(Please note: This is my fortnightly column that was published in The Goan on Saturday)
Before I begin, let’s take a test.
What comes to your mind when someone mentions “Goa”? Let me guess – party, cheap booze, tourists, beautiful beaches, vacation spot, fun, chilled out people, “susegad” etc. etc.
Now, how would you react if someone happened to mention that s/he is a Goan? I’m guessing your face will reflect a great amount of excitement.
No. I’m not making a sweeping statement. I’m basing this conclusion on how Mumbaikars have reacted when I mentioned that I am a Goan.
“You are a Goan!? What are you doing here in Mumbai? You should not leave Goa.” This is just one reaction that is repeated by many people. I don’t understand how to reply, but please put a lid on that rising excitement.
A lot of my gal-pals keep reminding me that I am supposed to show them Goa. In other words, I’m supposed to be a tour guide. I didn’t know how to tell them that I knew quite little about my state. All I knew were a couple of beaches and restaurants, and honestly, it was only South Goa.
It’s either my skin tone or my surname that gives way most of the time. So, I was meeting a Chinese consultant at work last week. At the lunch table, our conversation was based on India which progressed to Indians and was later broken down into different communities (Punjabi, Gujarati, Marwari, Maharashtrians) and their traits. I wouldn’t want to drift away from the topic by writing what their traits are, but this conversation diverted when my manager announced that I am a Goan. I find it difficult to explain their reaction. Nevertheless, one exclaimed, “You are a Goan!? Would you take me with you to Goa? I’ve not yet been there. And I so want to visit Goa.”
I had half a mind to tell her that it’s just 600 odd kilometres away and a train journey takes around 12 hours. But I didn’t. However, the Chinese consultant said that she visited Goa twice and loved the state. She had lots to share about the beaches and the delicious food she enjoyed.
Another colleague said that he loved Goa so much that he completed his summer internships with some companies in North Goa. Wow! Impressive, indeed.
This incident ends here, but every time I meet a new person, they immediately load their gun with questions like OMG-you-are-a-Goan-why-did-you-leave-Goa-you-should-take-us-to-Goa-sometime and then shoot me at point blank. There is no space for an answer. I’m glad, there isn’t.
However, out of 10, at least 2 people won’t bother about where I come from. But at some point or the other, I picture this disclaimer when they’re discussing Goa with me. It says – You are so lucky that you’re a Goan. I so wish I was one too.
Too bad! You need to be really lucky to take birth on this land. That’s all.