How to lobby a Goan MinisterAs new kids on the block and foreign females to boot we were acutely aware of doing everything by the book. The only problem: there was no book.
We have the dubious honour of not only being the first villa rental holiday company in Goa but the first in India so it was pretty much a case of making it up as we went along. Quite frankly nobody knew how to categorise us when it came to legal permissions, registrations, licenses, taxes etc.
We thought The Tourism Department was the obvious place to start and local advice was to go right to the top – the Director of Tourism? No, it had to be the Minister himself!!!
Now how does one go about setting up a meeting with a Government Minister? Silly us, just ‘go to his house of course’.
Dubious about this we decided to take this advice anyway and one sleepy afternoon we found ourselves outside an impressive Portuguese House with an extension at the back which obviously housed his official offices.
The security guard on the gate was no obstacle at all – he opened the gate and as we swept past he pointed us down the garden path towards the office block.
The first room we entered was totally deserted, as was the next and the next, a little confused we reversed out and shrugged at the guard who gestured us to continue deeper inside. It was a bit spooky being on the Marie Celeste and having reached the end of a corridor of empty rooms we turned around and the guard, who was now at the opposite end, gestured again but this time upwards.
Confused now and ever so slightly wary we noticed the only way ‘up’ was through a set of heavy wooden doors into a double height hallway with a sweeping staircase up to a broad gallery. We were now, very obviously, in the private quarters.
We tiptoed to the top of the stairs (it was so quiet it made us tiptoe) when a door opened – light streaming into the gloomy landing freezing us like startled rabbits in headlights.
A disheveled gentleman in his pajama bottoms and vest emerged and not at all abashed he courteously invited us to take a seat and enquired as to the nature of our visit.
We explained, in great detail, just who we were and why we were there and we had a little chat about the business concept. He then thanked us for informing him and wished us well with our enterprise and retreated back into through the door he had appeared from leaving us stifling giggles and desperate to get out.
And that folks is how you lobby a Government Minister Goa style, sitting outside his bedroom with him in pajamas.