Whenever I mention that I grew up in Goa, those who have heard of it react with wonder and curiosity, both of which are almost always laced with a twinge of envy. India’s smallest state is synonymous with beaches, hippies, trance music, vindalhoo, and, to my enormous displeasure, drugs. To me, however, Goa signifies lush paddy fields in a shade of green I still cannot define, coconut palms framing soothing sunsets, and whitewashed churches in perfect harmony alongside colourful temples. As a child, I of course took these landscapes for granted. As a fresh-faced architecture graduate, I came to better appreciate the state’s well-kept public gardens, pastel-coloured facades and bustling marketplaces. As an expat who has now been away for more than a decade, my heart breaks a little for the Goa that awaits me each time I return, with streets choked by rule-flouting cars, off-shore casinos that are killing the capital’s main river, and my favourite beach littered with plastic and beer bottles. This viewpoint is both a form of protest against the growing apathy evident in my hometown and also a plea to better cherish our public spaces.