Forget about travel guides or sites. If you want to learn more about Goa, Instagram is the way to go. NT BUZZ highlights some Instagrammers that are showing the world why the state is simply amazing and you can’t help but heart it
CHRISTINE MACHADO | NT BUZZ
If you want to know what Goa looked like back in the hey days, Vintage GOA is the page to head over to. With over 1.8k followers, the page was created by freelance digital artist Nasya Pereira in August 2018. “I’ve always been in love with Goa, her nostalgia, her culture. While I’ve come across a lot of interesting pages where people share historical images on Instagram, I’d never come across one on Goa. So, I decided to create one myself,” she says. In this way, she says, she hoped to inspire people to learn more about their culture, while also learning more about it herself in the process.
Pereira usually finds these images via the internet, making sure to add the credit of the photographer. But it is a challenge at times. “I have to get the dates right, location right and find the correct owner of the image for the credits,” she says. Sometimes, people also contribute their images to the page.
And the response has been inspiring, she says. “People do love their history, and are proud of it. So many people love to see images of places they’ve lived in, or what their favourite spots looked like back in the day. In fact some are interested in knowing more about specific locations and visiting those places to see how it looks then and now,” says Pereira.
Learn more about Goa’s Atlantis, read inspiring firsthand narratives of people who lived through the Portuguese era in the state, know about the activism in the state in the days gone past and in present times, and more, on The Goa Story page started by media professional Supriya Vohra in late 2018.
“As a journalist pursuing stories on history and environment in Goa, I was collecting a lot of interesting nuggets of information that could never make their way to the publications I was writing for. I wanted to still publish them somehow. A friend suggested I start a Goa-specific Instapage to tell the smaller, interesting stories. And that’s what happened,” says Vohra who has been based in Goa since October 2017.
Interestingly, while it is often said that people are losing their attention span to read long pieces today, Vohra’s pieces, which sometimes are as many as six parts long, have found a fair amount of readership, with the page hitting close to 800 followers at last count. “I think everyone enjoys a well-told story. What has perhaps changed is the manner in which we consume them. I also make it a point to create Insta-story highlights for all the long form narratives, so that they become easier to absorb,” says Vohra. “I find it extremely encouraging to see that young Goans particularly, have taken a liking to it!”
Colva may be on the tourist itinerary when making a stopover to South Goa. But not everyone knows that just like many other locations around the state, Colva too is rich in culture and history. And this is exactly what buoyed Clive Figueiredo to begin The Colva Project in June 2019. “I wanted people to see that there is more to Colva than just Colva Beach and a bunch of bars and hotels,” says the Dubai-based Goan who works in the shipping industry. At the same time, he says, Colva has beautiful ancestral houses and structures that are slowing fading away due to commercial development or abandonment and there was a need to capture them in some shape or form before they are lost. “Also, there are aspects to our culture about how we dress, how we cook our food, etc, that should be preserved for future generations,” he says. Narrating some interesting trivia about the land he says that Colva was once the private beach of a Portuguese explorer named Dom Diogo Rodrigues – who was also Governor of Salcette in Bombay and the Captain of Rachol fortress.
“The stories I post are drawn from tales we heard growing up from parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Wherever possible I try to source some information from old books and internet research.
“However, not a lot of history in small villages is documented so I have to rely on historical accounts or stories from previous generations who are continuously fading,” he says. The goal, he says, is to generate enough awareness through the page so that people start coming forward with their own stories of Colva’s past which can be shared with others.
With 2.8 k followers, Bars of Goa is a tribute to the local bars of Goa. Started about two and half years back, it is handled by six guys, who choose to remain anonymous. “With more and more people moving out of Goa, and people from other states opening up establishments in the state, a lot of these old local bars are slowly shutting shop. So we thought why not document them?” says one of the page admins. The objective, he says, is to get people to come back to these old bars which have a charm of their own, and although many are in plain sight, they go unnoticed otherwise. “We find and visit these places ourselves and post these pictures without editing of any kind. Unlike some Insta accounts however we don’t accept favours like free food or drinks at these places,” he says, adding that sometimes their followers also send them content for the page.
Everybody loves memes. And when they have a Goa-based theme, locals especially tend to resonate more with the jokes. It is no wonder then that The Goan Pao started by Dale Dias has a follower base touching 11.8k already.
“I used to post status updates on my personal profile with jokes that would revolve around Goa. A few pages on Facebook too would share my posts. A lot of people told me to start my own page,” says Dias, who finally started the Instagram page in April 2018.
Whenever he comes across an incident or a situation, he tries making it into a meme by finding a relatable meme template for it. This applies to current news too, he says, adding that he tries to make memes with clean humour, without using bad language. Posting content regularly though sometimes is a challenge. “All memes on the page are original and so it gets tough to make sure I don’t make a meme that’s already posted before. I also have to make sure that I use terms that are understandable. I also take care that they don’t hurt the sentiments of the audience or certain sections of the audience,” says Dias who is currently pursuing his BEd at Nirmala Institute of Education, Altinho. “People tell me that the memes make even their grandmother laugh and thank me for making Goan jokes fun,” he says.
Another favourite meme page among Goans, Maiche Kazar has 46.3K followers at last count and began in March 2017. “Initially the growth was slow. It took us almost a year to touch 1K followers. But after that we grew exponentially,” says Eeshan Keni, who runs the account along with Mitanshu Kawlekar. While they have a Twitter account too, it is on Instagram that they are most active on. “Instagram is the only platform which is being used a lot by the current youth,” says Keni.
Apart from their meme posting, the admins have also hosted events including the recent Open Mic Night at AJ’s Fatorda and a beach clean up on Republic Day. However, Keni termed the beach clean up as “unsuccessful”. “Within an hour of us cleaning the entrance, it was dirty again. It was quite disappointing for us to see this after two hours of working,” he says.
When one thinks of Goa, there’s no doubt that food also features prominently on the list. Among those dedicated to sharing more about authentic Goan cuisine is Vipul Narshiv Naik from Shiroda, Ponda who started Goenche Food in July 2018. The page has close to 6.5K followers so far. “I used to spend a fair amount of my time going to restaurants exploring dishes, taking photographs of the food I order and was always appreciated for my food reviews. This made me decide to start this page,” says Naik who works as a front-end developer in a Vasco-based company. “Another reason why I started this was because there are many good restaurants and khanaval (place where only rice plate is served) but most of them go unexplored because they are either small or don’t look appealing enough to attract customers, or their food might be great but not their marketing,” he says, adding that he also shares related posts from other pages andprofiles with prior permission.
Goa has cafes springing up by the dozen almost every month, and at times it’s difficult to decide which one to drop in at. Sunidhi Prabhu Moye’s page Café Teller could help you out here. The page features delectable pictures of food and drinks from different cafes around Goa, along with her personal reviews of the space.
“Goa has some really wonderful places to explore, there are a lot of hidden ones which usually people don’t know about. In fact, we Goans mostly only love visiting our regular favourite comfort places and avoid exploring new ones,” says Moye, whose love for exploring cafes prompted her to start this page. And indeed, there’s quite a few people who choose to check out the page for recommendations, and the page currently stands at 3.9K followers strong. “I remember my friend (who didn’t know that I am the admin of the cafeteller page) telling me that she finds out about new cafes from cafetellergoa and also recommended that I follow it too!It’s a great feeling when people loved and praise your work unknowingly,” she says. While she does report pictures by other instagrammers too, she does this only after visiting the place herself to make sure that it is recommendable.
Started in May 2017, Glimpses of Goa shares amazing pictures from different parts of Goa. Apart from giving followers a chance to marvel at the beauty that is Goa, many a times, they also get a chance to learn about new places, apart from trivia about Goan culture.
“I started this page as a gallery for my own clicked pictures, but eventually it turned out to be a platform for budding photographers. Till date the gallery has featured around 1000 photographs and videos combined, which promote Goan places and food,” says photographer Kaushal D Palekar who is also into social media marketing. Palekar is also the founder of Glimpses of Mumbai.
“Photographers and cinematographers usually tag us or mail us their content and the best ones get featured on the page. When selecting a photograph or a video, we ensure that the content is authentic and original in nature with compelling composition and is attractive to the eye,” he explains, adding that he himself has learned a lot about Goa through the page. The page has around 20K followers and counting. Glimpses of Goa can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.
Everybody loves looking at pictures and videos of cats or dogs. Goa too has its own share of cute pets who will instantly brighten your day with their poses. And you can find them all on Pets of Goa page started in June 2016 by Vallabh Salgaonkar (@thelilsalgaonkar), who is currently pursuing his MBA.
“I started this page out of love for animals. I have cats at home, but I always wanted to have a dog, which my parents didn’t let me have. Through the page I could connect with so many people and go see their dogs and play with them,” says Salgaonkar. “Also, social media had all kind of pages like food and lifestyle for Goan audience, but not something for pets which I think is an integral part of our lives.”
Salgaonkar began by posting pictures of his friends’ pets to fill up the space. The page then took off quite well and people started tagging and sharing pictures after a couple of weeks. Currently, the page has close to 6.5k followers. Pets of Goa was also involved in helping out at the Pet Social event held in July 2018 which had a full day of fun games and competitions for pets. “We also have a regular adoption programme and would like to start medical camps to create awareness. The major event we’re looking forward to is the free reflective band donation camp for stray dogs and cows as they need it the most, especially on highways,” says Salgaonkar, adding that he hopes to help in hosting of Pet Social 2.0 soon too.