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It’s Carnival time in Goa

And we’re packing our bags.

Like every year, the residents of Panjim (ok, just us) begin to dread the arrival of Lent. The fasting and praying doesn’t bother us so much. The prospect of the Carnival parade does, though.

Seahorses come to Panjim This weekend, the parade will begin at 3pm from the Santa Monica jetty (home to those awful “pleasure” (bah!) cruises). The floats will pass through the new Patto bridge and move parallel to the river until it reaches the Kala Academy. Police concerns regarding traffic movement and crowd control have led to 12- foot high cloth barricades in the middle of the road, ostensibly to prevent people from crossing over or distracting traffic on the other side of the road. Good idea.

If only they could make that barrier sound-proof as well.carnivalchaos

(Goa Police’s nightmare: The scene at Carnival before the cloth barricades were put in place.)

If you have not seen a Carnival parade in Goa recently, don’t bother to make a trip. If you do, leave your ear-drums at home. Each float is a mega-truck, loaded with mega-speakers the size of ten elephants. I’m exaggerating, but only a little. Nowhere in the civilised world would such noise levels be permitted (and actively encouraged) by a local government. Our window-panes, already weak with trembling from the noise levels of the passing cruises (365 days of the year), wait in trepidation.

We do, too.

carnivalspeakers (Can you spot the speakers behind the masks?)

Last year, we escaped to our bolt-hole about 10 minutes drive away from Panjim. Even there, over the river, a hill and several tall buildings in between, the boom-boom of the floats was audible.

Why would you want to expose your children and yourself to that kind of noise?

Or are you, as they say, “used to it”?

If you are, get your hearing checked. Chances are that the damage has been done.

Save your kids at least. If you’re in Panjim (or Vasco, Margao and Mapusa – the other Carnival cities), bolt your doors and windows, put your ear-plugs on and watch the parade on tv.

At least you can turn it off whenever you like.

Wish we could do that to the parade in real life.

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