Picturesque Goa

Picturesque Goa
NOSTALGIA - Articles,Poems & Photos


TONFERNS CREATIONS - Tony's Art & Hobbies

Tuesday, October 21, 2008



Yes, we are still in Mapusa, but today we are just still dreaming of the good old days. Peaceful, with its unique charm, and rustic ways of yesteryear. This picture was taken from the first floor of the historic Camara Municipal de Bardez building, but today in our dreams we are facing south-west. In the foreground is the old praça - stand for taxis plying on north-east routes of Goa, namely Tivim, Colvale and Bicholim. Just a little behind the taxi-stand is the beginning of the winding road that proceeds to Nossa Senhora de Milagres Church, Suisse Chapel, Reis de Costa Photographers, Bairao Hall, Bairao Hardware and the line of Coffin-Makers. The buidling that housed the once famous Institute Saldanha, Cosme Mathias Menezes and Bhobe's Shop and other merchants are visible below the praça. In the fifties Dentist Germano, who lived in Guirim, had his clinic there. The street very next to the left of the building leads to the once beautiful market place designed and built in the late fifties. Now totally in shambles, it is barely recognizable from its former pristine glory.

Visible in the distance are the verdant hills of Verla on the right, and Saligao in the centre. The attached picture is scanned from an original photographic print taken in 1976.

Year : 1976 (the date can be clearly seen on the left side of white-bordered prints of that era. Printed in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Camera: Asahi Pentax Model S1a, fully manual camera with screw-type interchangeable lenses.

Lens: Pentax f2 55mm standard lens

Film : Kodak 35mm 100 ASA

Print: Kodak

This picture is scanned from an original print. Tony Fernandes

‘Sonhos de Mapuça Antiga’ – Dreams of Old Mapuça

Monday, October 20, 2008


Mapusa, Tranquil No More
(Photo: 1976 : Mapusa Town Street, Bardez, North Goa, India)
During the seventies the merchant town of Mapusa in Bardez District of North Goa was a peaceful place. Demonstrations and 'bundhs' were unheard of. The traditional Friday bazaar was unique, with usual hustle and the bustle, but much less crowded than nowadays.
In sharps contrast to the old days, it is very distressing to hear what is happening now in this once peaceful town.

Today it seems as though every day is a Friday bazaar day with hawkers squatting everywhere. It is difficult to walk through without stamping on some trinket pedlar's wares.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Written by Gene Autry and Jimmy Long, 1932

Sung by : Jim Reeves
RCA LP 1961

Year of Grand Ole Opry Membership: 1955
Year in Country Music Hall of Fame: 1967

Dedicated to Daddies Everywhere

In a vine-covered shack in the mountains
Bravely fighting the battle of Time
There's a dear one who's weathered life's sorrow
It's that silver haired Daddy of mine.

If I could recall all the heartaches
Dear old Daddy, I've caused you to bear
If I could erase those lines from your face
And bring back the gold to your hair.

If God would but grant me the power
Just to turn back the pages of Time
I'd give all I own if I could but atone
To that silver haired Daddy of mine.

I know it's too late, dear old Daddy
To repay for the heartaches and care
But dear Mother is waiting in Heaven
Just to comfort and solace you there.

If I could recall all the heartaches
Dear old Daddy, I've caused you to bear
If I could erase those lines from your face
And bring back the gold to your hair.

If God would but grant me the power
Just to turn back the pages of Time
I'd give all I own if I could but atone
To that silver haired Daddy of mine.

All Photographs in Video Adaptation
by Tony Fernandes
Please press play and turn up the volume

Monday, October 13, 2008


Together someday we will all surely share
in the joy of eternal bliss......

Beyond the Sunset

Words by Virgil P. Brock
Music by Blanche Kerr Brock © Word Music, Inc.
Sung by: Mary Jo Stafford & Gordon MacRae

Beyond the sunset, O blissful morning,
When with our Savior heav'n is begun;
Earth's toiling ended, O glorious dawning,
Beyond the sunset when day is done.

Beyond the sunset, no clouds will gather,
No storms will threaten, no fears annoy;
O day of gladness, O day unending,
Beyond the sunset eternal joy!

Beyond the sunset, a hand will guide me
To God the Father whom I adore;
His glorious presence, His words of welcome,
Will be my portion on that fair shore.

Beyond the sunset, O glad reunion,
With our dear loved ones who've gone before;
In that fair homeland we'll know no parting,
Beyond the sunset forever more!

Main Picture: Sunset at Fisher Lake.
Near Kearney, Ontario.
Photograph by: Tony Fernandes
Farewell, Mr. Erasmus Viegas
on behalf of all the family members, relatives and friends
(please click on play and turn up the volume)

Sunday, October 12, 2008


2 June 1927 - 11 October 2008

His wit, his wisdom and his voice.

It is with great sadness that I learned about the passing away of Mr. Erasmus Viegas.

My first meeting with this truly great man was in 1973 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where he happened to visit the offices where I worked. From then on we were good friends - I met him often at parties, heard his flawless tenor voice, laughed at the gut-shattering humour in his jokes and often took his advice in many matters. A great man himself, he hardly took any credit for his good deeds, but instead showered praises on the young and old alike including myself which I did not probably deserve more than he did for his exemplary life.

What is touching me most is that he passed away clutching my book "Goa - Memories of My Homeland", which I had presented to him two years ago, in his hands. Though far away from his homeland, yet perhaps so near, through the poems and stories about Goa, its culture and folklore, which he must have kept close to his heart.

I would like to express my deep sorrow and convey my sympathies to his loving family.

The verses below have been excerpted from my book which, as a tribute, I dedicate to this truly great and wonderful man.
Summarizing our own mortality while we grieve for our loved ones, at such times we comfort those who have lost theirs, but have to contend with the fact that we might leave others to grieve for us when our days on earth are done.


When the final summons
Beckons at my door
To leave for another shore
I know it’s God’s call I can’t ignore.

It will be my life’s journey’s end,
Sudden and abrupt
Unannounced and undecided
I will have to leave in haste.

This departure I cannot
Adjourn, defer or halt
No luggage to cart
No time to prepare
Or say good-bye
Before I acknowledge
My final roll call.

Today I lament for loved ones
That I have lost long ago
But in turn will have to obey God’s command
When I have served my tenure and
And my time on earth is done.

Let me therefore do good,
Pardon my friend or foe
For it may be too late to do so
When God knocks on my door
And I am unable to look back
I have got to go.

When I am gone
My friends and family
May in turn
Grieve in pain and sorrow
And remorse so deep
So help me God to be good to others today
In what ever I do or say
So that I may be remembered
when the chapel bells toll tomorrow.

From up above I will only silently see
Unable to communicate or respond
Direct , guide or tell
But perhaps I could only wish
And hope there is at least one good thing
That I will be remembered by
If at all.

Mr. Erasmus Viegas, we will miss you.

Tony Fernandes
Remembering Mr. Erasmus Viegas
Circa 1983 - Sharjah - UAE
It was Yuletide. We had Erasmus & Olivia Viegas over at our place in Sharjah, U.A.E. At that time I was a beginner on the Yamaha Electone Organ. Mr. Viegas asked me whether I could play 'One Day at a Time' - one of his favourites. I said I'd try and I did play. When I had finished, he said: "That's wonderful". It was far from being perfectly played, because I knew I must have made more than a dozen errors. But then, that was his way of encouraging others.
Year 2007 - Ajax - Ontario, Canada (24 years later)
Mr. Viegas telephoned personally to invite Edna and myself well in advance to celebrate his 80th Birthday. As a modest surprise I thought I'd play for him his favourite song 'Love is a many-splendored thing' on the violin. So I started to practice in right earnest well in advance. And I did manage somehow to play it for him on his birthday. My rendition might have had plenty of flaws - the melody was too huge for a novice only 3 years into learning the violin. When I had finished, he said: "That's wonderful". Even though I must not have done justice to his favourite song there was encouragement from him once again.
'Love is a many-splendored thing' was his best song that I loved - a timeless classic among his other hits of all time. No tune was tough for him to sing. He sang them like a breeze, hitting the crescendos that shook the walls of many halls without the necessity of a microphone. Incidentally, the song has an arrangement of 22 chords and 67 sequential chord changes. 'Ave Maria" and 'Jezebel' that he sang equally well, must rank next up there in the charts in the heavens.
For Mr. Erasmus Viegas - Love for singing, and life for giving were really a many-splendored thing.
Tony Fernandes

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Vintage Cars in Goa

Vintage Cars in Goa

Vintage Cars have always been of interest to me ever since I was a kid. I would stop in my tracks if I ever came across these fine gems of yesteryear just to watch them pass by. Eventually time passed by and I finally owned camera. Added with my general interest in photography, it let me have the benefit of having at least a picture of these taken, if not own one.

During my annual vacations to Goa in the sixties and seventies, I often visited my relatives who lived far away. It was during one of such enjoyable trips when I travelled through the countryside that I came upon these cars in the market place or far away in distant districts where my relatives lived. Sometimes when I spotted them on the way, I would request the driver to stop, and after having immediately slowed down and eventually coming to a halt I would shoot and proceed on my way. Photographing these really made my day. Some old ruins of ancestral Goan homes provided a perfect setting.

The photograph of the Austin shown above was taken by me in 1976 at Mapusa. I often saw it parked then at the Praça, opposite the petrol station.

Tony Fernandes

Camera: Asahi Pentax S1a, with f2.0 55mm standard lens
Film & Print: Kodak
This picture is scanned from an original print.
© Tony Fernandes
4th October 2008

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Margao, Goa. India. 1964
Picture by Tony Fernandes
(Guirim, Cumbiem Morod, Bardez, Goa - India)

This picture is converted from an original Kodachrome slide, lying dormant for so many years among the other pictures in my collection of slides of that era. So to bring it back to life on the computer I used my old Asahi Pentax close-up lenses with Hansa bellows slide-copier coupled with Nikon D401X Digital Camera. And voila! I thought now we are getting somewhere, although the result is not super, I guess it will be acceptable, considering the numbers of years that have passed by, being stored in its immediately identifiable Kodachrome trademark yellow box and a transparent lid of that time!

The attributes of the picture worth noting without a doubt are the obvious ones: the clean Margao streets, the good old Caminhao is seen in the distance, Volkswagen Beetles, left over from the years prior to 1961 from the Portuguese era, are seen in front of the imposing building that bears a sign that reads: THE GOA STATE COOPERATIVE BANK, upon a close macro view of the original slide.

Generally, in the overall picture very few people seem to be out on the streets. No hustle and bustle. Everything appears to be calm, simple, rustic and no one seems to be in any apparent hurry as is evident in the leisurely walk of the 2 guys in the foreground. In the bottom left of the picture I surmise that it may be a short-trousered Goan perhaps, befriending someone in a 'lungi' for the first time on the streets of Margao.

Barely three years into the Indian take-over of Goa, when the photo was taken, it seems the 'lungiwalla' has already made his initial foray into looking at business opportunities or possibly in his earnest interest in looking out for a job!

The lone cyclist also seems to have his way – he is riding right in the centre of the road, which is unimaginable and simply not possible today.

It seems that the Caminhao is empty. Were the passengers on strike? I wonder.

See the 'Glycodin' for cough hoarding in the back ground below the hill and the 'No horn please' sign in the foreground? Simple, rural and rustic charm.
Kodachrome colour reversal film from Eastman Kodak was a process-paid film available in the 1960’s in Indian sub-continent and in the Middle Eastern countries. During my years in Goa and Bombay, I sent my film to the Bombay Film Laboratories at Dadar in Bombay for processing in slides; and when I worked in Dubai, I sent them to Hemel Hempsted Labs in the United Kingdom. In later years I got the slides developed at the United Film Laboratories in Ajman, U.A.E.

The trend of colour slides declined over the years, and finally disappeared from the scene.

The added joy of taking pictures using colour slide films was that one could have a slide show for family and friends to watch at home by using a 35mm film slide projector. Thus one could not only have personal projection of slides at a evening get-together with family and friends, but could also have prints made from the slides as well if required. Though the cost of making this choice was expensive, it was fun as a hobby. The reason behind this extra expense was due to the fact that the colour labs had to first make a negative from the dia-positive slide, and then make a colour print from the negative.

The advantage of using slide film was the clarity, a balanced skin tone and general fine picture quality. The benefit of using medium speed 35mm 64ASA was less grain, resulting in exceptionally sharp pictures.

Tony Fernandes
Guirim, Cumbiem Morod,
Bardez, Goa - India

Monday, October 06, 2008



Now let's go to Mapusa! Let go to the fish market, and the great Friday Mapusa Bazaar of once upon a time!

The attached picture is scanned from an original photographic print that was taken from the first floor of the Camara Municipal de Bardez Offices in Mapusa in 1976. The view shows the road up the steep slope of Mapusa, Altinho, proceeding towards Duler. The steep incline posed a real challenge for a cyclist to make it to the top without alighting. My bicycle had no gears.

My friend and I often competed when we used to go to watch football matches in Duler. And once we got to the top it was a great feeling to just let go of the brakes and enjoy the cool breeze blow in your face. Very often I thought about the good old saying "Dukh kaddlear, sukh meuta" which was very applicable and true in this case.

On the right of the picture are the offices of the erstwhile Banco Nacional Ultramarino, later State Bank of India. Further up to the right is the building where the famous Kamat Studio was located.

On the left of the road going up (opposite Kamat) was Registo Civil of the Portuguese era and even later. The offices have now been moved to a dreadful place, a poorly maintained building, where all the old hand scripted record books and registers are simply going haywire. These old manuscripts are not stored properly and before any action is taken these important data will be lost forever.

Year : 1976 (the date can be clearly seen on the left side of white-bordered prints of that era. Printed in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Camera: Asahi Pentax, with f2.0 50mm standard lens.
Film & Print: Kodak
This picture is scanned from an original print.
© Tony Fernandes

Friday, October 03, 2008


Photograph by: Tony

View from the Causeway
Ponte de Linhares
Entering Panjim from Ribandar and Goa Velha

Photo by Tony Fernandes, May 1972
converted from Kodachrome Transparency

As one can see in the picture this bridge had many supporting spans,
but unfortunately it was one that had a very short life span.
A Bridge No More

“Ajeeb hai he Goa ke bridge”. Equally more “ajeeb hai contract award karnewale aur bridge bannewale”.

          The foundation stone of the first bridge over the River Mandovi was laid by the Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. This bridge, called Nehru Bridge was completed in 1970. The waters of the Mandovi were lucky but just for a few years to pass underneath it. This bridge collapsed in 1986. The concrete spans did not mysteriously take a dive in the Mandovi; in fact it was primarily due to a faulty design and lack of maintenance work.

          Having taken 9 nine years to complete and another equal number of years till the pile-drivers found bedrock to give the bridge a footing, the teenage generation of that period that I belonged to patiently watched the seemingly slow process of its construction, seeing the bridge pylons from a distance while crossing the Mandovi river on the ferry between Betim and Panjim. It was not completed till I was in my early twenties when I had started working in Bombay and then in the Arabian Gulf.

          While I watched this bridge being built, it always gave me the impression that everything that went around the construction area seemed to be at a stand-still. I waited in vain for many years. On every vacation to Goa I said to myself: “You know, Tony, you are going to take the taxi straight home over that bridge the next time you come down to Goa”. The next time did come though, but not soon enough. It came many years later after an endless waiting period. And before I was in my forties, that ‘ajeeb’ bridge collapsed. And for many years again, we had no bridge. And the scenery around that area was not looking good either.

          Indeed ‘Ajeeb hai Goa ke bridge’ but not its people. Today people from other parts of India and from all over the world flock to this enchanting place lured by its fascinating beauty. It remains as a favourite tourist destination to many, and almost everybody I meet nowadays seems to wish to buy property there.

Tony Fernandes

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Major Days of the Morris Minor,
the Doctor, my Bicycle and ME.

As I grew up in Goa during the 1950’s and 1960’s it was quite common to see American and European cars on the roads then. Although no one in my family owned a car, I was very happy to receive an occasional ride in a Morris Minor that belonged to our family physician.

On a side note, I was happy with a new adult-size bicycle that my father gave me. (By the way, I think it was as though even the bicycle was bought keeping in mind the usual 'vaddtea angar'* principle that prevails until today (*literal meaning: for the growing body) to benefit a fast growing body of a teenager!). 
My bicycle played its part alongside the Morris Minor.

The Morris was quite a popular car among other 'foreign' cars in those days - fine medium-sized piece of English automotive engineering of that era. They were seen in many colours: black, dark blue, grey or white, and were mainly privately owned by landlords, doctors, lawyers and merchants.

As a young lad I ran errands for many households in the village other than my own. One of these errands, on many occasions, was to fetch a doctor to the village in an emergency. Sometimes I would be summoned by a neighbour at a short notice for a quick brief: name of the town, name of the doctor, street address and directions, not forgetting to let the doctor know that’s it is urgent and that he has to come as soon as he possibly can.

One of these doctors who often visited our village had a clinic in the town of Mapusa, Bardez - a district in North Goa - a distance of about 2 km from our village. And, of course, he happened to own one of these fine cars of yesteryear – the ‘Mighty’ Morris Minor of yesteryear.

Having made it to the doctor’s clinic on my bicycle, the first thing I would do was to make sure I locked my bike. Then briefly speaking to the nurse with a request for the doctor’s visit, I would wait outside for the doctor to conclude examinations of his remaining patients in the clinic, if there were any. Leaving my cycle there after making sure that I locked it, I would ride along with the doctor giving him the directions.

It was customary in those days for the errand runner to carry the doctor’s medical kit bag as a courtesy, walking and leading the way from the car to the patient's house, and I must say I humbly did my duty. As for me, it was a great experience doing that. For a brief 3 minutes’ walk to the house, from the winding road that ran through the village, I felt as if I was actually the doctor. I momentarily also got carried away in my thoughts: “Some day if I ever decide to be a doctor, then someone else will have to carry this bag” I thought.

After examining and having been convinced he had successfully diagnosed the illness of ‘The Goan Patient’ the following is what the doctor would usually say to the folks of the household in Konkani: “Binaka re. Tum zatlo boro. Rexeth boroun ditam. Hem vokot, hea burgeak Mapusa thaun porot hetanam, adduni. Ani koxem dista tem porot maka faleam gomon dilea puro.’ (Here a translation of what the doctor said: ‘Don’t worry. You will get alright. I’m writing a prescription. Tell this lad to buy this medicine on his way back from Mapusa. And tomorrow let me know how you feel.’)

Having said this, the doctor put the sphygmomanometer and stethoscope back into the bag, washed his hands with new soap set aside solely for his use on the window sill while I poured water on his hands. The doctor smiled and wiped his hands on the clean towel. Suddenly my thoughts wandered off, thinking as though I was in the village chapel doing the duties of an altar boy before coming back to reality.

As a courtesy the doctor then asked about the general health of the rest of the family members before heading for the door. Simultaneously, it was time for me to pick up the doctor’s bag and accompany him to the Morris car. Meanwhile he was kind in inquiring as to how I was doing in school.

After getting a 'jolly good ride' in the well-kept 'Morris Minor' to the doctor's clinic, I would unlock my bicycle and quickly pedal to the pharmacy and hand over the prescription to the pharmacist (a.k.a. 'compounder'). I would wait till the medicine was ready, and watch him cut out notches that indicated the doses on a strip of paper and paste it on the side of the bottle.

Sometimes, along with the benefit of enjoying a ride in the doctor’s Morris Minor in running this errand, there was also a major reward for me in accomplishing this task. A cold drink or a ‘falooda’, sometimes tea and patties or a 'limboo-soda' (fresh lemonade) in the interim period while the medicines got ready. Then I happily hurried back to my village on my bike, reaching home safely with the medicine bottle intact, at times just before sun-down. Wishing the patient a quick recovery, brought to an end yet one more major day for the Morris Minor, the Doctor, my bicycle and me.

Tony Fernandes