WENDELL RODRICKS | Over the years, we the people of Goa have celebrated carnival out of a sense of Christian tradition. Time has changed this emotion and is now firmly rooted in all our hearts, homes and beloved land. There are many critics who complain that carnival no longer upholds tradition and that governments have, for their own vested interests, diluted this cultural event. The spirit of carnival is about people coming together. Not just the Goan people but Indians and tourists from the world over. What we have in Goa is a carnival unlike the grand show in Rio. It is the inherent simplicity, showcasing the tradition and culture of Goa that is appealing in a very palpable emotion.
For the first time, I was happy to see that not only was this achieved this year, but the theme itself was a cheerful appeal to ‘Come Together’.
For that, we must applaud that someone somewhere got it right, understood what we the people of Goa really need and that our government has backed the right sentiment.
Under this embracing banner of ‘Come Together’, we’ve stood side by side and enjoyed what was one of the most memorable carnival parades and Carnival programme put together in recent history. Tradition, Fun, Music, Social Issues as well as some incredible new additions…Harley Davidson Bikers, Bollywood stars, drummers, stilt walkers and open air events added impetus to this year’s Carnival.
And if this was not enough, Goa has brought back its cherished Food Festival with more than just a bang coupled with an explosion of treats and surprises. Over five days, the food festival played host to some exhilarating performances by Remo, Lorna, Farhan Akthar, Parikrama, Agnee, Syndicate, etc. With bustling food stalls and a visually stunning stage and venue design, I can truly say that we got far more than what we expected.
While it is the general norm to pick flaws with every government event, I would like to give due credit and gratitude to our CM, Mr Parrikar, the Tourism Minister, Dilip Parulekar and city officials, the event management team Vinsan World and Goans who toiled diligently backstage. They remain nameless but their contribution is immense.
I personally experienced this when I did my fashion show at the Carnival. I was apprehensive from the onset as to how this event would play out. But when I saw the serious effort to make this years carnival special, I realised that I should put my best foot forward and do Goa proud. We increased the model pool and did everything possible to give Goa the best could offer. The initial doubts and insecurities evaporated to that of exuberance when I saw the venue and the special effects offered for the fashion show. It was technology at it’s best! The show we put on is comparable to anywhere in the world… from Paris to New York, where I have worked on shows.
Goa can become the biggest hub for live concerts, events, conferences and entertainment not just in India but in all of Asia. What we have to offer is immense.
Credit for pulling off large events for a global audience now rests with Goa and Goans. This event proved it. Today I can proudly say that we Goans have pulled off a landmark event. What makes it so much more special is that it was an event for us and by us. I am indeed proud to have been a part of this remarkable achievement!