Walking down the promenade by the sea from one venue to the next, you are suddenly showered with the melody of a beautiful song. You stop abruptly, confused where it is coming from. It takes a few moments for your beer-saturated brain to notice the speaker hung from a tree above you.
You hum along, pause a while and then continue your walk — stopping under every speaker on the way to be surrounded by different kinds of music till you reach the next venue.
You reach the next place and walk into the dimly-lit street of the city, with masked vendors peddling different street-food.
Behind the masks you can’t make out the faces, but as you listen to their voices and bite into the Maddur Vada, you also get to feel the taste of their lives and get glimpses of the recipe that has been used over generations with little hope for change — the struggle to make ends meet, the fear of the law, the vagaries of the unforgiving street — all deliciously tinged with resilience and undying optimism — presented to you on a platter of Immersive Theatre by Aruna Ganeshram.
“Where have all the fish gone?” asked the wall —drawing you into the net of an intricately-woven story about the ecological disaster created by greed, callousness and apathy in and around the Brahmaputra, narrated in stark black and white photographs and texts scribbled on the walls of the beautiful Adil Shah Palace by Arati Kumar Rao.
After all these and many more encounters — wildlife photos of Anup Shah hung from trees, the pulsating rhythm at Drum Circle, the exploration of masculine energy through Tanushree Shankar’s Purush, to name a few — when you finally, reluctantly leave Goa, something has changed within. The kind of shift that can only be created by high quality art that is seemingly simple and accessible to appreciate, but with an undercurrent so strong that it snatches your feet away from beneath and disturbs your equilibrium.
And it is unlikely that you will regain it any time soon.
Photography by Prashant Sankaran.