Picturesque Goa

Picturesque Goa
NOSTALGIA - Articles,Poems & Photos


TONFERNS CREATIONS - Tony's Art & Hobbies

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Goa of the 1960's,

The Multilingual Myna

We had two cages on both sides of our “balcão”, hanging on the beam across the two pillars that held the roof of the entrance. There was a myna in one cage and a parrot in another. They could both speak three languages, and had a remarkable memory and extensive vocabulary that included certain Konkani words for which I would have definitely been reprimanded if I ever dared to utter or repeat them. Perhaps the parrot was more adept of the two. I have no idea where the parrot learned swear words. Maybe from the previous owners I guess! These birds entertained people passing by our house who stopped for a while to hear some of their colourful and amusing vocabulary and their prowess in singing several short clips of the latest prevailing English and Konkani hit songs of the time that played on the radio that received optimum reception if it was only placed in its especially reserved corner of the red 'sopo' (seat in red cement). The cat sometimes slept most of the day, but justified its lethargic behaviour by catching the erring naughty mouse in the night and displaying its catch early in the morning and expecting a breakfast. The dog was well behaved, got its regular feed for doing its barking duties most of the time and maintaining law and order among the chickens and the piglets around the hut at the back of the house. And surprisingly both the birds mimicked, with a flair of their own, with a meow-meow here and bow-wow there, perhaps in an attempt to tease their canine and feline friends while they felt safe in their cages!

Friday, August 25, 2017

 (Line Art by Tony Fernandes)

Gurguret ~ (Water Dispenser made of clay)

Thirst quencher of yesteryear - cool water with an 'earthy' flavour. I'd call it an earthenware 'refrigerator'. Artfully crafted out by Goan potters, this timeless piece of pottery is a natural water cooler found in many Goan homes. Based on the fact and principle of common knowledge that evaporation causes cooling, unglazed earthenware pottery chills liquids because of evaporation through the microscopic porous clay.

It is a very popular item that is sold in the dedicated clay market area in major towns and cities in Goa. Its main feature is the spout which is reminiscent of the famous head of the Portuguese Barcelos rooster or Galo de Barcelos.
It the old days many people covered long distances walking from place to place. During the summer months is was not uncommon to see these coolers along with a cup or glass outside the houses located on the roadside so that people could quench their thirst. This may be unbelievable, but I have walked with my mother and my aunt nine times from Guirim to Tivim for Novenas to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in the early 1960's, and I have quenched my thirst from such water-coolers along the way.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Solar Eclipse

A day of reckoning - what would we do without the Sun.

A time to reflect on the power of the Creator.

Jet trails in the Sun.

Magnificent heavenly display - when the sun and the moon play hide & seek, and it was the Sun's turn today to assume the shape of a crescent

Solar Eclipse - 21 August 2017 - Mississauga, Canada.
 Camera: Canon ~ Shot with green filter.
 Time: 14:12:59, Mode: Manual, ISO 80, Exp. f5.6, @1/1600 sec.
 ~ © Photo by Tony Fernandes.

Direction: 211° Altitude: 54.7°

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Goan 'Confro' - the Sanna Maker

Goan 'Confro'
The Sanna Maker

A traditional rice-cake steamer - a clever invention of our ancestors. Made from copper and hammer-finished by Goan coppersmiths with a tight-fitting lid, two handles on the main pot and handle for the lid. Available in shops in all major towns. The indent around the middle of the lower half holds a tin shelf with holes that let the steam from the water in the reservoir to pass through and steam cook several rice cakes all at once that are placed in small tin saucers on the tray.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Goan Balcao (Balcony)

Goan Balcão (balcony)
A place for everyone and everything

One of the prime features of a Goan house is a Balcão (Portuguese) or balcony. In the summer months one could spend more time in the balcão than inside the house. Balcões (plural in Port.) are constructed in different shapes and sizes. Some have stone/red cement benches with reclining rests to rest on, while others have wooden benches. It is a place for everyone, everything and every occasion - a place for serious or idle conversation, for local gossip, a place to rest after a long journey before entering the house, to enjoy afternoon tea, for a thirsty stranger asking for a glass of water, for the spill-over of late comers at a sung litany or for a impromptu singing session of the Goan mando (folk songs). In the old days of the 1960's we brought the portable transistor out and placed it on the cement bench, and neighbours came over to listen to the popular evening English request program broadcast by Radio Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and All India Radio Goa.

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, we played carrom, draughts, games of cards, ludo, and at times, one of village elders would relate stories in the balcony of his house about his good old days. To hear him relate old stories was a pleassure. 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. It was dusk, and 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 'Boa Noite' (Good Night) before we walked to our individual homes.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Time & Tide


My body is like an hour-glass,
From it like sand my life will pass,
It will surely be over all too soon,
Just like the tide,
My life will then be a thing of the past.

When the sands of Time that now in my body
Steadily but slowly flow,
And all of it when it has ebbed away just like the Tide,
And there’s sand no more,
My life will then be a thing of the past for sure.

So then I take some Time now and then,
To write a thought into a word or two;
And entwine words into strings of verse,
In a day, week and sometimes perhaps
In a year or two.

So if we make the most of Time,
And sway not with the Tide;
In doing worthy and good things in life,
Will certainly be good
While we are still alive.

Good words heard or spoken, 
Fall on deaf ears so very often,
But human good deeds and values, 
In the end, and in Time, 
Will not be outdone.

Through the hour-glass 
Only goodness shall pass;
Not riches or gains,
Prosperity or wealth.
Status or class.

Sand depletes by the hour,
And the tide turns from high to low,
Our life is quickly running out,
And soon there will be nothing left,
When no more grains remain to flow.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Goan Sala with typical furniture

A typical Goan grand family room (Portuguese: Sala) of the 1960's in our village of Cumbiem Morod, Guirim, Bardez, Goa, complete with assorted types of chairs, centre table with vase and flowers, wall clock, hanging chimney lamp, family pictures, paintings and ample brightness through tall windows.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Goan Rocking Chair

Goan Rocking Chair
Line artwork and crosshatch drawing
by Tony Fernandes

Rocking chairs are quite common in most family homes in Goa with their own unique designs and construction by Goan carpenters with their usual 2 curved pieces attached to the bottom of the legs. They are made to rock and do not have extendable pieces to rest one's legs like the Goan 'volter', which has 4 legs firmly on the ground with arm rest extensions that swing out to serve as leg rests. The original Voltaire chair was not a rocking chair and did not have extendable rests.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Country Singer of My Youth

Glen Campbell 1967.JPG

Country Singer of My Youth
Rest in eternal peace;
Rhinestone Cowboy.

Your songs have brought happiness
and joy for most of my life.

Your songs, voice and music
indeed made this world a better place.

Monday, August 07, 2017

The Goan Volter

~ The Goan Volter ~ 
Line Art/Crosshatch Drawing
 by Tony Fernandes.

The easy chair called ‘Volter’ in Konkani is now among other extraordinary antique furniture pieces of my youth in Goa of the 1960’s. It is a long reclining easy chair with a low seat and high back with the added comfort of extendable/retractable swing arms to rest legs on for an afternoon siesta. This chair was essentially reserved for my Dad. Youngsters were not supposed to be seen sitting on it with an older person around the house. This was merely out of respect for elders. When I was young I happily checked out its comfort when my Dad was away, although my legs could not reach the extended pieces to fully utilize its comfort. Named after, and made popular by, the famous French writer, Voltaire, this unique chair was a proud possession of many family homes in our village. My Dad made sure it was always kept in pristine condition with its regular annual coat of varnish. I have drawn it here from memory – with its carved head rest, cane strung back rest and seat, and double swing extensions. Also known as 'Plantation Chair'.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Goan Coconut Scraper & Fish Scaler, Aadoli, Aada'o

Traditional Goan Coconut Grater & Fish Scaler

This ancient invention is a prime multi-function kitchen tool made by local craftsmen and is used in every Goan household. The curved metal blade, which is used for scaling and cutting fish, splitting shells and cutting several types of vegetables, ends in a sharp toothed flat semi-circular toothed extension that is used to scrape/grate coconut used in cooking curries or making sweets. The device is pivoted to a wooden stool with metal angles that enables it to collapse over for safety when not in use. In its use, this gadget is firmly held in place on the floor by folks sitting astride this gadget when carrying out a cutting or scraping chore.