"Goa is not India," says Leon about the quaint village Arambol Beach situated in North Goa - a place well known as meeting point for neo-hippies, where people are searching for health and new inspiration in live, and where dropouts spend their time relaxing and chilling at the beach. With a cheerful touch of irony the Austrian film maker Rudolf Gottsberger paints the loving pictures of five dropouts, who are stranded in Arambol: a panorama of dreams, wishes and desires, sometimes even the search for spiritual enlightenment.
But the documentary also sheds light on the smaller and larger challenges of everyday life, its protagonists have to deal with... but just to enjoy "shanti times" again, as Elena, the Russian owner of the Hempcafé in Arambol describes.
"Goa is not India," says Leon about the quaint village Arambol Beach situated in North Goa. Before the astonished eyes of the locals his bride rides to their 7-day Jewish wedding on a decorated white horse like a princess. And about the traditional prayer shawl, that four of the wedding guests hold over the bride and groom’s head, Leon tells us: „We bought it from a guy called Mohammed at a Muslim shop, but it looked excellently jewish.“
The Carinthian Ingo, who left Austria after his mother died, takes us to the markets in Arpora and Anjuna. He shows us the hustle and bustle and reveals, what everybody does – tourists as well as locals – with their household waste: they burn it in the roadside ditch.
Elena, the young Russian owner of the Hempcafé knows, what adventurers are looking for in Arambol: „You can find company, you can find loneliness.“
Currently, a bridge is being built that will connect Arambol with an airport in Maharashdra, and that will change the area.
But it won’t be finished before 10-15 years, as Elena says, so everybody has still plenty of occasions to enjoy the „shanti times”.
And in Arambol the clocks tick at a different pace: The two Russians Maya and Tanit spend their days with tantra meditation and Mandala Dance in the tradition of the ancient Indian temple dancers. Ever since Maya cured herself with it from a severe illness, they teach this practise to other women: „So mainly divine energy coming in this moment...“
His very own moments of happiness finds Thierry, a guy from Switzerland, on the seat of his jam-packed motorcycle. In Arambol he recharges his batteries for his journey around the world, that will take 10 years and leads him through all the continents.
Thierry fears for his life considering the breakneck traffic in India. But about problems during the journey he knows: „There’s always a solution. People want to help with all their heart. You are never alone.”
With the help of his protagonists the Austrian film maker Rudolf Gottsberger reveals a microcosm of people with different backgrounds and aims, who have one thing in common: Arambol, the place that they are living at, where they work, relax and dream. We get to know Goa from their perspective – here and now – without slipping into a glorified view… Goa is not India…
© Rudolf Gottsberger