An Account of my First-ever Trip to Goa.
Making a maiden Goa trip after finishing college is a rite of passage that most of us go through, unless of course one happens to be Catholic, in which case a Goa trip is an annual exercise undertaken to replenish the dwindling alcohol, cashew nut and sausage rations. Regardless of what community one belongs to however, a trip to Goa, where the golden nectar flows freer than the seas and everyone drives on high beam, is bound bring out the very worst in every God-fearing, law-abiding citizen. Even if one somehow manages to avoid the alcohol, and the strong urge to drive on the right side of the road, Goa at the very least, manages to knock out every ounce of fashion sensibility in each one of us, often leading to grandiose delusions about how attractive one appears in fluorescent beach-wear. Giving credit where it’s due though, I must admit that there is a certain something to the place.
Considering the fact that Andaman, Nicobar and Lakshadweep have all been made up by the government (Face it, do you know anyone who actually lives there?), Goa has the most scenic beaches in all of India. The aforementioned is actually a gross understatement. The beaches in fact are so spectacular, that one many-a-time forgets that one is still in India. The quaint little villas dotted along the shore too are certainly a throwback to the colonial era. There’s a distinct possibility though, that the sheer number of European tourists there may go a long way in making you feel so. To bluntly put it, Goa is a tax-free alcohol-fuelled gangbang between the left-behind descendants of our erstwhile English masters and 1/10th of the population of the now defunct USSR. This may seem like an obvious hyperbole to you right now, but try ordering breakfast from a menu written entirely in Russian and you’ll know for yourself.
The colonial influence in fact, doesn’t quite end there. The locals it seems are so determined to make our Caucasian counterparts feel like they own the damn place that they go out of their way to ensure that you are provided the finest second-rate treatment, without even having to leave your own country. Utorda beach in the south of Goa (which is clearly a preferred haunt of the Russian mafia, who by the way own sizeable chunks of property in the state now) is one such location where premium douchebaggery meted out to the Indian junta. So while Vladimir gets a ten pound trout caught, cleaned, chopped, fried and served in ten minutes flat, your omelet lazily makes its way to your table after anything around three quarters of an hour. God help you if you ask for another round of toast!
One can’t however blame the shack-wallahs for behaving as they do. When one has customers who without a second thought dole out wads of Euros for a couple of cold beers and a butter naan, its unsurprising that even the biggest Gandhi gets treated like a Zimbabwean dollar. That of course is not to say that all of Goa overflows with the phoren junta. There are uncongested pockets still tucked away, like for example; Anjuna Beach, which by the way, is now almost entirely deserted after the Scarlett murder-case. That aside, it’s never too difficult to locate a friendly neighborhood drug-peddler willing to supply enough dope to make you actually enjoy House music if the price is right. If that isn’t your idea of fun, you can also throw your money away in several other creative ways such as gambling on brightly lit boats, playing pool and shopping for the same stuff you can find at Colaba Causeway for more than twice the price!
As for me, I went to Goa with hopes of having a good time and a tube of SPF 40, and came back with a box of Bibinca, half a kilo of salted cashews, a slight tan and above all feeling not too disappointed after all. Sarcasm aside, I definitely would recommend that you make a trip there yourself. I know I will whenever I get the chance again. But damn it Vladimir, when that time comes, I am NOT going to wait an hour for my omelet!