Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Other Side Of Goafest, 2010 - Greed & Dirt

Goafest is the annual meeting of the Indian advertising folks to talk about their craft and give prizes to each other for excellence in creativity. This year, some came back jubilant, most came back tanned and everyone came back happy from Goafest. But, I know of at least two people who belonged to no such category.

10th April, Saturday afternoon. The free parasailing ride for the Goafest delegates was over by 5 pm. It was then that the cruise service (Jack Cruises) started making money out of it. “Six hundred bucks for each ride….come’ on, hurry up guys (I want to make as many 600’s as I can)”, said the leader of Jack Cruises.

In the resulting confusion, two people, a boy and a girl, rushed to the harness of the parasailing parachute. The man on the steamer (attached to the parachute), at the far end of the sea, started moving ahead, little knowing that there are two people on the harness, instead of the one (which is the usual norm). And perhaps, one not so harnessed.
Next, I saw the two people going up together (along with the pillion) and I said to myself, ‘This isn’t right…something is wrong.’

Seconds later, I saw the girl fall helplessly from a certain height that the sail had taken (approximately, 200 meters). I closed my eyes and reluctantly heard the ‘thud’ sound of a body falling on the beach. A sound, I shall never forget!

Last heard, Jack Cruises have been booked by the law for negligence. Law will take its own course, but I wish they are at least remorseful about what they have caused and accidents like this dont happen in the future.

And the girl is in the ICU, trying hard to recover. I hope she will be able to walk on the beach again.

11th April, Sunday morning. The morning after the Goafest got over, I went to Dom’s Shack to have breakfast. I was early and the food wasn’t ready yet. While waiting for the food, I got into a conversation with a gentleman sitting on the next table who was having a cup of tea. I discovered that his name was Mr. Anthony Perera and he was the used to be the Director of Goa Tourism Board at one point in time.

The conversation revolved around how all of us (the advertising fraternity), come to the lovely Cavelossim beach every year, party hard and leave an unclean and messy beach behind. He thinks that soon this beach will also become dirty and messy like the north Goa beaches.

The man was also unhappy about the fact that there aren’t proper sanitation facilities for the 300 odd people who stay at the venue for almost a week to make the festival happen. This may cause harmful disease to spread in the area and can also affect the participants of the Goafest.

Mr. Perera’s concerns left me worried. I hope somebody from the Goafest organizing committee pays attention to this and keep things cleaner next year.