Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Hitchhiker's guide to the Goan Galaxy

No I have’nt read Douglas Adams.

What I can enlighten you on though, however is the wonderful little (ok not so little) coastal city of goa. I had the pleasure of going there for an all expense paid wedding, thanks to a family friend who decided to book 120 rooms in a swanky hotel for his beautiful daughter’s wedding. (We all love such family friends, now don’t we)


As we embarked on our journey to our hotel, It struck upon me that either Vasco Da Gama was a complete boozard, or he was a paedofile , one of the 2 cause beautiful goa has one alcohol shop in every 2 shops. What’s more some of the local pharmacies sell alcohol as well . It seems like every shop first and foremost sells alcohol which is the staple diet and everything else say medicines for instance, are sold for a supplementary income. With so many alcohol signboards around, One can be forgiven for thinking that the ruling party here is a party called “King fisher”.


Another popular bill board is one which reads

“Paedofiles you are being watched”

which actually again does’nt make too much sense, cause its not like the kids they are attacking can't see what they are doing.

When we finally embarked onto our hotel, We were greeted by a smiling “Tabassum”, yes that's her name,The goan ladies really do have some intresting names, from “Tabassum” to “Blossom” to “Bussom”(ok that’s pushing it!) but you get the picture, and most of them are actually quite pretty. Its funny how most people in goa or most coastal places for that matter are so laid back and relaxed, that you begin to wonder what actually if anything will ever stress them out. The men go out to the sea, bring back the fish, the women cook the fish, produce beautiful kids, and they all(except for the paedophiles of course) get drunk together in the evening.

Life is well, beautifully simple aint it..

I by then had realized that apart from the food, the alcohol was on the house as well. One hour later, I was 3 whisky’s down and quite unexplainably was introducing the bartender to my dad. The magnaminous bar tender in turn proceeded to ask my dad, whether he wanted the same drink his son was relishing. The rest as they say in the classics is that… and I remember spending the rest of the evening completely knocked out in my room. ( thanks to the scotch ofcourse , No my dad didn't knock me out) The evening party proceeded with little blogworthy, though the plans were all set and entrenched for the next day.

Like Goncalo Alvares , Gabriel. Paulo and Vasco Da Gama (thank u google) , me , my brother and a friend of ours planned to venture out like three portugese backpackers into the mainland of Goa. Let me warn you, distances in Goa are mind boggling cause technically goa is a union territory. So our first stop was a beach called the Colva beach in North Goa. The general conception we got here, was as you went from North to South Goa the prices got cheaper, and the people got better looking. We were still in central Goa, so there was a lot of scope for improvement.

Parasailing is something, someone must do atleast once in goa, mine took off from the beach, and there I was atleast 100 feet up in the air, with literally a bird’s eye view of the coastline. The Speed boat ride was next, and we slowly realized why the boatman was insistent that we got into our swimming costumes for it, The ride was fantastic, or actually I really can’t say cause there were continous waves of water running into my face, drenching me throughout.

We ,the Portugese, then checked their resources, times had changed, prices had gone up and if were to eat our eagerly awaited Sea Food Lunch, at the much talked about “Britto’s” , We would have to well..save money on transport. PUBLIC TRANSPORT, the last alternative and 15 mins later Bus Conductor “Balthazar”, welcomed us on board and benevolently informed us that we would need 3 buses and a 15 min auto ride to get to our destination.

Colva to Panjim, Panjim to Margao and then finally Margao to calungute, and we felt like we were writing our own lonely planet travelling guide, A shot of “Raging bull” (Red bull with vodka) later, I was completely rejuvenated and we entered the Calungute beach , Apparently to get to “Britto’s” now, we had 2 options. A shorter walk on the road , of around 20 mins, And a much longer beach along the coastline, but the incentive of maybe spotting some scenery on the beach. Well, the Europeans have always known to be promiscuous, and soon enough we were walking along the coastline.

Some critical precautionary advice to all viewers :

  1. Sun Glasses are essential for the aforementioned activity, You don't want to get into a fight with some overgrown German , now do you?
  2. Also just a precautionary warning , rather regretablly there is no age restriction as regards to the scenery on offer, So be prepared for anything. And believe me, I doubt there can be a more embarassing situation than a 60 yr old lady confronting you as to why you were staring at her.

That should help you on your way, Coming back to the walk, It seemingly seemed never ending , This was the Goan version of the Dandi march, only in this case instead of salt, We were marching all the way for Mr.Britto's legendary Sea Food.


We were now apparently only 5 mins away from “Britto’s” . Like our weather reports, most of our travelling guides are rather inaccurate as well, cause in their report,they failed to mention (with or without Jetpack), We the portugese finally ended up taking half an hour.

And then Redemption!


Finally, Mr. Mallya’s favourite restraunt in these parts, famous throughout the land and beautifully located just off Baga beach.The food now, took centre stage , as you can probably make out..


Needless to say, the food was unbelievable! I had quite obviously gorged myself on the food, and now was about as mobile as the modern day Yoko Zuna.


Baaga beach as they call it, is supposedly Goa’s trendiest beach, with a lot of Mumbai’s commercial influence. So much so, that even the beds on the beach are on hire.

The beds right next to the restaurant, is a great commercial tactic, after you gorge yourself on the Sea food, you have no option but to rent one. As we predicted the Jet Skiing here, was cheaper than at colva, My brother (who had obviously eaten less than I had ) went first and me with my 2 crabs, 3 prawns and half a dozen mackerel inside me went next. Its funny here, the rates were Rs 300 if you took the trainer along with you and Rs 500, if you wanted to go on your own. So in effect you were paying more, for not using their help which somehow did’nt quite make economic sense to me. Anyway, the Jet Ski ride across the waves, was reminiscent of a galloping horse and great fun all the same. Half way across the ride, I was wondering if I would have to pay Rs 100 more , If during my galloping adventure my trainer galloped of the bike as well.


Anyway, Now we the Portugese settlers were thoroughly exhausted, resulting in proftable times for the Arab Bed Keepers, After another half an hour on the bed side bed’s, I proceeded home.

Our hotel, was one of those well equipped ones with a golf course and a Casino in cue. I now had 2 choices for my evening entertainment, The Sangeeth, the highlight of most Punjabi wedding’s, or the most addictive of all those vices, The Casino.

Predictably, I chose the casino. A fully automated one, and started quite modestly with Rs 200. And before, I knew it thanks to a friendly Black Jack machine, and a friendlier Slot Machine, I was hoarding it in. When I finally exchanged my tokens , I was returned a “Gandhi”, I was Rs 300 up, whoever said “The House always won”, and you can never make any money in the casino.


I proceeded back to the sangeeth, showing off my earnings to my fellow settlers , revelling in my triumph.

It was now 1 o’ clock , The Casino closed at around 2, So 1 more hour I thought to add to my profits or maybe even double it.

What followed was a rather bizarre turn of events, cause all of a sudden my favourite slot machine had become decidedly unfriendly , and quite strangely my cards in black jack , when summed up always read “B-U-S-T".


Yes, My friends , I was caught in the Las Vegan trap, They make you win, in the beginning to make you feel happy about yourself, and then when you start losing you start playing more, cause you are by then desperate to make back what you have lost. Well, the catch here is you can’t play anymore if you have nothing left to play with. Not for the first time, I found out the hard way, and dejected as a wet hen , I proceeded back to the sangeeth.

Goa on the whole was fantastic, and a truly unforgettable experience. More than anything it helped me learn some fundamental truths.

Firstly Yes,

The House does always win.

The Soul who loses will always comfort himself, saying this is the last time he will ever play.

He will play again.

Strange are the ways of the people who walk our planet.

Our planet though is beautiful.


Thursday, May 12, 2005

~Page 3~

In 1981 , Someone intellectual in England came up with the ingenious idea of turning the Page 3 of The Sun Newspaper into a full page pictorial of a Topless siren, We should have followed suit.

Instead, Welcome to Page 3 India , the latest tag line, for anything people find difficult to describe. I dunnno…its..its its “Page 3”

Yes, I’ve heard that one before. But what on earth is Page 3. Honestly, What’s all the fuss about. As always, Allow me to enlighten you.

Firstly to get into the Page 3 groove, you must first get the drift of the Page 3 Vocabulary

Like everything Page 3, It is very intricate, difficult to upkeep, with a lot of alternative words often used for the same word.

For instance, The basic word for every conversation is D-R-I-N-K, Now D-R-I-N-K 'S most obvious development is D-R-U-N-K, Now here it tends to get a little complicated, because we have many other words such as :





Which you would think are everyday words, but on closer inspection it turns out that all of them, all add up to the same thing, which is being intoxicated beyond recognition.

Now that you are D-R-U-U-N-K or C-O-R-K-K-E-E-D or whatever you want to call it, half the battle is won, because that is the No.1 Prerequisite for getting into Page 3.

Unless Of course, You are a “Sophisto”, What is a Sophisto now. You go for a party, and this Ostentatious Lady (Old, Young Sometimes you can never make out) comes up to you and starts the conversation with “ You Know, I am working for this N.G.O”, that my friend’s is a Sophisto. They prefer calling themselves socialites, People who party for a living and what do they do now, for a break or to get away from it all..Well go for another party of course, You have to unwind you know…

Now, A Sophisto, often assures herself, that the only reason why she is in this whole Page 3 mess, is obviously to raise money for the Somalia Victims,or the Japanese Train Crash Victims ( Tsunami is obviously passe) But if you do have a closer look, You will realize that N.G.O actually stands for “ No Gab Option”. Honestly, they have little else to talk about , so they talk about the deprived one’s , Firstly making them feel happy about themselves, Secondly How much skill do you actually need to work in a N.G.O. The decision making process, is quite simple, Damn, I don’t know what to do with my life, Simple! Join a NGO.

Alright, Now this Page 3 society is really seeming very alluring, and your dying to know how to join. Are’nt you? I thought of that, Thanks to Steven (Spielberg) and Vel (Vadivel) , I was transformed into a fly on the wall ( The things, I have to do for this stupid blog!) And this is what I heard :

Location: Deccan Chronicle Newspaper Headquarters

Scene: Recruitment for New Page 3 editor

Page 3 Wannabe: Hiii! (Tight Hug, with Kiss on both cheeks) Long time . How u been?

( Readers , Please Note, She has never met the editor)

Editor : Hi! Ha ( Enjoying the Hug..ummm Squeeze) Please have a seat.

Page 3 Wannabe : Thank you

Editor : If you would care to introduce yourself ?

Page 3 Wannabe : Well, I wear Prada, Party at Lush, Favourite cologne is Chanel (Red), favourite position is the 69’er, and I like my coffee black. That should take care of everything I guess.

Editor : Yes, But of course you forgot to mention your name?

Page 3 Wannabe : Whatevaaa ! Its on my resume…(click here to enlarge) , As ifff!!!

Editor : My humble apologies, Yes, Miss What was it? ...Ramona yes..

Ramoona : Yes 2 o’s please

Editor : Yes, Miss Ramoona, What would you consider your greatest achievement ?

Ramoona : Well I’d like to break it down into Long term achievements, and Short term Achievments.

Short Term: I have been to 9 nightclubs, in one night, Had 4 drinks at each place, and still made it home , Ok Not My home, but who cares…

Long Term : I went to Café Mocha 344 times last year , Breaking that is one of my long term goals this year.

Editor : Right, Apart from that what were you doing last year ?

Ramoona : Well, Actually I took a year off ! ( From what, One wonders). And worked on my applications ( Page 3 way of saying, Did nothing)

Editor : Right, What would you consider your greatest Asset?

Ramoona: No, Have’nt got my implants done,If that's what you were thinking,You Naughty boy! My greatest Asset , otherwise would actually be the Wall in my Beach house, You Know that during the Tsunami all my neighbour’s walls were completely demolished, But I built mine so strong , so strong, nothing happened!

Editor : Right, Did you build it yourself? Anyway Tell me , What is your daily schedule like , to make it simpler , What is your plan for today for instance?

Ramoona : Today is Saturday,What’s wrong with you? I have a heavy night ahead.I'm going to relax...

Editor : Great, What would be your dream profession say 15 years down the line

Ramoona : I want to open a night club, Hey Don’t steal my idea…! (Adjusts make up)

Editor : What sort of a person are you ? Are you more of an optimist or a pessimist?

Ramoona : Actually, My Blood group is B+, This reflects on my positive attitude towards life!

Editor : Fantastic, We are now nearing the end of this interview ..Final question, A clichĂ©’d one, I might add , What according to you is the difference , between sex and love?

Ramoona : Sex is what a really wealthy guy gets from me, and he loves it for sure. So actually, there isn’t too much of a difference.

Editor : Great, This interview has been such a pleasure. I would also like to inform you, that you fit into every criterion required for this job. Congratulations! You are now Chief Editor PAGE 3.

Ramooona : Lovely! (Tight squeeze!) (Smooch Smooch), Will call you in a bit then. Let’s do coffee or a movie or something, to talk it over …bye!!

Brother’s and Sister’s , People like Ramoona do exist, in fact If you look closely, you will find a little bit of her in every person you meet today. So, If you have'nt learnt from them here is a quick 5 step strategy to join the exalted Page 3 league..

  1. Get rich!
  2. Get a friend, who has gotten rich!
  3. Get Drunk!
  4. Act Drunk!
  5. When someone talks to you about something intelligent, Just say Whatevaaa! And talk to them about your N.G.O

That should do it folks! You are now officially Page 3, Welcome to the world of ass lickers , hot asses and most prominently Dumb Asses. A party is a lot like, a cricket match here, You have to be in form (Buy a new outfit), Get trained (One week of grooming) , Get equipped (Dosh in Bank Account) .And maybe then , you could get interviewed by that short haired babe (who everyone tries to avoid) on NDTV.

But then, How many of you, Would really want to join something, that is about as productive as Ganguly has been in the last one year (Since we are on the cricket comparison tangent). Woody Allen once rightfully said, “At the end of the day, Life is generally measured, by how many new things you learn every day”. Can’t see myself learning too many in Page 3, reminds me of that dialogue from the movie with the same name ...” I don’t want Page 3, I’d much rather be on Crime”. I agree.