Bina Nayak
HarperCollins India
February 22, 2024
Final Verdict

About the Author

Bina Nayak, a graphic designer with 28+ years in Advertising and Media, was born in Bombay to Goan parents. After graduating from Sir JJ School of Art she worked in FCB Speer, DDB Mudra, Leo Burnett, Ogilvy and The Walt Disney Company. Being adept at Copywriting and Art Direction, she independently handled most of her assignments. At Ogilvy she started writing a fiction novel- Starfish Pickle.
Other Works By Bina Nayak
Starfish Pickle

Goagr@m by Bina Nayak Review: A Striking Novel on Goa and Social Media

Goa-based author and graphic designer Bina Nayak’s recent book is about the misadventures of an influencer. Madhur Chopra aka Maddie escapes Delhi during the COVID-19 lockdown and lands in Goa, where she starts living in an old, crumbling Goan mansion called Casa Coutinho. Maddie befriends its landlady and soon begins vlogging. In no time, she finds herself swept up in the world of social media influencing and its quick fame – Insta likes, reels and ever-increasing subscribers. As her popularity soars, Maddie is elated when a middle-aged yesteryear Bollywood star recognises her one day. However, an unpleasant incident ensues, leaving a bad taste in her mouth. 

Along the way, Bina Nayak peppers the prose with some trivia about Goa, such as its lesser-known festivals and favourite street snacks, like the Ros omelette. Needless to say, the book somewhat sells Goa (as if it’s not oversold already!) to the reader. Nayak also projects what the state was like during the lockdown and just after.

The lockdown is lifted, and new restaurants are opening every day, even in small villages. Many people are visiting Goa than ever before – all those who would normally vacation in Thailand, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius or Sri Lanka, are coming to Goa. What’s even worse is that those who would go to Aruba, Ibiza or Santorini, are also coming to Goa, due to restrictions on international travel. And then, there are the regulars, who just love the state anyway.

Bina Nayak, Goagr@m

Personal Experiences of the Author

Nayak has spent two decades in Parra, her ancestral village in north Goa, close to a road featured fleetingly in the Bollywood film, Dear Zindagi. After the release of the film, the road became the go-to spot for every influencer in Goa. The story was born out of anger, writes Bina Nayak in the book’s Acknowledgements, but ended in an understanding, as she saw the reality of their lives beyond the glamour.

Goa has unwittingly become a mecca for influencers. Every second person on the road, beach or restaurant, is a self-proclaimed ‘famous influencer’, capturing Goa through a mobile screen. Everybody is demanding money for reviewing restaurants, hotels and boutiques, in lieu of views and promotion.

Bina Nayak, Goagr@m

Further, given that a majority of people think of Goa as mostly a party destination, when Maddie shows her viewers ‘the real Goa’ – telling them about its customs, traditional food, architecture and indigenous fabrics – ironically, no one seems too interested.

Bina Nayak

Some eye-opening trivia, at least for me, included the fact that Goan Catholics celebrate All Souls Day on November 2nd every year when they clean up the graves of their relatives. Also, the annual Narkasur celebration, when people make papier mache effigies of a demon filled with crackers and burn it on Diwali morning.

Favourite Quote from Gurugram by Bina Nayak

The best photos happen not by planning, but by being at the right place at the right time and seizing the moment.


On the surface, this is a light, fun read about a typical Punjabi girl from Delhi who finds herself in Goa. At a deeper level, the book is about the highs and perils of technology in today’s digital world. Moreover, it’s an insight into the lives of the current generation of digital creators, some of whom started their vlogging journeys (and subsequent careers) before they were even ten.

Overall, the book projects influencers in a humourous and positive light. In the book’s Acknowledgements, Bina Nayak even thanks some of them for documenting Goa’s heritage, food and traditions. The book also particularly highlights the plight of female influencers. “Women are second class citizens in the social media space also, just as in life,” affirms the author. More importantly, the book is also about the pitfalls of constantly living online on digital devices and its repercussions on one’s mental health.

Neha Kirpal

Neha Kirpal

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *