I heard about the strike by lifeguards in Goa which began on August 10th from news reports. Around 70 lifeguards working on contract basis have asked for approval of services, hike in salaries and provision of better life saving equipment. Currently, their equipment consists of only a rescue tube, a ring buoy and some rope. They have no insurance cover and off their salary of Rs 4,000, they recieve only Rs 2,000 with no pay slips or record kept. Since, the strike began more than 12 tourists have drowned on the beaches.
I once went on a holiday to Goa in June - July, it was the only period I managed to get my boss to sanction by leave application. Walking through the water on the Candolim - Calangute stretch, I was warned by 2 lifeguards and countless fishermen and other locals to stay clear away from the water. Basically, the monsoon season is at its peak during the months of June, July and August and the sea is really rough with dangerous currents that just pull you down. There were signs all along the beach directing people not to swim in the sea.
However, I was shocked to see that only a few sane folk took the warnings seriously. International tourists were smart and were seen nowhere near the water's edge. Indian tourists, especially North Indians, on seeing the sea for the first time, ran at full speed and jumped into the water. Most seemed to be consumed by the Goa Hype - you know the 'Goa jaakar mazaa karenge' types who recently bought fancy new swimwear and pool toys to show off and click photos with. There were some South Indian religious freaks too who walked deep into the large waves with hands joined in prayer throwing puja stuff into the water. Most folks either knew nothing about swimming or were fresh off a month long pool swimming course that never trains you to deal with an angry sea.
I can clearly vouch that the sea looked downright scary - a dark grey colour with stormy clouds up in the sky. The waves were metres high and violent on the nearby rocks and I just could'nt believe the utter stupidity of the fun- seekers. On being warned by local fishermen they just turned their heads haughtily, laughed and continued with what they were doing, so I am not really surprised to hear that so many drowned.
So, what do you think ?
Also read about my Goa Trip on New Year's Eve when the sea was calm and just perfect. We were five friends and see how we spent only around Rs.13,500 between us which included travel from Delhi, local transport, sightseeing, lodging, meals and shopping.
Tags - Goa Lifeguards Goa India Calangute Drowning