23 March 2009

Privilege rattles pleasure on Goan beach

A week ago today, lying on a shaded lounge chair on sun-drenched Mandrem Beach in North Goa, India, I looked up from my book to see an elderly woman in a traditional sari being shooed away from the guests, mostly westerners and Russians from what I could tell, by one of the beach employees. She was maybe 60 and walked through the sand awkwardly; her right leg appeared shorter than the other, perhaps because of a congenital problem, but maybe the result of disease or an accident. The handsome young man moving her along, presumably to stop her from begging from the vacationers, also appeared to be Goan and was young enough to be her grandson. We guests were mostly middle-aged, many were overweight, but there were some young couples and children. All of us were white, with the exception of one corpulent couple, who, through a combination of tanning aids and/or heavy exposure to the sun, had roasted themselves into potential spokespeople for a skin cancer treatment clinic.

1 comment:

  1. In re: the piece on the young girl singer

    You've been over there a while, both in Bishkek and now Kabul.

    So, the Kipling question: Where do you think the peaceful intersection between "east" and "West" is?

    Cuz I gotta say, I don't see, in a culture that theocratically lynchs of young women for exposing their faces, where we're EVER gonna find a rapprochement...