Goa Vacation Survival Guide

So, you’re going on a Goa vacation. You’ve made an online booking in what may be the last of the decently priced hotels in Goa, have your flight tickets in your hand and are raring to go. Goa beach culture – here you come!

Good for you. I salute your prudence and good taste. To be sure, there aren’t many options that compare to a Goa vacation. You’ve made an excellent choice. I love Goa, and recommend it highly over India’s other beach-based tourist destinations. Kerala’s Kovalam? Gimme a break. Mumbai’s Juhu? You’ve GOT to be kidding me. Lakshadweep? Hey, I thought you want to be where the ACTION is!!

So, your plane lands at Dabolim Airport. Or your train pulls into Margaon Station. Or your bus wheezes to a halt a Panjim. Or you’ve survived a self-driven car journey and are trying to figure out if this IS Panjim or just another of those towns with pseudo-Portuguese names that you’ve passed through. Read the hoardings and see what area the joints they advertise are at, dummy. Don’t tell me you can’t see all those Dantesque monstrosities that vie for your attention. Eat that lobster platter. Drink that beer. Take that pleasure cruise down the Mandovi River. Move into that Goa resort, because no other resort even comes NEAR in terms of ‘tropical ambience’, hospitality, facilities, cuisine (don’t bother looking for the room rates, though).

(Read the complete article on http://www.goa-beach.com/goa-vacation-survival-guide.htm)

How ‘Middle Class’ Is The Indian Middle Class?

One hears Indians humbly claim that they’re just plain, ordinary ‘middle class’ folks all the time. By that, they seem to mean that they’re somehow struggling to eke out an existence, that they can afford no frills and that they deserve the hallowed ‘blue collar’ status. In what context do we hear this claim?

Well, suppose Mr. Desai next door has just bought himself a spanking new Toyota. He’s thrilled to bits. Mr. Narisetti from next door is not thrilled to bits. He wishes he could buy a car that outclasses Mr. Desai’s, but instead says something like this – “Well, you know, we’re just poor middle class folks. We don’t spend money on such frivolities”.

Mr. Prabhudevan receives a request from CRY. Could he sponsor a child’s education for a year? It would only take Rs. 1200 per annum. He sighs loudly and announces to his friends – “I wish someone would give ME 1200 bucks per year. These bleeding heart organizations have some nerve, trying to coerce money from poor middle class people like us, right?”

Mrs. Sanghvi and her husband are driving through Malabar Hill. They grunt disapprovingly at the opulent houses. “Criminals, all of them!” says Mrs. Sanghvi. “Honest middle class people like us cannot even DREAM of living in such palaces!”

So what is the Indian middle class? Does middle class simply mean that you cannot buy a new car or sponsor an underprivileged child? It would appear so, but there’s more. As you can see from the last example, ‘middle class’ is also a catchall term for ‘honest’, implying that anyone who is above the middle class line is somehow dishonest. Another class of people define themselves as ‘middle class’ in this way -  “We don’t know anything about social responsibility! Why do you want to burden a middle class family with such fundas? Please allow us to suffer in peace!”

I have no comment on that. What I do want to point out here is how economic surveys actually DO define the Indian middle class. Please read on, and figure out if you’re middle class or not. Your conclusion may change your bitter outlook on life and make you feel a little more blessed -

The median family income in India is approximately Rs.4500 a month. By its conventional definition, the middle class includes families whose incomes lie between 75% and 125% of the median. Families with monthly incomes over Rs.6000 are thus above the ‘middle class’ line, and families earning more than Rs.8000 or 9000 a month are certainly among the top fifth of the nation.

So, are you middle class? Or just another whining ‘nakhrebaaz’?


My valued friend, I am complete
Don’t add to me, or take away
You, who sit in judgment’s seat
On behalf of the moral elite
And think you know a better way.

There’ve been a thousand instances
I’ve faced the Critic’s Crew
I’ve heard each kind of remonstrance
And faced each disapproving glance
Now show me something new…

Don’t ask me what I think of you
I’d only spoil your day
It’s sad, of course – your hot wind blew
When I was trying to stay cool
But hot wind finally blows away.

Hell is full of folks like you
Each one has cursed and died
Go on and curse – there’re blessings too
Maybe you should learn a few
Invest a bit on Heaven’s side……

Let’s thank God for each point of view
This world would be a bore
If we resolved our differences
And united in our nothingness
To agree for evermore…