So most people tend to think of Goa as the land of sand, sea and, well you know the last ‘s’. Of course, this must mean that the state is open-minded, liberal and tolerant right? Well, yes and no.
Having lived here for a year now, the dichotomy can be quite eye-opening. Take for example, the thought process among both Catholics and Hindus or the D’Souzas and Mascerenhas. Inter-marriage can be frowned upon if the fit isn’t right and funnily enough even the Christians have a caste system. That’s right.
Then there’s the suspicion of the Northies. Yup, anyone, “fair-skinned” seems to fit into that category and basically you’re either from Bombay or Bangalore (if you’re lucky) or, God forbid, the nation’s capital. And though Delhiites (read: Punjabis, Haryanvis, UPites etc.) don’t always do themselves a lot of favours by creating ‘nuisance’, they’re always clubbed into the same boat – oh those Northies.
It’s funny; just because Goan women wear skirts it’s assumed that they’re westerns i.e. liberal. This is a myth. Both Goans and non-Goans alike have agreed that the state is fairly traditional and most don’t like so-called foreign (read: other Indian) intervention. In fact, many locals love this time of the year when it’s peaceful and come November, try and get away from the hordes of tourists. But given that the livelihood of most Goans is based on the ‘season’, it’s almost like those Gulfies who can’t stand foreigners taking their jobs but won’t do the work themselves. However, the parallel stops there. Whereas the Gulf Arab craves wealth, the average Goan seems more content on living in his/her own bubble of fish curry rice, feni, susegaad and some work. It’s a rare sight indeed in a world with is so cut-throat and competitive.
And it’s not just the earlier generation but the current one as well. Surprisingly, a lot of families who want their children to go away i.e. Bombay, Pune or Bangalore face a mountain to climb trying to convince them to leave home. The comforts of a daily home-cooked meal, easy living and not having to rough it out are factors with epitomise this reluctance.
Anyway, can it be all that bad if the average Goan is content with his/her surroundings? Well, as long as they have something to strive for and are a bit more ambitious this lifestyle definitely has its perks. It’s just that living for nothing but your next bassa fish fry may not be the most invigorating way to go. But then on the other hand, you don’t have to cram into that local train everyday just to work to live.