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.