Picturesque Goa

Picturesque Goa
NOSTALGIA - Articles,Poems & Photos


TONFERNS CREATIONS - Tony's Art & Hobbies

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



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

~ Rebecca Solnit

Monday, October 21, 2013



(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



          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.


          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 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! 

Friday, October 18, 2013


(The Talented Seniors of Yesteryear)

By Tony Fernandes

Late 1950’s.  My little and lovely ward of Cumbiem Morod. Call it the north-west silent ‘Bairro’  (Portuguese for neighbourhood) of the village of Guirim, bordering the village of Canca to the north-west, Parra to the south,  Sorvem and Figueira wards of Guirim to the east. Sleepy and quaint community with hard-working folks. Sparse Christian and Hindu family homes living peacefully.

       Almost a forgotten little ward of Guirim – referred to and known for some reason as a part of ‘small Guirim’. There was no road passing through the village then, but a well-trodden path for many of the people of Candolim, Calangute, Nagoa and Arpora who wished to cut short through our village to Bastora and to the hills and villages beyond.

       Though a sleepy ward as it may have seemed, it was a very vibrant one in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The village of Cumbiem Morod consisted of about 15 Christian and 15 Hindu households. Most of the men of Christian homes were employed in Bombay and returned home every year, mostly during the months of April and May.

       These men were literate, and very adventurous, having first left their families and homes as early as the beginning of the 1900’s in search of employment in other parts of India besides Bombay (now Mumbai)  like Jodhpur, Ahmedabad and Surat in the north, and even as far down in Kerala in the south. During those days it was difficult to find employment in Goa.

       Likewise, the sons of these pioneers later often followed their fathers to work out of Goa. Though these great and adventurous men are no longer with us today, we owe them a lot of thanks for their guidance, for setting good examples in everything they did, for teaching us the good ways and values, and inspiring us in turn to do our best in whatever we attempted to do.

The women folk took care of their children in Goa, and made sure that they got education by sending them to nearby schools, sacrificing the companionship of their husbands. They worked in the fields cultivating two crops a year. Rice was harvested by the end of the monsoons, and various vegetables were grown at the end of the following season in autumn, in allocated patches in front of my ancestral home in Cumbiem Morod (now generally called Kumya) before the onset of winter. This agricultural cultivation provided sustenance during the summer and monsoon season, and even some more to spare, kept in storage until winter, part of which would be especially used as seed for the next crop, along with a variety of produce like sweet potatoes, corn, eggplant (aubergine/brinjal), beans, onions, chilies, cabbage and radish. A water-melon patch was planted separately along the raised pathway leading to Monte de Guirim.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013







View of Victoria Road
from Fly Road towards Queen Elizabeth Highway

In the horizon is Lake Ontario.




Sunday, October 13, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

ST. GEORGE'S CHAPEL - Ball's Falls Conservation Area

Ball's Falls Conservation Area
Jordan, Ontario.

This beautiful chapel must surely be the most photographed. No visit to this area would be complete without seeing this historic chapel.
The interior of this restored chapel features warm wood-tones: both rustic and elegant. The chapel is heated to provide year-round access and the site has ample parking for guests.  

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

The Charm of Terracotta Village, Caledon

The Hamlet of Terra Cotta straddles The Town of Caledon and The Town of Halton Hills. It is about 15 miles north-west as the crow flies from where we live. It is a very pretty village along The Credit River, dotted with many charming cottage homes. The artistic influence in the community reveals itself when you see how many older homes have been kept up and improved over the years. As you drive into Terra Cotta, you can't help but notice some of the larger century homes in the area with rolling lawns and stately old trees. To the north side of Terra Cotta you will find an array of more modern homes that have been built over the past 40 years.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013


- HMV gramophone - 
~ similar to the one in picture at neighbour's ~
 *- Guirim, Bardez, Goa - Circa 1958 -*

78 rpm vinyl
 - Pat Boone's 'Remember You're Mine'