ALTLab 2.0 Walk begins..Tashi Norden

I’m a slow walker, but I never walk back. Abraham Lincoln

Almost forty kilometres walking down the Calangute line to Aldona, moving on to Bicholim and finally concluding in Sirigaon. Well it was not that tiring, apart from being toasted, and dehydrated and frequent head pains all because of the hot sun rays raining down on us, I suppose. I realized how we have become so dependent, and the other thing is you know your way out much better on foot than on a ride. Only thing to watch out for is the mid-day sun, but i guess it never happens that way. Every evening we all would look so fried, and one would quickly suggest, “tomorrow, we start early”, and the next day it is already nine or ten in the morning.

One funny thing is, every person we met, or like we ask for directions, all and I mean all of them, would be like, “o.k. so take the first right, and there you would find a bus stop to take you further”, and we would be like,” no, we would want to go walking”. Some would smirk, or laugh or in fact would just not believe us. They would be like, “But, why would want to walk?”  (Why not??)

Things that grabbed my attention were these old abandoned and ruined houses, it would appear in every turn of the road. I would look at these ruins, and just wonder about the people that lived in it, why would they leave it in such condition. How would one neglect such beautiful homes? Property issues? Settlement problems? But why? I mean how bad could it get. Although, I was told that it was majorly due to property unrest within the families and due to migration.

Aldona, out first halt. It is a village in Bardez, and a census town in the North Goa district. The lodging had to be arranged, so after much calling and talking to locals, we did manage to find one, and well it was just the opposite that we expected. A full furnished modern apartment. Not even in my wildest dream, I would have thought of such a place. I mean, we were walking and I was at the most expecting some village hut, with cow sheds, with the warm smell of food cooked in wood fire, goats bleating and so on. Life never stops to surprise me.

Next morning, we head out for Bicholim another thirteen kilometres. I still see some abandoned houses along the way. From here the mining areas were seen. Gradually, increasing as we walk along. Since, these areas are already restricted, I still tried to make through their big gates. Most of the security guards employed in these mine areas were Nepalis. Since, I knew their language, I started off a conversation, just in case if they might speak out something. But, in vain, they were all so shut. I knew it, there was no point in hanging out for long with them. And since I was trying too hard, one of the authorities, already suspicious, started chasing me away literally. Although, I did manage to take a few images of the outer areas of these mines, of which I shall post it soon in the coming days.

We met Ramesh, an environmental activist. Really strong in his thoughts and a very articulate person. It was through him, how we understood the hazardous impact on environment, due to excessive mining. Of which, the socio-political-economical fronts of Goa has drastically been affected.

Posting you a part of the conversation that we had in Bicholim.

More will be updated soon, have a set of recordings that needs to be sorted.

After the conversation, I was pretty taken aback about the entire image and concept of Goa. It’s like everything is in mess, all falling apart. Someone needs to take action or something has to be done, right away. People need to be informed, they need to know, think and start off somehow…. I want to do something, and i am thinking about it…..

Next morning, we head off to Sirigaon, another mining village. This time we entered the mining area, but then again, security posts seem to appear out. Tried to convince them, but it wouldn’t help.

ALTLab Walk 2.0 is over. Toasted, exhausted and mostly we are done for the day. Catch a local bus on our way back, some bollywood track is heard in the bus. I look pass the fields, the traffic crossings, the abandoned houses, the carpenter fixing the old cupboard,  it was all there while we walked and somehow it is moving so fast inside the bus.

Tomorrow, it’s a new day, just want to sleep like a dog.

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