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Passion knows no boundaries

Passion knows no boundaries Armstrong Vaz, 24 January 2008, Thursday

THE NEPALESE, Northeastern youth and youngsters from various parts of India flock to Goa, as the western state of India is in search of employment in the tourism industry during the tourist season. There is a big void in the form of lack of manpower to work at the beach side shacks and they cover in for the lack of it.

And in this backdrop if love strikes for the migrant youth, can any one stop them? No, certainly not in the case of Raj, Prabhakar and Bharat who are now savoring the fruits of Goa tourism success in Europe, courtesy of marriage to foreign nationals, after toiling day in and day out in the hot sun on the Goan beaches.

Love they say knows no boundaries and what better way to epitomise the feeling in the case of Raj, Prabhakar and Bharat. The trio's love for their partners and now wives has transcended the boundaries of colour, religion and nationality.

The former waiters present the other side of the Goa shining example materialising through the tourism platform. Goa, which served as a springboard for them, a life beyond taking orders from hotel guests.

Love and marriage has opened new doors for the trio as they now live and work in Europe along with their wives. Raj would not agree with anyone who argues that holiday romance, remains an affair confined to the holiday season and no further than that.

Typically the holiday fling is all over sooner than later, as one of the partner packs his/her bags and heads home. But for Raj and for two of his colleagues, working at Dominic beach side seasonal restaurant in Benaulim, in South Goa, the holiday romance was not just fleeting moments, but a long lasting relationship, which has been solemnised in marriage.

Many Nepalese, Northeastern youth come to Goa in search of employment in the tourism industry. The trio too came chasing their dreams. Dreams to make it big. Dreams to set up their family and live a decent life.

Goa, the tourist hub of India, attracts nearly 3.5 million foreign tourists every year. They set on their life's journey and ended up in Goa from three different directions. Raj came from Gaddak district of Karnataka, a southern state, Prabhakar came from Hyderabad - the Charminar city of the South and Bharat came from the across the border from Nepal. But the common factor for them was they worked in one shack in Benaulim and all of them left after getting married in the same year.

Raj, a Hindu, was most handsome of the three, a hard worker to the core and was educated up to matriculation (final class the school examination in India), according to his own version. He had told his colleagues privately that he had studied only till the eight standard.

During the Goa off-season he worked in Himachal Pradesh state as a waiter to keep himself engaged. He displayed a killer instinct for success. And he was a fitness freak and pumped in extra kilos to his small frame.

It was his engrossment with fitness, which led him to the love of his life – Rebecca. She too was a fitness freak and a yoga practitioner and did her daily one-hour-long yogic exercises at the beach. Rebecca was a non-practicing protestant Christian.

The love between the two changed their lives forever. Rebecca always longed for family cushion and in marriage she found a carrying and concerned family of Raj, Raj's colleagues recall she told them.

The two have since married and have settled in England. But Raj has not forgotten his native place. Every year for the last four years he visits India and has plans to set up a hotel in his native place in Karnataka and for that he is already making his investments.

Raj, according to his friends at the shack he worked, revealed that he was an opportunistic man and was fathoming on an opportunity to marry a foreigner and migrate to a foreign country

"The thoughts were always there on the back of his mind," says Thapa, a cook who worked along with him at a restaurant in Benaulim.

Raj had many flings with foreigners but that were just one-night stands or holiday-stands for the tourists and no more than, that until Raj struck gold with Rebecca.

Bharat too is a Hindu like Raj, a timid and shy person. His ladylove, Margaret, who was an atheist and 12 years senior to him, was head and heels in love with him.

She had learned and practiced Ayurveda had to wage a struggle to get Bharat a visa to Germany. He failed for the first time with his poor English but then she took pains to teach him English and also in the process trained him in the common medicines, which one administers in the Ayurverdic form of medicine.

Bharat now proudly prefixes 'Dr' before his name on his visiting card.

And than there was Prabhakar, also a Hindu, a graduate from a university in Hyderabad, who one day packed his bags and left the southern city to be in the beach hub. Finding no work for him in spite of being a graduate, he tried his luck in Goa.

After getting over the complex of his accent in English and gradually mastered it. Love also struck for this short stature man. He too is in England, through the kind courtesy of Goa tourism ticket.

Prabhakar married Sonia, a Buddhist from England.

Mind you, these are a small section of the love's success stories, of Goa tourism, many stories abound of Goan boys and also of migrant waiters marrying foreign tourists and setting up their families.

And two cases I can relate of Goans who have married foreigners in recent times are of South Goa resident from Navelim village, Anthony Baretto, a former Sesa Goa Sports Club (One of the top club of India since the 90s), now settled in England with his family and the other is another South Goa resident and tour organiser Charles D'Silva, who married his long time Swiss girlfriend.

These marriages have proved wrong that holiday romance remains only short duration flings and no further than that and that love transcends the boundaries of language, religion, countries and colour. Raj, Bharat and Prabhakar are the classical examples.

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