India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
Columns
May 12, 2014

Go Goa Gone!

Text by Parmesh Shahani

Parmesh Shahani discovers an ecosystem of creativity while on a sun-kissed wedding holiday!

  • Bodega’s Vandana Naik
    Bodega’s Vandana Naik
  • Sacha Mendes with her mural painted by Srijan Jha
    Sacha Mendes with her mural painted by Srijan Jha
  • At Goa’s Sunaparanta Centre for the Arts
    At Goa’s Sunaparanta Centre for the Arts
  • Browntape founders Gurpreet Singh and Piyush Goel at their Goa office
    Browntape founders Gurpreet Singh and Piyush Goel at their Goa office
  • Margaret Mascarenhas and Divya Kapur pose for me at Literati in Goa
    Margaret Mascarenhas and Divya Kapur pose for me at Literati in Goa
  • The Video Volunteers team in their Goa office
    The Video Volunteers team in their Goa office

I am writing this in Goa, in the midst of my friend Radhika Gupta (Moon River, Zambar on the Moon) and Naveen Sharma’s beautiful wedding celebrations – a whirlwind blast of intimate luxury. The past two days have flown by in a blur. Champagne, divine steamed lemongrass snapper and coconut and jackfruit panna cotta at India’s finest restaurant Bomra’s; a concert at Ashwem’s La Plage, and stand-up comedy and dancing under the stars with Delhi designers Aneeth Arora and Rakesh Thakore, Nichola Bachman from the Red Cross, and other fun friends of Radhika and Naveen from all over the world. And then I wade into Goa’s creative arts scene, and return re-energised.

My first stop is Literati. Like Radhika, Divya Kapur too is a lawyer from Delhi who decided to change professions mid-career. Divya has taken over an exquisite old Candolim Portuguese house with a garden, and turned it into what is ostensibly a bookstore, but is actually much, much more – a haven of creativity and one of the throbbing nodes of art and culture in Goa. Book readings, book clubs, soirées, discussions…all of Goa’s literati gather regularly at Divya’s – they include now, a fairly large bunch of authors and artists that have made Goa their home, such as Amitav Ghosh and Dayanita Singh. I walk down the garden path that leads to Literati and am greeted and licked by Frieda, Divya’s Labrador. I enter the bungalow, which is essentially a series of connected rooms, all piled from the floor to the ceiling with thousands of old and new books.

I am here to chat with Margaret Mascarenhas – author, artist, performer and teacher. (She is the founder of the Blue Shores Prison Art Project at Goa’s Fort Aguada jail). Margaret has lived an incredible life – across the US, France and Venezuela, and her work is equally global in its resonance. Her debut novel, Skin, was a diasporic journey, set in Goa.