We would appreciate your valuable support in
making Goa more accessible to business
travelers, tourists and the global Goan diaspora
It’s No Picnic On Road

WHERE he came out of? How come I didn't see him? Where did he come from? Our friend kept asking us with deep shock as his body sways and blood trickles down from his forehead onto the ground after his brand new Hyundai Tucson was hit in broad daylight by a 1,700kg Cherokee running at a speed of around 120km/hour while he was turning on a straight road.

The road to Al Ashkara is long but you know us (Goenkars) our trips are never complete until we throw ourselves in or at least a stone in the water. So on the second-day of our excursion we headed further down from the tip of the Arabian Sea to this coastal village and came upon a long stretch of untidy but relatively unspoiled beach with clear green water and gentle waves. It is here that when some of us were attempting to pull out an unsporting saloon car of one of our members who was lured into the sand for some unknown reason we heard the sudden cheeEEee... dubbbb!

Looking at the damage to both 4x4s, it’s a miracle that all survived with some serious injuries on both sides. It was a horrific sight, but unlike in India where people make swift judgement in such cases here during our six-hour wait at the site, clinic and police station to get everything fixed we didn’t see a single finger pointing or heard a negative comment from the four young Omanis who were in the jeep nor from their acquaintances who later joined them -- other than of course some murmurs of us ‘Hindis’. It was a very civilized affair. May be partially because the material loss is reimbursed by the insurance, but then what about the pain, the blood, the stains on my t-shirt -- the memories of it will be indelibly etched in our minds, thankfully with no ‘I like it’ option.

The night before the accident we went to Ras al Jinz to watch the turtles we were lucky to see two giant turtles one laying eggs and other busy disguising her nest by throwing sand with her flippers. I didn’t give much thought to them then but after this incident I think turtles are fascinating animals, they seem to know something about life that we don't. They are very security conscious, when danger approaches they immediately pull their head and feet into their shells for protection. Of course we can’t put our whole body in the shell and roll away like them but can learn few things from them like: develop an instinct to stick to the track/rules (turtles follow the light of the moon bouncing off the water to return home from the beach); Slow down and do not get driven by hare-like behavior; Be self-controlled, alert and focused and not get distracted by cell phones or other electronic pets while behind the wheels because the Pacman ghosts are expanding the limits of their virtual existence and are now prowling the streets.

Take care so we can find you on facebook.

Ya ya Goi ya, Ya ya Goi ya, ya ya...

There is an excitement in the air for the Goan community in Muscat after the Goan NRI Commissioner Eduardo Faleiro on Tuesday, July 5, broke the news that Goa has been granted an additional point of call for airlines from Oman during the bilateral air services consultations held with Oman.
Ami Goenkar and others have been strongly pushing to establish this important link and we’re delighted that the authorities have recognized it at last.
Our best wishes to all those who have toiled and succeeded in putting a smile on the faces of Goan residents in Oman.
We hope many airlines will step in so that there is a competition in fares, services, and we have good options. Cheers!!!
Let The Fiesta Begin!

Last December I had been to Lorna's show at St Estevem, it really didn't amped up the energy level I was expecting, but was very reminiscent of old childhood days when my mom used to some time freak out on me: "Yo saiba yo, study kar pailo..."
I hope this time though, with 17 more on the stage, it will be more jively and fun.

We are also glad that the Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and PWD minister Churchill Alemao are part of this entourage as guests of honour.
Their visit comes at a critical time when the 'Gulfization' sword is hanging over the expats' head.
We believe we have a somewhat similar situation in Goa. We are too much dependent on migrants -- from cutting our hair to stitching half-pants. We hope our ministers will do some deep thinking on this.

Next, we want our ministers to draw inspiration from this neat and clean city where infrastructure like roads, markets, gardens, airport, etc... are build with eternity in mind and not just one rainy season or election term.

We at Amigoenkar hope this visit will be an eye opener to our ministers and will hopefully encourage them to take action to make Goa a better place for GOANS TO LIVE and Bhailea ganvchya lokak, pollovank yavpak, and pollovn Goa, khoxi zavpak.

God Bless Viva Goa!!!
The Foul Feather!

Once there were two birds, they use to live 'happily' with us -- in their cage. Ya ya! I know that's prison, cruel, barbaric blah blah blah..., but they loved me and acrobated cheerfully to my whistles.
I thought it was a win-win relationship -- I provide them care and in return they cheer up their good master, me -- until one day when a strong gust of wind tore opened the cage and blew them away.
I kept water and seeds outside for a few days thinking they might find it hard out there, but very soon realized that I was only fooling myself. -- There is no substitute for feeling of soaring in the sky.
The other day I was teaching my 4+ to sing/act "If I were a butterfly..." and she started I want wings, wings.... OoOoo! It never occurred to me before that I actually lacked this vital part because of which I have/will always be confined to earth and never truly be free.
But wait a minute, how about the things up there in the blue sky? Are they really that free? What about the no-fly zones which keep them off the plane path? What about the scarecrows and pesticides which prevent them from destroying crops? What about the Dastardlys, Muttleys chasing them with stones, guns, dogs, etc... for a game?
And oh, what about the birds who don't fly or have shed their evolutionary advantage to do so, are they just about as happy as their airborne cousins?
So why all this fascination for wings and what does it mean to humankind more power/freedom/inspiration or are they a just a metaphor for depression, that the real life is never as good as our hopes and dreams?
Either way, it doesn't make me flap my arms. 
I believe that in order to live our earthly existence, besides the fundamental things, we need some level of security, stability and comfort at home, work or in relationships and maybe few 'feathers of an ostrich' to balance these things while we are running to chase the unending demands of our wants.
Talking of wings:
Why chickens gave up flying?
Because KFC air-dropped food to them on the ground
Why Babush was flying with $10 million?
To hide it up high -- away from 40 other thieves
  Close your eyes and imagine that you're in a warm desert and at the foot of a long valley surrounded by palm trees and rugged cliffs towering into the sky... and it brings to mind the fairytale setting of the Arabian Nights.
  Open, sesame!
  Step inside the Wadi Shab and immerse yourself in one of its emerald green water ponds or idyllic landscape or just wind your way through the gorge deep inside to see where this natural wonder end/begin at... more
* Another Wet ‘n’ Wild Wadi Bashing Picnic
The 1st Brush Off!
I remember in my school days going home and complaining about beating by teachers and my parents paying no heed other than blaming me for it. But what if the teacher complains?
Yesterday my daughter’s teacher complained to me that she is not talking anything and if she continues like this it will be difficult for her in next class. Well I tried to convince her that my 4.4-year-old is not a mute swan.
And at home, I told my wife and we cornered her and asked why she’s not talking in the school and she retorted: F... Off.
Amazed and alarmed, my wife tried to explain her that it’s shut up but she repeated Noooo F... Off, F... Off.
Just 10 minutes earlier, her teacher was complaining that she’s not talking and here we have to convince her to Brush (it) Off. They say you learn faster when you know the foul words first... in that sense one could say she’s right on the track.
Well, what hurt me more was the teacher’s attitude/remark that she’ll find it difficult in future.... It makes me wonder: is she really worried about the pupil’s future or her reputation that what the 2nd class teacher will think of her when this kid in that class not parrot her A for apple, B for banana and C for ... line, or is she thinking about her personal advancement, or best teacher medal. Quite frankly it freaks me out whenever somebody worries so deeply about my daughter’s future -- of course other than MFs and the politicians.
Besides, it envies me to see that these “desperate housewives” imparting stereotype syllabus being adored so much by the kids that even if we try to show them alternative way they shout back: Naaah!... teacher said like this.
* Recently one of my acquaintances called me up to inquire about placing an ad in the paper of their kids who had won 1st place at a science project competition for ME region in Delhi and saw that the report appeared in papers with picture of kids surrounded by teachers and principal. Then a few days later excitedly he told me they are going for the all-India level competition. Having heard no news of it for some time I asked him what happened and he told me that their project was ranked 55th. Well I’m glad that at least one frog has learned that it is far brighter outside than he thought. (12/11/10)
What Is Your Narkasur?
Come Thursday and most Goan youths will stay late into the night, making effigies of the Narkasur by the street corners or a building nearby.
A few years back I went to sight-see Narkasurs around Panjim at midnight and was amused to see youngsters dancing, drumming, chanting slogans in front of their Narkasur effigies -- labeled after corrupt/crook politicians.
In real life we come across a number of Narkasurs who abuse their power and positions to pursue personal and selfish goals. We wish they are meted out the punishments that a typical Hindi movie villain gets. But in real/civilised world that doesn’t happen, no one goes and beat the shit out of the devil because then he will be called the bigger Narkasur.
So on an occasion like this, by naming, shaming and portraying the villains to huge horned demons, we kind of vent out the bitterness inside us and lighten ourselves for the bright future. This is the Narkasur killing festival I would love to reminisce.
But nowadays we see the bigger demons hijacking this innocent exuberance of youths by throwing wads of money in the form of prizes/sponsorships, which frighten me -- Narkasurs glorifying themselves and hypnotizing common people to chant their spells.

It's So Good 2B 1

Picnics, BBQs, birthday parties, and of course lobbying for a direct flight to Goa... who would’ve thought that a simple 'hello' at the malls would translate into a group that would last this long.
It's really exciting to come together, plus the positive energy generated mingling has inspired the community to believe in themselves and go after their dreams.
Today, aside from varied fun activities and viva parties, AMG, in some small way, serves as a forum: for the exchange of ideas among expat Goans, for promoting the state, and for bringing neglected issues to the forefront.
And if one goes by the maxim 'the time spent enjoying isn't a waste of time' it's an achievement to cherish.
We look forward to connect with more friends and add a squeeze of lime to their drinks too -- bring FLAVOR to life.
The Summer of 2010

Who doesn't enjoy kicking a ball around...
The grandest festival of the year may be over but the buzzing noise of vuvuzelas, the 'bobbling' Jabulani balls, the intriguing predictions... Woohoo! It was incredible!! The euphoria refuses to wear off.
When I was a kid I often used to dream of conquering the local arenas, but then it used to get rain washed as soon as the monsoon pour down on the paddy field that we used to transform into a playing field during the summer, or red carded by the parents, or fowled/upsetted by the teachers/tillers.
I don't know what happened to the proposed football academy at Cuncolim, but I wish we had more football factories in Goa which makes more economic sense, if you look at the number of sport tourists they'll add to our tourism/hotel industry, than the fly-by companies that pollute/eat up our resources and disappear or get sick once the subsidy period is over.
Certainly, this World Cup has the ball hit my head and relive those stories and made me feel like what the South African president said, "I wish I was young once again so I could play football."

>> Coming to our Ami Goenkar goals: of course we scored the No. 1 goal of living Viva Goa life. We had jolly good summer by bonding together, reminiscing the good old days, rooting for our favorite teams and sometime cursing Paul the Octopus.
Regarding our second goal which is to make Goa more accessible. The maharaja, Air India, has conveyed to us that he too wants to travel direct from point to point but can’t afford to have a year-round 'holiday' to Goa since we like football are seasonal in nature -- mostly travel during the summer and the Christmas.
Anyway, like the Spaniards, we will continue to pass, pass and run with the ball up and across until we reach Goa-l.

>>> Every time the price of oil shoots up Aam Aadmi becomes more and more energy less. Here's a doga posture to help kickstart your day, or whatever?
Politicians on Board?

No, we haven't melted away yet -- by the scorching summer heat nor by the pig remark, and now after Cyclone Phet there is no chance of it happening if you’re one of those asking ‘khai zag na mare?’
In fact, after all these talks with airlines and knowing your views (see our survey), we kind of have diagnosed the problem area and accelerated our efforts to get it corrected.
Yes it is not solely up to the government to get any carrier to come to Goa, but it can open up the sky, make overtures/concessions to airlines for a certain period of time to make the route lucrative and the state more accessible to businessmen and leisure tourists.
Besides, irrespective of how many budget tourists/charter flights Goa receives, we strongly feel that without these direct 'global connections' it is difficult to attract high-end travellers, investors or talents which our state needs.
Ami Goenkar has conveyed to chief minister, opposition leader and other leading politicians our wishes for the direct Mct-GOI connection and the glitches that are delaying it, along with other -- Social Security Cover, Establishing Effective Communication, Safe Transfer of Sick Stretcher Patients -- issues concerning NRGs.
* Picture shows Dr Pravin handing over the petition to Goa's Chief Minister Digamber Kamat at his residence.
Make a wish... for I will make you fly!
Ami Goenkar team pose with HE Anil Wadhwa, Ambassador of India
to Oman, after giving him a brief rundown of the detours,

set up in pre-globalization era to give 'advantage' to home players,
but continue to stretch & strain our journey to Goa till today.
HE directed the Air India Muscat office to look into the
matter and reassess its position on the GOI-MCT
flight before taking the next step, which is
to write to the concern ministries to open up the route.

Further to this, we had an excellent brainstorming session with the
Air India's regional team led by Mr Mohit Sain. No big surprise
there, but it generated a lot of new ideas and we tried to
connect them to make it viable to both parties... 
We'll meet again (after they finished their feasibility study) and presumably travel happily ever after -- yes, direct to Goa.

Mr Markku Nokkala of Oman Air with Ami Goenkar President Prasann Sheldenkar (L),
members Dr Pravin Kharangate (3L) and Anand Kenkare (R) on April 29, 2010

Open Up the Sky!

"You have come to convince a convinced person," a very straightforward and practical Mr Markku Nokkala, Chief Network and Planning Officer at Oman Air, told AMG team members, who too have become experts after passionate discussions on the issue with top officials in the industry.
Mr Nokkala is positive on the possibility of direct flight to Goa, in fact, he charted this path long ago, when he was with Qatar Airways, the route many of us find convenient to ply even from here today.
During our 45 minutes conversation with him, we learned that our skies are not just full of stars, moons and dreams... but traffic rights too and that they’ve applied for new rights with the Indian aviation authorities -- which of course, we all know, how occupied there they are/were with IPL f/r-ights.
And even if that happens now according to Mr Nokkala, WY’s order of new Embraer aircraft won’t be delivered until next summer and who knows what clouds will gather overhead then. It’s a cut-throat industry with lousy business model and razor-thin margins. Besides, non-stop flights require higher percentage of premium class fare paying passengers. We'll have to do some serious number crunching on that too.
But regardless of these rights and lefts, all of our efforts tell us that we are going in the right direction, all we have to do is keep walking. And you know what they say... direction is more important than speed.
* Winds of Change
‘Welcome aboard … this is YOUR SHIP!’ -- Arcadia anchored at Matrah

Sea Who’s Full of Money!

Pardon me for asking, but how much money you have remitted over the last two/three months?
Why, how far is the exchange rate?
Are you nuts? Who’s got the money?
Where do you live? Forget about the accommodation… ask any schoolboy how much a chocolate bar cost?
Well, everybody seems to be having this awful shrinking feeling these days.
So if not you, not me, then who are these NRGs remitting $oooooooo much money that our banks are literally flush with. (
I was wondering how come in these economic times and the sudden downturn of Dubai economy? Then one of my friends from St Estevem came calling at Matrah. AHOY! Wanna come on board?
Who wouldn’t for only one of its kind of experience leave the shore. I instantly emailed my papers and found myself lounging on the deck weaving dreams -- “if only money were no object this could be one of my dream destinations”.
Vasco da Gama may have discovered Goa, but today Goan youths sail to the farthest reaches of the world and watch sun go down and rise up again from the ocean. They touch the lives of hundreds of people everyday by their smiles and services and get paid and are tipped too for it.
And what else, they have no landlords to demand more monies nor restaurants to take their families out for dinner, but the dream of reaching home and an NRE account in one of the 530 bank branches, each for just over 2,800 Goans, which are apparently overflowing with their deposits.
Bon Voyage “Vasco da Gamas”!
Mr Abdulrahman
al Busaidy with
Ami Goenkar President Prasann Sheldenkar(R), members
Anand Kenkare(2L) and Dr Pravin Kharangate(L)
on April 6, 2010.

Welcome, You're on the Flight to Goa!

Who doesn't want to travel to Goa. "Even my son want to go there...,"
acknowledges Jet Airways GEO Mr Abdulrahman Al Busaidy, an Omani
national who holds a highest executive position at India’s
most preferred airline. "But the problem is very small
numbers -- not enough digits to make the direct
flight commercially viable," lamented Mr Abdulrahman. 
“Only around 10,000 Goans (no tourists included) have traveled to
Goa and back on different airlines in 2009,” he said, showing
a datasheet complied by the airline’s research team.
However, direct or non-direct, when it comes to Goa these numbers have
little value per se. From decades millions have travelled to Goa
from afar enduring extraordinary hardship with great spirit --
-- and have been travelling, of course with an
exception to Alabama 3, who ain't goin' to Goa now.
Well aware of this allure of Goa, he said, he's looking at it
holistically and is weighing up the following options:
* Re-routing/starting one of its plane from another country
with a Muscat stopover. < ??? - MCT - GOA >
Our guess is that it will be Bahrain, from where
8,500 Goans have travelled in 2009.
* Altering the current timings of 9W flights so we don't miss nor waste much time at the Mumbai airport. < MCT - BOM ± BOM - GOI >
* Exploring the possibilities of extending flight to Goa from one of
its hubs in India. < MCT - ??? - GOA >. Although Indian
customs law forbids pvt carriers from doing this?
So ladies and gentlemen, the Captain has turned on the Fasten Seat
Belt sign. Please fasten your seat belt and sit tight...
We are in priority for take-off. If you have any
questions about our discussion, please don't
hesitate to ask the meeting attendees. Thank you.

It’s the supply, stupid!

Add, add, add... add me, invite me, yes, we all like to be instantly admitted to whatever -- facebook to pet club -- but what
if one is rejected or couldn’t get in because of limited seats.
Yes, unlike in Goa where Shigmo/romtamell is raising the excitement level, the admission season here has shot up the anxiety
level of a few Amigoenkar parents looking for a seat
for their kids in Indian schools nearby.
Add to it are the glitches in the new computerized system that
have delayed the announcement of the lucky entrants.
There was a time in India when we were made to wait from 6-18 months
to get a gas or phone connection. But look today we have
this incredible freedom, so many options that
people find it difficult to choose from.
We wish the same was true with our education system. IIT, IIM,
Medical, Engineering... you choose where you want to
go and what you wanna be and not wait for another
door to open or some magic ball software
to tell us where to go or send our kids to.
Yes, There’s a Place

TEREKHOL: Ssshhhh...! Actually, I would love not to tell anyone of this place but reserve it for myself so that every time I return to Goa
I can go there and dream the day away. This mesmerizing
vista of sea and sky from the Terekhol Fort... Ahhhhh, I wish
I was sitting there sipping piana colada with a book!

This dreamscape is best accessible by
an open ferry plying near
the mouth of River Terekhol.
The cruise provides an
invigorating panorama
that will surely
inspire you to take a deep breath.

A Green Tradition

It’s not bananas! It’s a chariot being made from the banana tree
trunks at the Betkim Kalo. Seeing it, that too in a village
overlooking the mining hub of north Goa, makes us wonder:
Is it to raise environmental awareness, to instill a sense
of creativity in the youth, to save other trees from cutting down
for a wooden chariot, or is it because of some budgetary or
space constraint to store a metal palkhi... we don’t know, but
considering the waste and pollution caused by today’s
disposables, we salute this Truly Natural Living Tradition.
(Dec 09)

Truly the Taste of Goa

Show a big fresh fish to any Goan and he’ll think of his angling rod, old friends, the breathtaking scenery and the sound of the waves crashing onto the secluded rocky beach. Goans have a primal urge to fish
and whenever they go abroad fishing
gear tops their shopping list.

This is one of the fish we brought
for our picnic in Muscat.
-- It tempts us to think of
our warm delicious staple food
back home and the beautiful
and bountiful landscape
Goa is blessed with.
(Jan 2010)

Just imagine the satisfaction
of coming home with a
fresh fish. A Goan
wearing an angling rod
around his neck,
rides home with his
prized catch at Aggasim.
-- Seeing it makes us
feel good about Goa.
 (Dec 09)

Site Meter