21st November 2012
I watched the most marvellous movie on the way over to Goa yesterday on the airplane. “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” was simply brilliant for making me want to be back in India – although Goa, in simple terms is not really India and this is where I am travelling to at the moment.
The evocative sights smells and sounds of the hustle and bustle that is real India can only be experienced when one sets foot outside Goa but having said that, Goa is the perfect spot for the inexperienced Westerner who wants to sample the taste of an “uncivilised” standard of life and culture without too much of an assault on the mind. The poverty and lifestyle that exists throughout the majority of India is tamed right down in Goa. After all even the indigenous Goans say they are not Indian. They often say they are Portuguese, having been a colony of that country for many years, and Goa is wonderful if you want to experience what life is like in a good old-fashioned Catholic country!
Where I live in Goa many are more Catholic than the Pope when it comes to worshipping and celebrating the life of Christ and one of the first things I find on entering my flat are the picture of Jesus above the altar in the front room and another one of Mary in my bedroom.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not against faith and believers but I really am not one for said “organised religion”. Most faiths start with the basis of good triumphing over evil, “do unto others”, etc. However they so often then become “organised” and doctrines are formed which, taken to the extreme then seem too often to develop into a fanaticism which shuts all other beliefs out. Personally I find all these “religions” in their purest form , exactly the same and where I label my own beliefs, if asked, is that I state myself a spiritualist but this is only in the sense that I believe in the continuity of life everlasting in terms of the spirit going on. I certainly am not going to ram that down anyone else’s throat.
At the stage where the “faith” rules and the doctrines set in is where you find me. Thus the picture of Jesus gets moved to the kitchen cupboard during my stay here and Mary is covered by my map of Goa – as she is seemingly attached to the wall by means of the screw that was put through the picture when she was set up there. The only remaining religious picture I have is one of “the last supper” in the kitchen – and that remains hanging as it is appropriate – taking the amount of entertainment cooking I do nowadays into consideration!