Deciphering susegad – The Hindu

With Clyde D’Souza’s new book celebrating ‘The Goan Art of Contentment’, a few pointers

It seems that all roads have led to Goa during the pandemic, what with holidayers from around the country squeezing in anything from an overnighter to several months in the sunshine state. Therefore the timing of Clyde D’Souza’s Susegad: The Goan Art of Contentment couldn’t have been better. In his book, the Goan programming head at a television company in Mumbai covers history and culture, includes colourful Konkani phrases, and asks famous Goans to spill their susegad secrets. After all, if ikigai and hygge, the Japanese and Danish concepts respectively, have been easily adopted as a lifestyle and design trend, why not susegad (from the Portuguese word sossagado, meaning quiet). D’Souza explains in his book that when irritated, Goans will often say in Konkani ‘Maka suseg di’ (give me peace or quiet). Explaining that his is not a self-help book, he continues, “Globally, we’ve all been through an unprecedented thing. This has resulted in a lot of people thinking about their lives very consciously. Whether it’s ikigai, hygge, or susegad, broadly all of these concepts are about increasing your awareness and being more conscious of what you do.”

The purpose of his book? “It is for those visitors who want to go beyond the beaches and the bars, and explore those little village ways that still exist. The other aspect is to look at some of the ways you can bring susegad elements into your life. For example, by taking a siesta.”

According to the locals

Vijaydatta Lotlikar, National Award-winning coconut craftsman

For me, susegad has two meanings. One meaning is a person who is only idle and relaxing. The second meaning is one who is satisfied with his own hard work.

Vasco Silveira, founder and chef, Horseshoe Restaurant, Panjim

For me, Susegad is not running behind money. The more you run after money, the more money runs away from you. You should work for the pleasure of working. Owe no one and let no one owe you. For example, at Horseshoe, I don’t run anything on credit.

The book cover

Thought for the day

The book has a tidy selection of Konkani proverbs to test drive

Try: ‘Nachunk kollana, angonn vankddem’. It means: ‘If you can’t dance, the floor is crooked.’

The lesson: Do not blame external factors for your own weakness.

An illustration from the book

São João festival

The São João festival is a tribute to St John the Baptist. For Goans, it also marks the beginning of the monsoons and begins with a prayer for a good rainy season, which is important for the crops. Then comes the susegad element: Across the state, Goans can be seen leaping into wells, rivers and now, even swimming pools.

Meanwhile…

In December last year, Goa Forward Party leader and former BJP ally Vijai Sardesai promised that if elected Chief Minister in the 2022 Assembly elections, he would make siesta between 2 pm and 4 pm compulsory. “An afternoon nap is an integral part of susegad,” he had added.

Published by Penguin Random House and priced at ₹399

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