The story of Goa becoming a haven for writers is an old one. Ever since Amitav Ghosh set up home in Aldona and Lord Meghnad Desai and his wife author Kishwar in Loutolim, not a day passes without news of one more writer being seduced by the promise of peace and quiet to work on their next masterpiece
>> The story of Goa becoming a haven for writers is an old one. Ever since Amitav Ghosh set up home in Aldona and Lord Meghnad Desai and his wife author Kishwar in Loutolim, not a day passes without news of one more writer being seduced by the promise of peace and quiet to work on their next masterpiece. Author and cultural impresario Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi resides in Moira, academic Sunil Khilnani in Saligao, and Maria Couto in Aldona. Jeet Thayil, currently teaching a class at Goa University, is said to be looking for a place here, and Orhan Pahmuk and Kiran Desai almost bought a house here when they were dating.
Amitav Ghosh, Jeet Thayil, Dayanita Singh and Nikhil Chopra
But, the latest chapter in the state’s cultural renaissance is the arrival of some of India’s most celebrated artists, whose arrival has put Goa on the international artistic map.
Leading the list in caliber as well as stature is photographic artist Dayanita Singh, the first Indian to hold a solo museum show at London’s prestigious Hayward Gallery, who lives in an old and carefully preserved Goan mansion in Saligao.
Not too far from her resides performance artist Nikhil Chopra, who has performed at the partitions Centre Pompidou and several international art institutions.
Kanchi Mehta with Tejal Shah
Meanwhile, Tejal Shah, the multidisciplinary artist, lives on the border of Assagaon, in north Goa, and Kanchi Mehta, who curated the India Pavilion at the Prague Biennale in 2011 resides in the north Goa village of Moira, a quaint, riverside village fast turning into the elegant hub of the arts and literary scene.
And if these heavyweight names aren’t enough, then word comes in that Subhodh Gupta and Bharti Kher are looking for a home in Goa, even as the other artist power couple Reena and Jitish Kallat are a working on restoring an old house across the river in Moira.
And with the pollination of ideas and conversations amongst the tribe, will the Goa school be one that rivals the Baroda school in brilliance and talent some day? Seems highly likely.
Party hearties in Goa
>> And here’s our last piece on high-jinx in Goa, we promise: but till then, here’s a mackerel’s eye view of where the glam set was for the New Year party season.
Bipasha Basu, Sonam Kapoor and Gauhar Khan
Spotted at Tesso, Bhushan Kumar’s dreamy waterfront resort in Vagator, were Bipasha Basu and Harman Baweja bringing in the New Year, displaying a heartwarming amount of PDA; a few days earlier, Sonam Kapoor, with sister Rhea, partied with friends at Chronicle, owned by the designer hippie trance DJ brothers Romeo and Deepesh Sharma; meanwhile, Bigg Boss’ winner Gauhar Khan chose Thalassa, the delightful Greek restaurant overlooking North Goa’s Vagator beach to spend the first day of the year (with former BB housemate Kushal).
And if that isn’t enough celebspotting of the young and restless and party hearty in the beach paradise, news comes in of Delhi-based designer duo Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna, who were spotted bringing in the design frat quotient along with colleague and peer Manish Arora, at Cat and Soup.
Reddy for the lungi dance?
>> For decades, the New Year party season ended with his grandfather Subbirami Reddy’s dinner on the lawns of the Aguada, where the Hyderabadi heavyweight, along with his graceful wife Indra, would entertain a slew of politicians, Bollywood stars and other famous faces, all looking more sedate on the first day of the new year than they had in the preceding days.
Keshav (in green lungi) with his cousins
But this year, it was Keshav Reddy (son of GVK’s Sanjay and Pinky Reddy) who attracted notice, when he was spotted bringing in the New Year at Sunset Ashram in Goa along with his cousins.
The young entrepreneur studies at the University of Michigan and has launched the high quality label The Indian Brand, an online polo T-shirt company aimed at promoting brand India (its logo is the peacock) abroad.
Well, New Year’s Eve saw him and his cousins eschewing his own polos for arguably cooler attire: cool and colourful lungis which they wore with pride.
This sartorial flourish no doubt had to be packed and put away before the family jetted of to Mumbai for the opening of the new GVK-constructed Mumbai terminal 2. We hope there was enough time for a collective lungi dance before that though!