June 29, 2022

#CauseAChatter: 'Slamming patriarchy' - a poem on women empowerment

I was seven the first time I asked my family astrologer 

to read my palm, and my grandma laughed a tired laugh

‘Run along,’ she said, ‘go play with your dolls‘

But it was the stars that had intrigued me

And I wondered what lay for me in store

So when I was fifteen, I asked once more

Only to be dismissed by Grandma 

My future, she said, did not lie in the stars

It lay in the curve of my breasts

The sway of my hips

The kohl in my eyes

The colour on my lips

And I wondered if only the men in the house

had lines on their palms

Lines that could be read

Charts that could be spread

In accordance with the sun, and the moon

and the planets, and the stars

And I wondered what lay for me in store

Was it wrong to wish for something more?

To wish a world where I could rule

To prove that I was nobody's fool

But Grandma laughed a tired laugh

Women, she said, had no right to dream

No matter how smarter than men they'd seem

They have no choice but to tame it down

Like the dolls whom we married to stuffed toy clowns 

In the play-pretend weddings we would organize

Never realizing or stopping to think twice

How close to life we played

But days and weeks and months passed by

And resolutes just got stronger

So the next time the family astrologer came visiting

I did not put forward my palm to be read

But instead displayed the medals I had won

The trophies I had bagged

Academics and sports, elocution and debates

There wasn't a single field I lagged

Proudly sauntering my way ahead

I'd carved fate lines for myself 

This time Grandma smiled, her eyes were gleaming 

She'd said girls shouldn't dream, but there I was, dreaming

She held my hands in hers now and softly cried

And I was only too happy that I had tried 

To break the stereotype that society had set

for girls, women, dreamers like me

Who had once wished for their palms to be read

And were now hoping for minds to be free

Of prejudiced ideas, and gender inequality

That had been plaguing the world for an eternity

It took time for her to understand 

But then Grandma took matters in her hand

and showed that astrologer the door

And that day what I realized, I say to you once more;

The stars can burn all they want

but they cannot stop you from trying

The planets, the sun, the moon aligned 

cannot dictate what you can do

The lines on your palm do not chart the course of your life

So draw your own lines instead and don’t allow them to limit you 

From trying, even when someone says 

you can’t, reach out for your dream 

For no matter how distant it may seem

There is thunder in your wings, darling

You are meant to kiss the sky


This post is part of Blogchatter’s CauseAChatter.

For more of my poetry, you can check out my solo anthologies of poems here and here

June 26, 2022

#CauseaChatter: Learn to say 'No'

In life we are often faced with situations when yes seems to be the only answer. Sometimes it feels like we have no other choice than to say yes to something or someone. Either out of choice or out of circumstance we are forced to say yes despite our will. 

Maybe we are left to believe that saying no will hurt the other person involved or will make seem rude or petulant, harm our image in the eyes of others, and that is  something that we do not want.

Times like these, we need to remind ourselves that it is not wrong to prioritize oneself , that self-preservation is of utmost importance, and that in order to help others, we must first become capable of helping our own self.

And for that we need to learn one very important thing; when to say ‘No’.

Just like ‘Yes’, the word ‘No’ also has a deeper  psychological impact on our psyche. Saying 'No' can be responsible for some of the best (when uttered sensibly and  judiciously) and worst (when left unsaid out of compulsion/obligation) decisions. 

Challenges of saying No :

For most of us, saying ‘No’ isn’t easy. There are may be different reasons binding us down, reasons that are best known only to the self. I won't attempt getting into specifics as each person is different and so is their psyche. 

But broadly speaking,  here is a list of reasons why we generally find saying ‘No’ difficult and how to overcome them. 

1) As children, being  considerate towards others is often so ingrained into us that  keeping ourselves first feels like a selfish thing to do. The fear of being deemed rude or impolite often stops us from saying what we feel. There is no denying that being   compassionate is a good thing, but there also needs to be a  healthy balance between our own needs and those of others. 

2) In today’s fast paced life, it is quite  common to experience FOMO, because if which we often tend to  bite more than we can chew, take up more commitments than we can handle. Until one day, it takes a toll on our physical and mental health. Experiencing burn out, physical exhaustion, frustration, and mood swings then becomes a common occurrence. Knowing when to say ‘no’ is an important social skill we all need to practice. We need to realize that we cannot do everything in a day. Instead of FOMO, we must learn to embrace JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out), learn to stop and smell the flowers. Only then we will be able to  appreciate the journey. 

3) Saying No is a way to preserve our self-respect and self-worth. Would you rather be acknowledged as someone who leaves everything half finished than someone who takes up a only  few things but  reaches them to fruition? Think about it. 

Having said that, saying no is never going to be easy. However, a little tact and social courtesy can go a long way.

A few things one ought to remember while saying ‘No’: 

1) Your intention should be understood. 

Providing a little context always helps cushion the hurt. But you do not need to justify your decision, especially if you feel someone is taking advantage of you.

2) Over explaining may lead to lengthy pointless  conversations which you are better off avoiding. So provide just enough context for the person not to feel offended. And keep in mind that not everyone can handle a rejection well (no matter how nicely you frame it), and it’s okay. 

3) Consider all possibilities before arriving at a decision. Take your time to think things through. 

4) Be assertive while expressing your decision. Stick to your priorities and do so with confidence. If you yourself are wishy-washy about what you want, you can well be  taken for a ride.  

5) Being considerate is important. But so is being straightforward . Be direct in your approach.

6) Be respectful but do not bend. Set your own limits and do not allow anyone to cross them.

How to know when to say ‘No’:

Saying no is usually instinctual. One should listen to their conscience…that tiny inner voice which keeps us in check. If things ‘feel’ wrong they probably are.

However, there is need to politely decline an offer even when it feels right..eg: when you are swamped with pending work and are offered another lucrative project.

In such cases, it is best to complete the task at hand before taking on another task. 

But how do we know when to stop?

One effective method is this:

Work out your availability time , if the time you have available in a day. Then, half it. Now, prepare that with what you ‘need’ to get done. 

If you still have time left after this, you can consider taking up another task. 

The rule of thumb to maintain a healthy balance is to start small. And leave sufficient time to rest. 

Because as the popular saying goes; “All work and no play…”

Despite implementing all these measures, you still experience a  serious problem saying no, there is no shame in doing a practice run with a friend or a therapist. Saying ‘no’ is often underrated. But one should never forget that the right choice is the one that works best in your interest. You cannot please everyone, not at the cost of feeling resentful or stressed out. If you ever have to choose between your peace of mind and anything else in the world, you know what to do; choose the former. 

I wish you well, with my favorite  words of the serenity prayer.


This post is part of Blogchatter’s CauseAChatter.

April 30, 2022

#BlogchatterA2Z: Z for ‘Zooming in on Goa’ - an overview. .

Today is the day my ‘Obrigado, Goa!’ series takes its final bow. 

Welcome to the finale special of my A to Z series. I'm feeling a tad bit emotional while writing this. And a journey like this deserves some reminiscing.  

'Obrigado, Goa!', hitherto, has been a beautiful journey of 26 posts spread over the last 30 days. 

I still recall the day I signed up for the challenge. It was my first time and I was feeling antsy about it. Also, being someone who doesn't believe in making plans beforehand, signing up for a 30 days campaign was no mean feat. I had no post planned and that would mean committed writing everyday of the month.

However, the energy of other Blogchatter members was infectious and the enthusiasm soon caught on. I decided to enroll myself. 

Choosing a topic to write on was the easy part though. Being majorly right-brained,  I decided to write on a topic that was close to my heart. A topic I had long wished to write on. A topic that is close to home. And so I chose exactly that. I chose a topic that is home...Goa.

All through the month, I blogged about various aspects of my lovely state...some intriguing, some adorable, some interesting. But all in all, each amazing. 

As days went by, writing the series turned into a roller coaster ride of emotions. Being Goan by birth and by choice, I share an intimate relationship with the place, the language, the people. And so I found myself in a better position to write on this topic.

However, a thorough research into each individual topic revealed that there was so much that I still wasn't aware of in all its entirity. 

I have lived in Goa all my life and yet it has never ceased to fascinate me. As I delved deeper into each individual topic, I was pleasantly surprised to find a treasure trove of knowledge on a place I already knew so much about. 

Information came from all corners. Research meant asking around, discussing with family and friends, searching googling, and travelling down the annexe of history. At one point, I was so spoilt for choice that I felt the compelling urge to work in multiple themes in a single post. 

I tried my level best to keep it crisp. But an occassional long-winding post was inevitable. 

Having said that, lets zoom in on all that has happened over the month of April. If you haven't been reading me regularly, here is a good chance to catch up on the series.

You can click on any of the Alphabets below and it will take you to the corresponding post.

A - speaks on the fading connection of Azulejos and Goa. A sneak peek into Goa’s cultural identity.

B - speaks on the Big Foot, Goa’s first open air heritage museum. 

C - speaks on Cuisine, because well, there is lots to love on the Goan plate. 

D - speaks on delectable Goan Desserts, that are bound to leave your sweet tooth wanting more.

E - speaks on five most popular Events that add to the glamour and celebration in my state. 

F - speaks on Fulancho khuris, and the Goan faith in miracles.

G - speaks on Goan Ghost stories, based on the legends associated with some haunted spots. 

H - speaks on Haggling in Goa and provides  you easy shopping tips for a worthwhile shopping experience.

I - speaks on IFFI, the International Film Festival of India held annually in Goa and attended by throngs of cinema aficionado.

J - speaks on some humble Jackfruit delicacies specific to Goa. 

K - speaks on Kunbi sarees, a heritage-saree that is the hallmark attire of women belonging to Goa’s oldest tribe.

L - speaks on Goan Language and linguistics, the local and the adopted.

M - speaks on Mankurad, Goa’s prized mango that has an identity of its own. 

N - speaks on Nostalgia, on the Goa of yesteryears. 

O - speaks on Old Goa, the Church, the Frast, and the Exposition. 

P - speaks on Pao, Poee, and Poder, words you will commonly hear every morning in Goa. Ubiquitous and quintessential, they are responsible for Goa’s breakfast habit. 

Q - speaks on Questions you should never ask a Goan. 

R - speaks on Romancing with Goa and some charming tips to spark up your love life while here. 

S - speaks on Sea, Sun, and Sand; a trip down South-Goa’s spectacular beaches. 

T - speaks on Tiracol fort, the jewel in Goa’s cultural-heritage crown. 

U - speaks on Urrak, Goa’s summer spirit. 

V - speaks on Viva Goa, a cry for victory, a beer, a vibe. 

W - speaks on worship places for the devout Goan.

X - speaks on X-mas celebration in Goa, because that’s the season to be jolly. 

Y - speaks on the Yoga institute, Goa’s holistic approach to yoga and meditation, a side lesser known. 

And last but not the least, tone post that you are reading:

Z - speaks on zooming in on Goa, an overview. A recap of my ‘Obrigado, Goa’ series.

Maybe I will never talk of Goa in the same elaborate manner on the blog again, or maybe I will. Maybe I will never brag about the place, the culture, the people or flaunt its multidimensional features here. Then again, maybe I will. Perhaps this series will reach you in some other format. Perhaps it will greet you in some other form. I still have to work that out.

After all, Goa is always full of possibilities.

For inspiring me to dream and work towards making our dreams come true, today, for the final time on this blog series, I express a sentiment that is always in my heart and say, ‘Obrigado, Goa!’

Wishing you a lot of sushegaad times…

Mog sadach aasu di. 

(Let there always be love!) 


I'm participating in #BlogchatterA2Z. 

My theme for the challenge is ‘Obrigado, Goa!’, under which I’ll be writing 26 posts on Goa (April 1-30th, excluding Sundays), each post corresponding to the letters of the English alphabet. You can read more about it in my theme reveal post.

April 29, 2022

#BlogchatterA2Z: Y for ‘The Yoga Institute - Goa’s holistic approach.

I've always believed Goa is less of a place and more of a vibe. Until now, my posts spoke about Goa as a tourist destination, an exotic holiday, a place steeped in cultural history and heritage gems, gastronomic delights, and the sushegaad lifestyle. 

However, there is yet another reason people come to Goa. A reason not publicized as much as the other Goan attractions. I’m talking about the spiritual aspect. 

Believe it or not, Goa is one of the best places one can go to for a quiet rendezvous of self discovery and self improvement. 

It is true what they, Goa is indeed a 'state of mind'.

Introducing the Yoga Institute of Goa, a rendezvous with deep introspection and self-discovery. 

Ensconced on the banks of the river Mandovi, just 5 kms away from Panjim, lies the serene island of Chorao. An island surrounded by nature, serenaded by the early morning chirping of birds flying across mango trees that populate the region. 

Now isn’t this an ideal site for a date with nature and your inner self? 

Well, dream no more. Because what you are wishing is already a reality. 

A date right in nature’s lap, surrounded by lush greenery and winding rivers, the Yoga Institure is a spiritual paradise for those who want to explore their inner being. 

We are all aware of the benefits that yoga on the human system. 

Yoga helps to maintain that delicate balance of physical and mental health. It is known for its healing powers and has a therapeutic effect in the mind and body. It helps to alleviate pain, suffering, lethargy, and exhaustion. In fact, a regular practice of Yoga keeps the body, mind, and soul coordinated and in harmony, thus ensuring optimal functioning.

And so the aim of the Institute is to spread as much awareness and knowledge of Yoga as possible. 

The Yoga Institute believes in adopting Yoga as not just a mere practice, but a way of life. The Institute offers a knowledge of varied yogic philosophies and also encourages the student to accept yoga as a culture of consciousness and science of awareness.

Set in picturesque surrounding, the institute has Goan style residential quarters equipped with the latest facilities, an infinity pool and training sessions offering a holistic approach to yoga. 

There are early morning classes with meditation and yoga exercises. Since Yoga works in conjunction with healthy eating habits and mindfulness, the institute also takes care of leisure activities and meals in a engaging and nourishing manner, making your stay here a wholesome experience. A fixed number of ‘Satvik’ meals are provided as these have long term benefits on health. 

The Institute also ensures that the sessions are conducted in a manner and at a time as per your convenience. You can unwind and relax both physically as well as mentally, with a yoga session chosen at a time best suited for you. 

When you aren’t in session, you can indulge in the pleasures of nature by setting your work space at a site overlooking the garden or sit by the pool. When you love what you see and how it makes you feel, work productivity rises exponentially. 

So next time you are craving for a quite getaway from the touristy life in Goa, next time when you want to break away for some inner peace and quiet, do consider staying at the Yoga Institute and awaken your spiritual self.

And before you head back to where you’re coming from, with feelings of equanimity, mindfulness, and an enriched experience in your backpack, don’t forget to think of my series and say, ‘Obrigaado, Goa!

Tomorrow’s post is going to be the final post of my series. So if you have been reading me all throughout, (and even if you haven’t but are reading this) then don’t you miss it.

Until then,

Mog aasu di.

(Let there be love!) 


I'm participating in #BlogchatterA2Z. 

My theme for the challenge is ‘Obrigado, Goa!’, under which I’ll be writing 26 posts on Goa (April 1-30th, excluding Sundays), each post corresponding to the letters of the English alphabet. You can read more about it in my theme reveal post.

April 28, 2022

#BlogchatterA2Z: Xmas in Goa - it’s the season to be jolly.

If you ask Goans what the best time to visit Goa is, you will get one unanimous answer. ‘December’.

December to us Goans is easily the best time of the year, with everyone in a laidback holiday spirit, welcoming relatives and friends into their home and heart. 

This is the time of the year when most Goans settled abroad make a trip back home. Nostalgia reigns supreme. And this adds to the general bonhomie and joie de vivre in the family. 

Needless to say, the biggest highlight of the season is that it’s Christmas time. 

The Xmas season possesses its own special charm for us Goans. The sound of Church bells and Christmas carols playing across streets, brightly illuminated star-lanterns hanging outside homes and shops, men and women in their best attire setting out for midnight mass, these are some of the common sights you’d see in Goa this time of the year. Christmas is family time, a time to bond with long lost relatives and friends. Christmas is a time when both the young age old come together and make merry.  

One spectacular feature of a Goan Xmas is the nativity scene. You have to witness it to know it. 

Preparations for setting up the nativity scene commences days in advance. The village youth, irrespective of religion, indulge in constructing and setting up. The nativity is an essential element of a Goan Christmas.

The traditional nativity scene includes the manger depicting the birth of baby Jesus and the arrival of the three kings. Some contemporary versions of the nativity scene have modern elements of splendour and celebration. Nowadays, new technology is employed to create an electronic, musical setup that is not just a treat to the eyes but brings alive the spirit of the festival.

However, the main feature of this scene is the crib and that is not a glaring but always a spectacular effort. 

The verdant landscapes Green adorning the crib is usually created by germinating seedlings of millet around a couple of weeks before Xmas so that by December 24 at the achieve the desired height. This is a feature particular to Christmas cribs only in Goa. Sand clay, stone, and other materials are used to make the crib with little figurines of baby Jesus, Mother Mary, the Three Kings, shepherds, and animals for representation. 

The youngsters create new and innovative themes for their cribs every year. They also make decorative items for the Xmas tree, the star and the crib. 

Arrangements start a couple of weeks before Xmas. The Christmas tree is selected, the box of yearly ornaments taken down from the attic, and electrical circuits are checked in preparation. The house is soon to be spruced up for Christmas, with strings of fairy lights adorning its walls and the decked tree strategically placed for all to see and appreciate.

The womenfolk prepare an assortment of Christmas sweets and other delicacies which are to be sent to near and dear ones as ‘Kuswar’ (or ‘Consoada’). This includes most loved delicacies like Kulkuls (curly fried pastry strips dipped in sugar treacle), Guliyo (chewy Rice marbles which are hard to bite), Neuriyos, rose cookies, Bibinca, Doce, Bolinhas Dodol, plum cake, among other things. 

With most of these available in the market, Kuswar nowadays remains a mere formality.  That said, nothing beats the taste of good old traditionally prepared Christmas sweets, made and offered with love.

In the good old days, Christmas meant going Carol singing around the neighbourhood, with one of the kids (usually the most rotund) dressed up as Santa. 

Today, the world has become a far more private place with fears of all sorts lurking in the heart (and for good reason). Also, technology has created quite the boom. And so, out goes the carol singing, and in comes the play station. Out goes the intimate time spent with family bonding over preparation of Christmas sweets. In comes elaborate cake mixing ceremonies in 5 star hotels where you click pictures (for Instagram) with strangers. This too has its upside though. You get to know more people and make new friends, which again, is the essence of Christmas.   

But it is always a pleasure witnessing Christmas celebrations in Goan villages that still maintain tradition and celebrate Xmas the old fashioned way. 

Afterall, extravagance and splendour can never replace simplicity and affection. Love and true Christmas spirit can never go out of fashion, can it? 

So here’s to loving and living the festive spirit not just in December but all year round. Here’s to preserving the old and embracing the new, to keeping us connected with each other and with a higher God. 

To all this, we raise a cheer and say, ‘Obrigado, Goa!

Come back tomorrow for the penultimate feature of my series. 

Until then,

Mog aasu di. 

(Let there be love!) 


I'm participating in #BlogchatterA2Z. 

My theme for the challenge is ‘Obrigado, Goa!’, under which I’ll be writing 26 posts on Goa (April 1-30th, excluding Sundays), each post corresponding to the letters of the English alphabet. You can read more about it in my theme reveal post.

April 27, 2022

#BlogchatterA2Z: W for Worship places - for the devout Goan.

My post for the letter ‘W’ of my A-Z series, today, is a topic very close to the heart…Worship.

Worship, to me, has always been sacrosanct. It is a way of connecting with a higher subconscience, my faith in a greater God. And that does not need me to visit any temple, mosque, or church. In fact, I think it is more of an intimate relationship rather than a public affair. 

Having said that, I’m aware that a lot of people think otherwise. The ambience of a temple calms their mind. The magnificence of a church soothes their spirit. Temple bells, the Church alter, the comforting presence of other devotees, gives most people a sense of solidarity and community prayer, and probably that is why they prefer to pray at temples than worship their God in their own homes. 

In my life, I have been to a lot of temples before reaching the conclusion that I just cannot pray with my whole mind and soul there. Jostled by people waiting for a darshan, on either sides, I’m either concentrating on safeguarding my purse or myself, and this leaves me with only half the attention on my prayer. 

India is blessed with a large number of worship places. Each state has its own unique places of worship. 

And my Goa, albeit the smallest state, is no different.

So today, I thought why not make a list of all the glorious places of worship my Goa is  blessed with. If you, like me, find it impossible to pray in the crowded premises of a temple or church, then maybe you can pay them a visit for their sheer architectural wonder, the magnitude of their brilliance, an exploration of their history. 

In previous posts of my series, I have spoken about some famous Christian places of worship; famous Goan Churches and shrines. You can read about them here and here

My post today is an extension along the same lines (of devotion). I’m going to talk about Hindu worship places in Goa. 

So further ado, here is a list of temples to visit during your next Goa trip: 

1) Shantadurga temple at Kavlem:

This temple is located in Kavlem village in the Ponda taluka and is dedicated to Goddess ShantaDurga or ‘Santeri’. In the temple, the Goddess is shown as holding two serpents, one in each hand, representing Vishnu and Shiva. 

As the legend goes, Lord Bramha called upon Goddess Parvati to make peace between Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu who were fighting a fierce battle. The Goddess placed Vishnu on one hand and Shiva on the other and resolved the fight. The original temple was located at Quelossim in the Salcete taluka. But it was destroyed in the 16th century by the Portuguese, after which the idol of the a goddess was shifted to Kavlem. Initially a small laterite mud shrine was built and the idol was installed. Later, in 1730, the foundation stone for the temple was laid.  It took eight years to complete the construction. 

The temple has a huge tank, a Deepastambha and agrashalas (guest houses).

2) Shri Shantadurga Temple at Quepem, in South Goa.  

With people of all religious faiths coming here to offer their prayers, this temple is a true reflection of peace and communal harmony. 

3) Mangeshi temple 

A perfect combination of modern and traditional architecture, this temple located in Ponda, is bound to take your breath away. Especially when you see it in the evenings when the Deep Stambh is illuminated with a host of glittering diyas.

4) Mahalasa Narayani temple at Mardol 

The temple complex has smaller temples of Goddess Shanta Durga and Lord Vishnu. They are worshipped daily with Mahalasa. The temple is famous for its huge brass Divli/Samai and a huge brass bell that does not have a ringer. Back in the day it was believed that the Goddess Mahalasa would punish any person who lied by ringing the bell with death within three days. Owing to this belief, a testimony in this temple was considered acceptable in the Portuguese court of law. Visit during Navratri to witness this temple in its full splendour. 

5) Mahalakshmi temple in Ponda 

During the 15th century, the original idol of the Goddess was made of black granite. But after this got destroyed during the Portuguese rule, a beautiful Panchloha idol replaced it. Panchloha is a mixture of five metals mixed together, namely, iron, silver, gold, copper, and lead. 

6) No list of temples can ever be complete without mention of a Ganesh temple. I cannot end without mentioning the Maha Ganapati temple in Ponda, which is one of the oldest in the state. Originally located at Divar during Portuguese rule, this temple was moved to Khadepar, Narve, and finally to Khandala (Ponda) where it is located today. One of the major celebrations happening here is on Sankashti Chaturthi…a good time for a visit to pay your obeisance to the Vignaharta.

I could go on and on. Saptakoteshwar, Mahadev temple at Tambdi Surla, Brahma temple at Carambolim, Damodar Sal in Margao, Maruti temple at Altinho, Ganesh temple at Rawanfond, the list is long. 

The temples in Goa are small but beautifully designed with a rich blend of modern and ancient architecture. They are way less crowded than other places, creating an environment of tranquility for devotees visiting from all over the world. 

But at the end of the day, rephrasing the popular saying, I will say,  ‘Mid temples and  churches though we may roam. When it comes to worship, there is no place like home.’ 

For the devotion that Goa inspires in its people, for the faith it keeps strong, and for the rich cultural heritage it has preserved over the ages, we say, ‘Obrigado, Goa!

Come back tomorrow for another riveting feature of my amazing state. 

Until then,

Mog aasu di.

(Let there be love!)


I'm participating in #BlogchatterA2Z. 

My theme for the challenge is ‘Obrigado, Goa!’, under which I’ll be writing 26 posts on Goa (April 1-30th, excluding Sundays), each post corresponding to the letters of the English alphabet. You can read more about it in my theme reveal post.

April 26, 2022

#BlogchatterA2Z: V for ‘Viva Goa’ - you know you are in Goa when…

1) When instead of your daily alarm, you wake up to the sound of the local poder

2) When breakfast means eating pao/poli with mixed bhaaji from Tato or Cafe Bhosle. 

3) When the locals speak a Konkani interlaced  with a lot of Portuguese words which they have made their own.  Igorz (derivative of Igreja), Recepcao (from Recepção), Mezz (from Mesa), Kadern (from Caderno), sacrament (from Sacramento), Confessiao (from Confissão), Adogad (from Advogado), Dotor (from Doutor), Susegad (from Sossegado), and many more.

4) When your regular fisherwoman always throws in an extra fish, saying ‘tuna mhanun’ just because you talk nicely to her.

5) When your local shopkeepers, no matter who is waiting, will open shop late and close early, with a prolonged afternoon siesta in between. 

6) When xiit, hooman, and nuste is a staple in almost every non-vegetarian diet. 

7) When Christmas is celebrated with equal enthusiasm as Chavath (Ganesh Chaturthi) by everyone, irrespective of religion, caste, and financial status. 

8) When Shanta Durga and Saibaba are revered with equal devotion as Mary and St Francis Xavier

9) When you see romantic happy go lucky people who take joy in the mundane and comfort in the familiar. 

10) When you see the same locals grumbling about tourists littering and polluting ‘amche goi’.

11) When you can get a conversation going for hours on cutlet pao, urrak, ros omelette and the best places they are available.

12) When a walk in the lane beside the river Mandovi feels no less than a stroll down the Seine.  

13) When you find people who will watch a tiatra with the same interest as they will attend a jazz concert. 

14) When you start seeing everything as a celebratory event…from something as small as the arrival of the Mankurad and Panas to as large as IFFI and the Goan Carnival

In the last six decades, ever since it’s liberation, Goa has carved for itself an identity of its own. Good food, music, dance, & great people—Goa is content in itself. 

Perhaps it’s this ‘Viva Goa’ vibe that makes it so attractive to people the world over. 

And it is for this very undying enthusiasm, bonhomie, and cheer, we say, ‘Obrigado, Goa!’

Stick around for tomorrow’s topic, featuring a brilliant aspect of my lovely state. 

Until then,

Mog aasu di.

(Let there be love!) 


I'm participating in #BlogchatterA2Z. 

My theme for the challenge is ‘Obrigado, Goa!’, under which I’ll be writing 26 posts on Goa (April 1-30th, excluding Sundays), each post corresponding to the letters of the English alphabet. You can read more about it in my theme reveal post.

April 25, 2022

#BlogchatterA2Z: U for Urrak - the ‘spirit’ of Goa.

For most people visiting Goa for the first time my topic today is going to be a revelation of sorts. 

So read the post till the end. You can thank me later. 

With just 5 more days of the A-Z series, I am feeling a sense of wistfulness and nostalgia flood me. It has been an exciting journey writing about Goa, heady with its own set of apprehensions (to meet deadlines) and euphoria (when they were met). And so for ‘U’ (you) today, I chose a topic that resonates with that feeling which literally encapsulates the ‘spirit’ of Goa. 

If you somehow managed to skip the title to my post and are guessing this is about Feni, then you are in for a surprise. Your guess is wrong (but not entirely). 

My topic today is Goa’s refreshing summer beverage, a heady alcoholic drink prepared from the first distillation of the cashew apple, the slightly underrated sister-cousin of Goa’s much hyped Feni. 

Commonly referred to as ‘Jungle juice’, (although that is a misnomer), I’m talking about Goa’s unpretentious, unassuming, down-to-earth tipple, Urrak

With a pungent taste and strong aroma, Urrak heralds the start of Goan summers.

It has an alcoholic content of 15 to 25%, although when consumed does not render as much of an high. At least not initially. However, they say one should refrain from venturing near a breezy beach after downing Urrak as the breeze only compounds the inebriation and can cause sudden fainting which may even prove fatal. Being a teetotaller myself, I cannot personally testify this, but Urrak enthusiasts claim that this is just a myth. This said, ask them to prove it wrong and they will shirk away with a nervous laugh. 

The making of Urrak: 

The cashew plant is known to have been imported to Goa from Brazil by the Portuguese. Come summer and you will see a flurry of activity happening at Cashew estates. Fresh fruit is collected in wicker baskets by labourers employed to work on the farm. This is then taken to the farm’s local distillery where the process of making Urrak commences. Once the cashew nut is twisted off from the cashew apple, the separated apples are machine crushed, in order to extract the juice. The  juice is collected into a tank and left to be fermented for two days, following which it is distilled. 

A traditional distillation unit made of local material is employed for the purpose. The unit includes a madki; a round bottom clay flask, lavnni; a condensor with a mud pot (budkulo) and a coconut shell ladle (dovlo). Modern distillery units have a  copper pot replaciing the madki, and a brass or aluminium coil, condenser immersed in a water tank replacing the lavnni. 

The distillation is carried out through a series of elaborate steps that the workers know at the back of their hand from years of expertise. The first distillate that is hereby produced is called Urrak. 

When run over a second time, this turns into the widely acclaimed, Feni.

For most Goan locals, starting from Nero, progressing to Urrak and subsequently settling down with Feni is considered as a rite of passage.  But of course, this does not mean we are a bunch of drunks. It’s just the Goan way of things. 

For the uninitiated, Niro is the non-alcohol cousin of Urrak. Basically, it is slow-pressed cashew apple juice.  

Cashew apples are stomped by foot until the first press trickles out. This is then carried in terracotta pots and buried in the cashew estate and left to ferment for 2-3 days before it is distilled into Urrak.

Niro has an even shorter shelf life than Urrak, and has to be ideally consumed within a few hours. If not refrigerated at 8-10 deg C, the natural yeasts work on the sugar, producing CO2 and alcohol, which ferments into Urrak at room temperature.

Once the monsoon commences, the process of distillation has to stop. Urrack is distilled only in the months of March to May, as the cashew is a seasonal fruit and available only then. Also, Urrak must be consumed fresh, as it has tiny flakes of the cashew apple in it, which tend to sour if stored for too long. Once sedimentation starts, Urrak loses its fruitiness over a few weeks. 

It is because of these qualities, that Urrak is still unknown to a lot of tourists frequenting Goa in the rains or winter months. 

How Urrak is consumed: 

Traditionalists prefer to have Urrak in the age old style known to locals by mixing 1 part alcohol with 3 part Limca/lemon-soda. Ice cubes are then added. A tiny pinch of salt, a squeeze of lime, and a chilli split midway is stirred into the cocktail. 

However, modern variations that include an Urrak base with Kokum crush and Limca, with a sprinkle of rock salt and crushed cumin, or garnished with curry leaves, or sweetened with orange juice are available too. With each tavern or bar having their own style of serving, Urrak aficionados are spoilt for choice all season. 

If the word aficionado in the above para has made you laugh, then you will be surprised to know that it is a popular local belief that consuming Urrak keeps fevers and colds away. I am not sure if this is a well-guarded myth or an excuse to get drunk, but maybe if this were true, Goa would have been untouched by the Corona pandemic. Just saying! 

Be it for its medicinal properties or slow intoxication, for its seasonal quality or fruity flavour, Urrak is regarded for its uniqueness. And for that we say, ‘Obrigado, Goa!’ 

Stick around for another interesting topic on my lovely state.

Until then,

Mog aasu di.

(Let there be love!)  


I'm participating in #BlogchatterA2Z. 

My theme for the challenge is ‘Obrigado, Goa!’, under which I’ll be writing 26 posts on Goa (April 1-30th, excluding Sundays), each post corresponding to the letters of the English alphabet. You can read more about it in my theme reveal post.