Column: The Banter, Booze and the Goan Connection

ColumnA cliché is an expression or idea that has been overused to an extent that it loses its original meaning. However, clichés are not always false or inaccurate. It’s just a notion that grows bigger as it is accepted by the masses. Okay, this isn’t a piece on clichés. Today, I write about one cliché that is associated with Goa.

Living in a city like Mumbai, friends prefer to chit-chat over a drink at least once a month. If you’re working, teams go out drinking after putting a week’s work to bed. Everyone bonds over a pint of beer, cocktails or some other spirits. It is assumed that everyone will drink, but as a Goan, if you say otherwise, the immediate question that is fired at you is – You are a Goan! How are you not drinking? You guys are known for it!

Breathe buddy, breathe! Just because someone is a Goan doesn’t mean he/ she will gulp down alcohol like water. I’ve known a lot of Goans who do not drink. Not even beer. Yes, not even beer! And I was unaware of the same. Just the other day I ran into a Goan friend and in the course of our conversation I suggested that we should go out drinking sometime. We exchanged looks, but different looks. He was smiling mysteriously while I was already chalking out a plan in my head. “What is it?” I asked. His reply was unexpected. He said he doesn’t drink. First, I laughed. Second, I laughed harder. I couldn’t believe that a Goan guy just said that he doesn’t drink. However, I apologised for my insensitive behaviour. But I was curious to know the reason. There was nothing, he said.

Drinking has nothing to do with which state you hail from or which community you belong to. When people drink it’s to celebrate something. However, this too is debatable. A lot of people drink for the wrong reasons, but that’s not what we’re here to discuss. It’s quite embarrassing to be known as the community that drinks to an extent that we can’t carry the weight of our own body. Bollywood films have an important role to play in drawing this picture of Goa. A lot of Goans find this offensive. They are very happy with either a glass of water or fresh fruit juice. Some also prefer aerated drinks, but liquor is a complete no-no.

I usually prefer to abstain from beer during Lent. And a friend asked me the same question – But you’re a Goan. How can you not drink? Make note, the question is never – why don’t you drink? The question always emphasizes on the word Goan. Just because Goa offers booze at pocket-friendly prices, it should not be assumed that we bathe in it. This is just an exaggerated depiction of Goa. Like I said, a cliché.

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Categories: Open Letters | Tags: | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Column: The Banter, Booze and the Goan Connection

  1. Arls

    Being a Goan and a teetotaller, I completely resonate with this article.

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