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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

GOA - Memories of My Homeland - Poems and Short Stories by Tony Fernandes


© Tony Fernandes
© All poems, stories, photographs, illustrations  by Tony Fernandes

Designed, formatted and printed by:
Eclectica Publications Lindsay, Ontario, Canada.
April 2004

A nostalgic collection of poems and stories that transport the reader back to blessed times. Evocative glimpses into a blissful era that has aged perhaps with time, but not forgotten.

Contents: English Poems, English Short Stories, Illustrations, Goa in Pictures, Goan Proverbs, Sayings and Glossary.

Simple, rustic life captured through descriptive renditions via narrative poetry, drawings, paintings and photographs.

Excerpt from Poem:
A VISIT TO MY OLD VILLAGE

An evening stroll
in my tiny old village I took;
saw the old folks
once so young,
now so frail and weak.

Aged with time at nature’s quest
they stared at me in total disbelief;
they seem to think I too
have aged along with them perhaps
yet neither of us could fathom
what time and years
had done to us in tandem.

Excerpt from Story:
OF CHAPELS & FEASTS
As he neared the chapel in the misty early morning dawn, a girl dressed in her best approached running to the young lad, and picking a tiny paper flower from her small and neatly decorated basket, she pinned it on his shirt. Reaching in his pocket he deposited a coin in her basket for which she thanked him.

Simple, rustic life captured through descriptive renditions via narrative poetry, drawings, paintings and photographs

About the Author: Tony was educated at St. Anthony’s High School, Monte de Guirim, Bardez, Goa, and subsequently at Kareer Polytechnic, Bombay, studying Commercial Art, where he excelled in Painting and Photography.

It has always been his endeavour to write poetry about his childhood memories of Goa. Although he has been away from his homeland all these years, he has constantly kept in touch with his roots by visiting Goa every now and then.

Born with a natural flair for writing poetry and fuelled with a nostalgic craving and love for his native land, he has now compiled a collection of his poems.

Tony presently resides in Mississauga, Ontario - Canada, with his wife and three children.

To order copy of this book please e-mail: tonferns@hotmail.com

Brief Notes about Goa

Known around the world for its serene beauty, GOA is located south of Mumbai, India. It gained full-fledged statehood on 12th August 1987. Prior to that, it was a Union Territory for 26 years, after four and a half centuries of Portuguese rule. It is 1,022 metres above sea-level with an area of 3700 sq.km. Its capital is Panaji. Goa coprises of districts like Ilhas, Bardez, Salcette, Ponda, Marmagoa, Bicholim, Satari, Pernem, Quepem, Sanguem, and Canacona. Its captital is Panaji. Its other major cities are Margao, Mapsa and Vasco da Gama and Marmagoa which has a natural harbour .

Goa’s main rivers are the Zuari, Mandovi and Chapora. It has beautiful palm-fringed and scenic beaches like Colva, Candolim , Calangute, Vagator and Arambol with golden sands all along its western coast line. Spanning across the eastern part of Goa is the magnificent mountain range called the Western Ghats. Nestled among those hills are the famous 3-tier water-falls called Dudsagar.

With a total population of approximately 1.2 million, it is bustling with activity. It is a world famous tourist destination with excellent air, sea, rail and interstate bus connections. Besides having the first lighthouse in Asia, it has numerous archaelogical sites like ancient forts for the connossieur to study and explore besides ancient temples and churches.

Goa is famous for its architectural grandeur – its ancient churches, temples and mosques. Goans are a peace-loving people with a strong sense of community, taking pride in their own distinct culture and heritage.

In a modern cosmopolitan world, Goa has managed to preserve its old world charm.

Book Review by Ben Antao 
Author of Images of Goa and other books

GOA Memories of my Homeland, a collection of poems and stories, could only have been  written by one born and raised in the red soil of Goa. It’s a work of pure joy by
Tony Fernandes, 57, who trudged up the hill of Monte de Guirim, where he was born and educated.      

His narrative poetry hits the right note as he evokes nostalgic memories of life in his
village--litany, vespers, homecoming, harvest day, Intruz, Palm Sunday, wedding,
first rains, and home leaving. 

A sample:

        Then as darkness fell
        and homewards I walked,
        seeing a score of people together pray
        by the wayside cross I stopped;
        the light of the candles
        reflected in their faces,
        they sang in perfect chorus,
        their gaze at the cross
        fixed as if by magic,
        hearing them sing the litany
        And unable to resist
        I joined them in harmony.

The stories are narratives of his growing up and dwell on such traditions
as a new shirt for New Year, Christmas crib, and village feasts.

The book also contains 150 'oparrio' or Konkani proverbs that will bring a
smile of recognition on the faces of native Goans. But for those living in the
diaspora, who may have forgotten their Konkani, a translation into English
would help to convey the folk wisdom incorporated in these sayings.
Perhaps in the second edition!

The illustrations and photographs in the book reflect the talents of
Tony who studied commercial art in Bombay. The self-published book
is available from the author who lives with his wife Edna and three
children, Mississauga ON L5V 2C2, Canada.
Email: tonferns@hotmail.com

Book Review by Lino Leitao
Author of Gift of the Holy Cross and other books

Tony Fernandes' poems in this collection are lovely; and their
aesthetic  merit lies in their simplicity. They are like a cluster
of graceful flowers in the soft glow of twilight, in the garden
of his memory.

I remember, when young, memorizing a poem: The Village Blacksmith
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and another one: We are Seven by
William Wordsworth. The pastoral magic of those poems had touched
my youthful emotions, then. Tony's poems in this collection have
stirred my soul, once again. Each memory, or each flower (poem),
has its own unique brilliance of that Goa's soul (rural Goa) - the Goa
where the poet grew up.
As I was reading his poems, I felt as if, I was taking a leisurely stroll
with the poet in the memory garden of his youth. I tarried to admire
at some of the stanzas and visualize.

One of them is this:

Then as darkness fell
and homewards I walked,
seeing a score of people together pray
by the wayside cross I stopped;
the light from the candles
reflected their faces,
they sang in perfect chorus,
their gaze at the cross
fixed as if by magic,
hearing them sing the litany
And unable to resist
I joined them in harmony.
 
Another stanza:
 
The night all of a sudden
Seemed quiet and tranquil,
In the darkness
Holding a candle
In the hollow of a coconut shell
Lit and led us on our paths;
And folks on the way home
From the houses on the wayside
Wished us a pleasant night.

These reminiscences are etched in the soul of many a Goan, mostly elderly,
brought up in that Goa. But only inspired poets or artists like Tony can
transport us from snow-laden Canada to the homeland of our youth.
In this collection there are also pencil sketches of Goan scenes and artifacts,
stories and coloured photos of Goa. Tony Fernandes besides being a poet is
also an artist. He also presents us a tidy bundle of Goan sayings and proverbs
in Konkani.

GOA, Memories of My Homeland, is a source to unfold the poignant beauty
of that Goan soul, mainly to those young Goans born in diaspora.
 
Lino Leitão

Lino Leitão was born in Goa, a former Portuguese Colony in India. He studied
in Portuguese and English schools and attended the University of Karnataka
in India and Concordia University in Montreal. His stories have been published
by Goa Today, Gulab, Gomantak Times (Goa); Afro-Asian Quarterly, Journal of
Asian Literature (Michigan State University), The Toronto South Asian Review,
Massachusetts Review, Short Story International (New York),The Antigonish
Review and others. His articles on Goan issues have been published in Herald,
Gomantak Times, Navhind Times (Goa), and in South Asian 
Studies Papers, no. 9 - Goa: Continuity and Change - University of Toronto,
Centre for South Asian Studies, 1995.Selected Publications:
The Man and His Writings (Translated from Portugese). Goa, India: Xavier 
Centre of Historical Research, 2000.
The Gift of the Holy Cross. Leeds, England: Peepal Tree Press, 1999.
Six Tales. Cornwall, ON: Vesta Publications, 1980.
Goa Tales. Cornwall, ON: Vesta Publications, 1977.
Collected Short Tales. New York: Carleton Press, 1972.

This book can also be ordered on line through www.ednaspickles.com


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