Tag Archives: Goa

Trouble in Paradise

I reached Ctrl+Alt+Dance at 3 pm. A potential replacement for the annual ruckus in Goa during the last week of December, they promised gates would open at 3 pm. And my amigo/brother DJ Uri was slotted to play the first set, starting at 3 pm sharp. This was the sight at 3:30 pm.

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That dog was the only other being at the venue. First i thought i’d got there the wrong day. So i looked 4-5 times at the poster mentioning the day-wise line up. Then i looked at the date on my cellphone. It matched. Then i pinched myself to check if i had taken any mind-altering substances in the last 48 hours. None. Event finally started at 5 pm. By around 10 pm, there were about 17 audience members at the venue and 20 DJs. If I was the festival organiser, I’d take something to put me to sleep for 3 days straight, wake up in the new year, and hope all of it was a terrible nightmare. But this is all real. This is happening. And i hope the next two days have a better turnout for these guys.

Elsewhere I passed by Nikhil Chinappa’s WonderWall festival, and it looked the opposite of an Oasis concert. I wonder how Sunburn is doing in Pune. Where will all those rum-guzzling open-top jeep loving Delhiites go?

There’s a deathly silence as I walk past all the anjuna beach shacks. Lights are bright, music is soft. The remaining restaurant staff are glued to the TV, watching some trashy Bollywood movie. Most have been laid off within days of coming here. There’s nobody to serve. I probably passed by some 150 shacks, I saw around 20 people in all, tourists and travellers. Christmas was not merry. Business was not bad, it was terrifying. Most people coming in to work from Nepal, Himachal, Assam… they don’t know how they’ll provide for family next year. Add to that, they have sleepless nights about when they’ll get told to go back home by the shack owners. Most don’t intend on staying open beyond January. Modi’s 50 days is up, their terror is just beginning. Kashmiris outside the little jewellery stores still have a smile on their face while they chirp ‘brother want look inside?’.

No brother, I’m a writer, I’m broker than you are.

Out in Palolem, a tourist with no new notes is thirsty, nobody will take her old 500 notes for a bottle of water. A street urchin hands her a 100 rupee note. She bursts into tears.

A honeymooning couple from the UK come back to their hotel reception, the newlywed bride in tears – cos the beach was deader than a British beach in peak winters.

Parties that used to pack 800-1000 people until last year have around 150 people this year. Mostly fat uncles, that too. DJs be like ‘WTF bro, where are the titties?’. I don’t know, bro.

The uber rich have filled out 20k a night luxury hotels with their platinum cards. The rich are getting richer. A famous furnishing company booked out an entire hotel for labourers. People who generally live on 200 – 300 rupees a day, put up in 25k a night luxury suites. Harsha Bhogle was their host. A R Rahman sang some of his slumdog mill songs for them. 30 ‘lucky winners’ won Suzuki Balenos, 5 won BMW 7 series cars. Of course, everything’s legit, I’m certain.

As of Nov 20th, the death toll thanks to #demonetization was 55. By first week of December, that number was over a 100. Hello Prime Minister, Merry Christmas to you and your band of loyal chimps.

Another company pays 800 employees 3 months’ salary in cash, advance. The state of Kerala have formed a human chain from their southern tip to the north to protest. The stray dogs there are going to be happy for a while.

Foreigners have split, sick of standing in ATM queues for hours every day. The sun outside an ATM is not as pleasant as the sun on the beach. Not even a quarter of shacks in Goa accept cards. Some drunk Aussie get into the ATM and use multiple cards to refill their alcohol budget, while the entire ATM reeks of the 2 bottles of Old Monk he’s already downed. He tells his friends its a great idea. They do the same. Each dude takes 10-15 minutes inside. Goan aunty outside, who just shut her store and needs to get home to cook for the family, is not pleased. Curses start.

A big company dissolved 14 crores worth of black money through their hotel chains. The Ambanis are still offering free unlimited 4G services to their customers, which has now been extended from end December to some time in Feb. Of course, it’s just a coincidence, the timing.

Shack owners are losing patience, staff are losing patience, small hotels and store owners are losing patience, tourists are surely losing patience. Tempers will flare, things will get ugly, hopefully. When the Venezuelan govt announced a similar ban on currency notes, their citizens took to the streets and burned govt property to show their wrath. Us Indians, we took to twitter and got #fightagainstcorruption trending. We’re such a cool nation, aren’t we?

Next time I’m never going to a festival at the ‘gates open’ time.

Oh Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and some #BlackMoney to you too!

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Throwback Goa – The Hippy Days

Ever since the post that featured Goa Gil, i’ve come across him a few times on various other links.

This one came up on my fb timeline today. A heart-wrenching look at what happened to Goa in a few decades. To think we were not even born during the best days.

It’s a thing with human beings; find something beautiful and destroy it. We’re all guilty. That’s why I’ve spent most of the last two years in sparsely populated lands.

And yes, when a man from the 60s tells you that cocaine and heroin killed the hippie era, stay off that shit.

This dude right here, if you can find him, spend as much time as you possibly can.


What’s in a name?

This is the prequel to the last post.

The previous week, we’d bumped into Adrian. Lovely guy. Adrian’s the only person i know, who’s been married twice in his life.

Once to a woman, then to a man.

We bumped into him again, as we were exploring our Saturday night plans. He looked at me with fire in his eyes. She looked at me with a clear ‘no fucking way i’m sharing you with a guy‘ stare.

On the prowl, shack to shack, zipping our bikes, hunting for a place with barely decent music, given what a whiner I am at these commercial music shitholes, we went all over Anjuna. Some dude was supposed to play ‘tropical bass’ at Lilliput at 3 am. Sounded interesting, but we had lots of time to kill.

Stopped outside Hilltop Lounge to gauge the music – SO shit. Kept moving, reached Waters Lounge and rode our bikes into an empty parking lot. There was silence, but the bouncers were setting themselves up at the gate. So I went up to have a word. It was midnight, and the bouncer said the dj would start at 1 am.

‘Which DJ?’, I enquired.

I heard him say Goa Gil.

‘Right. Here.’, I flayed my arms at the empty parking lot.

‘Yes, people will come by 1 am.’

‘Entry?’

‘Free now, charged after 1 am.’

So i told my two lovers, ‘WE ARE BLESSEDD!!!! Let’s run in NOWWW’.

So we walked into the empty club, thanking our stars, that we didn’t even have to be in queue or pay entry for a Goa Gil gig. Goa Gil has chilled with Albert Hoffman. Albert Hoffman is the man who created LSD. So this is the Godfather of DJs we’re talking about. I mean, at gigs in South America, when people knew I was from India, they’d come to me just to talk about the Goa Gil. Like those evangelists talk about Jesus.

www.goagil.com/

That’s Mr.Hoffman (a personal hero of mine) on the left, and grandmaster Gil on the right, in 2003.

A few minutes passed, we opened the menus to get something to warm up to. It was half past midnight and still no people.

I was bewildered. So i asked the manager if they’d promoted this gig.

‘Yeah, we put it on our facebook page.’

Wow. Nice. Very confident of you. I’m still raving to my people, how lucky we are..

‘So where’s Gil right now? Is he setting up? Are you sure he will play even if nobody turns up…’, I ask the manager.

He started to give me the desi head nod and suddenly stopped.

‘He…? Sir, which Goa Gil are you talking about?’

As far as I know, there’s only one bro, I say. The old wizard that plays 10-12 hours. Him. Goa Gil.

‘No sir… our dj is a young girl.’

My heart shrank into itself till there was a vacuum where it existed.

Young girl? What the fuck are you talking about man?

‘Yes sir, young girl. Goa Gail. Gail.’

Holy mother of God. My old friend Gail. Even she’s a DJ now. But couldn’t she have chosen a better, unique name? GAAAAIL. There’s an A in that name you numbnuts, i wanted to scream to every one of their staff.

By the time i turned to my peeps, they knew something was amiss, from the look of plain horror on my face. I had to apologize, explain this miscommunication thanks to my Goan brothers’ pronunciations. And we sheepishly walked out. I didn’t even have the air in me to go talk to my old friend Gail.

We went to Curlies, where Adrian looked at me with more fire in his eyes, my girl went in to dance, and i slammed some calamari. Calamari for life. Calamari for sad days. Adrian proceeds to tell me what he felt the first time he saw me.

I’m not Mad Max. I’m #AwkwardMax.

I downed two beers and we made our way to Lilliput. And danced to shit music all night. Not really all night.

There was one DJ there, who as of two weeks before this night, i had seen as part of the REGGAE RAJAH CRU MAHN PULL UP PULL UPPP PWAAAAA. But by this night he was already fired by the RAJAH ARMY CRU MAHN PULL UP PULL UPPP PUULLL UUUUPPWAAA. Personal reasons, he said. He played the only decent music I heard this whole time in Goa.

There was this absolutely smashed birthday celebration crew of 20-21 year olds there. Sweaty as pigs, and hugging me all night. I still don’t know why.

What happened the next day, you already know. Else, catch the post below.


Post Dated #ECP

This morning around 5, my lady and I had a booboo. The kind where you have to find an emergency contraceptive pill within three days. 72 hours, they all say. I don’t know about your country, but I live in India where this is legally available across the pharmacy counter, and yet the population is 1.5 billion.

This morning was her peak potential for pregnancy given menstrual cycles and all that. So finding that pill within the first few hours of waking up was utmost priority. I wasn’t going to debate it, cos winning the debate might have been easy, but her calling me 9 months later would have been a tough one to digest.

This morning was also a Sunday, when everything in Goa is shut, apart from wine stores. The only open chemist, is a staunch catholic. And the next guy too. They’d kill you but they wouldn’t sell you contraceptives.

So a long ride ensued from Anjuna to the surrounding towns and villages. The hunt for the pill. In my hurry, and in the panic of the situation, and my still half-sleepy brain, I forgot to carry my license and documents. I did expect the rest of the day to be thrilling, but even i wasn’t prepared really…

There were two bunches of cops that halted us. I was hoping they would all just laze in bed on a Sunday. But no, ‘many tourists, no!’. And this was after i put on the helmet and confidently stated ‘now no cops will stop us’. But six cops saw right through my face. Cops, they just know when the fucker doesn’t have his license on him, just by looking at his eyes.

I’m proud to say I got off with paying just 200 rupees, from their initial 3000 rupee quote. ‘Here, do it in the corner so the Russians don’t see it’, the cop said. The Russians in line behind me, were paying 6-10 times the amount. But I was still pissed off with myself for forgetting my documents. Mindlessness. I’m grateful to my dad for teaching me life’s biggest lessons can be in bargaining your arse off. ‘Look, I have 500 rupees, but i need 300 to buy some verrrrry important medicines’, i told the cop. He asked me what medicines, i said gastro. He gave back 300 to me.

Both chemists we visited looked at us like we were Satan’s little babies. ‘We don’t keep anything like that’, they proclaimed. I could almost hear the curses in their heads. ‘WE DON’T KEEP ANYTHING LIKE THAT YOU BABY KILLING BASTARD BURN IN HELL YOU *#&!)*&$)(!#^&#!^

Those were the only chemists open this part of the world, so we hit the highway.

Somewhere along the course of our treasure hunt, the front number plate falls off the bike. Great, a dead giveaway for the cops now. But I didn’t bother to fix it ‘cos hey, i got my helmet on!’

Thirty kilometers, two hours, a dozen U-turns and even more hitches later, we finally found an open, non-catcholic pharmacy that was open. On the day of the lord, i was seeing strange signs. We may have even planned, at a destitue moment, what we might call him/her. She even resorted to meditation by the side of the road to stay calm. I was busy haggling with cops. And more cops.

When it rains, it pours a shitstorm.

Finally, on our way back home with the necessitaaahs, we were stopped by four RTO cops. The big daddies. Where i just got off the bike, handed them the keys, and said ‘I have no money, no license, no papers. The bike is rented so you taking it won’t help.’ One cop said ‘this fucker’s drunk’, and they let us move on.

Tonight i’m going to dance my ass off.