Sunday, September 27, 2009

Open letter for visitors to Goa

A little common sense and courtesy is all we ask for. Oh yes, our tiny state is blessed with all that is fine and good, hills, dales, forests, rivers, fields, beautiful beaches, lovely people, PCOs and broadband. Okay, if you insist, it’s a gift from God. Kerala claims to be God’s own abode, but everyone knows when God needs a holiday He comes to Goa.

We understand that there are other beautiful places with similar features all over the Konkan coast; all over the country; all over the world. We understand that Goa is cheap, gives you great value for money and that you can get your eyes, teeth and several other body parts fixed for a fraction of the amount it would cost you in your place of origin. We understand that you have looked forward to this holiday for a long time, that you have planned it down to the last detail. That you will be talking about this perfect holiday till the cows come home. We understand all that, but we need you to remember certain things.

We need you first to respect this beauty that you come to revel in, so when you buy overpriced bottles of mineral water, canned juices, wafers, ice creams and snacks, remember to carry a bag to stow away all your empty containers. The beach, roads, gutters are not the place for it. Put it all in a bag and deposit it in the bin at your hotel.

When you buy paan from any of the vendors, remember our money has gone into the painting of our lovely heritage buildings all over the state and spitting red paan saliva on them does not merely distress us, it makes us mad as hell. If you must eat paan, then carry a small tin or container or portable spittoon, spit into that and empty it out in your hotel bathroom.

When you come here all shiny-eyed and bushy tailed ready for the holiday of your life, it’s okay to let your hair hang down, but don’t let all your body parts hang out also. It does not only embarrass us, it puts our girls in danger when the creepy crawlies who cannot lay their hands on you decide to get their jollies by molesting our girls. Again, bras and badly fitting shorts crawling into every crevice and fold of fat, exhibiting angry red, wrinkled, freckled skin is enough to put a normal person off their feed for a week. Do yourself a favour; look at yourself in a full length mirror before setting off, wearing beachwear in the city. When you visit our churches and temples, a little decorum to clothing and behaviour is of the essence.

When you come here from other parts of India, especially the landlocked areas, remember the sea is deceptive. It contains all sorts of threats that can snuff out your life in the most implacable way possible. The rip tide slides in from anywhere in any depth of water and will drag you far out to sea and drown you. When the lifeguards tell you not to swim in certain areas, listen to them. They are curt with you when they come out with their second and third warnings because they know that when you are being sucked down into a watery grave, they will have to risk their lives and limbs to come out to save you. And their lives are not worthless as you may think. They have families depending on them returning home whole after their day’s work is done.

There’s so much booze available in Goa and you sip and stagger like there’s no tomorrow. Do that by all means, but don’t harm others, or put yourself in harm’s way. If you cannot hold your liquor, cease and desist, have a mocktail instead. It costs a little less and looks more impressive. And for heaven’s sake, do not drink alcohol and swim, it’s as dangerous as drinking and driving.

We know our people are na├»ve, warm and welcoming. That our girls have a serene Polynesian kind of beauty, but like you they are just trying to get on with their lives. They are not prostitutes either professional or free-lance. Don’t ogle them; don’t fondle them; they don’t like it. Neither do the common folk. Also leave our little children alone.

When Goans get angry they will punish you.

Enjoy your holiday and return to your home state or country. Don’t visit real estate agents and try to buy land here. We have very little of it and we need it for ourselves. Also, there’s no guarantee that you won’t lose your life’s savings. Come back again and again. Goa will welcome you in her warm embrace every time. Just don’t abuse that welcome. We have a way of life here, we are desperately trying to save. It is this way of life that makes Goa so special. Help us to protect it. And Goa.


Rohit Nayak said...

I really liked that thought- God's own country is Kerala but God comes to Goa for a vacation.

Its a beautiful state and i really wish its beauty is handed over to the next generation at least as it was handed to us(Hopefully better, but i know I'm being too optimistic)

Over the past 3 years you've convinced me against the property buying (Few offers have come my way but I've desisted).

Please tell me if there's anything else i can do to save Goa. I know I'm not Goan by birth/descent but I love that place and it kills me to know that there are enough people trying desperately to sell Goa to the highest bidder, and ensure that the culture is totally ruined

Gopinath Mavinkurve said...

Amazing post! I have never tried giving advice in this way! I visited Goa in June 09 and proud to tell you that we carried our litter to the bins provided or even to our hotel rooms! Will come back for more on your blog. Do read my post about my Goa visit here http://whatnonsanz.blogspot.com/2009/07/highness-in-goa.html

Anonymous said...

Hey MR,

The problem you described is also prevalent in other tourist locations too. What's new ?

>> When Goans get angry they will punish you.

Don't speak like a lord. Go and take initiatives, like ban plastic, impose higher fines, educate the tourists better, instead of sitting on a cushion chair and writing blog.

Wake Up!

amreekandesi said...

haha...this needs to go into all those shiny travel brochures!

gayatri said...

Dear Mr. Collaco,

Being a Goa lover and a frequent visitor to the state,I am in full agreement with what you wrote and respect your concerns tremendously .

My lst visit to Goa was earlier this year in March when we got to witness the shiv mahotsav and the lovely parade in Panjim.we also visited doodhsagar lake and marvelled at the natural beauty and the serene enviorn.being a Delhi-ite all my life and having lived in a concrete jungle,you can imagine how precious those sunset shots may be to me which I clicked at each and every beach I visited and also the sound of roaring sea that I captured and listen top whenever I want to run away from the maddening jungle.

I ,can assure you that when I travel to goa from my annual holiday,my family & I treat it as our home,maintain it as our home and leave behind only some smiles and memories and not garbage or bad behaviour :)

Nevesa said...

Hi...its a really nice thought. I understand the thought behind it. I want everyone to read it coz its important...so can i feature ur article on my weblog??




ujus'gottalaugh said...

Yes please spread it around as far as you can.