Goa – A Much Sought-after Destination

Goa – A Much Sought-after Destination

I love to travel (like a backpacker) and live on a shoestring and not splurge money around by living in fancy hotels and accommodation or eating in expensive restaurants or eateries and prefer public transport. Since I am very much interested in travelling, observing edifices, monuments and people, I make much use of the Walker’s express.

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Apart from Mumbai (erstwhile Bombay), the place that I have visited the most in India is Goa. In the beginning, I used to stay with a friend and since 2015 I stay at a relation’s row house in one of the best residential localities near Panaji, the other best locality being Donna Paulo. Goans are friendly and nice people, but appear to be laidback and casual. Since Goa is a tourist destination, most traders try to rip off tourists. So, if a tourist is street-smart and does not shy to bargain, he could buy things at good prices. To give you an example, I had a plate of idli near Mangalore in 2012 for Rs. 07.00 and in 2015 a plate of idli in Goa (much inferior in quality, with junk chutney and sambar) was costing Rs. 55/- in an Udupi restaurant.

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From the front balcony of the row house where I reside, just about 400 feet away, Mandovi flows into the Arabian Sea and there are boats cruising on the river taking tourists on dolphin and other tours or birthday and wedding crowds and in the evenings there are two casino ships anchored on the river and during the nights these vessels are well-lit with neon lights and signs. The scenery of the river and sea both during the day and night is panoramic. From the kitchen balcony, I can see a thickly wooded area that runs quite a stretch and we have feathery friends, i.e. crows and sparrows, including squirrels coming to the balcony to eat the grains and nuts and drink water that are kept for them.

Since I have a historical bent-of-mind, I went through the Internet and learnt that India initiated military action against Portuguese on 17th December 1961 and the Portuguese garrison consisting of approx. 4,000 men surrendered after two days at Betim, the place where I am presently residing. However hard I tried, I could not find out the exact place where the Portuguese surrendered on 19th December 1961. It appears, 30,000 Indian soldiers invaded Goa (equivalent to three small divisions) and 4,000 Portuguese combatants gave up virtually without a fight. Indians and Portuguese lost below 40 men on each side. Portuguese, Spanish and Italians may be good lovers, but they are not known for their military prowess and even in World War II, Italians surrendered to the Allies and Russians in thousands. British used to call them gentlemen soldiers. In 2016, the area on the hillock at Betim is heavily wooded with hardly any residents around for considerable distances and I wonder what it must have been in 1961 when one column of the Indian forces passed by this place?

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Some State Governments in the Union of India have imposed or are trying to impose prohibition, when any politicians with brains will realize that one cannot have 100% prohibition, because police will allow the bootleggers to brew their noxious stuff for people who wish to tipple and in return collect bribes (haftas). This will be a big loss to the exchequer of any given State, as they will not get revenues but the police will start minting monies through regular haftas and others will also get their shares of the same.

There is a prohibition on alcohol in Gujarat, but illicit liquor is brewed locally and is readily available, so much for prohibition. However, time and again, people die by consuming country liquor brewed with spurious stuff by bootleggers and then it is an eyewash with the police arresting bootleggers and people supplying the ingredients/chemicals. In Gujarat, even factory-made liquor is available (at a premium) for people who have the means. In Saudi Arabia, one of the two to three countries with no human rights and freedom of expression, liquor is totally banned and if any expatriate is caught having “Siddiqi”, a hooch brewed from dates, he is put in the slammer for months, lashed with whips and deported. However, when Saudis come by the Causeway to Bahrain, then they drink like a fish, are totally intoxicated and wild, have a wild time at the nightclubs, hotels or in their rented, furnished apartments and are a good source of income for hookers. That time they do not realize that they are coming from a country, whose Monarchy is the self-proclaimed custodian of holy places and where life is ultra-conservative and puritanical.

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By having liberal rules and being permissive is always good. In Goa, one can bus liquor bottles at the shops, have liquor at the bars, restaurants and hotels or a family can brew liquor from cashew fruits or coconuts at home, known as Feni. In bars patronized by common people, a peg of feni costs Rs. 10 which, in fact, is cheaper than tea. So, on a lighter or jocular vein, if one tipples regularly he need not have tea for breakfast but feni at a cheap bar or keep bottles at home. The beauty of Goa is that though liquor is freely available, one cannot see people drunk or reeling or staggering in public or fallen by the roadside. Further, in all swanky restaurants, resorts and hotels, there is music and customers interested in dancing can shake their legs.

There is just 2% excise levied on liquor and, therefore, it is cheaply available at shops or one can buy Feni brewed at home. Such situations are not conducive for bootleggers to ply their trade. When quality or good liquor is freely available, who will buy and consume bootleggers’ hooch and put their lives in jeopardy?

Unlike other States where liquor is available, but heavily taxed or States that prohibit the sale of alcohol, in Goa one does not see policemen coming to bars, restaurants, resorts and other places to collect haftas. The State Governments of Bihar, Gujarat, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu should study Goa’s case and emulate her. However, when the politicians and police are corrupt, they have their vested interests.

To get an idea of corruption, one should read “Carnage by Angels” by Mr. Y.P. Singh, an upright, ex-I.P.S. Officer, who quit the police force realizing that the department and system is corrupt and not meant for honest people.

Mention has not been made of tourist destinations, as I had written on Goa about nine years ago.

by Nelson Lewis

8 Comments

  1. Very good article. Written thoughtfully.
    I visit GOA though not regularly to visit my Kuladevatha Temple.
    I have been visiting since 1966.
    I find people friendly & Cordial. Lately outsiders have settled down & speaking in Konkani is not common.
    More than anything else i do agree with the author that on any of my trips i have not come across anyone on the streets drunk & creating scenes.
    This fact has to be considered by all the states which are following policies of prohibition.
    Narasimha Kamath M

    • I fully agree with Narashima Kamath. Goa might be a dull state in terms of business as the state citizens dont run behind money and they really enjoy life with family. They close the shops in respective time both in the afternoon and evenings. Their punctual behaviour in treating equal to all, while they also consider the tourism friends with great respect. None of the liquor shops shall be open after 8 pm (max time) and then one has to head to clubs. Goans support their brotherhood and hence evenings are been let to the clubs for earning their living. Nowhere else we can find this. Yes, on another note, it is very hard to find anyone who is drunk and creating scenes on the streets. All in all it is one beautiful place for a relaxed holiday. The author has pointed out and penned very right points, while comparing to other forgien countries specially the Gulf states and in precise Saudi Arabia. Well done Nelson Lewis. I love to read your articles always. Keep up the good work and do keep writing.

  2. Dear Mr. Narasimha Kamath,

    Thanks for your kind words and comments on “Goa – A much sought-after destination”.

    Nelson

  3. And you know, Mr. Nelson,

    Instead of our Yumreeki RampaNNA wasting his breath on some idiots apprehended at MIA and further copying their names (along with their ‘Chassis Nos’, 😉 PP nos, Jathaka, Kundali, Veda-puranas etc), I wish he would be vocal about some SERIOUS stuff happening in his own backyard. Here goes again:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sen-sheldon-whitehouse/fossil-fuel-execs-say-one_b_10409576.html

    But then, will he? Nope! Tomorrow morning he will accuse me ALL over again saying that ‘Punyakoti’s Drakshes are Huli’, my Yumreeki ‘eeza’ was rejected, I’m a joker… lah dee dah… and that he ahem.. err.. .. hang on……”loves” our beloved Srimaaaaanaaa Pm’ji. 🙂 Sigh!

  4. I agree with Nelson’s views on prohibition. It just doesn’t work. Also, there is no point in banning everything. From Alcohol to prostitution, we should make them legal and regulate those industries. However, our govt loves banning things so everything goes underground. This allows everyone from politician to local police make money!!!!!!!!!

    @ Joker Praveena Pinto – You read a post on Goa’s tourism and respond with links to fossil fuel industry and US?? What a genius you are!!! No wonder you couldn’t clear even anganawaadi level tests!!! LOL LOL

    • ….”Goa’s tourism…and respond with links to fossil fuel industry” – Yumreeki Thyampanna

      Preethiya Thyampanna, even a RSS chaddi sevaka like you would know that there is no separate article on Fossil fuels for me to write what I did.

      So what if I write about fossil fuels under ‘Murudu’, or ‘Macau’ or even under ‘Udta Punjab’? Does it dilute anything except your fast-eroding grey matter? Get a life ya Rampa.

  5. After having travelled abroad, I have seen many nationalities, talked to them, savoured their cuisine and developed a “live-and-let-live” attitude.

    As regards Indian Police, they are a highly corrupt and incompetent force and comparable with an armed mob. When Pakistani terrorists attacked various targets in Bombay, i.e. Taj Mahal and Trident, Jewish Centre, etc., they just could not handle these handful of terrorists and Marine Commandoes had to be heli-dropped. The Chief Minister and the Commissioner of Police got off lightly. In fact, the ex-Chief Minister, Vilasrao Deshmukh, the less said about him the better, was rewarded for his incompetence in beefing up State’s security to meet terrorist challenges by being made a Central Minister.
    ?
    Police need a total transformation and everyone from a Constable to the D.G.P. shoud be trained by British Bobbies. In fact, all policemen should join as Constable and rise up the ladder as per their abilities, education, departmental exams, etc. If the Police Commissioners of London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, etc., began their careers as a Constable, why do you need Sub-Inspectors’ and IPS Training Institutes?

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