Should anyone participate in a game of ‘Word Association’ and be given the word ‘Goans’, most likely the answer would be ‘SUSEGADO’ (for those alien to the language of Konkani it means laid-back, easy-going…) or vice versa. Surely not a bad thing one would say! Who would not want to come across as someone fun, relaxed and carefree? These are the traits people are striving for these days, keeping in mind the rise in the rate of cardiovascular diseases of course. So then, why would an individual take time off to write about it?
Picture this! On a typical hot summer day, a young Goan lad going about his duties. The scorching heat, the sweat dripping off his face, finally he makes his way into the crowded department store. Having made his purchases, he waits in queue to the cashier. After what seemed like ages, he finally reaches his destination only to be asked to wait and make way for the ‘privileged’ person standing behind him…Yes WAIT! And “Why?” one might ask. Because he is a Goan! The SUSEGADO!
Cynical as I may indeed sound, it is but a fact that, most, if not all Non-Goans categorize Goans as a useless, inefficient, frivolous and self-contained lot. It is assumed that besides knowing how to have a ‘good time’, drinking, eating and indulging in other superficial revelries, Goans are simply ‘GOOD FOR NOTHING’. However, this stereotypical classification could be no further from the truth.
Goa, for those fortunate to be born there or even for those who have experienced the real essence of its diverse culture, is a land where tranquility, love and harmony exist in its truest form. Fun, merry-making and joy flow through their veins but not at the cost of their responsibilities. Their outlook towards life is to live it with a little Spice! Like everyone else, Goans too have woes and troubles that constantly plague them, however unlike others; they bear their burdens with a smile! They constantly seek happiness and celebrate every moment forgetting their own losses, for they have indeed grasped the true meaning of life! Even in times of trials, they share in the joys of their neighbor, for they know their good times will come ‘SUSEGADO’. Their zest for life is nothing to compare. They do not live life like a race, where winning is of greatest importance, ignoring the other competitors. They are not individualistic but collectivistic, placing the interests of others before their own. Thus it would be fair to say that with regards to Goans ,’ Slow and Steady wins the race!.’
Therefore, the next time you hear the word ‘Goan’, please do not restrict your vocabulary….