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Indias 'all is well' approach to life

‘Susegad’ – which comes from the Portuguese word ‘sossegado’ for quiet – refers to the laidback attitude of Goans, who seem to live in a perennial state of contentment.

Walking in one of Panaji’s local markets one warm afternoon earlier this year, I found the shops shuttered all along the street. I was in search of a new pair of shoes to replace the ones that had just given up after years of walks in markets and towns such as this one in Goa. “You’ll have to wait until evening now,” said my friend when I called to ask about opening hours. It turned out that nothing in Goa is open between 13:00 and 17:00: this seaside state in western India heaves a collective sigh of ‘susegad’ around lunchtime and switches off from the heat outside.

Susegad – which comes from the Portuguese word ‘sossegado’ for ‘quiet’ – refers to the laidback attitude of Goans, who seem to live in a perennial state of contentment. Perry Goes, a Goan living in Bengaluru in India's southern Karnataka state, told me, “Like siesta itself, susegad is born of an innate realisation that you cannot and should not fight the small things of life. Like on a hot, sultry, soporific summer afternoon, it is best to shut down and spend time in the shade. Otherwise, you won’t be able to enjoy the balmy summer evening that comes later.” Like other Goans, Goes uses the Spanish word siesta rather than the Portuguese sesta.

Yet, susegad is much more than just taking a nap in the afternoons. “It is about living life at a slow pace, taking your ‘own sweet time’ about everything,” as Shekhar Vaidya, a marketing executive who was born and lived most of his adult life in Goa, explained. “After all, where is the hurry?” he added.

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Tags: #india, #naps, #religion, #selfcare
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