Michelle Mendonça Bambawale and Bina Nayak host a discussion on Goan identity

the recent MOG Sundays talk at the Museum of Goa, Pilerne, ‘Goan Identity Through Two Books’, Bina Nayak (right) and Michelle Bambawale discussed their books, the fictional Starfish Pickle and non-fictional Becoming Goan, respectively, that highlight the idiosyncrasies and their engagement with the amorphous yet defined ‘real Goan’ identity.
Nayak stated that “The protagonist of Starfish Pickle, Tara Salgaonkar, is torn between the dichotomy of ‘Goa as a party capital’ versus the ‘religious Goa’. However, I have observed that there are incredible similarities between the trance music culture that forms part of Goa today and the fervour experienced during the traditional zatra (feast)”. Her book has been adapted to a 2023 Bollywood film Starfish, starring Milind Soman and Khushali Kumar.
Bambawale traces her experiences in Goa and notes several ways in which Goa has transformed since the 1970s, rendering much of it unrecognisable, but still carrying pangs of familiarity and nostalgia.
“We would travel by bus from Bombay to Goa as taxis were expensive and still are – so that has not changed! We used to draw water from the well; there was no electricity, no walls or gates around our house, and hardly any restaurants, so we had to walk for ages to find a place to eat out. Now, there are more restaurants, cafes and bars than you can imagine, but their ubiquitousness comes with the cost of no parking space. There is also so much construction, sub-standard sewage systems and water shortage. Magically, these all comprise various layers of Goan identity,” said Bambawale.
Bambawale and Nayak, through their books, attempt to picture to the masses a side of Goa that the local people often do not want to acknowledge, to offer a holistic understanding of Goa devoid of the rose-coloured lenses that colour most representations

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