The clock strikes 6, and out run the working class. A sight so common that eventually 6 pm was christened as ‘rush hour’ in Goa. But, if you really stop to notice, rush hour is slowly but not steadily extending beyond 6 pm, especially in the capital city.
With the rise in traffic over the years, commuting within Panjim has become a task in itself. While some days involve trying to find a parking spot, others are sure to test your vocal chords by yelling at the tourist going in the wrong direction.
“Konak trasan ghaltolo! (He will put somebody in trouble!),” exclaims the local, as he shakes his head in frustration after the indifferent tourist has sped off.
To be frank, what more can we expect from a state that is crawling with tourists left, right and centre?
With our very own government promoting Goa as nothing more than a tourism destination, arguing with an irresponsible tourist is a slap in the face when we, Goans, are told to shut up because, apparently, ‘we earn our bread and butter from tourism’ and ‘our state runs on tourism’!
A refreshing reality check, most days, we are treated as outsiders in our own state.
Take for example, the DB road in Panjim, which can more aptly be described as the ‘Casino road’. (Makes me wonder if anybody, in the near future, is ever going to remember that its correct name is ‘DB road’).
Today, this road stands as the perfect example of how a party cannot always be confined to the four walls of a room, and how most times, even the neighbours and commuters, who weren’t invited to the party, pay the price of having to pass through the chaotic street that hosts parties every single day!
Be it plodding across the road in heels that they can hardly walk in, or blinding the angry traffic with shiny sequin dresses, the average human body is known to have 7 trillion nerves and somehow, this set of people manage to get on every single one of them!
Years have gone by, and traffic piles on as the queues to enter the casinos have only gotten longer. There is no traffic control, no clamps for parking violations and no fines issued to tourist vehicles that are speeding in the wrong lanes in the wee hours of the night.
Instead, they are now being rented out vehicles with a white number plate instead of the yellow ones that are registered to be used specifically only by tourists.
The other day, I saw three white number plates zoom past the red light and instantly knew that they were tourists. How, you ask? Well, just as the Polish saying goes, "You can take the person out of the village, but you cannot take the village out of the person."
As for us, Goans, we are not bitter people, and our hospitality speaks for itself.
While we would love to entertain visitors and have always shared the beauty of our state, it is the indifference, sense of entitlement and lack of responsibility of the tourist that needs to be altered. And again, that always boils down to each individual.
Many a time, packing for a trip includes colourful outfits and a favourite pair of sunglasses, but lacks a set of basic respect for the place that you are about to visit, and its people. After all, only once you give respect, will you get respect in return.
So, dear tourist, the next time you decide to visit a new place, remember to pack wisely.