Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Goan Odyssey : Part 3

Paradise Lost?

Let's get it straight - There's something terribly wrong with Goa and it's people. I know this may have come as a shock to many of you, but sadly, this is what i percieved during the last two days of my Goan Odyssey.

In Goa, most businesses thrive solely upon tourism. And most businessmen realize that its the fairer ones from the other side of the world, who bring in most of the moolah. At a restaurant, Indian customers are compelled to make-do with rickety plastic chairs, and a glass of water for them is dillydallied endlessly; while the foreigners enjoy an enviable view of the beach, seated on cusioned sofas, with waiters faking accents incessantly: "Anything aaelse ma'am?".
In the name of hospitality towards the foreigners, they end up being hostile towards the visitors from their own country. Did i hear anyone say 'Atithi-devo-bhava'!

The goras are entitled to a free entry in all the hippest clubs in Goa. But when we (poor, fellow Indians) asked the entry rate, the already sulking gatekeeper replied surlily, "Eight Hundred per person". A look at the well endowed (all at the wrong places!) bouncers, and we merrily restrained ourselves from arguing over the blatant partiality, else they would have kicked us right into the sea. And after that awful 'banana' experience (refer to Part 1), we were in no mood for anything remotely 'sea-waves'!

Shopping, we thought, would be a relaxing activity after all that excitement. But as we soon realized, 'relaxation' was almost a distant dream in this vacation!
We had to buy some souvenirs for friends back home, so we headed for street shopping in Calangute. "Hmm... these earrings are nice", my friend decided, "I think i'll buy this for my sis. How much?". Pat came the reply: "Only Rs. 550". And our jaws dropped open. We did expect exorbitant prices as the first quotes, but this was ROBBERY! "At a Delhi street shop, such earrings wont cost more than 50-70 bucks", we retaliated. "Jab lena hi nahi hai, to aate kyu ho! (When you won't buy, why do you even come!)", the vendor shut us up. There was no use bargaining, as we kept getting all kinds of derogatory remarks - "Disturb mat karo. Customers(read foreigners) se deal karne do"; "Wapis rakho usse... Rakhna bhi nai ata properly".
All the politeness and respect, was probably reserved for the foreigners only.

Call it attitude problem, or call it patronizing the west. But romanticizing the fair-skinned hominids, at the cost of the not-so fair ones, might drag us back into the imperial era.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Goan Odyssey : Part 2

Goa in Pictures

The Goan Odyssey : Part 1

Adventures and Misadventures

I somehow always land up on a beach in every travel extravaganza I pursue. The memories of Andaman's spellbinding beaches were still fresh in my mind, when we (me and 3 friends) decided to head for a vacation at Goa. The idea surely excited me as it was the first time i had got a chance to step out of the comforting confines of my family and venture out with pals. "This is your chance Pranay... The exotic beaches, far-off lands, high-octane watersports...You'll have the time of your life!!!", I delightfully dreamt.
We reached the guest house (quite lousy, but who has to stay there? Not me!) and headed straight for Calangute Beach, supposedly the best and the hippest beach of Goa.
"Whoa!", I gasped at the sight, "Can we please get a square foot of space to lay our paining bums on!" The beach was choking with people! I have always believed that nature is at its best when in an undisturbed and uninhabited form. And my likeness quotient for a beach is inversely proportional to the amount of crowd that flocks the beach. Given the prominent position which Goa enjoys on every tourist's map, I gave up on the prospects of finding exotic and preserved beaches in Goa, and looked for other avenues for enjoyment.
In the quest for adventure, we trekked atop a hill at the scenic Anjuna Beach. The mesmerising view from the top was well worth the effort.
Then there were our trysts with watersports. We almost drowned in 10ft deep water while riding on some silly Banana Boat which was deliberately twisted to throw the people riding on it, into the water! They call this a 'sport'... Its MURDER!!! Huh!
And then there was Parasailing. This was an experience which i had always longed for. I was flying! The view from the sky was to die for. The fierce water waves lashing the beach, creating pure white lather, and then the water retreating as if to recollect all of its energy to pounce on the land all over again! Wow!
Adding a pinch of salt to the parasailing experience, was the grand finale. While landing, i was too busy shouting and making victorious poses for the camera, and ultimately ended up crashing on the beach!
It's unbelievable how I inevitably mess things up at the slightest provocation!

Friday, January 4, 2008


As India dawned into the new year, it's people actually took a step back in time, exhibiting how barbaric and uncivilized humans can be.
In the wee hours of the first morning of 2008, a bunch of almost 70-80 people pounced on two women in Mumbai's posh Juhu disrict, molesting and physically manhandling the two unassuming victims.
The year could'nt have begun with a more tragic note. But the question that disturbs the most is that, did none of those 70 to 80 people feel even a slight sense of guilt at what they were doing? Not one of them had the conscience to be able to judge how horrible and in-human a crime they were committing? And are we, as a society, giving birth to such heinous animals? Are our men so desperate that they even forget the most basic human values and morals, and resort to horrendous acts of mob-molestations in their quest for corporal pleasures?
I think we have a grave problem here. Our economy may be developing at an unparalled rate, but at the same time, 'we' as humans, are degrading at an alarming rate. No punishment, however harsh it may be, can suffice for this monstrous act which has shattered two innocent lives and has brought a nation to disgrace and humiliation. We need to get things right at the root level. It all boils down to the basics - proper education, healthy living environment and proper bringing-up. But do these factors dictate even the fundamental human behaviour? Are'nt we all supposed to be inherently having the values of humanity and human-ness because of which we are actually known as 'Human Beings - The highest form of life'? It's sad that some heartless hooligans end up tarnishing the name of entire humanity.
And add to that, the oh-so concerned and progressive attitude of our respected Police Commissioner of Mumbai, who retorts to the queries put up by the media, in an extremely caring manner, saying : "The media of making a mountain out of a molehill. Keep your wives at home if you want them safe. These kind of small things can happen anywhere.”
Just one thing for you sir - FUCK OFF.

Check out more on the incident :