by Cecil Pinto
Reality TV - Surviving Panjim:
Welcome all you contestants to the mother of all
Reality TV shows. It's great to see you fine young men
and women who have progressed through the eliminating
rounds. One of you is going to be the winner of a
million rupees. I know that won't even get you a
double bedroom flat in St. Inez but what can we do.
All the houses on the coastal belt have already been
sold to foreigners and those in the suburbs to
In our first round all contestants have to enter
Panjim from either Porvorim, Ribandar, Merces, St.
Cruz or Dona Paula without wearing a helmet.
Those who can convince the cops that they are not on a
National Highway and within city limits then proceed
to the next round. Be warned that crossing by the
ferry from Betim will disqualify you from further
competition. Also the arrogant use of the Konkani
phrase "Do you know who I am?" is not allowed. Nor is
dialing Aires Rodrigues from your mobile.
Round Two will separate the men and women from the
mice. Here you have to navigate a four wheeler from
Miramar Circle to the Kadamba Busstop, via the
remains of DB Road and the Secretariat, without once
cursing the Government or the IFFI. In-car cameras
will monitor your every action. Switch from lane to
lane with nothing to guide you but the car ahead,
avoid being crushed by huge cranes and shovels that
pass within inches of your window, figure out why
gigantic speedbreakers are referred to as 'Bump ahead'
and try not to look at the digging and building and
cementing going on all around you - like you're in an
obstacle race at a huge construction site.
Bonus points will be given if you can smile all the
way through - and if your car suspension survives.
Those who manage this round will then be asked to do
the same route at night when the route is changed
without any warning, or police personnel, to show you
the night route. As you miss being mowed down by an
out-of-state trucker, who is equally bewildered by
this change from night to day, you cannot curse or
finally decide you're migrating to Canada.
The next round is comparatively simple. Find a parking
space for your car on 18th June Road between 11 am and
1 pm. As you circle round AB Road and MG road you will
be timed and your petrol consumption calculated. If
get stuck in a slow moving side stream, because some
uncivil jerk has stopped his car for a few minutes
waiting for his nitwit self-important boss to pop in
and pop out of some office, that isn't really our
In the next round we test your cuisine skills. Try and
find a restaurant in Panjim that serves only Goan Food
- Hindu or Catholic style. Ok forget that. Impossible.
Just find a restaurant that is not Multi Cuisine. If
the ubiquitous 'mix-friend rice' does not feature on
the menu we consider that adequate. Following that try
and locate a non-Udipi veg restaurant. Just find a
simple Goan veg restaurant where one can have a
ussal-bhaji-panv and some mirchi. For the show
producers' insurance criteria naturally the restaurant
you find has to be absolutely clean and have no
jaundice connections - past or present. Aha! Now
that's a tough round.
Please feel free to drop out now because there's even
tougher rounds to come.
A huge tent has been set up at the SAG Grounds in
Campal. All you contestants will have to spend one
whole night there in only your undergarments. The tent
is designed to protect you from the elements but will
not protect you from mosquitoes. Next morning you will
be taken to GMC for a check up and only those showing
no trace of malaria will be allowed into the next
round. Rest assured the only way to survive this round
is to keep awake all night and make sure that you can
swat and kill every mosquito that settles on your
skin. To keep our viewers entertained you will be
broken up into groups of four with two males and two
females sharing one tent. Slapping a tent-mate could
help him or her into the next round, but it may also
have other repercussions. Enjoy!
Next we go to the still remaining part of the old
Panjim market. The objective is to pick up 2 items
each of exactly Rs. 65/-, Rs. 99/- and Rs. 20/-
respectively without stepping into any shop which has
these prices boldly mentioned at the entrance. As you
maneuver your way through the crowded passages and get
pummeled by purchasers, vendors and merchandise you
are not allowed to go to the spacious New Market under
any circumstances. Easy? There's one more caveat. None
of the items you purchase can be Chinese. All have to
be 'Made in India" with a proper MRP clearly printed.
The top eight contestants from all these preliminary
rounds will then move to our Super Duper "Search &
Find" Round of Surviving Panjim. Just a hint of some
of the missions you will be sent on.
Search & Find:
- An entire building block in Central Panjim that does
not have a permanent garment SALE on at the ground
floor since the last two years.
- Males sitting in pairs on public benches who are NOT
- Two gaddos in a row that do NOT accept matka bets
- One new building that has enough parking space for
all its occupants
- Two connected roads of which one is not planned to
be unnecessarily and controversially renamed.
- One hundred meter stretch of road that has been dug
up less than three times in the last year.
- A Goan beggar
And stay tuned for our Grand New Reality TV Show next
month, "Surviving Calangute"!
The column above appeared in the November 2004 issue
of Goa Today magazine.