“Your surroundings can mould your mood. Goa, many will attest, has what it takes to make you feel both alive and at ease”. Neharika Manjani asks city dwellers with second homes there to share what fuels their sunshine state of mind.
It’s difficult to settle on a single phrase which succinctly sums up all that Goa stands for today. But if there’s one that’s used most frequently it’s ‘the sunshine state of India’. This descriptor draws from two things: Goa’s sun-dappled shores that instantly warm you up from the inside, and the sunny disposition of its inhabitants that’s almost contagious. As soon as you arrive, you catch a sense of calm and carefreeness that grounds you and lifts you in equal measure. And it’s this feeling in particular that’s sacred to many, especially those who are growing tired of the cacophony of city life. Several city dwellers are steadily setting up second homes in Goa because it’s where they find both a lightness and a brightness of being. A few Isprava homeowners share what it is about Goa that helps them slip into a sunshine state of mind.
WHO: PUJA GUPTA TALUKDAR
HOME: ESTATE DE FRANGIPANI BY ISPRAVA
HER SUNSHINE STATE OF MIND: NATURE
Few are successful at finding a foolproof formula for happiness, but Puja Gupta Talukdar, former Miss India Universe, has not only found what brings her unbridled joy but has also factored it into her home in Goa. The sprawling space that features soaring ceilings, she says, is a sanctuary replete with areas where she can indulge in the activities that bring her peace. “My favourite part of our home in Goa is the glasshouse overlooking my butterfly garden. It’s where I practise art and meditation. The house also has a gym, a massage table and a steam room. I love a good workout and a massage,” says Gupta Talukdar. In addition to this, she and her husband also enjoy spending their days by the pool with their furry, four legged family members Thor and Groot. This unhurried pace of life and lack of agenda, Gupta Talukdar adds, is what she loves most about her days in Goa. “City life is hectic. You know everyone there and there’s always some work to get to. In Goa, there is no agenda. It’s just me, my dogs and all the nature that surrounds our home. This can calm you down on its own,” says Gupta Talukdar, a homebody and animal lover whose ultimate goal is to set up an NGO for animals in Goa.
PUJA GUPTA TALUKDAR’S GOA PLAYLIST
‘The Animal Song’ by Savage Garden
‘Nocturne in E flat major, Op.9 No.2’ by
‘Awaara Bhanwre’ by A.R. Rahman
WHO: DEEPAK AND KAVITA GOYAL
HOME: VILLA USHUAIA BY ISPRAVA
THEIR SUNSHINE STATE OF MIND: SIMPLICITY
Deepak and Kavita Goyal’s ties with Goa run deep. The Mumbai-based couple have made their way to its sunny shores for two and a half decades. What draws the duo back is Goa’s simplicity. “I find Goa a little imperfect. I enjoy spending time at shacks. What I love is that there’s not much around them apart from a stunning view of the sea,” says Deepak.
Kavita seconds this sentiment she says it drives their decision to stay in Goa when the destination is at its quietest: “There’s something magical about the monsoons in Goa.” Their visits offer respite from the rigidity of a typical work day in Mumbai. “In Mumbai, I wake up by 6am, hit the gym by 7am and then I’m at work by 9.30am. The best part about Goa is that it makes me forget about my stress and work,” says Deepak, who, as the Chief Business Officer of Tanla Solutions Ltd, often has his hands full. “I love that I can cycle across the street. You can’t do that in a busy city,” says Kavita. All this further prompted them to build a home of their own there—one that’s filled with colour, creativity and a sense of calm. “I love the gazebo and the terrace. It offers views of the whole house and the greenery that surrounds it,” says Kavita, highlighting how she finds solace in her home.
THE GOYALS’ GO-TOS
Mustard Cafe for Bengali food
Vinayak Family Restaurant for an authentic Goan meal
Fisherman’s Hut for peace and quiet
Felix for its cosy vibe and drink
WHO: NEALE MURRAY
HOME: CASTELLO VADDO, VILLA 1 BY ISPRAVA
HIS SUNSHINE STATE OF MIND: CULTURE AND CONNECTION
Neale Murray wears many hats. One of them is co-owner and founder of Izumi, a restaurant that draws large crowds for its authentic Japanese fare in both Mumbai and Goa. Its expansive Assagao outlet, which opened its doors earlier this year, also happens to be just a stone’s throw from Murray’s home, a space that exudes serenity. “The minute I walk into my home there’s a calm that descends on me,” says Murray. Featuring large French windows overlooking lush gardens and a palette of greys and greens, the contemporary yet cosy property is where he’s able to slow down and savour quality time with his family. “In Mumbai, everybody is scurrying around with their own things. In Goa, on the other hand, you tend to spend more time together as a family. Investing in a home in Goa also had to do with being able to connect with people. Goa has a social fabric and there are many interesting things I can get involved in. What appeals to me is the sense of culture here and the fact that people are fighting hard to keep their traditions and communities alive.”
NEALE MURRAY’S NOTES
Sappadu for authentic South Indian food
Ciao Bella for a hearty Italian meal
Izumi for its 26-foot long, buzzing bar and cool cocktails
There for the most succulent meats.
WHO: RAHUL CHARI
HOME: CASTELLO VADDO, VILLA 6 BY ISPRAVA
HIS SUNSHINE STATE OF MIND: EXPLORATION
For Rahul Chari, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of digital payments platform PhonePe, Goa has the power to make him pause. “In Goa, life slows down in a very positive way. It’s where you can appreciate the little things like sipping coffee instead of grabbing one, watching the sunset or walking by the river. Goa encourages you to be patient and really take your time,” he says. With soft pastels on the inside and lively greens on the outside, his home, which lets in a whole lot of natural light, is made for mindful moments like these. “The master bedroom has a balcony with views of the pool on one side and a valley on the other. You can drink your morning tea there while watching the birds and sometimes even the monkeys that call this part of the valley their home. It’s really special,” he says. Goa is also where he consciously carves out time for play. “We are a family of foodies, and the culinary scene in Goa is outstanding. We ensure that we burn some of these calories by climbing up to Chapora Fort and then trekking down to Princess Dream Beach. Recently, we also discovered Divar Island and loved our time cycling around the area.”
RAHUL CHARI’S TIPS
Dine at Gunpowder, Jamun and Burger Factory
Indulge in almond croissants at Mojigao
Cycle from Assagao to Siolim
WHO: RUCHIKA VYAS
HOME: VILLA BRISA BY ISPRAVA
HER SUNSHINE STATE OF MIND: SOLITUDE
RUCHIKA VYAS’S RECOMMENDATIONS
Makutsu for the most delicious yakitori
Grind Bar, G-Shot or Babka for coffee, a quick snack or dessert
For The Record Vinyl Bar for cocktails and your favourite music on vinyl
Joseph Bar for great food, drinks and ambience with a local flair
Cream Choc for freshly made gelato.