My Hometown: Anjali Mody’s Goa
The epiphany to move to Goa hit Mumbai-born designer Anjali Mody during a trip to Bali. The founder and creative director of JOSMO (a multi-disciplinary design and manufacturing company) was on a sourcing trip to Indonesia and decided to stay a few extra days with her then-boyfriend, now-husband, Akshay Tandon. The tranquil green expanse surrounding their rental villa in Ubud made the couple yearn to foster a similar life back in India. That was seven years ago.
Within a year, they had moved full-time to the sunshine state of Goa, which was a fitting mise-en-scène for a lifestyle pivot steeped in unadulterated proximity to nature. The decision came at a time when Mody was contemplating changes on the professional front too. Her brand, which turns 13 this year, was already working on quirky commissioned pieces for the country’s movers and shakers – think chandeliers made from pocket watches and bar stools crafted from guitar picks. While this work fed her appetite for design, she felt the need to make her brand more accessible.
The designer admits it was (and still is) very unusual to have a business like hers in Goa. “But when you have conviction in how you want to live, you can’t base those decisions around work, or life will just pass you by,” she says. Mody now has her own private factory spaces here, a mere 15 minutes from her house. “And my office is just 10 minutes away. It’s an invaluable luxury, really,” she adds.
Mody’s house in the village of Nerul overlooks paddy fields and is a stone’s throw from her family’s holiday home, which she frequented in her childhood. “The peace and quiet is unmatched. I am more content and grounded here. Seeing all this green has changed the chemistry of my brain. Goa is medicinal,” she muses. “You also have more control over your day here. You are the master of your own time.”
Goa offers the ability to disconnect and tap into the unhurried pace of life – which has attracted an influx of creatives post pandemic – but ultimately it is a place where, says Mody, “You can be as hectic or as laidback as you want.”
Anjali Mody’s Top 6 Goa Recommendations
- I prefer South Goa’s under-the-radar beaches, such as Agonda and Palolem. No luxury frills here – just you and the water.
- Sundays are spent at the beachside boutique hotel Vaayu Kula in Mandrem with my friends and family. The location, vibe and menu are unmatched – I love the basil beauty drink. We only return home after watching the sunset.
- There are many design and fashion stores unique to Goa. There’s, of course, JOSMO! I also love Flame, The Good Life, Ranji Goa and SavioJon for their curations. The love that the founders pour into their edits is very evident.
- Bhatti Village, Vinayak and Copperleaf are your spots for a great authentic Goan thali, which typically comes with fried fish, curries, rice, veggies, coconut salad and pickle.
- Feni is a liquor made from cashew apples that’s indigenous to Goa. Go to hole-in-the-wall neighbourhood bar Joseph’s in Panjim for the feni and the vibe.
- Elsewhere is a charming private beachside property in an estate dating back to 1886 where you can stay in creek-side tents or standalone bungalows. The exact location is revealed only when you make a booking.
Praachi Raniwala is a Mumbai-based journalist whose work has appeared in the Financial Times, The New York Times, Condé Nast Traveller and Vogue India
Nerul; Agonda; thali, Vinayak; Prana Anjuna; Vaayu Kula ⓒ Kshitij Jadhav; Palolem Beach; Joseph Bar, Panjim; Ranji Goa; Flame; Vaayu Kula ⓒ Kshitij Jadhav; SavioJon; Agonda; SavioJon; Vaayu Kula ⓒ Kshitij Jadhav; Palolem Beach