POSTCARDS FROM PARADISE


Post and through the pandemic, there has been a visible shift in how people are prioritising the way they want to live. Living close to nature and more sustainably has become a conscious choice that today’s generation is making. 
We chat with four lovely ladies about their experience of moving home to India’s most sought after back-to-the village living destination : Goa.
As we explore conversations about reverse migration and being village creatives, we find that each of them echoes similar aspirations - to live more peacefully and meaningfully.

TANIA FADTE
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
This is always a tough question, to write about myself and who I am.

As chilled out and susegad the Goan lifestyle seems to be, the people there are definitely the most hardworking. How has it been keeping up with our fast-paced industry? Tell us about your experience of living and working in Goa.
I don't think I ever related to the word Susegad either growing up in Goa or even living here now. Yes, everything shuts down during lunch and siesta time and if that makes it slow then there's a lot of states in our country that should have a susegad version in their language no?

I also do see the frustration that comes with a city person moving to Goa and trying to deal with the slow pace. 

For example courier services, customer service anywhere, be it in a shop or a regular vegetable seller, there is a lack of it here, but I learned to find polite ways to make people work better for me. When I moved back home after living for 9 years in Bombay, I did not miss the comfort of home delivery of groceries and food but loved that I could walk or cycle or ride to a nearby shop and interact with people. Yes, we do have food delivery apps now spread all over even in remote village areas, it took me a lot of time to be welcoming of the fact that city services are slowly creeping in. The fast-paced industry is definitely what I recommend everyone should experience and to take what works for them from it, it worked great for me. I did burn out sometimes but knew how to take a step back, breathe and go for it again. Living in Goa has been good for raising my child, not the best for the kind of work I do which is styling, I still travel and spend most of my time in the city working.

The visuals you create always seem to have a sense of deep-rooted nostalgia, who are your all-time style inspirations?
My inspiration is everyone I have known growing up, the life I lived in Goa while I grew up here. My mum was raised in a catholic household and I had cousins and aunts who went to church and had such a vibrant sense of personal style, homes and furniture that came from the Portuguese rule in Goa. 

My dad grew up in a fisherfolk household so I've always had the love for colours of the coastal villages, people's style and simple ways of living.

Tania is wearing the Hibiscus wrap dress.

Share with us a few of your favourite things to do here. / What does a day in your life look like?
My days are so different now since the pandemic, I barely get out of my home unless it's a capoeira class, to see my family, a shoot, or something that has to do with entertaining my child. Usually, it would start with an early morning walk with my dogs, then breakfast with Açai, work, lunch, work, capoeira class and back home to dinner is a typical day. We do have our favourite beach to go to, a favourite forest getaway, scenic drives, not very exciting rather very simple. 

What's one talent you wish you had?
I wish I had the talent to hold a conversation, a debate, more so the talent to convince people to change their ways to save our planet. 

Describe the piece you have on in 3 words?
Versatile, light and so aunty!

 


SUMAIYA SAYED
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
My life has been an absolute riot of an adventure; discovering myself - wandering off in umpteen directions, and I'm still exploring today. Working as a flight attendant for three years satisfied only a part of my need and love for travel.

It was during my first international holiday away from home, away from everything familiar to me, that I realised art is where my heart lies. I was lucky enough to spend time with artists from all over the world in that cosy hostel tucked away in Bangkok. It wasn't planned at all but watching these creative folks engage with so many different mediums gave me a sort of satisfaction that I never felt before. That time will always remain in my memory as the first time  I truly discovered which way I wanted to steer my life. My search for where I fit in in the creative space led me to experiment with different mediums before going back to school. With very little knowledge of what I wanted to do, I was persuaded to study graphic design. I chose to work on graphic design projects based on illustrations and chanced upon photography during my course too. A few years after graduating I finally decided to take a chance and deep dive into photography full time almost two years after living in Goa. Many tutorials and explorations later, I still believe I am at the beginning of this journey. 

Sumaiya is wearing the Zinnia tiered dress

As chilled out and susegad the Goan lifestyle seems to be, the people there are definitely the most hardworking. How has it been keeping up with our fast-paced industry? Tell us about your experience of living and working in Goa.
For as long as I can remember I have craved a slow-paced life; growing up in Mumbai was anything but that. Moving to Goa four years ago was a very conscious decision despite all the setbacks I thought it might bring.

Goa has given me a chance to re-evaluate my life. The calming ‘slowness’ has helped me prioritise what I want to do with my time. There is some hardship, but for me, dealing with power cuts is infinitely easier than being stuck in an air-conditioned glass tower in the city. I try to find a balance between my way of living and thinking and the demands of fast-paced projects which include urgent delivery. Sometimes it drives me mad but I'm always incredibly motivated to overcome the challenges that come my way. 

Your favourite little hidden gems you discovered during your time in Goa?
There are so many but my favourite discoveries have always been in the backyard of my house or my friends’ houses. Little corners that you'd find on a lazy walk on a Tuesday evening. Goa has changed so much in the short four years that I’ve lived here and I'm making the most of the ‘gentle days’ that are quickly disappearing.



They say inspiration strikes when you're not even looking. As a photographer what's the most fascinating or mind-boggling inspiration you were drawn towards?
Even before I moved here, I was always fascinated by water - rivers, lakes, natural pools and of course the ocean. I could stare at the light hitting the water for countless hours. Water has a way of distorting reality, shapes and forms while holding its true identity somewhere in the fluidity. You have almost no control over how the water decides what you see. But to capture the split second I want is almost a game to me. I shoot a lot around water bodies and it's never enough. I keep finding myself thinking of newer ways to photograph in and around water. Living here gave me the chance to experience this source of inspiration with just a short drive out to a beautiful hidden spot.

Books or shows? Who's your favourite fictional character? 
Both, but most recently it has to be the show - Schitt’s Creek. Moira Rose has got to be my favourite fictional character at the moment.

Sumaiya is wearing Aparajita tiered dress

Which out of the two dresses were your favourite and why?
Both! The vibrant colour is something I was instantly drawn to. Comfortable flowy dresses always make me twirl and lift my mood. Even just walking around the house pirouetting in the most dramatic way to amuse myself. Both dresses are something I can throw on; I don't feel the need for anything else but a pair of shoes to head out! Just the kind of susegad vibes I love.

 

SANDHYA SHEKAR
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Well, I have been a makeup artist and hairstylist for about 12 years now. I am an ex-banker from Mangalore, a place so similar to Goa in terms of greenery and the coastline. I would describe myself as a south Indian village girl who grew up in Mangalore and eventually lived in and worked in Bangalore for a few years before finding my passion. I love love love all things beauty, eat breathe and sleep beauty. Apart from that, I enjoy dancing and a good meal.

As chilled out and susegad the Goan lifestyle seems to be, the people there are definitely the most hardworking. How has it been keeping up with our fast-paced industry? Tell us about your experience of living and working in Goa.
Since the pandemic life everywhere has come to a standstill. But it feels like there is more freedom and movement around Goa because of how open and welcoming it is. I do have to keep travelling on and off to Bombay and other cities for work and can feel the energy change as soon as I step in. I try not to spend a lot of time in the city, usually about two to three days, which is why I am able to enjoy the shift of the fast-paced industry life and get to do the things I want within those few days that I am there. I absolutely love living in Goa - the freedom in the air eventually flows into your system and brings about a kind of slow living. This has helped me get into a better space mentally and focus on things I’ve always wanted to do. It’s been great because I feel like I am creating more, I’m happier and more at peace. 

What has been the most fulfilling part of your job as a make-up artist? 
As a makeup artist to see the work you do on someone and making them feel empowered through beauty is definitely the most fulfilling part of my job.

Sandhya wears the Marigold pleated dress.

Living in Goa seems like a dream to everyone, but moving away from the hustle and bustle of the city always seems like a task. Were there any struggles or challenges you faced adapting to work from Goa?
Basic stuff like electricity and internet is something we take for granted living in a city, and that is definitely one of the struggles working in Goa. Even though I grew up by the coast in Mangalore, the recent cyclone was still so devastating. We were fortunate enough to get electricity back in one day but many people came to our place seeking refuge since they didn’t have power and internet for about a week. Internet is the biggest issue for example - you have to go live on Instagram and the network drops. It is always difficult. Another struggle is finding products and shopping for stuff, you’re so used to getting out and going to a mall to stock up on your products. Living here you have to be more proactive. Many times when you order stuff online, courier services never reach you on time. There’s a lot of pre-planning required. I can’t work last minute on projects, there is a lot of planning before shoots and mentally preparing myself to travel for work involved. I am still working on and adapting myself in terms of work, based on the environment here but it is a continuous process.

Name three things you can't live without?
After moving to Goa I have definitely reconnected to eating coconut in some form or another every single day. This is something I used to do growing up as a child because of its abundance. Paula’s Choice 2% BHA salicylic acid - I swear by this product. My skin has gone through so much post-COVID and this is something I can’t think of living without. The third has to be chocolate - I’m going through a crazy chocolate phase and I don’t think I could go a day without some. 

Describe the piece you wore in a few words?
Love love loved the dress. I’m so happy to have it as a piece in my wardrobe. The material is so light and breathable and feels perfect to wear anywhere in India or abroad. The vibrant colour is so beautiful I think anyone can just mindlessly wear it. It’s one of those pieces that can easily transform from day to night with a quick lipstick change. The neckline is so sexy and the way it cinches into your waist really defines your curves in the most flattering way, no matter what body type you are. 


SMRITI CHOUDHARY
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I grew up in a humble family with three sisters in Udaipur, (Rajasthan), the city of lakes. I enjoyed living in a small city, playing outdoors, climbing trees and plucking fruits from the neighbour’s trees. My most favourite memory from back in the day is our family's tradition of Sunday picnics. We would go to the most beautiful hidden spots, go hiking, explore the forests around us, cook outdoors and swim in the lakes.

Nature became my main source of inspiration and drawing my primary medium of expression. After I finished school, I got the opportunity to study art and design at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. I graduated as a graphic designer in 2005 and started my independent design studio, Pinksoda. I spent years working on branding and digital illustration projects and lost touch with my love for drawing and sketching. I found this connection again in 2010 when I was pregnant, and in 2011 my son was born, alongside which I decided to launch my art studio Airphish. Now I draw, make products and explore new art techniques at my home studio in Goa.

Smriti is wearing the Raat Ki Raani dress

As chilled out and susegad the Goan lifestyle seems to be, the people there are definitely the most hardworking. How has it been keeping up with our fast-paced industry? Tell us about your experience of living and working in Goa.
The reason behind our move to Goa was an attempt to stay away from the fast-paced, to live and enjoy each moment of our lives as they come I don’t want to be part of any race. For me, peace of mind and a closeness with nature are the most important, even more so when it comes to being inspired to work, and Goa offers plenty of both. It’s not just the city that is beautiful, but the people are really incredible too. The Goans are very peaceful, happy and kind people, and they make the experience of living here even more fulfilling. 

During the time you've spent in Goa, are there any Konkani words or phrases you've picked up? Which ones are your favourite? 
I am not that great with picking up new languages, but out of the few Konkani words I've picked up on, “Maka Goemcho mog asa” is my favourite. It means “I love Goa”.

Where do you see yourself drawing inspiration from for all of your lovely art?  
The inspiration for most of my art comes from my surroundings, from the beauty of nature and wildlife. Definitely lucky to be living in Goa, I feel inspired by everything around me - the beaches, the villages, the forests, the monsoons, the rice fields and even the cows on the road. 

What song can you listen to on repeat? 
“Fly Me to the moon” cover by The Macarons Project.

 Describe the piece you wore in a few words?
A very light and airy dress, perfect for Goa weather and susegad life.



 


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  • Mark Pinto

    Tania and Sandhya 👏❤👏. Lovely interviews.


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