What made Omer Haidar (MD – Showhouse Event Management Pvt. Ltd) settle in Goa?

I hail from…

I was born in Calcutta, indeed the City of Joy. After my schooling in Don Bosco and while still in St. Xavier’s College, I launched my event management company (Showhouse). Around 20 years ago, we shifted to Bombay after opening our first branch office there but kept visiting our HO in Calcutta very regularly. 

The first time I came to Goa…

I started coming to Goa from mid 80s. It had that unmistakable carefree, warm and friendly rural vibe, so unlike from the rest of India. 

What made me want to settle…

My very dear friend Wendell Rodricks influenced me a lot to settle down in Goa. Luckily, we found a property, a decade ago, in Colvale, diagonally opposite his house (now being turned into Moda Goa Museum). Colvale is undoubtedly one of the prettiest villages in North Goa with its winding walkways, old churches & chapels, beautiful Portuguese homes and the picturesque meandering Chapora River. I miss our loving Wendell. 

Here, I keep myself occupied with…

The pandemic dealt a severe blow to our event industry. Luckily we had a home in Goa and the full family shifted here just before the lockdown. I keep myself busy ideating and planning event strategies with my teams from my branch offices. Ours has always been an ‘open house’ with friends & family staying with us very often.  I love going to Mapusa market to buy fresh sea food, meats and other local produce….that’s the quintessential Bengali in me. 

My favourite dining place in Goa is…

For fresh & outstanding sea food, Spice Goa (Verem) tops my list. For Japanese delicacy, it’s Makutsu (Fontainhas). Ciao Bella (Anjuna) and Mustard (Assagao) are also my regular go-to eateries. For Tangra-style Chinese food, the newly opened Hakka Shiwu in Vagator is surely making waves. 

My must-visit recommendations in Goa are…

Fontainhas (Latin Quarters) for a slice of Portugal in India, Old Goa for its resplendent churches, the pristine tucked away Agonda beach in South Goa and the historical forts in Chapora & Aguada.

What I would never do in Goa is…

I detest people who pollute and litter the villages and the beaches. I avoid loud and noisy parties that disturb the quietness and simplicity of our Goan villages. I hate the unmindful urbanisation and construction of ugly mansions that are disturbing the very fabric of Goa. C’mon, we don’t need a Gurgaon in Assagao!! 

What I would change in Goa…

The convenience of public transport (eg. Ola and Uber). Segregation & disposal of garbage has become an immediate necessity with alarming consequences if not addressed soon by the authorities. Also, underground electrification is a must to avoid frequent power cuts.

My tips to people who want to move here are…

Blend & adapt with the simple lifestyle of Goa, not to promote mad urbanisation and mindless deforestation. Let the villages of Goa continue its distinct rustic charm, while Panjim, Dona Paula & Margao can take a planned metro route. 

Life in Goa to me is all about…

 For me Goa is all about calmness of the soul and a relaxed state of being….enjoying the greenery and the beaches, revisiting the history and culture. Goa has now become the gourmet capital of India serving authentic cuisines from across the world. 

A place in Goa that calms you down/ makes you happy …

Early morning walks on the beautiful, winding, village roads of the Colvale-Chicalim-Camurlim stretch and the stunning sunsets on the Morjim-Ashwem-Mandrem beaches certainly calms me down. 

Must-do things in Goa…

Visit the quaint bars and family-run eateries in Fontainhas, Revora & Aldona, spend some meaningful late-mornings at the many old age homes across Goa and indulge in kayaking and birdwatching along the backwaters.

‘Susegado’ to me means…

A good restful siesta after some chilled beer or the seasonal urrack along with Goan prawn curry rice or the Bengali kosha mangsho. 

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Author: Planet Goa Team
For us at Planet-Goa, our team is driven by that feeling of exhilaration that one gets when discovering that something ‘unique’ and ‘new’ about Goa for our ever-so-discerning readers.

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