I had no idea what to expect when I got on the plane to India, I over packed on mozi repellent and waterproof gear, under packed on ‘chill-out’ or ‘susse gado’ as it’s known here, which is the essence of Goan culture. The monsoon that I was so worried about is in fact the best part of being here; the rain is a refreshing relief from the intense heat, it brings an abundance of life to all the plants and trees which seem to have exploded in to a lush emerald coloured jungle with vivid flecks of colour in the shape of exotic flowers.
I came to Goa to work with Video Volunteers (VV) and to collect data for my dissertation, which is on the concept of ‘local media’. My working day usually starts about 10am, and that’s early for Goa! A lot of the day is spent smoking and discussing the meaning of life around the Chai urn on the verandah of this old Portuguese house which is the VV office
I sit at the back of the office, often watching the chaos that surrounds the gorgeous office dog Joggiwhich at first drove me a bit crazy as the poor dog was often treated like a toy to play with until he got excited and then got screamed at and smacked; it probably wasn’t my place to say anything, but I did and things seemed to have calmed down a lot. I believe all living creatures deserve to be loved and respected equally!
I sit next to Prakash, the guy in the pic above right; we compare our different cultures, he teaches me some words in Konkani and i try miserably to explain the english equivalents . We spend a lot of our day laughing and sharing stories in between trying to get some work done!
Lunch at the office is always veg curry of some kind and rice and always a culinary treat! It’s either cooked by Arun, a happy, chatty little Nepalese guy who is the office assistant; otherwise lunch is made by Anju, who helps with the accounts and is married to Sanjay, a video editor. Everyday Sanjay comes and calls me for lunch, then helps me get down the steep wooden ramps which were made especially for me. The rest of the staff go out for lunch besides Manish, Anju, Sanjay and myself; I sit listening to their conversations in Hindi and Gujarati; I love languages, the different sounds, facial expressions, body movements and intonations. I’m slowly picking up the odd word and have completely assimilated the affirming head waggle.
I’m usually at work until 7pm, when John the cool, funny taxi driver picks me up; usually Prakash and John have to shove me up the ramps that have been installed for me to get in and out the office… the whole exercise is truly a challenge for the guys and I’m humbled daily, by their unconditional help. The journey between work and home at Reni’s guest house is a quick 10 minute drive, and it’s also when I get to share more stories, culture and language with John; one of the things i find really interesting about the Konkani language is that the Hindu Konkani people use different terms to the Catholic Konkani people for the same word, for example older brother in ‘Hindi Konkani is ‘Bhai’, where as the ‘Catholic Konkani’ say ‘Eermow’ (sp phonetic pronunciation). Although good night is the same for both, ‘Deu bore raad diung’ which directly translates into god bless your night.