OK, Let me first tell you about the life apart from what we see on the beach. Goa basically thrives on toursis. Saying so, most locals there either have stores, home stays, restaurants, business on the beach to lure guests. They are hospitable, cheerful and in fact speak good English, Hindi and Portuguese. They dont seem to know their native tongue that well. Otherwise, the people are very simple and in their own world. The doctor I visited was a very good example. He was simple, isolated from the hustle and bustle of toursists, the effect on him was zilch.
Speaking about how hospitable locals are; well that's a different story. Hospitality most times are extended only to foreign toursists. Shocking it may sound, but each place we went, we were ignored and treated indifferently. Right after visitng the doctor, it was required to buy medicines, off we went to a chemist. They made us wait for half hour to give us 2 to 3 strips of tablets. Meanwhile, the owner of the shop greeted each foreigner with a "HELLO SIR, HOW ARE YOU TODAY?" He was so excited and full of life each time a foreigner visited his shop.
Even though these toursits wanted to wait in line, they were coaxed to mention what they needed and the service was quick. Each sentence ended with a SIR or a MADAM. Why this indifferent attitude? Were they selling Indian customer their goods at discount that it was OK for them to let us wait? It was as if only foreign tourists are welcome there. I saw the "Athithi Devo Bhava" slogan written in most places. Maybe they should re-write it as "Videshi Athithi Devo Bhava".and "Desi Athithi Ko Bhaga Do"!!!!
It happened at the stores we visited too. It was appalling and embarrassing. I realized how it is to feel lonely and uncomfortable in your own country. Speaking about the foreign tourists, they have got pretty adapted to Indian culture. Oh when I mean Indian culture, it is about pushing your way through the crowd, walking past nudging you and so on :-) Good for us!!!
However a good virtue of people is that they don't cheat. The salesman don't pursue you to buy things Thats a breather. People are helpful, they promptly help you when you ask for directions. Feels good.
When I was relaxing on Baga beach, getting a tattoo done, a lady who was selling pineapples approached me. Before she could speak, I decided to dismiss her but I just kept quiet. She had a 4 year old kid with her. I noticed that she picked up a slipper that was lying in front of me, approached me asking "Madam, yeh aapka hai kya?" I said it was not mine. Another lady joined her. This one started gushing with excitement saying that one of the guests were enquring about a spierman slipper that their kid lost. They would be here for 3 days and if anyone finds it, to return it to them.
She was happy that she found the pair and was talking to the other lady about finding that couple, and how her help would make them buy her pineapples!!! I was awe-struck. Any normal person would have just kept those slippers for her kid who was barefoot!! Or even if she found one slipper, why would she go in search of the couple, she had better job to do selling her goods!! There are still such people, aren't they?
This aside, there were people who were doing different types of odd jobs, tattoo artists, marketing boys, masseurs, antique sellers all from outside states. A young chanawala coaxed me to by chana masala. And we got talking. The boy was about 10 yeras old and he was from UP. The tattoo artist was from Karanataka, didnt know Kannada though. This is the tattoo I got.
I met two cute kids the next day at Anjuna beach. We were relaxing in a shack when I saw these kids walking past. I called them and they promptly walked towards us. I remembered seeing them the previous day at Baga beach, they were in their same clothes as the previous day, unkept hair, dirty face. The older one was carrying a bag. I asked them that if they were at Baga yesterday and they told yes. I started enquring further, and this was what they said. They dont have dad, they earn money by showing gymanstic tricks, mom does the same elsewhere, other brother and sister do the same. They stayed at Calungute and walk everyday along the seashore from Calungute to Baga and Baga to Anjuna, thats roughly 8 kms. I asked them if they dont go to school, they said that they got a teacher who comes home to teach. The girl recited all the alphabets in English without a blink and also recited "Twinke Twinkle Little Star".......They offered to us show us some tricks, but I said it was not needed and gave them some money.
We have so much in life, still crib and crib. How about these kids?
I finally got a chance to figure out why these people were indifferent towards Indian toursists. Visited flea market in Anjuna beach. We were the only Indian tourists, it were all foreigners otherwise. They were greeted with "Hello Sir, Hello Ma'am". We reluctantly made our way, I was half-minded to retreat, but continued. We chanced upon a shop selling antique Tibetan collections. Bought a brass Buddha, studded with turquoise and coral; for a steal.
As we talked further, came across another shop where we saw a gramophone. Now I wanted to own one for quite sometime and was searching in Bangalore too. As soon as we saw the piece, we couldnt believe our luck. As we approached, the salesman showed the same lack of interest in us, but pleading foreigners to buy a 500 Rs lamp when they were dismissing him. We waited for him to get back, he reluctantly came to us. We finally asked him "Aap Indians par interest kyon nahi dikhate?" He told us "Aisa nahi hai ji. Indians aate hain, price poochte hai aur dhimag kaate hai, kuch purchase nahi karte"
Now we understand why they were wary about Indians. We assured him that we wanted to buy. Bargained and got that HMV gramophone for a steal again. We got a record free, it has an Odissi folk song. He also told us how his dad bought 5 pieces of gramophone and now he is no more, this guy was selling them off. We also got a beautiful compass.
In the end, all was worth :-)