Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Goa: The Caribbean of India!!

Decades ago, the stylish Indian cricketer M L Jaisimha took his equally flamboyant friend and cricketer the great Sir Garfield Sobers to Goa. The moment Sobers landed, he exclaimed, ' It's Barbados!' He was very right. Sobers, the most famous son of Barbados in the Caribbean, which produced a string of world's greatest cricketers like 3Ws, Marshall, Conrad Hunte among other, could immediately relate to the free spirit of Goa that still pervades in his Caribbean islands, especially in Barbados, Leeward island and Guyana. I've visited almost all the Caribbean islands and seen Goa in and out. I'm also in concord with Sir Gary that the fun-loving spirit of Goa is very much like that of the caribbean.
 
Those who've been to the West Indies (though it's a name used while playing cricket, otherwise it's an archipelago) will fall in with me that Goa is similar to those isles on many counts. The same wonderful beaches, sparkling sands, waves and a flow of beverages welcome you. If Barbados or other Caribbean islands are famous for alcoholic beverages like Rum (Barbados' contribution to the world), fenni (made of fermented cashew nuts and its luscious looking fruit) of Goa no way plays a second fiddle to them.


Now the question is what makes a place great to live in and people to live with. The friendliness of the people of Goa and West Indians is proverbial. I've seen the world more than people have seen their vicinity and I can dare say, the most friendly and forthcoming people are from Goa and Caribbean islands. It's because of this palpable friendliness and overwhelming hospitality, people from all corners of the world visit Goa and Caribbean. The most beautiful thing about a person from Goa is that even if he/she is an iconic figure, there'll be no airs and arrogance in the behaviour.



 I remember, I met the great cartoonist Mario Miranda (he was from Goa) without an appointment. Yet, he not only entertained me, he regaled me with anecdotes from his The Illustrated Weekly days. It didn't appear to me that I was talking to a man whose style was appreciated wholeheartedly by the famous cartoonists with now defunct Punch of the Great Britain.


So down-to-earth was Mario Miranda. The same simplicity, nay humbleness, I noticed among the great West Indian cricketers and celebrities like the singer and actor Harry Belafonte (he was from Jamaica and sang that immortal number, Jamaican farewell), Sobers, Michael Holding and a host of others from the Caribbean. That's why, people keep visiting a particular place and never get bored. Goa has that charm and its lovely and effervescent people make you feel at home the moment you reach there. It's indeed the Caribbean of India.          

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