Picturesque Goa

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Major Days for the Morris Minor (and also for The Doctor, my bicycle and me!)

Major Days for the Morris Minor 
(and also for The Doctor, my bicycle and me!)
~ A Childhood Memoir by Tony Fernandes ~
As I grew up in Goa during the 1950’s and 1960’s it was quite common to see American and European cars on the roads. Although no one in my family owned a car, I was very happy to receive an occasional ride in a Morris Minor that belonged to none other than our well-known family physician.
The Morris was quite a popular car among other 'foreign' cars in those days - fine medium-sized piece of English automotive engineering of that era. They were seen in many colours: black, dark blue, grey or white, and were mainly privately owned by landlords, doctors, lawyers and merchants.
As a young lad I ran errands for many neighbours' households in the village other than for my own. One of such errands, on many occasions, was to fetch a doctor to the village in an emergency. Sometimes I would be summoned by a neighbour at a short notice for a quick brief: name of the town, name of the doctor, street address and directions, not forgetting to let the doctor know that’s it is urgent and that he has to come as soon as he possibly can. And they were lucky that I would readily oblige.
One of these doctors who often visited our village had a clinic in the town of Mapusa, Bardez - a district in North Goa - a distance of about 2 km from our village. And, of course, he happened to own one of these fine cars of yesteryear – the ‘Mighty’ Morris Minor of yesteryear.
Having made it to the doctor’s clinic on my bicycle, the first thing I would do was to make sure I locked my bike. Then briefly speaking to the nurse with a request for the doctor’s visit, I would wait outside for the doctor to conclude examinations of his remaining patients in the clinic, if there were any. Leaving my cycle there after making sure that I locked it, I would ride along with the doctor giving him the directions.
It was customary in those days for the errand runner to carry the doctor’s medical kit bag as a courtesy, walking and leading the way from the car to the patient's house, and I must say I humbly did my duty. As for me, it was a great experience doing that. For a brief 3 minutes’ walk to the house, from the winding road that ran through the village, I felt as if I was actually the doctor. I momentarily also got carried away in my thoughts: “Some day if I ever decide to be a doctor, then someone else will have to carry this bag” I thought.
After examining and having been convinced he had successfully diagnosed the illness of ‘The Goan Patient’ the following is what the doctor would usually say to the folks of the household in Konkani: “Bienaka re. Tum zatolo boro. Rexeth boroun ditam. Hem vokot, hea burgeak Mapusa thaun adduni. Ani tuka koxem dista tem maka faleam sangun dilea puro.’ (Here a translation of what the doctor said: ‘Don’t worry. You will get alright. I’m writing a prescription. Tell this lad to buy this medicine on his way back from Mapusa. And tomorrow let me know how you feel.’)
Having said this, the doctor put the sphygmomanometer and stethoscope back into the bag, washed his hands with new soap set aside solely for his use on the window sill while I poured water on his hands. The doctor smiled and wiped his hands on the clean towel. Suddenly my thoughts wandered off, thinking as though I was in the village chapel doing the duties of an altar boy before coming back to reality.
As a courtesy the doctor then asked about the general health of the rest of the family members before heading for the door. Simultaneously, it was time for me to pick up the doctor’s bag and accompany him to the Morris car. Meanwhile he was kind in inquiring as to how I was doing in school.
After getting a 'jolly good ride' in the well-kept 'Morris Minor' to the doctor's clinic, I would unlock my bicycle and quickly pedal to the pharmacy and hand over the prescription to the pharmacist (a.k.a. 'compounder'). I would wait till the medicine was ready, and watch him cut out notches that indicated the doses on a strip of paper and paste it on the side of the bottle.
Sometimes, along with the benefit of enjoying a ride in the doctor’s Morris Minor in running this errand, there was also a major reward for me in accomplishing this task. A cold drink or a ‘falooda’, sometimes tea and patties or a 'limboo-soda' (fresh lemonade) in the interim period while the medicines got ready. Then I happily hurried back to my village on my bike, reaching home safely with the medicine bottle intact, at times as the sun set over the hills of Canca, Verla and Parra. Wishing the patient a quick recovery, brought to an end yet one more major day for the Morris Minor, the Doctor, my bicycle and me.
Tony Fernandes

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Owed to Abba

 (A Garland of ABBA Songs)
(by TōnFerns)

She was a Nina,
Pretty Ballerina,
a Chiquitita, a Dancing Queen, 
She said ‘Take A Chance On Me’
And I replied 'Why Did It Have To Be Me?'
'Knowing Me, Knowing You'
‘Does Your Mother Know’ ? I asked
She said, no, 'It’s The Name Of The Game’.

‘I’m a One Man, One Woman’ you know? I replied
She said, 'I Have A Dream' Tony 'Fernando'
‘Lay All Your Love On Me’ she added 
I’ve a dream too, I confided,
We both then said "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do"
'Super Trouper', she went on,
‘Andante, Andante’, take it slow.

I sent her an 'S.O.S.'
'The Way Old Friends Do'
I said 'When All Is Said And Done'
'I Let The Music Speak'.
And then we both joined in chorus
We sang 'Mamma Mia' 
'here I go again, how can I resist you'
My my, just how much I've missed ya.

In the end the Winner Takes It All
She Thanks You For The Music 
Saying Honey Honey
Hasta Mañana until then.

Tony Fernandes

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Tony in a Mini


Dubai 1970 - Austin Mark II - 1100 cc 4 door sedan - 4 cylinder inline transversely mounted engine - 4 speed manual floor shift gear 4F+1R - Petrol, single carburetor, front wheel drive.

This vehicle, my first - the Austin Mini Minor Mark II - was a real marvel - one awesome, simple and convenient form of transport, and a practical piece of engineering - front wheel drive, transverse engine, standard track, typical big steering wheel and easy to handle. It seated five passengers including driver, with space for luggage behind the rear seats with a spare tire to boot.

I enjoyed driving this vehicle immensely. Simply loved it. Once packed 7 stalwarts in it. Had great fun driving to the beach and picnic spots around Dubai. They were popular in the late 1960s until the mid 1970s.

Austin Mark II, I miss it. Yes, I still do.

Friday, January 13, 2017

When I used to DJ in my younger years, my name surprised some people (particularly those who do not know about Catholicism, Christianity and Portuguese colonization in India), who often asked: "TONY!?! Is that your REAL name?" and then while pointing to my head-phone rack I would respond: 

Monday, January 09, 2017

The Goan Sala

The Goan Sala
The Goan Family Room - 1950's

I have tried to depict in the illustration above one of the beautiful living rooms in our village of Cumbiem Morod in Guirim, Bardez, Goa. This type of a house generally belonged to an average well-to-do family. This household was full of life, and light, with windows on 3 sides complimented by the large clock with Roman numerals and hourly chimes, the round center table with a flower vase, the chimney lamp that hung suspended from the ceiling and caned wooden chairs all around. Everything and all action happened here when I was a young lad. Parties, get-togethers, litanies, singing sessions, board games - ludo, draughts and carrom, card games of all sorts and much more. Wedding prepartions, celebrations and sit-down dinners.

But to top it all up, there was something special that I associate and admire about this house, and that is a Music Box-bass that we used as accompaniment to our singing sessions as teenagers. This box, which is shown in the foreground on the left of this drawing, was made out of 15 x 15 inches tea chest from the Mapusa market. It consisted of a thick twine pulled through the top centre of the box and tied to the top of a wooden or bamboo pole held upright in any corner. One had to play this 'instrument' by ear in the real sense by placing one's right foot on the corner of the box diagonally opposite to the pole, and plucking on the string with the right hand just like one would do on a double bass. The pitch, which was 'more or less' or near enough, could be obtained by adjusting the pressure on the pole with the left hand. One side of the box had a sound port-hole. Clever invention. Isn't it? It even had the bass and treble clef painted on its sides to give the additional visual effect. Wow!

But the beauty does not end there. There was a play ground next to the house - where we played from soccer and 'fouio', and hopscotch to 'lobio', with the benevolent blessings of the typical white-washed Cross in front of the house that has stood the test of time up to this very day.  

Sunday, January 08, 2017

The Box Bass

The Box Bass

Something special and unique that I remember from the 1950's is a Music Box-bass that we used as accompaniment to our singing sessions as teenagers. This box, which is shown in the foreground on the left of this drawing, was made by one of our pioneering and innovative leaders of our childhood, Mickey, as he was fondly called. The box-bass was simple in its construction and easy to make. It consisted of 15 x 15 inches tea chest from the local Mapusa market. It consisted of a thick twine pulled through the top centre of the box and tied to the top of a wooden or bamboo pole held upright in any corner. One had to play this 'instrument' by ear in the real sense by placing one's right foot on the corner of the box diagonally opposite to the pole, and plucking on the string with the right hand just like one would do on a double bass. The pitch, which was 'more or less' or near enough, could be obtained by adjusting the pressure on the pole with the left hand. One side of the box had a sound port-hole. Clever invention. Isn't it? It even had the bass and treble clef painted on its sides to give the additional visual effect by Michael. Wow!

Saturday, January 07, 2017



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Now that you know I’m seventy, I hope you all don't mind if I read my speech. At seventy I hope I can be excused not to remember speeches anymore.

I thank my wife Edna for her love and understanding, for her dedication in bringing up our children well, for her encouragement in all my aspirations and for her constant companionship and steadfast support during the last 42 years and the beautiful greeting writeup on Facebook.

I thank my children for their love and respect, and care and support. Daughter Denise is always there for us with her most logical solutions and the most elaborate surprises. Son Denzil is very loving and always passionate about whatever he does. And he is always there when we need him. He also comes up with convenient solutions that somehow always involve the use of computer technology. And daughter Dahlia is ever present to keep our spirits high with her music, humour and energy.

I am blessed and my life is full of love and friendship – with friends like you and more.

Lately my friends have been saying: “Hey, Tony, you don’t look seventy”. At this point in time I’d like to mention that I owe my youthful looks to my wife Edna’s wonderful cooking.

Nevertheless, since I really can’t believe it myself that I’m seventy,I insist on a recount. This age count is rigged, and I say it's been rigged bigly!

They say when you get to be my age one may first tend to forget names; then forget faces; and then so many other things, but my dear relatives and friends, you will never be forgotten. Thank you for your friendship during all these years.
I must say that being 70 was not easy – it took me 25,568 days to get here, including that extra day in leap years. Having been born in the roaring forties, life has been a great experience - studying through the swinging fifties, donning a Beatles haircut and sailing to Dubai in the sixties, getting married in the fabulous seventies, and learning to manage kids through the rocking eighties, digital nineties and the new millennium with twitter, email, facebook, etcetera. 
Now, it’s time to look on the lighter and brighter side.

From today I shall presume that I am twenty with 50 years experience.Convert that into Celsius and it should be about 17 without wind-chill.

From now on I shall select only sweet tunes as they say the older the fiddle sweeter the tune. Or it may be the same fiddler, same fiddle, but a different tune.

Have you ever wondered why seventy is considered to be a great mile stone. It’s very simple my friends - because if we were to count age in kilometres I would have been 112 years old today. Besides, who'd want to live that long eh?

Days of inflation are long gone for me. Inflation was supposed to be when I paid fifteen dollars for the ten-dollar haircut when I had hair. I wasn't a show-off, but keeping the barber happy with a 50% tip meant that a good hair-cut was very important in my younger days. But inflation or no inflation – now I don’t have to worry about rising cost of hair-cuts, or even try to get mileage from my hair any more. And besides, a good collection of hats does the rest!

I’d like to say that today, as I embark on yet another 365-day journey around the sun, with wonderful friends and a loving family, I look forward to a wonderful year ahead. And after having completed 70 of these round trips already, which incidentally means a lot of experience, I am happy to be alive to tell the tale. I thank the Lord for a good life, a good wife, beautiful kids and excellent friends.

All these years, it's been hard to visualize what it would mean to be 70. I like the phrase 'aging gracefully' as some people so well put it, while others live and age so well - if I could only keep up with that. Sometimes in the past the thought of getting older has been a scary one for me - making me tend to think that there's no guarantee, and that the chances of being up and running are finally running out.

My parents are no longer living, but I always remember them and owe them for the happy and good life that I enjoy today. They made sure that I got an education, but more importantly nurtured me with their love, and instilled in me the good values of life. I am sure they are watching on me today with their blessings, along with the company of my mother-in-law and father-in-law who treated me like their own son in the absence of my own parents.

My grandson Ari Lukasz & grand-daughter Anya Teresa will brighten the rest of my journey.

A big 'thank you' for the good wishes on my 70th birthday from my family members - my wife, my children, my grandson, my grand-daughter, friends and relatives who have remembered me on this day, and all those who have sent in their wishes by way of greetings on social media like Facebook, emails and telephone calls making me feel fortunate and blessed. 

Happy Birthday to all those who share and celebrate their birthday with me today. To those who are still young and have to be 70, I'd say this, if I may:

"You'll catch up to be my age one day, but you'll never win."


Friday, January 06, 2017


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It was the Yuletide of 2004 that my wife and I had gone to visit our relatives in Cansaulim, in the Salcete District of Goa, to witness the grand feast of the Three Kings and fulfill a lifelong dream to attend this traditional feast.

The three villages that take a major part in celebrating this feast are Cansaulim, Cuelim and Arossim, at the Chapel on the Cuelim hillock. A child from each of these three villages is chosen representing as a ‘King’ dressed symbolically in regal attire on horseback.

After a short prayer and ceremony at the respective three different local churches, the ‘Kings’ from the family of the main celebrants start on the long trek on horseback, followed by other folks on foot from each village and the surrounding areas through villages and fields in a procession to the accompaniment of a brass band playing along the way. The end of the journey is near, the mount is in sight, finally ending on reaching the chapel on the hill.

The unity and the camaraderie that exists between the folks of these three villages is evident in the fact that this great feast is organized so well, with such timing, pomp and fervour.  

When they arrive at the hill, the 'Magi' meet in front of the chapel, culminating with a con-celebrated Solemn High Mass and other traditional festivities. 

The Adoration of the Magi - Feast of the Three Kings
Cansaulim, Salcete, Goa. India

In addition to the traditional feast celebrated at Cansaulim, the Parishes of Reis Magos and Chandor also celebrate this feast in Goa on a grand scale. It is commonly known as the feast of the Three Kings, Epiphany of the Lord, The Magi or the Three Wise Men of the East – Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar – each one carrying symbolic gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Not connected to this grand feast in any way, there is a legend, however, that there was a ‘Fourth Wise Man’, whose name was Artaban. It is not my intention to publicize to give credit to this story. It is perhaps an imaginative creation in a short novel or long short story by Henry van Dyke. This story has no mention in the Holy Bible. 

It tells about a "fourth" wise man (accepting the tradition that the Magi numbered three), a priest of the Magi named Artaban, one of the Medes from Persia. Like the other Magi, he sees signs in the heavens proclaiming that a King had been born.

Artaban was a Persian King whose study of the planets and the stars led him to predict the birth of the King of kings. It is said that he sold everything he possessed and purchased ‘a large sapphire blue as a fragment of the night sky, a flawless ruby redder than a ray of sunrise, and a lustrous pearl as pure as the peak of a snow mountain at twilight’ which he intended to carry as tribute to this King of kings. He then set out for Jerusalem, where he had arranged to meet up with the three other Wise Men, or Magi, to find this newborn King.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Candle-light in the hollow of the coconut shell

Candle-light in the hollow of the coconut shell

In the old days, people used hurricane lamps for longer walks in the night. And some used flashlights. But my Grandma was happy relying solely on 'candle power' none other than from the light of the petite candle placed in the hollow of a coconut shell.

This type of handy lighting of one's pathway was to some degree used by many folks in an emergency or sometimes to visit a sick neighbour at night or while returning from a delayed sung litany in the chapel or from a ceremony at a neighbour's house in the village. But my grandma had a special one that had enhanced quality of light. I had painted the inner part of shell in white paint which served as a reflector thereby throwing a little more light. 

Tuesday, January 03, 2017



3 JANUARY 2014
R.I.P. Phil Everly of the fabulous Every Brothers.
One of the finest duos of singers in harmony of our time.
One half of the great duo 
Phil Everly 
passed away at 74

A Note from my Daughter.

Thanks to my Dad - Tony, I listened to the Everly Brothers my entire childhood and right through university. Their harmonies were second to none. They were on heavy rotation in my university dorm room along with Elvis Presley and Simon & Garfunkel. My roommates thought I was an old fogey. Saw the Everly Brothers perform live in concert with Simon & Garfunkel in 2003 and it was so amazing to hear all 4 of them perform Bye Bye Love together. "Crying in the Rain", "Walk Right Back" and "Bye Bye Love" got me through a lot of breakups. I still sing "Bird Dog" randomly out loud in public places and people think I'm making up the song. RIP Phil Everly. Thanks for the music.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

The TonFerns Torchlight (iow aka Flashlight)

To build a torch or flashlight like the one illustrated below was out of necessity. First and foremost, the need was to collect as many as possible discarded standard size 1.5 V batteries from old radios in the village, have them checked for some life in them, and discard the dead ones. I made a box out of old plywood to hold 6 batteries of 1.5V each and used a  9V bulb, fitted with a reflector and rear spring salvaged from an old out-of-commission torch, and a miniature on-off switch purchased from Auto Popular in the nearby town of Mapusa. The switch was fitted on top of the wooden box.  As the torchlight got dimmer, it was better to compensate for the decreased light output by changing the bulb to 6 volts. 

This was the most powerful torch in our village in those days, with its powerful beam reaching about half a kilometer (across the perimeter of our ward). Electricity came to the village in the late1960's, but my torch still held on to its glory in emergencies and during power-cuts until much later.

There were different types of torches or flashlights in various households, 'Eveready' being the common brand. There was also another popular brand called 'Winchester' brought in mostly by Goan people working in the Arabian Gulf. They required standard 'D' size batteries and miniature incandescent light-bulbs that used a tungsten filament.The bulbs used for torches were as follows, and I was an self-taught expert at this.

A 2-battery torch used a 2.8 volt bulb,
A 3 battery one used a 4.2 volt, and
A 6 battery contraption like the one I made would need a 9 volt bulb.