Toast + Cereal: Goa15 April, 2016
WE PARTNERED WITH LIFESTYLE BRAND TOAST TO SHOWCASE THE LANDSCAPE AND TEXTURES OF GOA, WHICH WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR THEIR SUMMER 2016 COLLECTION.
Goa is undeniably different from the rest of India. As soon as I arrived in the nation’s smallest state, the pace slowed down and the temperature heated up. Life on its palm-fringed streets passes at a leisurely tempo. Goans of all walks of life gather in squares and on the shoreline to relax and unwind. Dogs huddle in pools of shade thrown by plasterwork painted in pastel colours, their noses tucked into their tails as they nap away the midday heat. Slender cattle are fondly indulged by the townspeople, despite the gentle havoc they wreak as they amble heavy-hoofed along the beach.
The sun was a constant companion on my daily jaunts along back streets. The rays of the great salmon-orange globe are mellowed somehow by the veils of humidity that drift thickly through the air, tempering its glare. I can make out the shape of it, the varying tones of its surface. Its light seeps into everything; architecture, foliage, the languid surface of the water. Even the earth is drunk on it, tinted first to shaded coral, then strident with scarlet and sultry peach, deepening to Burnt Sienna as dusk paints the sand a dark rust hue.
There is more than a grain of truth to the locals’ assertion that Goa “is more a part of Portugal than India.” The very streets have a subtle yet pervasive tang of Lisbon, far to the north on the windswept Atlantic. Four centuries of Portuguese rule only ended in December 1961 when Goa, along with Daman and Diu on Arabian Sea Coast, was finally annexed by Indian Armed Forces after a two-day conflict. Six decades later, Portuguese influence is still strong, and one in four Goans are Roman Catholic. They speak Konkani peppered with Portuguese, and sport names such as Conceição, João, and Maria. On Sundays, churches throng with the faithful and sarees flow under portraits of saints painted in the voluptuous style of Hindu gods. The air is redolent with coconut and vinegar, chilli and pepper; the blended fragrance of Konkan and Iberia. Even Hindu temples betray a Portuguese lilt to their Indian and Islamic inspired vernaculars.
I said farewell to Goa with a final wander through streets buzzing with the sounds of happy coexistence. Temples resonate with the whisperings and incense smoke of puja. The chatter of locals on the beaches is punctuated by the rumble of waves breaking on the shore. An indefinable ease settles over me as I take in the gentle chaos that reigns here. This is not a place of manicured lawns or designer gardens. Solitary palms hug crumbling cliff tops, yearning out over the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Mango trees tangle with flowering shrubs in intimate embrace, sprawling over crowded patches of dirt. I pause to rest, turning my face to the distant horizon in the hope of a catching the breeze. My skin is slick, and my bones are warm. The vibrant heat is vivid with the perfume of jasmine and bougainvillea, spiced with the fragrance of molasses from a nearby kitchen.
View the Toast summer collection, inspired by Goa, visit: toa.st