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Words Meher Verma
Photographs Tenzing Dakpa

Nanu at a tea shop in Aldona

When The Postcard Hotel invited me to interview a taxi driver for our series, I agreed and awaited a name and phone number. Nanu Taxi was shared with me, a contact I have been sent at least a dozen times, and have saved on my phone in many different, confidence-inspiring ways: GOA TAXI, NANU BEST TAXI, GOA BEST DRIVER and so on. Nanu has been my go-to, and the go-to of so many friends of mine who live in Goa, for too many reasons: aside from being inspiringly punctual and respectful, he’s got a love for Goa that you can feel from the moment he picks you up and takes you into town. This is probably because he’s been dedicated to his profession since 2007, the year he took over from his father, who is famous for his Aldona-based transportation service that’s been around since 1975. He wants you to know, as soon as you are done texting on your phone, that your journey is a story. With him, you’re not just in safe hands. You’re in a mini class on Goa, and part of an always engaging dialogue that papers over all the bumps on the road.

What are the pleasures of driving in Goa? Favourite roads and times of year?
My favourite route used to be from Aldona to Dabolim airport - a smooth 45 minutes. But now, with the highway extension (NH17) it's become a full blown nightmare. I love the internal village roads of Goa though. They are scenic and still pollution free. I also love driving in the Monsoon—the greenery of the coast really shines.

Three words to describe your work life in Goa?
Discipline, honesty, and 24X7 service.

How was this year for you and your business? COVID-19 was a major setback... even the major recession in 2007 was better than this!


Nanu’s garage

How do you distinguish a “real” Goan taxi driver from a pseudo one?
There are “real” Goan drivers, like my father, who everyone calls Shiri. For me, the real drivers always respect their passengers, are punctual, and honest. I’ve been taught that customers are more important than money. Honestly, many of the new breed are super greedy. They don’t even care to explain the journey and the roads to customers.

How is all the development you see around you changing Goa?
In simple words, it’s becoming the next big concrete jungle.

What is your favourite thing about living in Goa? Least favourite thing?
Favourite: the fact that we celebrate so many festivals here is quite remarkable. Whether it is Easter, Christmas, Eid, or Ganesh Chaturthi— we celebrate with enthusiasm.
Least Favourite: the destruction of nature, and the iron ore mining, thanks to greedy politicians. Sometimes I feel like this place is becoming the next big concrete jungle.

What comes to your mind when we say:
Goa Monsoon: Green fields, farming, waterfalls and trekking
South Goa: Portuguese houses and clean beaches
Best food: Fish curry rice (said like that, in one breath, without punctuation).
Favourite Local Businesses (besides yours!): Farming, fishing, bakery
Christmas and New Years: Rush, celebrations, and traffic.

How do you really feel about so many people moving to Goa?
As a taxi driver, it's been a benefit, as people use my services more. But, I do hope that the people who are moving here help us to preserve our beautiful environment and culture.


Nanu outside his home and office

Tell us something about Goa you want people to know:
Goa is not only about beaches and parties. We have a rich, wonderful culture, and there are incredible places to see. Probably too many to name, but some of my favourites are here, in a list:

The Mahadev Wildlife Sanctuary
Chadreshwar Parvath at Quepem
The amazing Chapels, like Our Lady of the Mount at Velha Goa
The Natravali Bubble Lake and Waterfalls Arambolim Lake
The Panjim Latin Quarters
Finally, do not miss St. Thomas’ beautiful church in Aldona (Nanu’s village).