MASSEUSES, A CHAOS ON GOAN BEACHES
Lamani Masseuses at Goan beaches create nuisance by aggressively offering foreign tourist costly foot, leg, and body massage and constantly fight among each other for gaining customers. Many are unable to decide whether to be sympathetic as they try to earn their daily bread or be displeased by their behavior and illegal business creating an unseemly image of Goa in front of the foreign tourists. Café has the details.Many foreign tourists enjoy easing out on the Goan beaches with sun kissed tanning, fine seafood platters, chilled glass of beer, sunny climate, and the lazy breeze in the air. The relaxed atmosphere produced on the beaches becomes an easy attraction for visitors to have a warm body massage and foot massage. From the illegal running businesses on of masseuse on beaches. Yes, you read that right. Most of the masseuses are from the Lamani community, a nomadic tribe with origins in central and southern Indian states like Rajasthan and Karnataka. Known for their colourful costumes, they indulge in the business of seasonal tourism trade, selling trinkets and handmade clothes along the coastline and offering foot and leg massages to tourists who frequent the coastal state annually. A recent video posted on Facebook showcased these women quarreling and fighting in front of the foreign customers in order to claim ‘who their clientwas’. The masseuse women were assaulting each other, tugging violently on each other’s hair and saree. The foreign customers who were present at the scene tried to stop these women but the women paid no heed. The foreign customers then left the area embarrassed and terrified at what they witnessed at the beach in a Goa where everything seems so exquisite. There have been similar incidents in the past as well as now. The crowded beaches of North Goa are the ones which are mainly targeted by these masseuses. In South Goa, the issue has been resolved after a law was passed in the Benaulim Village Gram Sabha for a ban on all the illegal business by the Lamanis on Benaulim beach. According to reports in the media, the village Gram Sabha passed a resolution seeking the panchayat withdraw all ‘no objection certificates’ given to businesses operated by Lamanis, including taxi operations. The resolution sought a ban on all businesses operated by the Lamanis.In the year 2017, Tourism Minister Manohar Azgoankar had announced that Lamanis ought to be banned from Goa because they tarnish the reputation of Goa and don’t fit in the coastal state’s culture. Another video posted on YouTube shows a foreigner relaxing on a beach mat surrounded by six masseuses massaging his body. It does portray an image of a scandalous Goa. It has been known that the masseuses have even forced people on beaches to be their customer. As per a local, Ashlesha Noronha, who is a constant visitor on the beach , she has noticed these masseuses annoy the tourists by going up to them and begging them to be their customer with excessive amount as the cost. They are quite persistent and can keeping roaming around you until the person agrees to do the foot massage or body massage. Also, if it is a foreign tourist then they are more likely to be cheated with more money and no bargain. Ashlesha expresses, “Personally I have never seen any fights take place but I have seen them going up to foreigners and harassing them for massages, they do not take no for an answer and when it comes to buying things on the beach they raise the prices depending on your nationality.If the government can ban drinking on the beach due to pollution control they can also ban these Lamanis from causing chaos and disrupting the peacefulness of the beach environment.” Recent reports from sources suggest that these massages provided at the coastal area are not only illegal but also dangerous. This is because these masseuses are not trained and are not conversant with the techniques of massage. A man from US reported on an online forum the incident his wife had faced with a foot massage session on the beach. “Three days into our visit to Goa my wife decides on having lower leg and foot massage which was fine at the time...the next morning however it was like an elephant leg, swollen and found it hard to walk. So from the chemist we purchased anti inflammatory and pain killers made it a bit better. Flying home caused it to flare up again and back to elephant leg. I had had enough and had an x-ray, the conclusion was a broken foot, and we had to plaster it from foot to knee for the next 6/8 weeks. Hence, my advice is to stay clear of these guys”
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