Sunday, March 21, 2010

Few interesting encounters at Goa

I mentioned in my last post that I would be sharing with you folks few interesting situations I encountered. I am making a special mention of those because few shocked me, few surprised me and few made me happy.

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 :-)


  1. Well i fully agree with you about videshi and desi.. I have felt it so many times, when i started to blo I actually wrote a couple of Articles But i got hammered by people some teching me that the reason indians do this is because of ATHITHI BHAVO theme.. So its that reason they love foreigners more then fellow indians.. I am totally against it .. in every other country Locals are preferred more.. But only in our country anyway ...

    You may get some stick for saying this :)


    Wow I am glad you got the gramaphone , i also want one .. its seems I want a lot of things he he he .. Loved the pics again and yeah like u say in end it was worth.. you had a fab time thats what matter :)

  2. I feel totally enraged listening to the way indians are treated !

    I remember bristling with anger with the way i was treated on a recent trip to Kuwait.

    How sad it is that we are sidelined even in our own country while we jump over ourself to serve foreigners...

    It surely boils the blood..

  3. I feel totally enraged listening to the way indians are treated !

    I remember bristling with anger with the way i was treated on a recent trip to Kuwait.

    How sad it is that we are sidelined even in our own country while we jump over ourself to serve foreigners...

    It surely boils the blood..

  4. Very nice and interesting post Insignia. Loved it. Read it 3 times. Catering to foreigners and ignoring Indians! Isn't it 50% of the Indians do?

    From your post, looks like their business ethics is laudable.

    And, on thing I cannot digest in India (and also in Pakistan) is child labor. Something must be done to stop this.

    Your tattoo looks sooooper.

    Does the gramophone you bought work? I am sure you would have played it before buying.

  5. your post reminded me of my post - let's tell me; isn't it the same? either u ignore indians in front of foreigners or you don't cooperate with Indians who don't know your mother tongue..I know it is completely out of track with the post; but I could connect to it..

    the excuse of Indians asking for price and not buying anything - well isn't it common at most tourist places? Goa has the option of foreign tourists; so it is a separate thing altogether..they give such excuses thanks to that option..

    now moving on to ur tattoo - well I have a dolphin tattoo too but a permanent one :D

    a gramophone - wow possession; so is the Buddha..looks awesome..

    good to know there are still nice people around :)

  6. Man the gramophone looks great.

    Agree about the differential treatment. There's this roof-top restaurant here where in foreign visitors get reading lamps on their tables.. When we asked the waiters what that's for, he obviously said 'reading'.
    We then asked him whether 'Indians' can't read and asked him to fetch the manager. Who never actually turned up. such a piss-off

  7. thanks
    as you got camera, i hope to see more pics and more beauty of Goa.

  8. Beautiful Tattoo & experience as well.


  9. Great observations. And mostly what that shopkeeper said was true about Indians haggling forever for a bargain. And at times, they don't buy at all.

  10. Learn bargaining skills from me..:)
    It happens many a time that u learn so much from unknown people.
    Great experiences.
    I miss the place.



    p.s. More pics. Where are the beaches??

  11. Dear Insignia,

    GOA shop keepers might have inspired by seeing advertisements of our Hindi Actor Aameer Khan who talks about "Athithi Devo Bhava". When they have neglected the people like you, we were little boiled and finally convinced with the reason given by the shop keepers as few people simply go for window shopping and they never buy and thats why they are concentrating on foreigners. You are different and bought beautiful pieces like Buddha, Gramaphone and Campass (all these three antiques are very beautiful. Your tattoo is good.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  12. Goa is a city which is not in a hurry. No one wants to overtake any one as it easy going there and that is the beauty of Goa, besides Feni.
    Not only in Goa,any tourist place in India is similar and with similar attitude towards Indians.

  13. the shopkeeper gave correct reply I guess... we Indians would bargain till last breath and then dismiss...
    that tatoo looks cool :)
    seems you had a lot of fun ...
    lovely post...

  14. Cool Tattoo. It looks great-permanent? I once got my face painted with a dolphin very similar to yours(but a coloured one). I didn't want to wash my face at all;)
    I loved that looks like something pirates use! Lovely post!!!!

  15. listen haaalp ! do something about it..I'm following your blog but it doesn't read the feed and does not show me the updates in my reader :(

  16. Yeah, goan people are very relaxed and friendly. You can just walk up to someone relaxing and kick up a conversation.

    It's because people have so much in life that they crib for more. Because they do not know satisfaction. These kids have learnt to be satisfied with life as "life" is. Someone once told me, money brings comfort, but not peace of mind.

  17. Thats a good bouquet of experiences to share !

    It was almost like reliving all my experiences over there as well !

    I have had intense discussions about second grade treatment etc. There were a few hypotheses that emerged. The chief being that we go to Goa for the beaches and haggle about everything else !

    Others come here for the experience ( and every thing else includes shopping ) somehow those dollar / euro / rouble flashing still scores !

    Have encountered such kids too. Have never given them money. Perhaps a meal.. some old school values i guess.

    All in all, looks like a whale of an experience ( Perhaps i should say 'dolphin of an experience) which will stay permanently tattooed in your mind !

    Glad you had a nice time

  18. Hi Biks,

    It was OK for me as they give these people more business. But one thing I could not agree to was what happened in the chemist shop.

    I will surely read your posts.

    the gramophone was a steal. :-) I am loving it. Oh yeah!! all was worth :-)

  19. Gymnast,

    Hmm yeah thats appalling. But thats how it has been, hope it changes soon

  20. Hi SG,

    Thanks, glad you liked it. They do have ethics in business, which is a good point.
    The gramophone works very fine. :-)

  21. Neha,

    I understand what you are trying to say. Everything was ok with me, not what happened at the chemist's.

    Oh yeah!! I know you have a tattoo of dolphin. :-)

    Thanks, glad you liked the gramophone and the buddha

  22. Kish,

    Thank you :-)

    Oh I recall another similar incident. There's Saravana Bhavan in California. Americans are given a special set of glasses, Indians aren't.

    It prevails wherever Indians are. Indians must stop feeling inferior.

  23. sm,

    Thank you. Will try to put few more pictures :-)

  24. Makk,

    Thank you. yeah the experience was great

  25. Holy Lama,

    Yes, what the shopkeepers told was true. I dont deny.
    But what about the incident at chemist's? That was heights!

  26. Nipun,

    Oh!! I should, I m not a good one when it comes to bargaining.
    I will put up few more pictures for sure :-) But please check my previous posts for pictures :-)

  27. Naidu sir,

    Yes, even there they show foreign travelers right? I agree. I am glad you liked the antiques :-)

    Thank you.

  28. Chowla sir,

    Oh yes sir, sure it is a laid-back place. Hmm, it seems so. Indians dont respect Indians!!
    It can happen only here

  29. Rajlakshmi,

    Yes, sort of. Most people go to Goa to drink. They make a fuss out of everything. Glad you liked the tattoo. I did have great fun!! Thanks

  30. lostworld,

    Thank you :-D Its temporary. Hahahahaha I know, I got my face painted of flowers once and didnt want tow ash it away. Compass - its a 1875 England one. Ditto like pirates use. :-)

  31. Nu,

    Oh!!! Whats wrong? I would suggest you to delete the entry and start to follow again. sometimes its weird

  32. Shaunak,

    They are really laid back. Good!
    You say it right!! More choices, more complexities. Those kids were so happy.

  33. Kavi,

    Thank you, yeah it was.

    Most Indians(read bachelors) go to Goa to drink and haggle. But one must know that not all go for the same reason. All said and done, people go to chemist for genuine reason. Look at the treatment meted out to us there. I was there, waiting to get tablets and tonics for my cold and fever and that shopkeeper was going out of his way to please the foreigner by his SIR and MADAM, and what they wanted? Wrinkle-lift cream!!

    and no, we didnt get any discount nor did the foreigner pay an extra dollar or rouble or yuan or euro. In fact, they got discounts!!

    I dont believe in giving money to such kids too. But all that was available in that shack was beers. So I had to give them some money, I did not give them more though :-)

    Lol!! Yeah dolphin of an experience :-)

    Thanks much

  34. Even in the USA, Indian businessmen treats whites better than colored. Same in Goa..Indians have color complex.

  35. Hi A,

    Welcome to B Log. I totally agree with you. I have an incident to share. I observed this numerous times whenever I went to Saravana Bhavan in Sunnyvale, California. Americans are given special mugs for drinking water; whereas Indians are given regular tumblers. Appalling.

    Unless Indians get out of their inferiority complex, nothing can help.

  36. tht tatto luks cool...i have not read ur posts off late...kal baithke sab padhti hoon :)

  37. Gayathri,

    Thanks much. :-) Take your own time to read :-)

  38. we also plannin to go goa in may.. tht time will read this post again.. u jus cant refrain from enjoyin at goa.. nice tattoo for a lady that is.. permanent one??

  39. Wow!! May is a nice time to be there. :-)
    Its a temporary tattoo..Have to get one permanent soon.

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