Picturesque Goa

Picturesque Goa
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Wednesday, March 31, 2010


In the first week of December he celebrated the Feast of St. Francis Xavier. People flocked to Old Goa throughout the month of December and then until the first week of January. Felicio managed to squeeze a suitable day one early morning. Rising up much before dawn he made a trip to Old Goa and unbelievably was home for breakfast by 8 am.

Combined with the ongoing festivities of IFFI, people flocked to the city, Panjim. On his visit to this beautiful city he had an impression that somehow some things had been left unfinished – pavements stones were stacked up in piles in several places. Government buildings, the balustrade along the river-side promenade and lamp posts were carrying a fresh coat of paint.

The joy of Christmas was evident throughout the countryside with decorative lights, Christmas and New Year Galas, music and dance everywhere.

Then came Carnival – the beautiful floats made their rounds in the major cities – while tourists and Felicio walked around some unfinished pavements.

There was a slight lull in gaiety during Lent followed by some in sobriety, moderation and solemnity in the villages. And by Easter it was time for us to join in the festivities of Shigmo.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


In equally trying circumstances, it took him another couple of weeks to gather enough nerve in getting behind the steering wheel of a car and learn the peculiar art and special technique to get around in the busy town. He went to the bazaar everyday and bought fresh fish and vegetables and drank Kingfisher beer. He visited his relatives and friends, far and near. He went to the beach with his new friends and drank some more Kingfisher beer.

Getting across to the other side of the road in the market town was quite a feat - an accomplishment unlike the old days. He had to be very careful. Motor-cycles, rickshaws, buses and trucks whizzed by every second and in all directions. It seemed as if it was a free for all. After waiting for nearly five minutes to find a clearance between speeding trucks, buses, private cars and motor-cyclists he finally managed to cross the street. He felt it was indeed a major achievement. This happened everyday. And on the many occasions he accomplished this feat, he thought he had triumphed, glad that he had emerged as a victor, thankful to be alive to tell the tale on the other side.

Monday, March 29, 2010


One of the great experiences in attempting to relive the past was going to buy groceries from the market in the nearby town. One of Felicio’s neighbours was good enough to acquire a scooter for him. It took him nearly a week to muster the courage to venture on the street, another week to try and remember to keep to the left side of the road and join the rest in the general approach, method and style of driving, manner of honking, maneuvering, braking and turning either left or right. Since he could not fight them he decided to join them.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


The next day, rising early in the morning, Felicio decided to take a stroll on the old path leading to the fields that he along with other boys walked on their to school . He tried to retrace the trail through the vast expanse of the fields. He was in disbelief to find that it was overgrown with wild plants and weeds. It appeared to be seldom used. Then as he was returning home he was pleasantly surprised at a remarkable revelation - to see a bus passing in front of his house that had “ST. ANTHONY’S HIGH SCHOOL, MONTE DE GUIRIM”, sign-written in bold blue letters on its side, picking up the students. That explained the overgrown weeds! No wonder, he thought, he could not find the old path to school!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Some houses had remained the same, but the house located on the perimeter of the village had undergone a major change. It was now a modern house with a terrace. But sadly Felicio could not find the old owners there. Apparently some people who did not speak Konkani now had now occupied it. A few houses had somehow managed to keep up and maintain the old rustic pattern.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Friendly Neighbours

As it had been habitual during Felicio’s previous vacations, he decided to go around the village and visit his neighbours. This, he remembered, was something he had done from the time of his college days in Bombay. In the month of April he would travel to Goa by ship to spend his summer holidays. Visiting neighbours had been a courtesy and a habit since the days of his teens. Also he felt he should not let them presume that he has forgotten them.
His first visit was to the house of his closest friendly neighbours to find out how they were doing. Tia Anna hugged him and said she was now old, almost in her late 70’s, and lived alone. He remembered he had seen her upright long ago, but now she appeared frail and hunched. Her son worked in the Arabian Gulf. Felicio’s aunt slept over at her house since she had not been keeping too well lately.

While he was away from home he had often thought about Titi Joao. As a young lad Felicio and other boys in the village gathered around in the balcao of his house and attentively listened to the lengthy and intriguing stories he related during the evenings soon after Angelus prayers. His passing away saddened him.

Paulo Titi had passed away too. Aunt Maria had survived him. Her relatives were now living with her. As a child Felicio had played badminton in front their house. In the beginning the boys used a rope tied between two coconut trees. Later Paulo Titi had provided the village boys a real net, strong bamboo poles and powdered chalk to mark the boundaries. Paulo had organized village tournaments for them, and being a keen football player himself he had encouraged and given them tips on the fine art of the game.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


The afternoon swiftly transformed into evening. The road in front of Felicio’s house was full of hustle and bustle. It seemed as if it had now been converted into a major highway by a popular vote. Forty years ago this was a footpath, then a convenient road, now a highway. Felicio remembered how he wrote application after application to the Panchayat for the necessity of a road. Should he now write asking for the old footpath back, he thought. People were speeding home from work on scooters. Bus drivers drove with one hand on the steering-wheel and the other constantly on the air-horns. The change was quite overwhelming.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Felicio good old neighbour and childhood friend, Manu, waved out from the balcao of his house across the street. He hollered a warm and enthusiastic welcome over the din of traffic. Felicio was glad to see that Manu had not altered the façade of his house. Manu had now retired from his job as the compositor at the printing press in the city after a service of 35 years.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


The city was bustling with great activity. It appeared to have undergone a metamorphosis. The footpath that ran beside Felicio’s house had now become a street and the once narrow lane in front had become a major thoroughfare. At first sight everything around seemed strange to him. He would somehow try to handle this unexpected situation and take the change in stride gradually, he thought.

Friday, March 19, 2010


The drive home was an enjoyable and also quite an experience. Apartment buildings now dotted the entire landscape. Felicio was surprised to see the pace of construction going on in places where in the past rice crops were cultivated. Huge factories and their smoke stacks emerged high in the distance north-east of the Zuari.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Along the way the friendly cab driver casually gave Felicio a news brief first at state level, and then in a subdued tone a weather forecast followed by a general look at the prevailing situation of the land. As the taxi slowly came to a halt Felicio was surprised that he was home earlier than he had expected. He was quick to realize that it was due to the fact that new bridges were now built where none existed before, and so he did not have to wait at the ferry crossings, although he was rather perturbed to hear from the driver that the pride and landmark bridge over the river Zuari has some new problems.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


The breeze hit his face through the open window of the taxi bringing some relief from the heat of the afternoon sun. Scooters were plying about almost everywhere. It seemed that everybody on wheels wanted to overtake Felicio’s hired taxi. Everyone seemed to be in a rush. “Who said we were susegad?” he mused to himself, “or could it be the scooter riders were not Goenkar?” he wondered.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


The taxi took on the sweeping curves along the river bank. As they were about to turn homeward to the north at the T-junction at the base of the hillock Felicio saw the famous bridge looming over the Zuari river. The barges transporting the iron-ore slowly maneuvering their way under the bridge brought to mind a familiar sight of the past that had not changed.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Goa Revisited

It was a long flight over two oceans and three continents. The plane circled once around the airport, made a smooth landing and finally came to a halt. The air outside was distinct, but slightly humid for the time of year. The airport building had changed quite a bit since his last visit. Felicio’s holiday in Goa was about to begin.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

PUSHKAR, Ajmer, Rajasthan, India

Pushkar (Hindi: पुष्कर) is a town in the Ajmer district in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is situated 14 km (8.7 mi) northwest of Ajmer at an average elevation of 510 m (1,670 ft) and is one of the five sacred dhams (pilgrimage site) for devout Hindus. It is often called "Tirth Raj" - the king of pilgrimage sites - and has in recent years become a popular destination for foreign tourists.
Pushkar is one of the oldest cities of India. It lies on the shore of Pushkar Lake. The date of its actual origin is not known, but legend associates Lord Brahma with its creation. It is mentioned that Brahma performed penance here for 60,000 years to have a glimpse of Vishnu.

~ Wikipedia

Sunday, March 07, 2010

CHITTAURGARH, Rajasthan, India

Chittaurgarh Fort

Chittaurgarh Fort


Chittorgarh Fort (Hindi/Rajasthani: चित्तौड दुर्ग Chittorgarh Durg) is the largest fort in India and the grandest in the state ofRajasthan. The fort, plainly known as Chittor, was the capital of Mewar and is today situated several kilometres by road south ofBhilwara. It was ruled initially by Guhilot and later by Sisodias, the Suryavanshi clans of Chattari Rajputs, from 7th century, until it was finally abandoned in 1568 after the siege by Emperor Akbar in 1567. It sprawls majestically over a hill 180 m (590.6 ft) in height spread over an area of 280 ha (691.9 acres) above the plains of the valley drained by the Berach River. The fort precinct with an evocative history is studded with a series of historical palaces, gates, temples and two prominent commemoration towers. These monumental ruins have inspired the imagination of tourists and writers for centuries.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

UDAIPUR, Rajasthan, India

Udaipur (उदैपर) (उदयपुर), also known as the  City of Lakes, is a city, a Municipal Council and the administrative headquarters of the Udaipur district in the state of Rajasthan in western India. It is located 403 kilometres (250 mi) southwest of the state capital, Jaipur, 248 kilometres (154 mi) west of Kota, and 250 kilometres (155 mi) northeast from Ahmedabad. Udaipur is the historic capital of the kingdom of Mewar in the former Rajputana Agency. The city is renowned for having the longest ruling dynasty in the world. The Royal House of Udaipur has had one family ruling since 600 AD to the present, making it the longest ruling dynasty whose descendants still retain their position.
Apart from its history, culture, and scenic locations, it is also known for its Rajput-era palaces. The Lake Palace, for instance, covers an entire island in the Pichola Lake. Many of the palaces have been converted into luxury hotels. It is often called the "Venice of the East", "The city of Romance" and is also nicknamed the "Lake City".[2][3] Lake PicholaFateh Sagar Lake, Udai Sagar and Swaroop Sagar in this city are considered some of the most beautiful lakes in the state.

Friday, March 05, 2010

JODHPUR, Rajasthan, India

Jodhpur (RajasthaniजोधाणाHindiजोधपुर), is the second largest city in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is located 335 kilometres (208 mi) west from the state capital, Jaipur and 200 kilometres (124 mi) from the city of Ajmer. It was formerly the seat of a princely state of the same name, the capital of the kingdom known as Marwar. Jodhpur is a popular tourist destination, featuring many palacesforts and temples, set in the stark landscape of the Thar desert.
The city is known as the "Sun City" for the bright, sunny weather it enjoys all year. It is also referred to as the "Blue City"[4] due to the blue-painted houses around the Mehrangarh Fort. The old city circles the fort and is bounded by a wall with several gates. However, the city has expanded greatly outside the wall over the past several decades. Jodhpur lies near the geographic centre of Rajasthan state, which makes it a convenient base for travel in a region much frequented by tourists.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

JAISALMER, Rajasthan, India.

Jaysalmar  (Rajasthaniजैसलमेर), nicknamed "The Golden City", is a town in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is located 575 kilometres (357 mi) west from the state capital Jaipur. It was once known as Jaisalmer state. The town stands on a ridge of yellowish sandstone, crowned by a fort, which contains the palace and several ornate Jain temples. Many of the houses and temples are finely sculptured. It lies in the heart of the Thar Desert and has a population of about 78,000. It is the administrative headquarters ofJaisalmer District.