Picturesque Goa

Picturesque Goa
NOSTALGIA - Articles,Poems & Photos

TONFERNS CREATIONS

TONFERNS CREATIONS
TONFERNS CREATIONS - Tony's Art & Hobbies

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Cheer


Let the spirit of love
gently fill our hearts and homes.

In this loveliest of seasons
may you find many reasons for happiness.

Season's Greetings
and a Happy & Peaceful New Year

Thursday, December 26, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS


The Blessings of Peace
The Beauty of Hope
The Spirit of Love
The Comfort of Faith

May these be your gifts

this Christmas Season

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Feasts of Yesteryear



Guirim, Cumbiem Morod
2nd January 1966
Preparing for the feast
of Holy Name of Jesus - 
at the Chapel dedicated to St. Anne.

BACK IN TIME

The chapel is white-washed. Decoration seems to be in progress. Atop the folding ladders is your sincerely in favourite checked blue shirt, assisted by two other young guys. One of them is Sikander (a.k.a. Shiko). The picture was taken by my best buddy Gabriel Monteiro, God bless him. The holes for the poles were dug by none other than Benit Titi, God bless him too. The white lace curtains and linen drapes were kept in a special steel trunk at Beatrice Mana's house in immaculate condition. The camera that I used was a Samoca II, made in Japan. The slide film was Kodachrome 64 ASA 36exp. The transparencies could be projected on the wall. The slide film was processed by Bombay Film Colour Labs at Dadar 47 years ago.


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.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Mamacita! Donde esta Santa Claus?



Mamacita! I was a 12 year old kid when 12-year-old Augie Rios had a hit with the Christmas song 'Mamacita' in 1959 which featured the Mark Jeffrey Orchestra. Years later I played it for my kids over many Christmases that went by. Now my sonl and my daughter-in-law play the same song for their little son - my lovely grandson Ari who loves it too.


Monday, December 09, 2013

ANCESTRAL GOAN HOMES

Traditional Goan Home
Line Artwork by Tony Fernandes


Middle class homes such as the one shown above were constructed with mud bricks or manually mud-cast walls. There were then finished off with mud-slurry with trowels and painted white.

They consisted of a sitting room/prayer room (Konk. 'vosro), large hall (sala - Port.) usually with a bed at one end. Most of the houses had a bedroom behind the vosro. The bedroom had another small room (Konk. 'kudd') that served as a storage area for provisions with an attic (Konkani: 'ma-o') above it. A narrow corridor from the 'vosro' led to the kitchen with an adjacent bathing area (Konk. 'mori'). The kitchen at the rear opened into a compound wall or a fence made from bamboo poles and palm leaves. Trees such as the guava, drumstick (Konk. 'mooshing') vegetable and other medicinal plants served as reinforcements to the fence.   The roofing tiles used in these houses were of local semi-circular red clay tile variety with longitudinal rafters supports of the coconut tree and lateral ribbing to support the tiles from bamboo poles split into halves which were in turn fastened to the rafters with coir rope.

These houses were built by tenants (Konkani : 'mundkari') on properties which were owned by landlords (Konkani: 'battkar'). The mundkars in return looked after the property. Some of these folks also worked for the landlords - in their houses or looked after the landlords' other properties elsewhere.


The out-house of such homes was far away - usually along the perimeter of the village wherever possible. 





Friday, November 29, 2013

Edna's Pickles at One Of A Kind Show Christmas 2013




'TONBUILT' TRUCKS
WARMED UP & READY TO ROLL OUT
ON DELIVERIES
AT 
ONE OF A KIND
 CHRISTMAS SHOW & SALE
 28 Nov. to 8 DEC. 2008
DIRECT ENERGY CENTRE
DOWNTOWN TORONTO

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

CHRISTMAS AT EDNA'S PICKLES - Twelve Flavours for Twelve Days of Christmas

CHRISTMAS AT EDNA'S PICKLES
Twelve Flavours for Twelve Days of Christmas


On the first day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
An Eggplant in a pear tree
-------
On the second day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Two Green Apple Chutneys
And an Eggplant in a pear tree
-------------
On the third day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Three Tangy Limes
Two Green Apple Chutneys
And an Eggplant in a pear tree
------------
One the fourth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Four Savoury Carrots
Three Tangy Limes
Two Green Apple Chutneys
And an Eggplant in a pear tree.
-----------
On the fifth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Five Super Spicy
Four Savoury Carrots
Three Tangy Limes
Two Green Apple Chutneys
And an Eggplant in a pear tree.
...............
On the Sixth day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Six Triple Mixes
Five Super Spicy
Four Savoury Carrots
Three Tangy Limes
Two Green Apple Chutneys
And an Eggplant in a pear tree.
......................
On the Seventh day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Seven Sweet Lime
Six Triple Mixes
Five Super Spicy
Four Savoury Carrots
Three Tangy Limes
Two Green Apple Chutneys
And an Eggplant in a pear tree.
---------------------
On the Eight Day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Eight Veggie Medleys
Seven Sweet Limes
Six Triple Mixes
Five Super Spicy
Four Pear Chutneys
Three Tangy Limes
Two Green Apple Chutneys
And an Eggplant in a pear tree.
-----------------------------
On the Ninth Day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Nine Cabbage Delights
Eight Veggie Medleys
Seven Sweet Limes
Six Triple Mixes
Five Super Spicy
Four Pear Chutneys
Three Tangy Limes
Two Green Apple Chutneys
And an Eggplant in a pear tree.
-----------------------------
On the Tenth Day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Ten Mango-Gherkins
Nine Cabbage Delights
Eight Veggie Medleys
Seven Sweet Limes
Six Triple Mixes
Five Super Spicy
Four Pear Chutneys
Three Tangy Limes
Two Green Apple Chutneys
And an Eggplant in a pear tree.
------------------
On the Eleventh Day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Eleven Cranberry Delights
Ten Mango-Gherkins
Nine Cabbage Delights
Eight Veggie Medleys
Seven Sweet Limes
Six Triple Mixes
Five Super Spicy
Four Pear Chutneys
Three Tangy Limes
Two Green Apple Chutneys
And an Eggplant in a pear tree.
------------------------
On the Twelfth Day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Twelve Sweet Mango Mashes
Eleven Cranberry Delights
Ten Mango-Gherkins
Nine Cabbage Delights
Eight Veggie Medleys
Seven Sweet Limes
Six Triple Mixes
Five Super Spicy
Four Pear Chutneys
Three Tangy Limes
Two Green Apple Chutneys
And an Eggplant in a pear tree.




Saturday, November 16, 2013

Rideau Canal, Ottawa, Canada


View of the Rideau Canal
from Elgin Street.
On the left is the Government of Canada Conference Centre.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013

LEST WE FORGET - They shall not grow old...


They shall grow not old,
 as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them,
nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun
and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Benito the Handyman

      BENITO
The Strongman of Yesteryear

         Benito, the handyman, (Abdonio’s brother) was the tallest man in the village, standing at more than six feet (I think he must have been a least 6’4”). This amazing and admirable man had quite a remarkable stamina for his lean body frame that could very well have been made of steel! He could lift a ‘vanso’ or a ‘patti’ (a 15 ft long 4 in. x 4 ceiling rafter) single-handed.

        Having a wry and subdued sense of humour, it seemed he never got tired of doing any work. He was an expert for precisely divining water patches in the fields for irrigation purposes, and helped to dig perfectly square wells and prepare the fields for cultivation very diligently, and estimate the exact quantity of tiles and other material one would need just by looking at an unfinished roof.

        He was a man for all night emergencies, including bringing the doctor to the homes of the villagers during sickness, come rain or shine, day or night – a walking ambulance of a bygone blissful era. Whenever he accompanied us on errands or to night ladianhas (famous sung litanies of Goa), to Tiatros (late night Konkani dramas) or to Christmas or Easter midnight mass, we were never afraid of the dark.

         Benit Titi, as the young lads of the village called him, was famous for his strong thick coir rope knots that he tied and held roof rafters, beams, huts and canopies that were bound together. Simply put, the knots were very difficult to untie. A master in the construction and decoration of a ‘matou’ (a very large canopy) for weddings in the village, at most times he did not require a ladder, obviously as he was very tall, perhaps the tallest man in the village of Guirim. He would accompany us to the nearby streams for a swim during the summer months and we felt happy and safe in his company as he would easily wade across the shallow streams helping us while we were learning to swim.

         He made quick and short work of most things. We could never have constructed the ‘matou’ without him (especially for the chapel village feast of Holy Name of Jesus) that was held annually on the 2nd of January. I remember that he was the only one who could retrieve the ‘petromax’ from the hook of any ceiling at the end of a litany, wedding or any other function and call it a night.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Atam kitem tankam aum sangoum (What will I tell them now?)




Atam kitem tankam aum sangoum?

Sounsar aum bonvlom,
Zaitea lokak meulom
Sobith and xanthikaiechem
Goa munnon mojem
Tuji vhodvikai sogleank sangli
Tednam maka tannim dili
Vhodd xebaski
Punn aiz mojea kalzak
Kitem Goeam goddlem tem aikun
Chodd dukh bogli.

Mando, durpod, zothi
Ani xamaincheo kanniencheo
Bhov ugddas korim,
Thambonastanam naum Goenchem
Ani Goencheam locachem
Vhoir uklun aum dorim
To tunch maka sang atam
Kitem aum tankam sangoum

Kosli voddvikai anink urli?

Saturday, November 02, 2013

All Souls Day


A Reflection on our own mortality

The Journey

The sky opens
It waits for me
For my return journey
I look back and see
People behind me
They wave good-bye
I wave back
And quickly recall
When not so long ago
Their love
I did in fact ignore
Their friendship
I took for granted
They smile at me now
But for me it's too late
I cannot smile
I am lost
My time has come
To the great beyond

I have got to go.

Tony Fernandes

Friday, November 01, 2013

ALL SAINTS DAY

ALL SAINTS DAY
 - not only for all day today,
but forever. 

Saints offer us 

examples to imitate. 

My Father the Simple and Humble Man - Senior of Cumbiem Morod

My Father

~ the simple and humble man ~

(Seniors of Cumbiem Morod)
Guirim, Bardez, Goa

             The fourth in line of seniority was my father, Dionizio (Dennis) Fernandes. His first venture for employment in Bombay was in the 1920’s when he was in his early twenties. He worked hard and put aside savings to build a new home in the same spot where his grandfather’s house stood in our village. He then got married. We would have been 4 brothers had we not lost 2 due to sickness when young. My older brother and I were born in Bombay. After bringing me to Goa at the age of 6 for schooling, my father came home on leave every year to be with us, and also to repair the house and take care of other matters. Like what most sons would say, my father knew everything about everything, from history to politics, and science to geography. He acquired knowledge from reading newspapers and magazines endlessly, keeping himself abreast of international events and happenings. His World War 2 episodes were worth listening to, and one did not have to refer to an encyclopedia to write an essay in school.

              He spent his retired life in Goa. He persuaded labourers in the village to put aside savings and taught them how to open bank accounts, accompanying them to banks in Mapusa to have accounts opened for them in their name. People often came to ask him for advice when they were in difficult situations.


              My father was an active member in the Village Panchayat. He was also instrumental, along with other people of village community, to draft and send the very first application to the government for the urgent need of a road through our village and pursue its outcome with the authorities till he sadly passed away.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Man of the Litany Hour

Man of the Litany Hour
(The Seniors of Cumbiem Morod)
Guirim, Bardez, Goa.

Abdonio, my favourite ‘Titi’ had an aura about him that made him a very likable man of distinct character, with his kind and pleasant ways in dealing with us - the youngsters of a bygone era. He was very helpful to all folks of our village, especially the very old.



He sang the litany by heart, word to word, no booklet required! The younger boys of the village relied on him for back-up as he knew all the tunes and words of the hymns that we sang in the village chapel. He would start with the first initial few bars with the right pitch for the litany and other hymns and the rest of the folks would take it from there.

When we were young, sometimes on rainy days of the monsoon season, the village boys and girls could not play outdoors after school in the evenings. So, at times, we went over to his house and sat with him in the balcony of his house to hear him relate old stories of our good old village of Cumbiem Morod. He regaled us with colourful accounts of his younger days and other short stories of wit and humour. It was getting dark as he still went on. Then as we heard the chimes of the Angelus bell of our village chapel, we would all rise as he recited the Angelus prayer at the end of which everyone wished him 'good evening' before we walked to our individual homes.


Many years later during our vacations in Goa during the late 1970’s, my wife and I often visited him in the evenings when he once again related wonderful stories of the olden days. His memory astounded me. I always thought he had a strong resemblance to my favourite American actor – Jack Palance. Before living a retired life in Goa, he had worked in Bombay most of his life.

Can I trade all my tomorrows for a single yesterday of those good old days? 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Village Handyman - Seniors of Cumbiem Morod

Harichand, the labour contractor. Ask him for advice on labour in constructing a house, a shed, or work in the fields during the harvest season. You could rely on him till the paddy in the fields was harvested, threshed, put in sacks and carried to your homes before nightfall.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

AUTUMN PATHWAYS OF CALEDON

AUTUMN PATHWAYS

“A path is a prior interpretation
 of the best way
to traverse a landscape.”

~ Rebecca Solnit





Monday, October 21, 2013

SALUTING THE FLAGS & STANDING TO ATTENTION



SALUTING THE FLAGS
 STANDING TO ATTENTION

(A True Tale of Circumstance)

Born in Bombay in 1947, 7 January. The British were still in India. India was yet to get its Independence from Great Britain. Independence for Felicio would eventually come 7 months and 3 weeks later. Due to economic situation prevailing at the time my family had to relocate to Goa in 1951. Goa was under Portuguese rule.

My earliest memories of hearing the Portuguese national anthem was in 1953 when I was about 6 years of age studying English as well as Portuguese in the village Primary School. Sometime after that I heard the anthem on radio – Emisora de Goa.

Then went to high school where the Portuguese national anthem was printed on the last page of the school calendar. I had to memorize and sing the anthem at the compulsory Mocidade Portuguesa, at the school drill and at all school functions until 1961 when Goa was taken over by the Indian Government.

In the interim period traveled from Goa to Bombay (now Mumbai) on a 'Documento para Viagem' (Document of Travel - not exactly a passport).

I waved out to the Indian Army soldiers in their turbans as they drove through our village of Guirim in Bardez, perched on the tanks, armoured vehicles and jeeps, creating a huge cloud of dust as they rumbled along, proceeding on the unpaved road from Mapsa to Betim on the banks of the river Mandovi.

Our school calendar’s last page was soon replaced by the Indian national anthem to which I stood to attention and sang at the National Cadet Corps until 2nd of September 1967 when I boarded a steamer to work in Dubai.

Five days of sailing on the high seas meant ‘No National Anthem’ of any kind. The BI steamship ‘Sirdhana’ of British India Steam Navigation Co. was one of the last in the line-up of steamships to sail the seas, leaving Ballard Pier on 2nd September 1967.

Dubai was one of the Trucial States of Oman – a British Protectorate. Approaching anchorage at offshore location in Dubai on 2nd September 1967, via Karachi and Muscat, the wind-towers looked like sky-scrapers in the distance.

The RAF Base band at Sharjah raised the British and the T.O.C. flags side by side and I stood up in reverence until 1971 when the United Arab Emirates were formed.

I waved out to the UAE Army Parade and stood up during functions when the UAE National anthem was sung or played.

In the years that followed I had to memorize and sing the Canadian national anthem at the swearing-in ceremony.

Anthems:      Portugal         Herois do Mar.
                    India              Jana Gana Mana
                    British            God Save the Queen
           UAE               Ishy Bilady
                    Canada          O Canada

1.  In India under the British: 7 months and 1 week (oblivious to any anthem)
2.  No Anthem: 5 days in international waters
3.  In Goa under Portuguese rule: ‘a subject of the Portuguese Overseas Province’ as the         Portuguese liked to call it: 8 years.
4.  Independent Indian in Goa: 5 years
5.  Indian outside Goa: 8 years.
6.  Indian citizen and expatriate worker in Dubai: 31 years
7.  Landed immigrant in Canada: 5 years
8.  Canadian Citizen: 10 years
9.  Independent, tired and retired - Ad Infinitum.

It's been a long and nostalgic journey indeed. But what's an anthem? Besides being compositions with patriotic lyrics, up-beat marches, or hymns in a particular style, I have sung, saluted and stood up to attention and shown respect to them as they were played, and listened to the world anthems whilst watching the Olympics. But on the lighter side, if I ever decide to go to Mars, and if the Martians have an anthem, it will be my 6th.


The Construction Wizards of Cumbiem Morod

Yeshwant Dirgoikar, the construction wizard and craftsman. Although handicapped with a hip injury through most of his adult life, he was more able and talented than most young men his age. He could estimate the number tiles or timber required for a house in a jiffy, based on square footage or even give you an estimate for repairs just by looking at any house. A man of all trades, he could fabricate all sorts of things – from ladders from poles of bamboo to field ploughs and other implements. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

THE ADVENTUROUS SENIORS OF CUMBIEM MOROD

     THE ADVENTUROUS SENIORS OF CUMBIEM MOROD     

          One of the first brave men and talented seniors from Cumbiem Morod with a firm determination to venture abroad for employment was the resolute Mr. Miguel Mendes, who worked for an oil company in Kuwait in the late 1940’s. He was considered as a pioneer and a role model for the village. A very modest and soft spoken man, he was very unassuming. A father of 7 children - one of his eldest daughters, Terezinha, taught us Cathecism in Sunday School. The village people admired him for his humility and kindness. He was talented in music and played the violin by ear - a talent that he has handed down to his grandson and namesake Michael Mendes along with his brother Savio.

          When Mendes Senior returned home on his vacation, the entire village seemed lively. He would have all the village folks at his house for a sung Ladainha (Litany). On Sundays he would hire a bus for all the village kids for a fun trip to Calangute beach followed by a wonderful treat of snacks and cold-drinks thereafter at sunset. He would also reserve a day for a long trek for prayers to his favourite cross on the top of the nearby hills of Canca/ Verla.

THE LEGENDARY CROSS:  http://tonferns.blogspot.ca/2012/04/blog-post_4991.html

          On his vacations to Goa during the early 1950’s, the Mendes residence was the first one to be lit up by the wonderful ‘Aladin’ lamp of yesteryear, that lit almost the entire village. It was in their house that I first had first heard the sound of vinyl records on on an HMV (His Master’s voice) gramophone. Vinyl records by Konkani singers like C. Alvares, Minguel Rod, Anthony Mendes, Jacinto Vaz and Kamat de Assolna and Pat Boone’s ‘Remember you’re Mine’ were the one of the first ones that I had heard and seen spinning on this incredible invention of that era.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

THE SENIORS OF CUMBIEM MOROD

THE SENIORS OF CUMBIEM MOROD

The first senior from our village ever to write and stage a ‘Tiatro’ (Konkani Play) was Custodio Piedade Fernandes. He worked in Bombay and had a grand and happy family of 8 children. His oldest son was very of photography and owned a 'Box' camera. His second son was a talented artist – Michael - my inspiration. Desmond – CPF's grandson and nephew of Michael (fondly called Miki), now carries those artistic genes forward that are evident in his art. Their white-washed house had the largest ‘sala’ (living room) in the village. It was big enough for a wedding reception, let alone a ‘ping-pong’ (table-tennis) table and enough standing space for their players' supporters. Boys and girls gathered in their home for all sorts of games like carrom, and board- games like draughts, ludo, and snakes and ladders and various other activities, that included a teenage jam-session singing the latest English songs of Binaca Hit Parade of Radio Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Their home was like a club house for all the village kids especially during the rainy season. The area next to their house had the least number of coconut trees, so it was ideal to be improvised as a mini football ground for the boys of Cumbiem Morod.

Custodio Piedade Fernandes was the oldest ‘Titi’ (uncle), as we addressed him. All the young kids assembled at dusk to listen to his episodes of about an hour each every day, which would last for more than a month in total narration time. He must have had a memory of an elephant.  I still admire his great memory and extraordinary prowess in story-telling, which was mind-boggling. I cannot up to this day fathom the power of his mind, or the knack, his will or his wit of telling epic stories. There may be lot of stories told, but this genius could paint canvasses of suspense and intrigue with his delivery. Among his other fare included an endless list of episodes at dusk, just before the Angelus, especially during the dark and cloudy monsoon evenings, about the adventures of ‘Birbal’ that made us laugh our guts out, while his wife Virginia was getting supper ready for the huge family.

His stage and pen-name was F.C. Piety and well known in Bombay, where he worked most of his life. His house was the brightest at night. The door and windows of their house were always open and the chimney lamp suspended from the ceiling burned bright till late into the night.  He loved to gather and encourage the young kids and teenagers urging them to study hard and to work towards a goal in the future. Besides having a large family of his own, he welcomed other boys and girls over to his house. On the door step of their house was a sign engraved into red cement that read ‘WELCOME’.  I was a young lad when one day someone asked me what it means and I clearly remember to this day that I had answered: ‘Welcome munnchem balcao’. And everybody had a good laugh!