Picturesque Goa

Picturesque Goa
NOSTALGIA - Articles,Poems & Photos


TONFERNS CREATIONS - Tony's Art & Hobbies

Friday, December 31, 2010


Again, we bid farewell to yet another completed year as we usher in another. Each year we wish and pray for peaceful days ahead, free from turmoil, war, natural disasters. Some folks happily attend parties, family get-together, large social gatherings in communities irrespective of caste or religion to celebrate the new year. Some may be thinking of their loved ones who were with them in the last year, and as fate has it, they are not with them today to share in those happy moments of yesteryear.

We remember the good old days when attending a New Year’s Eve Ball was the norm. Today as we are much older, we can’t help but reminisce about the good old days, and the good times we had then shared with our friends, some of whom are not longer with us. Some times I tend to ask myself why we refer to those days as the good old days. Conversely, I believe that the days are the same, the only difference being that we are getting older.

Poignantly though and quite aptly, some of us may reminisce once again in forming a circle with our friends at the Ball, waiting for the count-down at the stroke of midnight and singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’.

At the same time, in true fashion of “Old Long Ago’ we take time to re-kindle cherished memories of our loving Fredrick and Benny Barboza.

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and days of old lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010



The rolling stream of life rolls on.
But still the vacant chair
Recalls the love, the voice, the smile
Of the one who once sat there

Sent by Edna Fernandes

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Fredrick Charles Barboza

The Composer

You once composed
and sang songs
with love,
Will you continue
That labour of love
and sing them
in heaven above?
We ask.

Surely you will,
we guess
as perhaps
there still remains
an unfinished task.

Keep up the tempo,
keep up the rhyme,
in the company of
a heavenly choir
with songs and lyrics
while we cherish
the legacy
you left behind.

An Impromptu Ode
by Tony Fernandes

Friday, December 24, 2010

The ECHO Harp

The ECHO Harp 54/64 M2 C/G
Harmonica by M. Hohner
double sided vibrato tone harmonica
in the keys of C & G.
This tremolo tuned harmonica has 32 holes
and plays 64 notes on each side

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Please press play and turn up the volume.
Silent Night
Harmonica (Echo Harp) and Guitar
Played by Tony Fernandes 
in the Key of C 

Photo: 'Tonferns Crib'

Wednesday, December 22, 2010



All photos by Tony Fernandes

My first inspiration as a child for art.

As a child growing up I often attended major feasts at this church, walking to the church with my mother from our ward in Guirim at Cumbiem Morod. Also all the more because my aunt and cousins lived in Parra. Among the fond memories of this church that I especially cherish is the feast day of St. Anne, attending the solemn High Mass, and later visiting the traditional fair that was held outside the church compound and then walk to my aunt's house for a delicious banquet for the grand occasion. 

The major feature of this beautiful church, and a very rare one, is the portico of this awesome church. It has an unique facade with steps leading to it from the front. Along with its awesome architectural grandeur, it has some beautiful art - the paintings along the corridors and the frescoes on the ceiling and its gold painted altars. All these have always fascinated me ever since the time I was a child when I also accompanied my aunt and cousins for various feasts and functions that were held at this church. 

In its idyllic setting against a backdrop of the hills behind the church, a beautiful straight road leads to it from Jaknim in Parra with scenic surroundings. Flanked by breath-taking plush green fields in the monsoon season on is a sight to behold. As a child I walked on this road from my house in Guirim, Cumbiem Morod, as a teenager I rode on a bicycle and as a adult on a scooter.

Outdoor masses, Konkani dramas and other special functions are also held in front of the church.

This beautiful stretch of road that leads to the church is one of the most scenic in Parra. As a child I walked on this road from my house in Guirim, Cumbiem Morod, as a teenager on a bicycle and as a adult on a scooter. On my every visit to Goa I simply love to ride on this road and a breath of fresh air amidst the lovely surroundings. 
This regional section of the road forms part of the scenic and winding road passing through from the village of  Guirim at Perxeth Vaddo at the Mapusa-Panjim highway on through Parra Jaknim at the Tintto to St. Anne's Church, Parra Arrady, and onward to the left to Arpora, and right to Anjuna and Siolim for a thrilling ride.

Next to the church is the cemetery with the timeless phrase in Konkani 'Aiz Mhaka, Faleam Tuka' (literally meaning: Today for me, tomorrow for you) inscribed over the arched doorway.

St. Anne's Church, Parra, Bardez, Goa. India.
The Franciscan Rectorate of St. Anne, comprising the villages of Parra, Canca and Verla, was established between 1650 and 1653 and was affiliated to the Parish of Nagoa. This first church of Parra was burnt down by the Marathas in 1683, and was rebuilt in 1688.

NATIVITY CRIB at St. Anne's Church, Parra, Bardez, Goa.

View the above photo by Tony Fernandes in Google Earth
Photo details: Uploaded on May 26, 2010
  • © All Rights Reserved 
    by tony fernandes
  • Camera: Canon PowerShot A530 Taken on 2009/12/19 01:24:12 Exposure: 0.002s (1/640)
    • Focal Length: 5.80mm F/Stop: f/5.600 Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV No flash



Photo by Tony Fernandes
Please double-click on picture for an enlarged view.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Jolly old St. Nicholas

Jolly old St. Nicholas, Lean your ear this way!
Don’t you tell a single soul, What I’m going to say;
Christmas Eve is coming soon; Now, you dear old man,
Whisper what you’ll bring to me: Tell me if you can.

When the clock is striking twelve, When I'm fast asleep,
Down the chimney broad and black, With your pack you'll creep;
All the stockings you will find Hanging in a row;
Mine will be the shortest one, You'll be sure to know.

Johnny wants a pair of skates, Susy wants a dolly;
Nellie wants a story book; She thinks dolls are folly;
As for me, my little brain isn’t very bright;
Choose for me, old Santa Claus. What you think is right.

Monday, December 20, 2010



A street named  GOA Court. in West Toronto

        Four years ago to the day, my short stories and poems were selected to be added to the curriculum of Lakeshore Collegiate Institute in West Toronto.

        Hence, I was invited to read selected poetry and articles to the 'World Literature' Class of Grade 9 students at the school.

        December 19th was the date set by the class teacher which, in the first coincidence, happened to be the anniversary when the India took over Goa from the Portuguese rule, but the class teacher, principal or the students were not aware of this. The date just happened to be picked up at random or probably a good available and suitable date to fit in the class schedule.

          My presentation to the students, in the presence of their class teacher, included a short personal introduction to the class, reading of poems and stories. I later took questions from students, discussed past culture and traditions and how Goa fits into the modern world. The entire presentation lasted for 1 hour and 20 minutes - i.e. a duration of one full school period. Copies of 2 poems and 2 short stories were distributed to the class as homework prior to this date. So, they were prepared with many questions.
          At the conclusion of the presentation, Lakeshore Collegiate Institute, while acknowledging me as a visiting writer, presented me with a pen and a gift card from Chapters/Indigo/Coles as a token of appreciation. In acceptance I thanked them for the honour and privilege.

          For me personally it was an absolute great moment - and a long way – as a student of St. Anthony’s High School, Monte de Guirim, Goa, to Lakeshore Collegiate, West Toronto, Canada.

          Now here's the second coincidence. You may be surprised to know that while I was driving around the block to the L.C.I. Campus, as a result of a diversion in the main road due to construction work, I unexpectedly came across a street that ends into a 'cul de sac' of a residential area, that is called "GOA Court'. I saw the sign slightly tilted and my immediate reaction and compulsion that I kept under control was to straighten out that sign, but on second thought I later realized that I should not do that for obvious reasons and that perhaps the tilt in the sign was indication, reminding me that Goa is way far beyond and distant, away to the east and momentarily out of reach, should I get lost dreaming about my homeland.

           I have no idea how that street got its name, but I think it is absolutely remarkable that I should find it on my way to speak about Goa, and more so that it was on the anniversary of an auspicious, significant and historic day - 19th December 1961 - Goa Liberation Day.

And a third and final coincidence of the day was that my article “One cold winter morning – a childhood memoir” was simultaneously published worldwide on the 'Goanet' forum on the occasion of this significant day.

In the future what I hope is that the word will spread and I may be
visiting other schools in Mississauga, Ontario.

Lakeshore Collegiate, West Toronto.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Village folks including children waving out to the soldiers on armoured tanks, trucks and jeeps passing through Guirim on the evening of 18th December 1961 - heading for the capital, Panjim.

Drawing by Tony Fernandes


A childhood memoir

by Tony Fernandes

CUMBIEM MOROD, GUIRIM, BARDEZ, GOA: I recall that cold morning. I was 14 years old at the time. I  had risen early to study for my second tri-monthly examinations. My mother was in the kitchen, preparing tea. It was then that I heard ear-deafening noise of what seemed to be low-flying aircraft. A little later, I put out the kerosene chimney lamp. My mother and I cautiously peeked out of the window, but saw nothing.The sun had not yet risen. The pre-dawn sky in the east cast a faint scarlet glow. I could feel my mother's fear, as the preceding days had been quite tense. We were aware of the trouble that had been brewing up. A statue at Mapuca had been blown up a few days earlier, causing anxiety among the populace.

Suddenly we heard a knock on our door. We remained still and silent and only opened the door upon realizing that they were our neighbours, calling out to us in low hushed voices. They had come over to ask my mother whether she had any idea what was happening around us. My mother told them that she thought that the noise came from fighter aircraft, as a result of the political tension prevailing at the time. We all went out when the sun had risen. We could see smoke billowing out from the town in the distance. By noon the word had spread that the Indian Army had reached Mapuca andthat Air Force jets had bombed the army barracks and some government buildings in town. We also learned that the barracks there were in fact empty at the time.

The Portuguese soldiers had probably left the previous night on the orders of the Governor-General Manuel António Vassalo e Silva. He was subsequently considered to be a wise man in ordering a retreat and a surrender that followed. It was the talk in our village that he did not want the Portuguese soldiers to put up a fight, as lives would have been lost in the crossfire -- in the event of bombing and fighting between the armies. I realized that my mother's appearance was one of sadness. I felt sad too as I could not go to school. The Indian Army had occupied my school, pitching their tents on our football field. My father had always said that we would one day be liberated, but my mother thought otherwise. I did not have much to say. I was 14 years young then.

Till today I remember running on the winding path through our ward of Cumbiem Morod - leading to the red mud road that passed through our village of Guirim, along with other boys, to see the Indian Army proceeding slowly, heading for the capital, Panjim. There were certain sections of the main road from Mapuca to Panjim that not were not usable as the bridges were destroyed by the retreating Portuguese soldiers. I saw young boys, accompanied by older folks of our village, waving out to the Indian soldiers sitting on top of their tanks in full battle gear. And I waved out as well! The boys shouted "Jai Hind" and I followed doing the same.

I was fascinated with the artillery comprising of huge tanks, armoured cars, jeeps and trailers, gun carriages with canons of different shapes and sizes towed by trucks, proceeding towards Panjim, They created clouds of dust as they rumbled along. Most of the soldiers had moustaches, beards and turbans: all were smiling. The line of army continued long after dusk and trickled into the night.

A very tense situation prevailed for many days and nights. A sudden hush seemed to hover over our lives. We returned home after playing football in the fields long before sunset. One evening, as we wound up our usual play at our improvised football ground, I overheard some of the bigger boys saying that we now 'Indian subjects'. But as a studious boy of 14, the only 'subjects' that I was concerned about were those of my school curriculum like Geography, History and Religion, that had to be postponed into the New Year!

For many days and nights it seemed like everything had come to a halt. School football tournaments were cancelled as both our football grounds remained occupied by the Army for some time. Our juniors volley ball finals were disrupted. There was no midnight Mass in my favourite church or at any other chapel in our village that Christmas 0f 1961, and no New Year's Eve Dance either at Mapusa 'Jardinha'. Perhaps it must have been the only New Year's Eve when the famous band Johnson & His Jolly Boys - hot favourite of the time - did not play in their long musical career.

It was long before mid-night that the lamps and candles burnt themselves out in the lanterns and Christmas stars in front of the houses in my village during the sad Yuletide of that year. It was literally a cold night, albeit a holy one. Everything was calm, quiet and dark with the exception of the brilliant star-lit sky as I glanced at the heavens above. Everything was silent (including the radio as the only Portuguese transmission station "Emissora de Goa' was put out of action in bombardment by the Indian army) except for the intermittent hooting of the owl - heard but never seen, along with the dogs barking most of night in the neighbourhood, and the occasional howl of the wolf in the wee hours of the morning.

And I remember it just as though it was only yesterday.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


1984 -2010


We first met Chris and Sarah 3 years ago at the 'Fair November' Arts & Crafts Show while he was studying at the University of Guelph, Ontario.
Chris was one of the volunteer student team members who helped us - the participating artisans - in setting up our booths, unloading products out of our vans on the first day of setup, assisting us with the tear-down on the final day of the 4-day Show and loading things back into our van. He also played an important part with the security at night, keeping a watchful eye on the exhibitors' wares.

Subsequently, we met him at the annual Fair at the University during the following two years, again offering us his invaluable help as a volunteer team member. Smiling and cheerful, he was always eager to lend a helping hand. During the four days of the Show, he passed by our booth several times asking us whether there was anything he could do to help us.

As we bonded so well and our friendship grew with him and Sarah, they both visited us at our other craft shows in Toronto. We last met him at the annual Fair at the University of Guelph in 2009, when he told us that he was going to Australia to pursue his studies. He came to say goodbye to us as we were ready to leave after loading up our van.

We bid him farewell at that time, wishing him well in his future endeavours and career, with the thought and hope that someday we would meet him again. Sadly that was not to be.

This year again we took part in the Show at the University, but just as we were setting up our booth, we were shocked and saddened to hear about his passing away at such a young age.

It was a very sad moment for my wife and myself as we listened to the tributes paid by the family members and friends of Christopher Luke Zweerman at the 'Celebration of Life Service' that was held in his honour at St. John's Church, at Newmarket, on Friday December 17th, 2010.

Just as we had expected, we learned that in his short and eventful life, Christopher had achieved a great deal indeed and touched a lot of peoples' lives.
We found Chris to be a great listener. We were also touched by his down-to-earth approach with his unforgettable trademark smile, his caring and charitable ways, his zest for life, his love for his friends and family, his love for sports, nature, environment and the great outdoors, setting an example and making a lasting impression in our lives with an unique warmth that radiated from his personality.

We will miss you, Chris. Rest in peace.

We send our most heartfelt condolences
to Sarah James,
to the Parents of Chris - Bernie and Gabrielle,
to brother Brandon
and to all his family members.

We hope you are coping up with the sudden loss of the love of your lives. We realize that this is very difficult time for you and your family to go through. We would like to share in your moments of sorrow and pray that time may heal your sorrow, and may you find comfort in cherishing the wonderful memories of loving Chris.
Tony & Edna Fernandes
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


“A lighthouse is not interested in who gets its light! 
It just gives it without thinking! Giving light is its nature!” 
― Mehmet Murat ildan

Lighthouse at Fort Aguada, Bardez, Goa, India.


Adapted from one of the Sunday Homilies
of Reverend Monsignor Terence D'Souza,
Retired, Founder Pastor of
St. Francis Xavier Church,
a Parish of the Archdiocese of Toronto,
in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

A captain of a ship
At sea on a tranquil night;
a faint light, a mere beacon,
flashing on the horizon, he sees.

The prow of his ship
Points in the direction
Of the beacon
And right into its path
His course is set.

In the dark night
Slowly the faint light
Glows brighter
as towards it the ship draws closer.

To the distant light
The ship’s captain a message sends:
“Change your course twenty degrees south
Or else, face the consequence.”

A reply from the far away light
The ship’s captain thus receives:
YOU please change YOUR course
Twenty degrees north.

The ship’s captain angrily retorts
“Change your course, I demand
Admiral John B. Smith, I am,
Solely in command.”

The distant light turns brighter
Its message even more clearer:
“I am unable to alter my course Sir”
I am Bob R. Jones,
Stationed Retired Third Officer,
In charge of Starshine Beacon.

The admiral, in a fury, a reply he sends
“I do not care who you are mister,
I order you to change your course, stranger,
Or at the bottom of the sea you shall lie,
I am the Admiral of the mighty
Battleship ‘Challenger.’

Humble Retired
Third Officer Jones
Distraught and frantic
Radios a final warning
to the great Admiral Smith
as his huge battleship now looms
even larger than before.

“Mighty rocks ahead of you,
Sir Admiral Smith”,
a message the retired officer transmits,
“Sir, you are twenty minutes,
twenty degrees too late,
for a ship this size
to turn either north or south
east or west;
Sir Great Admiral John B. Smith”.
Moral of this poem:To listen and understand, is simpler.
To ignore with pride, the fall is even greater.


On a continuing tour of Rajasthan,
we left Jaisalmer soon after breakfast,
heading south-east to Jodhpur.
Stopping at the vast Balesar Stone Quarry
for a tea break, we collected a few stones
as souvenirs and took pictures
before proceeding on our exciting tour.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Posted by Picasa
Train chala gayi,
station khali,
camera ready,
lekin phaida nahin.

Yaad hai tuje
Jabhi hamari 'train' chala gayi thi
Lekin achanak dusri mili
Jo puri khali thi?
Sach kahun to uss waqt
maine ye socha tha
Maa ki prarthana Ishwar-ne
Jaroor sun liya hoga.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Posted by Picasa
Yaad hai tujhe?
Yaad hai bahuth hansi aayi tujhe
jabhi Rajasthani ‘costume’ pehenkebaddi khuxi-se
hum nach rahe the
aur patloon mere
niche aah rahe the?
Foto phool-screen dekhna chahiye to
jarah foto ke upar cursor rakh-kar dabble-clik kijiye. Dhanyavad.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Tryptic for a photo booth
by Tony FernandesTheme: Winter Wonderland
Acrylic Paint on 2" thick white Styrofoam
(a.k.a. Thermocole)
Size : Overall Height 7 ft. 3 in
Overall Width 8 ft.
Centre panel : 7'3" x 4'
Side Panels : 7'3" x 2'

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


Caladium is a genus of flowering plants in the family Araceae. Several varieties of these beautiful decorative plants sprout soon after the first showers of rain in Goa, India. Known as terim (plu.) or terem (sing.) in Konkani, they grow is several different colours.
Above picture is one of the pink-vein variety.
Picture by Tony Fernandes

Friday, December 03, 2010



Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old Goa (Goa Velha) Goa. India
Today is the feast of St. Francis Xavier, Apostle to the Far East. His mortal remains lie in the
Basilica of Bom Jesus or Basilica of Good Jesus (Portuguese: Basílica do Bom Jesus) in Goa, India, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The church is located in Old Goa, which was the capital of Goa in the early days of Portuguese rule.

'Bom Jesus' (literally, 'Good (or Holy) Jesus') is the name used for the infant Jesus. The Jesuit church is India’s first minor basilica, and is considered to be one of the best examples of baroque architecture in India.
(Wikipedia) Francis Xavier, born Francisco de Jasso y Azpilicueta (7 April 1506 – 3 December 1552) was a pioneering Roman Catholic missionary born in the Kingdom of Navarre (Spain) and co-founder of the Society of Jesus. He was a student of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and one of the first seven Jesuits who dedicated themselves to the service of God at Montmartre in 1534.[1] He led an extensive mission into Asia, mainly in the Portuguese Empire of the time. He was influential in the spreading and upkeep of Catholicism most notably in India, but also ventured into Japan, Borneo, the Moluccas, and other areas which had thus far not been visited by Christian missionaries. In these areas, being a pioneer and struggling to learn the local languages in the face of opposition, he had less success than he had enjoyed in India.

Saint Francis Xavier was one of the founding members of the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Dahlia was declared as the Winner in singing with her number "Tomorrow Tonight" in the Video Contest held by TLA Productions, 2 days before the scheduled announcement date.

Thank you very much for watching the video, voting and forwarding the email to your friends. Dahlia couldn't have made it without your votes.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010


The good news so far is that Dahlia has made it into the TOP 5.

At this moment I would like to take the opportunity to thank and extend my appreciation to all those who took the time and trouble in watching, voting and circulating Dahlia's video worldwide which helped in her ranking among the TOP FIVE.

TLA Productions will now pick one of the five. The final results will be declared on Friday the 19th of November 2010.

In the meantime we are hoping for the best for Dahlia.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


Dahlia is an aspiring singer/song-writer based in Toronto, Canada.

In every song she composes, she entwines into it a meaningful glimpse of a story of our life. The beautiful lyrics of her songs combined with an arrangement to match, I'm sure, will touch a corner of your life.

Influenced by a range of artists, Dahlia's unique style has the depth of Toni Braxton and Alicia Keys to the Jazz elements of Norah Jones to the folk-pop flavour of Jewel.

She was only 7 years old when she braved her first solo singing "From a Distance" by Bette Midler in front of hundreds of people and knew that music was exactly where she always wanted to be. Dahlia wrote her first song when she was ten years old, but was never trained to play a musical instrument. "When I turned 20, my sister bought herself a Steinway and what initiated as me fooling around on the piano turned into me teaching myself to play," says Dahlia.

She found herself composing a new song every week and finally being able to write the music to all the songs she had composed over the years.

"I lived in India and Dubai and came to Canada in 1998 not knowing if my music and talent would be accepted" says Dahlia, but she did not have to worry for long. She was presented with many opportunities including the honour of singing the National Anthem for U.N. dignitaries for International Peace Day at City Hall, a ranking into Mississauga's Top 25 Future Stars as well vocals on the title track Suburban Ghetto of local Toronto Rap artists, Tha Woodsmen.

She also started to perform at a number of venues including the Brandy Tree Lounge at the Westin Prince Hotel as well as a Lead Vocalist with the band Lady Kane at Alleycatz. In 2008, Dahlia entered into a local singing competition that landed her in the Top ten and an interview on Omni Television, CBC Radio and the Toronto Sun. But she knew that she did not want to be singing covers, so she started to work with her friends, Anant Persad and Marco Dela Cruz who being seasoned musicians were able to help produce the numerous songs she had been sitting on for so many years. Dahlia had voice training with talented vocal teacher, Shannon Gunn, who inspires her to grow and develop technically as well as artistically.

Her composition While You Were Gone, speaks of being in a relationship with someone physically, but realizing that they aren't mentally or emotionally available, is catchy and soulful. Another one of Dahlia's compositions 'Jump' will have you smiling all day with its strong message of finding hope and taking "a leap of faith" even when times are tough.

There is something that I'm forgetting here, and taking it for granted. Dahlia is my daughter, and what I'd like you to do is to please click on the link below and check out the video of her original song. She is participating in a contest and your views on youtube will count towards winning. I would greatly appreciate it if you can forward to your family and friends as well. So far she has received quite a number of responses and votes and the count is still going up, thanks to her family, friends and well-wishers.

I have been always wary about Dahlia's video being posted on the net in the past. When she used to sing on weekends at the Diner at Westin Prince Hotel in Toronto, my wife and I used to take her there ourselves and bring her back with us.

TLA Productions has a Free Music Video Giveaway contest right now for Artists that are unsigned with original material.

How the Contest Works?

Dahlia's song has been uploaded with her pictures on to YouTube on the Contest Page. Top 5 videos with the most views makes it to the next round!

How can YOU help her?

All YOU have to do is View her video (link below), Vote, Comment and Share with All of your friends.

Who Wins?

Top 5 videos with the most views gets presented to the TLA Production Board Panel and then we hope they pick me.

Click Away! Contest ends Nov 15th, so try and watch the video as many times and send to as many people as possible by then. I will be making a Facebook Page as well for you to forward to your friends.

Thanks for your supporting Dahlia's aspirations and her passion for music.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


Summarizing our own mortality
 while we grieve for our loved ones,
at timeswe 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.

Tony Fernandes

Monday, November 01, 2010


Article and pen & ink drawing by Tony Fernandes

Like most houses in the olden days, Felicio’s house had a modest little garden. His mother planted different types of flower plants in it. She fetched water from the nearby well, watered the plants, trimmed them and planted new ones once in a while. As a young boy, Felicio had his own little patch with a set of plants that he tended to.

Every morning after young Felicio woke up, he would go to the garden to have a close look at the plants and admire at the blooms, and also check whether any new blossoms or buds had developed. During the rainy season, in one corner of the garden, there grew a perennial creeper that bore beautiful and tiny star-shaped red flowers that were one of Felicio’s favourites. The plant seemed to grow at a rapid pace each day. Felicio had a string tied to the under-side of the roof beams, from one side of the house to the other, running just under the eaves, helping the creeper to get a hold on it.

Felicio was very anxious for the creeper to grow fast and just couldn't wait for more buds to blossom into flowers. On some occasions, and time-permitting, Felicio would help his mother in transferring the water she fetched from the nearby well, into a small bucket to irrigate his plants before he left to go to school which was situated on the distant hill of Monte de Guirim.

The ‘vaddo’ (ward) of the village, where Felicio lived had about five communal wells. Fortunately, his house was located near one of the wells; the proximity of which made it easier to carry the water to his house. These wells provided the village folks with crystal clear natural water for drinking, cooking, washing clothes, cooking pots, pans and utensils, bathing, watering flower plants that grew in their front and rear gardens, and also the trees around their house once in a while. A few winding narrow paths led to the wells. The wells were constructed from especially contoured curved laterite stones.  They were very deep and of varying diameters. The water table of the wells fell very low during the summer months, but in contrast they filled almost to the brim during the monsoons. At such times people did not even need a rope to haul the water up. The folks just leaned over the raised ledge of the well, filled the small pot and hauled it up.

The village boys would earnestly hope for abundant rains to fill the wells up prior to the days leading to the feast of St. John the Baptist on June 24th of every year, and also wished them to fill just to the right level so that they could celebrate ‘San João’ by taking their turns in jumping into the wells with flower wreaths placed on their heads and enjoying themselves eating jack-fruit and mangoes served by the folks who used the particular wells. As the group of villagers went from well to well, some distributed special sweets and fruits, as it was customary to do this when a new baby had been born in that particular household in the previous year. This serving is called 'dali'.

On the eve of this exuberant feast both the young and the old folks of the village gathered together and lit bonfires in front of every home and the fire was put out by beating it out using the flat bases of the stems of the leaves of the coconut tree while they sang a certain chorus in unison, going from one house to the next.

At times before sunrise, Felicio would be awakened by the noise of copper pots as they were placed on the ledge of the well near his house. Some people also used clay pots. The rims of the wells had hollows in them to hold the pots steady.

With a rope fastened to the neck of a smaller copper pot, folks used it to fill a larger copper pot, maintaining balance and adopting a certain posture and a firm stance on the ledge of the well in order to haul the water pot up. The women folk carried the pots home with ease by placing the larger pot on their hips with the crook of one arm, while at the same time carrying a smaller one with the other hand. Men carried water pots in both hands or in tin buckets.

When Felicio was a young lad, the well near his house did not have a pulley and it had been a little difficult, but in later years, drawing water from the well was much easier – fun, exuberance and pleasure. This had been possible after two laterite posts were constructed, with wooden beam across them and a pulley system installed over the well, through labour and money contributed by the folks who used water from the well.

In Goa, the most common and memorable greeting in Konkani : ‘Deu Boro Dis Dhium’ (May God give you a good day or Good Morning) were the first words of the morning to one’s neighbours, who also came to fetch water......down by the village well.

Some of the good old days of yore have now given way to overhead tanks, municipal water pipelines and electric water-pumps providing the village folks with tap water, in addition to the benefit and ease of sprinkling their gardens with rubber hose pipes.

And I was that boy Felicio.

Tony Felix (a.k.a. Felicio) Fernandes