Friday, August 5, 2016

From ‘It's been a long day. A Nonagenarian remembers’ by Irene Heredia

When the decade of the 40s began, Bombay, a ‘city by the sea’ was just the right size. No squatters, no hutment colonies, no migrants who started pouring in…..No less pleasant were the walks and the drives in this open city with broad pavements and not a single pavement dweller, nor professional beggar.

Cricket was called ‘a gentleman’s game’ and it was so. It took four days, it was expensive, and played mostly by maharajahs, and wealthy businessmen …..A couple even had junior cricketeers running for them between the wickets! Christians never played it. Their game was hockey…..

The Portugese built a magnificent cathedral at Bhuleshwar in south Bombay, which was as grand as any in Europe.

The Goa Liberation Council decided to project Goa to all the people of Bombay who only knew that people who came from Goa were Goanese, and belonged to the city’s underclass. Most worked as domestics – cooks, butlers and nannies – to rich, Westernised Parsis …..The upper crust of Bombay society were hardly aware of the other half who could match them in all their skills and resources except wealth.

Emily Dickenson’s haunting lines….
Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me.

……..there is nothing more hateful to a Goan than to be called a Goanese. It would be the equivalent to calling a Tamil a Madrassi, a Maharashtrian a Ghati, a Japanese a Jap, or a Chinese a Chinaman. The word was coined by the British and had overtones of being menial or half-caste….

Among the famous Goans from Goa to name a few was Abbe Faria who discovered and practiced hypnotism as a medical system. He figured in the French revolution as he was in Paris at the time and is mentioned by Alexandre Dumas in his novel, The Count of Monte Christo. There’s a striking statue of him in Panjim……

Music: The Goans, both Hindus and Christians, are a carefree people, mild and non-competitive. They share the same ethnicity, and their talents turn to music, art, poetry and the professions rather than to business and commercial enterprise.

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