Goa: Paradise by the Sea

Service to Goa by the sea route may start again. The author recounts the charm of travelling to Goa by this mode and life in Goa

“Ahoy! “Ahoy! Goa Ahead! Captain of Ports, Goa announces the liner to set sail again between Mumbai and Goa.” This is delightful news. I took this journey many years ago aboard a steamer service of Mogul Lines that departed from the Mumbai’s ferry wharf in the evening. It was quite a ceremonial setting sail, from what I remember—comfortable in pace and manner. Each group embarking would be directed to their beds for the night journey by the colour of the ticket. A sonorous whistle would hasten the latecomers and departure announced with much waving and fanfare.
Through the entire journey, the sea-liner route took the coastline. And as the winter sun hung low in a golden hued setting, it cast a honey brown halo in the faint mist of the surf in the distant horizon.
The coastline was dotted with colonies of thatched roof briefly swathed in twilight and the swiftly descending dark in the tree-lined expanse. Birds, perhaps they were sea gulls, their sounds in a soothing lull of waves and the heavy salt-laden air. Small fires and lamps, now visible amid a flurry of coconut trees, all like a miniature set in a backdrop, mesmerising, to say the least. 
For a moment, I actually wondered if Captain Haddock and Tintin with Snowy felt similar goose-bumps on that Red Sea voyage. But then such are treasures of childhood memories. Raigad, Malvan, Ratnagiri, Vengurla, perhaps. We passed by that night. The upper-deck cabin-level foyer, fairly comfortable for a winter journey, had a few people who gathered for a brief aperitif—ice-cubes tinkling as we rolled along gently, with passengers in lively conversation and anecdotes, until dinner was announced with the ceremonial bell at 9.00pm. 
It was far more thrilling and delightful than flying or any other mode of transport. If the liner sets sail this winter, as announced, please consider me booked to travel with the wife—Pax 2 | Cabin_Upper-deck | Mum-Goa-Mum.
Of course, whether you fly in, travel by the Konkan Railway via an equally picturesque track, or drive, Goa welcomes you like no other. Fresh green fields, endless turquoise waters, flaming golden sunsets, swaying palms, lush paddy fields, temples, beaches, sea shells, churches, fish and sol kadhi (nectar for the soul), a concoction of coconut milk and kokum (a tamarind-like fruit, Latin name: Garcinia indica).
A simple life, that is how the locals live and that is what Goa offers in unabashed plenty. Goa has been referred to as Aparanta (land beyond time), sussegad (the typical laid-back life) but, frankly, what do you do, once you are in Goa?
Anything else would be out of character for a tropical haven. Soak in the sun, try to make peace with the unhurried pace of life, and just be. For the explorer, wanderer, adventurer, there is a lot that Goa has to offer other than a rich history of world cuisine, architecture and crafts. It has some of the finest Goan-Portuguese cathedrals and churches, innumerable shrines and temples.
For places to see and visit, you have Sinquerim, Candolim, Saligao, Anjuna, Mandovi, Zuari and the famous Dona Paula. You cannot but be overwhelmed by the sheer expanse and beauty. The Wednesday flea-market at Anjuna has taken its place on the world map, so to speak. One of the most exciting times to visit is during the annual carnival in February-March. Thousands pour into the streets in peace and merrymaking, with colourful floats, street dances, music and festivities.
For people, there is Remo—the man who made Goa famous with his music—who lives there.  The house of Mario Miranda, a legend is worth a visit—although I am not sure of visiting facilities and rights but you need to check and not miss this man now living somewhere in ‘Aparanta’ (the other world).
When in Goa, preferably get your own transport. You can hire motorcycles and scooters by the day (most recommended, safe and affordable) or, if you are a blithe spirit, bicycle is the way to go. Of course, you have taxis on hire (unfortunately they are no longer the Benz).
The local lingo is Konkani and English; but you can get by with Hindi and Marathi. When to go? Anytime of the year is paradise found.Winter and monsoons are the best; summers can be rather warm and humid. Goa in the rains is nature in full and complete glory. It has mist, drizzle, thunderclaps, forked lightning, torrential downpour—all orchestrated with croaking frogs and spine-tingling tumultuous roar of the sea. Like they say: widescreen and stereophonic sound.
The most preferred food—Konkani fish thali: The fish in this coastal state is aplenty; fresh rice comes from the lush fields; and fruit is a given in nature’s haven of bounty. So whether it is crab, mussel, clam, prawn, and fresh water or sea water foods—bliss is for those who eat fish; all this to be washed down with the manna from heaven, sol kadhi.
Many (not only Goans) have chosen to lead a retired life in this blessed land of peace and plenty.
Come. It is not going to remain this way forever.



Ralph Rau

2 years ago

Goa WAS an unspoilt paradise when it was populated primarily by the small population of 1 million natives.

The number one threat to Goa today is the pressure posed by vast amounts of plastic packaging and other non bio-degradable waste.

Not just the villages, even the towns are unable to cope with the volumes of waste. Every village would like to dump its waste in some other village.

Monster garbage dumps are gradually leaching plastic toxins into the village water table.

In a typical village watch out for the burning of mixed (including plastic bags, cellophane, cling-film wrap and tetrapak) garbage by every household. Use a mask whenever the smell of smoke permeates the village air.

For the lasts two decades government and NGOs has been unable to come up with any viable solution. Recently Citizens of Margao have been mobilised to act by the local newspaper Herald.

You can google the words "Goa garbage" to read all about how Goa is "Going, Going, Gone" .

The ground water toxicity remains the biggest threat to the health of residents and visitors to Goa.


2 years ago

Looks like there is no other place in India...Stop coming to Goa you Ganties...


2 years ago

Enjoyed reading . . . bliss is for those who eat fish. How true!

Nifty, Sensex in a bear grip - Monday closing report
Nifty may head further down. Only a close above 8,450 will give the bulls some hope
We had mentioned in Friday’s closing report that Nifty, Sensex may try to rally and that a dip in Nifty to 8,500 may attract buyers. However, the news over the weekend that Participatory Notes (P-Notes) should be under the black money scanner unnerved the stockmarkets and indices recorded a steep dive. 
The top gainers and losers in major indices in the stock market are given in the table below:
Proposed new financial regulations to control black money, retrospective taxation and containment of the central bank's powers subdued the Indian equity markets on Monday. These factors led the barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex), of the S&P Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), to provisionally close 551 points in the red on Monday.
Both the foreign as well as the domestic investors awaited more details on the new financial regulations that have been suggested by different committees. Foremost among their concerns are the inclusion of P-notes investments made by the foreign investors under the black money scanner. 
The inclusion has been suggested by the special investigation team (SIT) on black money. The market is also seeking further clarity on the recommendations made by the Justice AP Shah committee on minimum alternate tax (MAT) and the new financial code.
The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) also provisionally closed deep in the red. It closed at 160.55 points or 1.88% down at 8,361 points.
The closing values of major Asian indices are given in the table below:
Among European indices, DAX was at 11,198.64, down 1.33% and FTSE 100 was at 6,567.06, down 0.19%. 


P-Notes issue resurfaces to spook Indian equities again
Key Indian equity indices lost over 1.8 percent on Monday, with investor mood spooked by proposals to regulate foreign funds better, even as lingering worries over retrospective taxes and a crash in Chinese markets further fuelled the fall.
In a development reminiscent of the moves in October 2007 to regulate the participatory note, or P-Note, route of overseas funds investing in Indian stocks, the markets mood was hit after a special probe team wanted better regulation of such instruments. 
The investors were anxious to know if the government will indeed accept the suggestions of the special investigative team appointed by the Supreme Court on this matter, sending the markets crashing.
The frantic sell-off in the Chinese bourses, coupled with the issue of retrospective tax on capital gains and the containment of the central bank's powers in terms of fixing key rates also subdued the Indian equity markets on Monday.
These factors led the barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex), of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), to close 551 points in the red on Monday. 
The S&P BSE Sensex, which opened at 28,117.65 points, closed at 27,561.38 points, down 550.93 points or 1.96 percent from the previous day's close at 28,112.31 points. The index had a high of 28,117.65 points and a low of 27,529.57 points during intra-trade.
The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) also closed deep in the negative territory. It closed 160.55 points or 1.88 percent down at 8,361 points.
A similar development in October 2007 over P-Notes had seen the biggest intra-day fall in stock indices in absolute terms. The fall then was over 1,750 points.
"Domestic factors like the SIT's recommendations on the P-notes and further clarity on the Shah committee's report on minimum alternate tax (MAT) unnerved the markets," Anand James, co-head, technical research desk, Geojit BNP Paribas, told IANS 
"Both the issues relate to the foreign investments in the equity sector. The Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) have been net buyers since July 13. The developments on P-notes and MAT coupled-with the Chinese market fall had a negative effect on the Indian exchanges." 
James pointed out that the government's draft financial code which proposes to clip the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) autonomy impacted banking and other interest rate-sensitive stocks.
The code, if implemented, will undermine RBI's ability to rein in inflation. This will also discourage investors in taking risks. RBI has been viewed by many as an anchor of financial stability. 
Apart from the domestic issues the rout in Chinese exchanges had a negative impact on Indian markets. 
"The enormous erosion of investors wealth in the Chinese markets had a rub-off effect across Asia. As most of the emerging markets (EM) funds that invest in China also hold portfolios here," Vaibhav Agarwal, vice president and research head, Angel Broking told IANS.
The continuous slide in the Chinese markets in the last two months has eroded nearly 40 percent of the stock value and caused panic. More importantly, the inability of the Chinese government, fund houses and brokerage firms to arrest the fall led to a global sell-offs.
Monday's Chinese markets crash led the MSCI (Morgan Stanley Capital International) EM (emerging markets) to a two-year low. 
Sector-wise, capital goods, banks, automobile, metal, oil and gas, information technology (IT) and healthcare stocks came under intense selling pressure. 
The BSE S&P capital goods index plunged by 289.07 points, the bank index receded by 259.21 points, automobile index declined by 216.58 points, metal index tanked by 113.21 points and oil and gas index was lower by 87.59 points.
Major Sensex gainers during Monday's trade were: Bajaj Auto, up 0.41 percent at Rs.2,507.70.
The major Sensex losers were: Tata Steel, down 5.17 percent at Rs.251.40; Hero MotoCorp, down 4.84 percent at Rs.2,605.65; Hindalco Inds, down 4.40 percent at Rs.104.25; Axis Bank, down 4.34 percent at Rs.555.75; and ONGC, down 4.12 percent at Rs.271.40.
Among the Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei was down 0.95 percent. China's Shanghai Composite Index declined by 2.44 percent, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost by 3.09 percent.
In Europe, the London FTSE 100 index inched down by 0.16 percent, while the French CAC 40 fell by 1.43 percent. Germany's DAX Index was lower by 1.43 percent at the closing bell here.


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