Chapora's Scarlet Juice Centre: Where east met west

In the 80s, foreign tourists flocked to Scarlet which was the centre point of parties and where music was discussed over juice
FRESHNESS UNLIMITED: Scarlet, the first juice shop in Chapora has stories of past and present.
FRESHNESS UNLIMITED: Scarlet, the first juice shop in Chapora has stories of past and present. Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

According to Indian folklore, nothing grows under the banyan tree but 45 years down, a banyan tree throws its protective canopy on  Scarlet Juice Centre in Chapora helping it keep time with growth.

“You cannot compare the business now with what it was before. There has been a drastic drop in foreign clients but it does not really matter much because we started 45 years back to serve and we continue doing just that,” smiles proprietor Vaikunt Govekar.

TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE: Scarlet juice shop carries good old memories.
TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE: Scarlet juice shop carries good old memories. Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

Scarlet started as a family venture in the early 70s and is still run that way with sister Amita helping brother Vaikunt and the two, now with the help of a staff member, keeping alive the embers of service through Goan hands.

“In the beginning,” relates Vaikunt as sister Amita brings in fresh orders, "foreigners from all over frequented our place. We started a juice centre then because that was their need that has not quenched.”  

REALITY CHECK: Amita Govekar believes there is a drastic drop in number of foreigners.
REALITY CHECK: Amita Govekar believes there is a drastic drop in number of foreigners. Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

Scarlet started selling juice at Rs 5 and today it costs Rs 80; a lassi was then priced at Rs one and today costs Rs 50. A fruit salad which cost Rs 5 in 1975 costs Rs 90 in 2024.

“The place belongs to us and most of the time, we work as a family. It is only now that we have got staff but the basics are managed by us and hence our pricing,” explains Amita.

FRESHNESS UNLIMITED: Scarlet, the first juice shop in Chapora has stories of past and present.
When this Goan village drowned in the colours of 'Intruz'

Fresh fruits, peeled and cut to order are the hallmark of Scarlet and what makes it stand out from most juice centres in Goa. Unlike other places, a fruit salad at Scarlet takes around 10 minutes to be served because nothing is peeled and stored.

Apart from selling juices, shakes, salads and ice creams, the Govekars were the first in Chapora to provide sound, generators and light for parties organised by foreigners in the 70s.

FRESHNESS UNLIMITED: Scarlet, the first juice shop in Chapora has stories of past and present.
Souvenirs to take home from Goa's 18th June Road in Panjim

“I used to drive down to Scarlet from Calangute for a shake or juice in the 80s just to inquire where and when the next party would be held. It was the centre point of parties,” recollects Bruno.

Started for foreigners, Scarlet slowly started attracting locals and was soon a centre point for east meeting west with musicians from both ends discussing music with juices and puffs of vintage charas.

FRESHNESS UNLIMITED: Scarlet, the first juice shop in Chapora has stories of past and present.
Discover this natural spring in Goa's Betul

“The situation today is different from before. There are few foreigners coming now. The first Russians came in 2000 and since then there has been a drop with few repeat customers unlike the past,” admits Amita.

Despite the drop in pace of business, the spirit of Govekars keeps everyone happy as they step in. Amita throws a peculiar welcome smile whilst brother Vaikunt churns out the orders.

The situation today is different from before. There are few foreigners coming now. The first Russians came in 2000 and since then there has been a drop with few repeat customers unlike the past

Amita

“Despite most of the family having moved away, the two of us still manage to keep the show going. We are getting old but it is the positivity of our clients that helps us,” confesses Amita.

“There was a time when the latest music could be heard at Scarlet as some of the best musicians of the world used to meet up there. It was a mini studio where music, sound, parties and lights were discussed over the best of shakes and juices,” admits Allan, one of the oldest clients.

IN HIGH SPIRIT: The essence of Goa is kept alive in Scarlet through the service provided by Vaikunt Govekar.
IN HIGH SPIRIT: The essence of Goa is kept alive in Scarlet through the service provided by Vaikunt Govekar.

“Our pricing is reasonable because this place has been left behind for us by our ancestors. We don’t need to pay rent and hence less expense. Our idea has always been to serve fresh and best,” says Vaikunt as he peels a papaya.

There was a time when something fruity could be ordered at Scarlet well past midnight. Times are now changing with the place sometimes closing as early as 10 pm.

FRESHNESS UNLIMITED: Scarlet, the first juice shop in Chapora has stories of past and present.
Experience a journey to the soul in South Goa's Rachol village

Despite a drop in foreign visitors, Scarlet is still frequented by the children of those children who once were brought to Scarlet for a treat for being good. Good days don’t die and so will not good times at Scarlet - one of the few places in Chapora that radiates with the essence of Goa through the smiles of Amita and Vaikunt.

Your Gateway to Goa, India

The Gomantak Times app is the best way to stay informed on anything happening in Goa. From breaking news to the top 10 restaurants to visit, GT helps you navigate your time in Goa.

Download the Gomantak Times app on your Android or IOS device.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Gomantak Times
www.gomantaktimes.com