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Growing Older With Goa - By Hriday Ranjan
Wednesday - Nov 23, 2022
Growing Older With Goa - By Hriday Ranjan
I first came to Goa in the year 2010. It was my first ever flight, on Kingfisher Airlines – back when Mr. Mallya was a darling of the media and masses. I had seen Goa in the movies – where people named D’Souza and Rodrigues spoke to each other in anglicised dialogues such as ‘Hey man, tum kya karta hai?’
 
I had heard rumours that beer in Goa was cheaper than drinking water. Back then, Goa saw more foreign visitors. Google Maps wasn’t around, so I took along a thick copy of Lonely Planet. Little did I know that in a few years, the entire world will get deeply connected, turning into ‘Lonely People’. I remember being amazed when I first stepped out. Streets of people in shorts and hats.
 
Shacks where waiters clocked Gordon Ramsay-ian times to bring you an omelette. Where nothing was rushed, and life crawled at a slow pace. Where newly married wives with their red bangles giggled as they got their feet wet. And brand-new husbands carefully protected their spouses from the evil eye(s). Where bars were not hidden in corners, but appeared in all shapes and sizes everywhere.
 
The men who appeared out of thin air and whispered ‘Massage? Party??’ in your ears. Where you could hold your partner’s hand without fear, and maybe sneak in a kiss too! As I proceeded to study Journalism, I developed newfound respect for the state. I found that Goa was more than just beaches and shacks – and had a robust economy.
 
That Goa was one of the healthiest economies in India. With the highest GDP per capita in the country, high literacy levels, and a very high quality of life. I realised how safe the state was – for women, men, and everybody across the gender binary. Gradually, the state began to embed itself into my existence.
 
There were years when I would visit 3-4 times a year. Over newfound love or heartache. For a break, or to jumpstart plans. But one thing remained with me throughout. This column. As a standup comedian with no semblance of schedule in my life, this column has been the steady sense of routine and sanity. And since weekly newspaper columns don’t have holidays, I have submitted editions of Urban Bourbon from various corners of Goa. On the beach, in markets, or while being cooped up deliriously in a hotel room.
 
Or at a party when an idea struck, as I fervently typed out black and white thoughts on my phone, surrounded by neon lights. Nowadays, I mostly visit the state for IFFI – the annual film festival. In many ways, Goa has aged with me. The pandemic is slowly vanishing like the last strains of light. The beaches are filled with mostly domestic tourists.
 
Large swarms of people don’t irritate me anymore. From whatever I remember of studying five years of Economics, I presume it is a sign that the economy is crawling back to normalcy. I don’t stay in beach shacks anymore. I reside in Panjim - the seemingly older, administrative part of the state.
 
As I type out this column, the sun is about to set. I have a beer (Corona!) next to me, and am typing frantically into my tablet. It will be night soon, and people will step out in shorts and hats, holding hands and clicking pictures of everything around them. And as I go to bed, tired in body and mind, I shall be thankful that there is a place I can escape to – unjudged and undisturbed.

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Comments (1)
AnonReader
Wednesday - Nov 23, 2022
What was the point of this article? Hriday Ranjan is yet another unwanted and unwelcome ghantti living here and advertising Goa as available for all ghanttis everywhere.
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