If life’s a journey, Goa is one of its best pit stops
The hippies came, so did the hipsters, and then of course the builders. But the soul seeker, the quiet writer, the creative ad guru or the artist who matched his brushstrokes with the sound of the waves, or even those with regular jobs, saw Goa as a place to move to, to live in, to breathe and to make their own
The tiniest state in India is seeing an influx of people from other states moving in to
find an alternate, simpler life. While Goa has always held a peculiar lure,
what with the hippy culture being predominant here in the ‘70s and ‘80s; in
recent times, many professionals across India are escaping the rigor of city
life to find a bit of soul, sunshine and spark by making a decision to move,
work remotely and live in Goa – a decision that may have once been impossible
to fathom but is now slowly gaining ground. Is it really that easy? What do you
give for the get?
Deveshe Dutt, who works as a digital nomad with a USA-based women-oriented tech firm, made the move to Goa in 2012. “The good part of working remotely from Goa is that you can work hard and then just walk out to your veranda to feel relaxed. Also, the possibility of a trip to the beach immediately relieves all stress,” she says. While this may seem as the best visual for an advertisement, she amusingly adds, “The reason I’ve been able to make it work is because I have three different internet service providers, an inverter and a mosquito racquet!” While internet connectivity has been improving with more competition and better services, the rapid urbanisation of Goa seems to have chipped away some of its allure. As Deveshe points out, “The flipside of development is that Goa is changing and that comes at a cost. While rents in Goa may still be lower than Mumbai or Delhi, it has gone up substantially and the thoughtless development in the state is scary. She adds, “The very essence of why one wanted to move here is being eroded.”
Puja Jawahar, an environmental researcher who moved from Delhi, says candidly, “Those who move here with corporate jobs find it easier to sustain. For us personally, the move has been wonderful and we love the quality of life. It’s been beneficial also because we had small children. I’m not sure I’d have been able to do this had my children been in middle school because extricating kids of a certain age from what’s familiar becomes tougher.” Reminiscing over her shift and the early days of adjustment, she adds, “It took close to a year to get acquainted and accepting of not just the pace but the various other impediments that are intrinsically part of Goa. When you work independently, it’s also imperative be a self starter. Initially, I would feel cut off work-wise, from the larger engagements, network and conversations in the city but now end up being very efficient when in Delhi on meetings. A lot more gets done, if one focuses and adapts.” After a pause, she concludes, “It definitely isn’t easy but I am happier for the move.” She is quick to caution, “It’s important to be open and willing to understand and blend in with the local community.” A move to Goa a decade ago was very different from the current times. A lot has changed and yet some things remain the same. Many co-working spaces have come up, providing the right infrastructure for remote working possibilities. Yet, not all with mainstream jobs want to or can make this shift. The choice of profession calls the shots in making this shift seamless and usually artists, writers, designers and other creative folk make this transition with more ease. Many also reinvent themselves in vocations that lends to creating a vibrant cosmopolitan feel. Those who moved earlier for the vibe of Goa that was untouched and serene, lament that rampant development is changing this state for the worse. Reggie Goveas, a graphic designer, branding consultant and illustrator who moved here twelve years ago because of the “fresh air, nice people and simple life” says, “I moved from Bangalore but now I see the early signs of destruction in Goa, reminding me of what happened to Bangalore. Besides coal pollution, there is so much dust from the construction work everywhere. The gentrification of this place has brought with it increased levels of aggression and living in silos, which is not the culture of Goa. It’s also getting more expensive and hence more difficult to sustain oneself.” Compared to a lot of places in India, Goa still has fewer issues with language, tolerance or safety. That in itself perhaps is reason enough to try.
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