The dead tell no tales, but the loss of life of a woman in the Northern coastal belt of Goa is a sad reminder of Newton’s third law of motion – for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Villagers of coastal Vagator were peeved at the fact that a tourist, obviously either drugged or drunk or totally insane, drove his vehicle into a hotel and rammed against the owner of the place smashing her to death.
The crime had the people march to the local police station seeking explanations as to why law and order had left the village and it has unleashed a number of questions with obvious answers. Unfortunately, someone had to die for things well known and accepted to become obvious.
That Vagator and Anjuna and now Morjim, Mandrem and Arambol are hubs of drugs, and therefore all the evils that come along with it, is a well-known fact which the people in connivance with the police preferred to pretend never existed.
It pains when it hurts and especially more when we try to live with the truth hidden under our own carpet. As if it was unknown, the people living in the belt started demanding that from henceforth parties be stopped, that sale and consumption of drugs be arrested and drunks face the wrath of the law.
Drugs were known to these places for years and perhaps what was not clear was that drug peddlers were the brains behind these parties. It took time to seep in because an ecosystem was created wherein the locals benefitted from parties and later many joined in to sell drugs.
In the past, drugs available came from the mountains or from the south and were more commonly consumed by fakirs and their disciples. Smoking hash in a chillum was not a sin or a crime until the United States mandated that an NDPS Act be introduced. Hence, the locals rarely bore the brunt of addiction.
Trance parties were held in the open with minimal decoration and it was just the sound, diesel for the generator and a bribe to local police that were the main overheads for a good all night or even 24-hour or 36-hour party. And, no entrance fee was charged.
A party of the old was perfumed with scents of the best Manali, exquisite tobacco, the best rolling papers and a variety of chillums with an assortment of cloth lying all around.
At that time, there were no rent a cars, but two-wheelers were rented or sometimes even given free to use because like most locals many foreigners used the local transport to visit the markets – especially the Friday market at Mapusa.
Things started changing when emphasis was on décor, paying disc jockeys to play and entry fees being charged. These new elements in parties today help give a clearer idea of the role of drug peddlers.
Add the cost of décor, add the cost of money paid to the artistes, add the cost of bribes and match it to the revenue generated from ticket sales and bar sales. The deficit is big. It just does not match and herein begins to appear the head of the drug dealer.
Loud music equals heavy drugs or else it does not make any sense. Music played during dances is loud but there is a difference between loud and deafening and that difference can only be explained by an individual who has consumed drugs.
The villagers of the coastal belt are in the know of this and perhaps even more because they have grown in this environment: when some villagers raised their voices over the ill effects of loud music, the rest looked the other way; when a few raised the issue of accidents because of drunk driving, many pretended they did not understand.
When the spectre of prostitution became evident and hotels were used to keep girls from abroad duped into the business, none bothered because the trail of money was more exciting and the link with good be damned.
The villagers from the coastal belt have reason to be upset because one of them was lost, to what appears to many as being no fault of theirs. Let us remember, the ring of a bell cannot be heard without a bell.
The people of Vagator and Anjuna should check who hung that bell.