April 20, 2022

#BlogchatterA2Z: Q for Questions never to ask a Goan - 5 myths about Goa (busted)..

We Goans are a simple lot, deriving joy out of life's little pleasures. We don’t need much to be happy. We are content with what we have. You will rarely find a Goan complaining, at least that’s how we see ourselves.

We are even-tempered people; good humoured, knowing to take a joke in the right spirit. However, even ‘nice’ has its limits and when these are crossed, can turn to ‘nasty’. 

"Hell hath no fury like a woman Goan scorned."

There are few things in life that annoy us. What gets our goat, however, is being typecast...into stereotypes by judgemental tourists. Of course we do not act on impulse; we choose to give people the benefit of doubt. But when lines are crossed and questions turn intrusive, we know it’s time for some proper myth busting. 

And in today’s post, on the behest of my fellow Goans, that’s what exactly what I intend to do.

So without digressing, here is a list of questions you should never ask a Goan.

(P.S: you may want to carry this one with you on your next trip here.)

1) “Kite re Sayba? Susegaad??”

- This question or any variation of it usually comes from visiting tourists who want to flaunt their knowledge of Konkani to the locals in the hope of quality treatment or a hefty discount. Firstly, uttering a few words like that doesn’t make us believe you are Goan (if you think we won’t see through the accent and tone). Moreover, it is technically wrong and a tad irritating when you say it like you do, with a lull in your voice. We are aware that you have learned a few words or phrases from your viewing of Bollywood movies and are keen on trying them, but no matter what your intention, a Goan will secretly find you patronising when you utter the word ‘Sushegaad’ to him. Besides, we are a hard-working people too, bro. Goa is not 365 days holiday like those brochures misinformed you. 

2) “I will starve if I come to Goa. You Goans eat fish all the time, no?” 

(this one from the vegetarians)

- Well, all those actually believing this, here’s some Goan trivia for you. An ideal Goan meal is a balanced meal that includes a fair share of veggies as well. You will hardly find a Goan who is nutritional deficient. Agreed, Goa’s coastal location ensures that we have a healthy supply of seafood, but that does not in any way mean that every Goan is non-vegetarian.  So rest assured, unless we really hate you, you won’t end up starving.

3) “Are you really Goan? How’s that you don’t talk 'Goa-English' (whatever that means)?” 

- Sigh! Bollywood strikes again. Thank you for portraying this messed up picture of Goa and Goans. Our language may not be coloured with invectives, but your imagination definitely is. 

4) "You don’t drink? Are you even Goan?? (add snigger or loud guffaw depending upon how much you dislike said person, for maximum irritating effect.)

- Yes, booze is definitely cheaper here than elsewhere in India. But we Goans are not a bunch of drunks, forever inebriated, ready to get into a brawl, like you think of us. Strangely though, that’s the exact impression we have of you tourists visiting Goa. Err…coincidence much? 

5) "What happens in Goa stays in Goa, no?" 

A big resounding No to this one. Here’s a fun fact: We Goans travel light all around the world. However, the only weight we carry with us is the weight of our stories. So don’t do something you wouldn’t want the world to know. Your Goa experience may seem all discreet at first, but it sure has a way of catching up…probably when you least expect it. 

These are just a few stereotypes that people harbour about Goans. There are at least a dozen more and almost all of them have their roots in badly researched Bollywood movies and hearsay. 

Goan women are portrayed to be either skimpily clad bimbettes or rotund middle aged women wearing hibiscus dresses. Goan men are depicted as beer-bellied, sailor-mouthed simpletons in sunflower shorts and straw hats, getting conned by their philandering women or smart-assed tourists. The list is endless and frustrating to say the least.

Stereotypes, in my opinion, often stem from a seat of longing…a longing to make believe what they wish of others to be true. 

We are all guilty of stereotyping that which we do not know or know little of. It often makes us good caricatures for entertainment purposes. 

The issue, however, arises when a particular stereotype turns into a bias. A conviction. A delusion.

For example sake, there is no harm in believing Goans to be 'sushegaad'. In fact it’s a quality we take great pride in. But when ‘laid back’ reads ‘lazy’, when ‘fun loving’ reads ‘frivolous’, that’s when we know you your myths need to be busted. 

My entire A-Z series on Goa has been an effort in that very direction...for those reading to see my Goa the way I see it, with the love and admiration I hold for it.  

So next time are here on holiday plan, shed all those  misconceptions. Drive around with a clear mind--a mind that will allow you to soak the beauty of this place without the filter of bias.

Try talking to the locals without the burden of prejudice weighing your attitude down. Share your story with them, and watch them open up a treasure trove of experiences. People in Goa love to exchange notes on life.They are extremely hospitable. But one wrong vibe, and they wont hesitate to kick you out as well.

That is the beauty of us small-townies---we are straight forward, no-nonsense people. What you see is what you get. Diplomacy is not our forte. We either like you or hate you. There is no in between.

And for this forthrightness and honesty, Goa has inspired in us, for all the assumptions it has withstood and labels it has endured, never once allowing its spirit to be broken, we, in all admiration, say, ‘Obrigado, Goa!

See you tomorrow for another fascinating feature 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.


Tomichan Matheikal said...

Fantastic. I visited Goa only once and I loved it. I don't carry stereotypes with me and so have no problems usually in places. At any rate, I left Goa vowing to return again and again. Hope to make the next visit soon.

Suchita said...

Stereotypes, in my opinion, often stem from a seat of longing - what a wonderful line and a brilliant post.