I’m Goan. I dont live in Goa – so displaced and maybe a little misplaced!
Even though I don’t get much of it, I love the sea. I like coconuts- coconuts that grow on trees and the coconut that goes in Bebinca. I enjoy a Sunday late afternoon siesta. I could while away the day strumming away on my guitar. Give me a good helping of Balchao and I’d be quite content!
I’m easily amused. Especially so, when it comes to people’s questions or responses about “being Goan”!
Some background information: I live in a metropolitan city around 1,900 km away from Goa. There are hardly a handful of Goans here and the rest of the people in general (even the ‘well educated’ who’ve been around) have a distorted idea about Goa.
This makes for some very entertaining (and sometimes politically incorrect) conversations!
Here are clippings of some real life incidents:
(WARNING:Heavy sarcasm ahead)
On reading my name- take a moment to ponder the pronunciation and then blurt out whatever feels right. After polite corrections on my part. “Oh. Where are you from?” Me – Goa. <in a high pitched voice> “You’re from Goa?!” Proceed to stare at my curly hair and sun-kissed skin. “Ah, you look Goan” Why, Thank-you for the confirmation!
“So when all your family meet, d’ you like, have a rave party or somthin’?” Stare blankly and think Yes, coz that’s what families do
“Oh, you’re exotic!” Exotic: originating in or characteristic of a distant foreign country.
“Could you bring me a bottle or two of Feni next time?” Why meet others if I can’t spread the ‘spirit’?
“Do you know Mrs. Fernandes – my 5th class English teacher” Yes, her husband, kids, dogs, uncles and aunts, cousins too…you name it!
“What does ‘sussegad’ mean?”
“I’ve always wondered- what kind of houses do people live in. Only seen those shacks along the beach in Bollywood movies” Heights of ignorance – I am not making this up
“How is it to be a Hippy? Lazy and happy-go-lucky at all times…” Blank stares shall follow…
“I wish I was from Goa too” You bet!
“When am I being invited home for Fish Curry?” I think you just invited yourself
“I’ve never met a Goan before” Evidently not!
-The drawing is by Mario Miranda
-If you are one of those friends who’s been a part of any of the above conversations-no harm done (yet)
-If you have similar snippets to add or wish to share your views on the sociological aspect of such stereotypes, feel free to do so in the comments!