Picturesque Goa

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Father of the Bride, they say. What a prestigious and honourable sounding title. A position that stands second only to the bride. If the bride feels like a princess, then a father ought to feel like a king. But he is a different type of a king who doesn't sit around doing nothing. He doesn't supervise, but works with his hands too. And right now he has too much of it not only on his hands, but on his head too. He is worried and hopes that all goes well. He has his speech ready although a little fine tuning is required. His tux is ready too, tried, pressed and hangs in the closet - the complete package. He is happy and nervous too. He has the honourable duty to walk the princess, his young playful child of yesteryear now turned into a bride, to the altar. The rehearal session in church turned out just fine and is now waiting for the final countdown. Lot of worries and concerns. Primarily, the bride has to be in the church on time. Hope there are no traffic snarls. Hope the weather is good. Hope everyone reaches the reception hall on time. Hope we don't forget anything, especially the 'Rings' or leave anyone behind! Reminders. Reminders and more reminders. Run through the reminders once again. Check out everything, twice.

Proud indeed. This Father of the Bride. A catchy title that sounds rich and honourable. Perhaps well deserved. To bask with pride and glory even if it means just for a day.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Most weddings in the Goan villages during the ‘fifties and ‘sixties were celebrated with great pomp and fervour. They were mostly held in the month of April and May. Customs and traditions handed down from past generations were strictly adhered to on such an occasion. With meticulous planning months in advance, it used to be a week-long affair. Zothi and mando were order of the day. They were sung frequently and fittingly. These were happy moments not only for the bridegroom or bride’s household, but for the entire village.

A Village Wedding

Season of Lent
Days of fasting and prayer
Were over;
Eastertide was now here;
White-washed houses
Neat and tidy
Gleaming in the April sun
Awaited the vicar’s
Impending visit;
For his annual house blessing
And greeting.

Never failing to inquire
About husband or a son
Who worked far away
“Have you heard from your sons?”
The vicar asked.
“Yes” the lady of the house replied
“The oldest is due to arrive in May”

The entire village was vibrant
Folks excited and exuberant
Time of great expectations
Everyone waiting for the groom to arrive
From a place far away
For his holiday and wedding
In the month of May.

Unconfined to bride’s or groom’s household
It was a great joy for the entire village
In the celebration to share and partake
At the forthcoming marriage.

Customs and traditions
Invitations and rustic protocol
Deadlines met
The stage was finally set.

The long-awaited groom
Had finally arrived.
In front of his modest house
Young lads gave the village elders
A helping hand in matou construction
Of bamboo and palm fronds
Twirled coloured crepe
Streamers and decoration
Under their artistic direction
Carried out according to plan.
Rented chairs laid out all around.

By nightfall
Petromax lit and hung in the matou
Its incandescence brightened the whole village
While in the balcao
Boys and girls sang the mando.

In another village far away
The bride’s household
Filled with equal delight
Looked forward to this wedding
The following Sunday.

It was time for bhuim-jevonn,
Ross and doth
Vojem, dennem and portonnem:
Some traditions to carry forth

Long before dawn
Everyone was up and about
The big day and the white Chevrolet
Had finally arrived.

The groom in a double-breasted suit
Below the family altar stood
For blessing from parents and aunts
Grandparents and relatives;
For nuptials time was running out
In the parish of the groom at sharp ten o’clock.

The photographer
Was eager to capture
Special moments in the future
For folks to treasure.

Later the bridal couple
Best-man and bridesmaid
Took a ride to town
For a studio picture.

The newlyweds’ temporary stay
Was at the neighbours during the afternoon
Eager to make their grand appearance
For the reception at the groom’s
In the evening at five that day.

In the centre of the matou
The bridal couple stood
By the three-tier cake,
The Village Vicar raised the toast,
The nine-piece band
Played the wedding march
And as announced
By the Master of Ceremonies
They danced
To the selected first piece.

Boys and girls
Friends and relatives
With their partners they danced the night away
While the band played numbers
In regular sets of three
Waltzes and Foxtrot
Tango and Cha Cha Cha
Rumba and Samba
Not forgetting the Fiesta.

Soaring high
Were the moods and spirits
Patties and croquet,
Soup and pulav served
With other delicacies of the day.

It was time now
For the bride
To show off her talent
In singing her special song
Joined in by the groom with seconds
Breaking the night’s silence.

The grand finale
Was almost in sight
The bridal couple on chairs
Carried aloft till their lips
Finally met for the evening’s greatest
And most celebrated traditional kiss.

The untiring Emcee at his spoken best
Reluctantly made a final call
The last dance he announced;
The band obliged with an encore
For the delight and thrill of one and all;
It seemed evident now
That a day of a great celebration
Had finally come to a grand conclusion.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Though it may not be authentic, everyone - our relatives, friends and myself, are super-excited looking for the first Ros ceremony in the family. Though it may not be carried out fully according to the tradition of our homeland, Goa, we hope it will be quite near to the original! We are looking forward to singing Goan mandos and dulpods to the accompaniment of the guitar and the harmonica. By the way, a djembe will be replacing the percussion part in the absence of the Goan 'gumott'.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Dahlia, oh Dahlia. The singing dahlia. 

You had a clever way of getting out of any embarrassing situation like when you would come our stationery shop in Sharjah. You would usually sit on the photocopy boxes at the back of the store and sing. Well, I remember once you happened to sit on an empty box and sunk right in! But in your own way, you pretended as if nothing happened and continued singing. Well, I guess you have never stopped after that. You sang happily when times were tough, and even continue singing to this day. Can't wait to hear you sing on your wedding day.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Like all flowers, our daughter Dahlia has brought us great joy in our lives as she grew up with many great memories. I still remember when she was little she did not let me bring my work home with me. So when I came home, Dahlia would hide in a nook or corner around the house and I was supposed to find her. I always did, but one day I forgot to look out for her. When I remembered ten minutes later, I found her asleep behind her bedroom door.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


News about our relatives not being able to make it for the wedding dampen our spirit. We are sad and furious. Bona fide folks are not allowed in, but the rift-raft are. We still hope something good will happen and pray our relatives will be present for the wedding.

Friday, April 09, 2010



Yes, a Dahlia among my other two flowers. Always happy and never a dull moment. We all in the family are terribly excited. I have so many things still left to do. There are many artistic surprises on my hands that I must not disclose. Thirteen days remaining for the big day. Checking reminders list and adding more to it.

So what happens when our flower leaves the garden. I guess it will be empty. Though it will sad to see her leave and her absence felt I will am very happy in the thought that she has not only found somebody she loves, but one that also loves her.

Thursday, April 08, 2010


Its two months since my return back to Mississauga after enjoying a great vacation in Goa and a whirlwind tour of fascinating Rajasthan in India. But somehow although I still miss the good times of the frantic time we had during our holiday I have to get back to reality and keep on counting days to what lies ahead. Because what lies ahead is going to be equally fascinating and happy moment for everyone in the family. Because its going to be my daughter's wedding. She is 'Dahlia' a flower in our family garden.

So 14 days more and counting.

Photo by: Tony Fernandes

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Felicio then paid a quick visit to the refectory, and while passing through the kitchen he was pleasantly surprised to see a medium-duty winch on an overhead I-beam track that is now used to lift the huge cauldrons of food from the cooking stoves. Innovative! Before his departure Felicio decided to pace up to the eastern corner of the terrace just below the refectory and next to the garage where once the famed “Land-Rover” stayed parked. But something was missing. It was the mango tree.

“Just let me cast one last glimpse south-east towards the beautiful and pristine landscape of fields and green hills of Socorro, Porvorim and Sangolda before I depart” a thought that he heard himself whisper as he gradually panned his head like a movie camera. And he took it all in! The green watermelon and vegetable patches in the distance lay sprawled along the twin roads that led to the hilly slopes of Sangolda. The view had not changed much. “May it always remain so and not turn into a concrete jungle”, he prayed.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010



Misty, calm, serene.

Cross at the Piazza
 St. Diogo's Church, Guirim/Sangolda, Bardez Goa.

             None of Felicio’s visits to Goa would be complete without going to St. Diogo's Church and then visiting his Alma Mater, situated atop the hill and known as “Monte de Guirim”.

             This time, a guided tour of the new building followed a long conversation with the Principal and the Headmaster of the school.

             The new purpose-built wing, which features a novel sky-light, broad corridors and stair-well, is actually built on the very same spot where a humble but massive shed first stood in the early sixties.

             Felicio seemed to drift far away in his thoughts taking him back in time, remembering his class in that shed, when the Headmaster who was once a pupil in that same school startled Felicio echoing his own sentiments when he said: “Remember the old days?” “Oh, yes,” Felicio replied, “I still remember those were the days when during a heavy downpour in the monsoon the students would have had to shift to a safer place to avoid the drops of rain ruining their study books”. This was during the time when the new school building was in the process of being erected, and a a huge temporary thatched roof shed was built that had nearly 3 class with 3 divisions each, to accommodate the sudden increase in the number of students in the late 1950's - early 1960's.

Monday, April 05, 2010


After the church services, Felicio, thinking about his childhood glanced around casually if he could find familiar faces of his younger days. Luckily spotted a few and met them after the services. He was conscious of the thought that he must have appeared a little older just like they did to him, though none of them made any comment. Perhaps each one could notice the old missing sparkle in the other. Thoughts of younger days sent a lump up his throat. He made his way home on the scooter thinking about the times when he had covered the same distance on foot. However better times in later years had followed when his father had bought him his first bicycle.

Saturday, April 03, 2010


Lenten services brought back memories of childhood. Taking part in the solemn procession winding its way around the hill-side and around the perimeter of the cemetery with life-size statues of Christ carrying the Cross, and hearing the touching notes and words of the motets sung in Konkani sent a chill up his spine. In enacting the crucifixion elders guided the young men who climbed up on the ladders to retrieve the “body of Christ” while the haunting rattle of the ‘matraas’ echoed through the church.

Friday, April 02, 2010


Felicio continued his daily visits to the bazaar to buy fresh fish and vegetables and drank more Kingfisher beer at his favourite restaurant in the town. He visited his relatives and friends, far and near who had invited him for their village feasts. He went to the beach with his few old friends and made some new ones.

Thursday, April 01, 2010


           In the old days the market place in Mapusa was busy only on the day it is best known for – the famous ‘Friday Bazaar’ day. But now every day seems like a Friday.

          After circling around for about 15 minutes one can eventually find a parking spot. One can barely nudge in between two scooters if luck is on your side. Some people realize it is a wise decision in not using a car to get there. 

          There are hawkers everywhere – at the entrance to the market and on the pavements too. The walkways are full of a huge new variety of merchandise. Half-clad white tourists with a local in tow roam around the crowded bazaar. Women in mini-skirts and big fat sweating men in shorts with huge bare bellies wander amidst local folks.