enough. The "Pehle Aap" (After You) Campaign, on the other hand, is what will take India forward, where we stop being animals and learn courtesy, both on the road and off it.

Subway is making a headway in India, with initial targets of 1000 outlets across India, while our Goan bakers are struggling to make the local bread, with dwindling support from the government and the market in general.

While the local Panchayat distributes baskets for dry and wet waste, there are tonnes of bottles and broken glass pieces strewn in and around Calangute and Baga Beach. What's the use of trying to educate the local Goan, who is already trying his best to keep his place clean, rather than try to educate the visitor who think of Goa as a "Wonder Waste Land". The local Garbage collectors are just content with blowing their horn in the wee hours of the morning(which is when this article is being written), rather than actually help in cleaning the area.

Reis Magos Fort, Aaah! What a breath of Fresh Air! Drinking water greets you as you enter and light and sound at different points. Oh, the Toilet, Reis Magos has a toilet to rival Five Star hotels, in terms of design and cleanliness.

Baga Beach, Oh No! Just one public toilet across the entire stretch from Baga to Calangute. No drinking water facilities anywhere. Absolutely no transport for tourists after 6.15 p.m. which is just around when the beautiful Baga Sun sets.

And that beautiful beach below the Retreat House? Vandalised by the local shack owner/warlord who decides to start a marketing campaign for his shack by painting directions on the big Rock in the sea.

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