RAJAN PARRIKAR |
A WhatsApp Plaint
Some weeks ago I woke up on a crisp Silicon Valley morning to a message alert. It was an old friend I hadn’t heard from in a long time. A descendant of an influential and wealthy Goan family, his note declared that “Goa is finished.”
He continued that Goa has become unpleasant, that outsiders have swamped what was once our tiny patch of paradise.
I deemed his sudden flash of insight to be highly entertaining. For almost a decade, a few of us like-minded Goans had tried our utmost to combat the rot. We had rolled up our sleeves, expended our own sweat, time and coin, in what turned out to be a losing battle for this, the land of our forefathers.
On the other hand, all this while Goa was being taken to the cleaners, my friend and his ilk had not just stood by on the sidelines, but had made common cause with Goa’s enemies – the politicians, land dealers, builders, casino honchos, and mining bosses. They were cheerleaders for the very agents bringing ruin to Goa.
What drove my friend to his overnight conversion? The answer is obvious. The sewer they helped create has now started to breach the walls of their own cozy bungalows. It is sweet revenge indeed for some of us who had to put up with taunts of “Goa has to change with the times.”
Well, “change” has now come to Goa and – surprise! surprise! – it isn’t the bee’s knees they imagined it to be. Enjoy the Indian stench, fellas. Better than Chanel No 5 even!
Goa the Awful
I got into Goa a couple of days ago after a gap of 11 months. For the first time in 17 years, I had been away for a period of over 6 months. There is no escaping the visual dreck anymore from the moment you land at Dabolim. India has well and truly defecated on Goa in every sense. Thanks, Indians, for bestowing Third World status on Goa.
During breakfast today at an iconic Panjim hotel I had the misfortune to share the same space as a gaggle of ugly N Indian slobs. They all looked like gangsters from old Hindi movies, attired in ill-fitting jackets and bling, in an advanced stage of uncouthness. I was told they fit the profile of visitors that descend on Goa every weekend on the casino ‘gamble and fondle’ package.
Nostalgia No More
With just about a week to go before Narkasur Nite and Diwali, there is not the slightest trace of the spirit that once pervaded the air ahead of the festival.
The complete erasure of an ethos is a direct consequence of the physical and cultural decimation of Goa. Some years ago, I wrote an account www.parrikar.org/misc/Narkasur-Ruminations.pdf of the celebrations from an earlier time.
Save Us From Smart
A number of ‘Smart City’ kiosks have been erected in Panjim to solicit input for a makeover. This is a splendid example of what the Germans call Verschlimmbessern. Can you think of even ONE instance in post-1947 India where a city has been improved upon? Go ahead, name one.
The one thing Indians are champions at is converting idylls into squalid slums in next to no time. Panjim is Exhibit A. The Portuguese left us with a world-class city but it took the nous of IIT genius Manohar Parrikar to parlay it into a toilet. Manohar-ji’s corrupt legacy is stamped on the Panjim – and Goa – of today.