RAJAN PARRIKAR |
A Photographic Journey
In 2006 I began a photographic exploration of Goa actuated by the sense that Goa, as we knew it, was fast fading. That hunch proved to be both correct and timely; the deterioration only accelerated with every passing year.
Nine years of forays to all corners of Goa later, I have on my hard drive a comprehensive visual compilation of its landscape, rhythms, religious and cultural life, and its people. My remarkable driver-assistant Babu Naik and I together traversed thousands of miles – we don’t think anyone else has covered as much ground in Goa.
There isn’t much left in Goa’s landscape for the photographer anymore – not for a Goan of my generation. The visual decay all around is dispiriting. Goa has been turned into a wasteland, desiccated of its purity and cultural ethos. I barely ventured out with my lens last month as the dreck finally got to me.
A lot of work remains to be done to prime the material I have captured for publication. Alas, by the time I am done, the Indian sewer will have subsumed the physical Goa.
In the absence of salubrious outdoor experiences in Goa, adhering to a basic fitness regimen remains vital to my mental and physical well-being. Years ago, I used to go to the gym at Goa Marriott only to find the space darkened by the presence of Goan politicians. Although they came to the gym, none of them looked like they were missing any meals. Later on I switched to this stuffy gym on the Caranzalem-Miramar road where I once had a friendly encounter with the Chief Minister Parsekar, who at the time was ruining the Health Ministry.
During my visit last month, I signed up at Studio 101 in Santa Inez, and to my pleasant surprise it turned out to be excellent, with well-kept, hygienic premises and a customer-friendly staff.
On several days, after my early morning session at the gym, I walked to Panjim with my nephew (who has by now absorbed my civic lessons). The old steps from Cortin leading to the High Court serve as the safest and most time-efficient means for exercise: 5 rounds up and down at a brisk clip will exert your heart and set you up for the day. Surprisingly, the area is deserted even at around 7 am. What a shame to see this heritage stairway in a state of neglect and disrepair.
One of the most risible traditions in Goa is the bustle of the 60th birthday celebrations of politicians. The more rotten and corrupt the worthy the bigger the riot. I understand that it is now Manohar-ji Parrikar-ji’s turn. Will he be carried in a palkhi around Panjim, a city he helped degrade, by his fawning courtiers? No doubt the beneficiaries of Manohar-ji’s sweet deals (casino lobby, contractors/builders, mining bosses) will partake in the bacchanal. But what earthly reason do the rest of us Goans have to toast this charlatan? He is the chief architect of Goa’s destruction.
Reports of Manohar-ji’s birthday carnival are telling. Thousands of folks were herded into buses to show up with the promise of a rupee dole and a samosa. The situation suggests why India will remain a second-rate Third World cesspool. Goa’s misfortune is that its fate is sewn to India’s (the wages of our ‘liberation’). It also reveals the phony that is Manohar Parrikar and the poverty of his mind. The Emperor has been shown well and truly to have no clothes.