It’s dark now as the taxi takes you to your hotel. You see nothing along the way. But then, when the car slows down, you know you’re finally in Jerusalem for you see the most beautiful sight. Softly bathed in the golden light of the lamps below, its crenelated silhouette set against the night sky. The Damascus Gate. Suddenly, that interminably long flight, the security measures you’ve endured, the slightly damp clothes pressed against your skin in the cloying heat – none of it matters.
What if I do not try to understand myself? I think this is easy to answer. But what if I want to understand myself? This quest is much more difficult. To do so one has to recollect memories from day one, when we were born. Every day a narrative could be changed, because we as humans are smart with language to convince and exaggerate our points of view, as we increase our experiences with language and knowledge.
My father’s house was in Salvador do Mundo, Bardez, not grand by the standards of colonial Goa, yet, surrounded by fruit-bearing trees and flowering plants. The trip across the Mandovi in a noisy ferry, past the picturesque Penha da França Church was already a preview of the much-awaited freedom the children enjoyed at our paternal grandmother’s.
Our ties to Uganda date back to 1927. My grandfather, Anthonio Athaide, was the first family member to move to Entebbe. He worked as an accountant for the Public Works Department and played cricket for the Uganda team. He married Elvina Fernandes in 1931 in Goa. She stayed back at the Athaide family home for another four years before joining Anthonio, in Entebbe, in 1935.
Canada has been in the news lately for the implied racism of its prime-minister Justin Trudeau. Perhaps what’s relevant to the large number of Goans settled in Canada is not Trudeau’s faux-pas but questions about Canada’s history of racial exclusion and how it might have impacted their lives.
We exist outside of ourselves. This moment of consciousness is the birth of literature – the ability to perceive ourselves and to give form to perception is what allows us to introspect and immortalise experience. It’s a profound loss to Goans, that we grow up exiled from our own literary legacy.
Sarto Esteves was born in Solvá, Raia, Goa, then a Portuguese colony, on the 28th of August, 1919 to Roque Piedade Felicio Esteves and Argentina Maria Esmeralda Geneciana de Piedade Quadros e Esteves. He was one of nine children in the family. He lost his parents at a very young age and later came to Mumbai for his education.
My chat series with him has been slotted between his scheduled work on two huge abstract works. In his red aachakan embellished with golden thread work and matching pyjamas he looks sharp, his silvery white beard and moustache offsetting his profile aglow with the sunrays filtering in through the open window.
Over a few years, I started to see visual changes occurring in the landscape. Fields that would welcome me into Curtorim with a green lushness to them were now slowly becoming uncultivated. This visual started to create a niggling thought in my head that in a way lead to an apprehension. I was wondering, what would it be for us if one day all of this faded into oblivion?
The store marks the way to my house. They call it the posro. It’s a small square structure, no bigger than ten paces across; a terracotta tiled roof rises like a pyramid. Rice, rye, and red lentils fill tin cans alongside chickpeas, chillies and cumin seeds, purveyed by a gentle, grey-haired man.
My approach anywhere I go is to be an observer. And I mean observing without any preconceived idea of what it is you’re looking at. Looking and trying to figure out why things are done in a certain way, which may not be your way. Trying to figure out what the rationale is – because there will be one.
Fitz must have deliberated long and hard on whether to make public these charges. As a researcher I have no way of verifying them. They might indeed be taken out of context. I too, have wrestled with my conscience whether to draw further attention to them. Nonetheless, the allegations are now part of our public discourse.
Had anything been published in Goa in Portuguese? I’d never heard of anything. But after a little rummaging about I discovered in my own university library a copy of Vimala Devi and Manuel de Seabra’s A Literatura Indo-Portuguesa, a two-volume essay and anthology on Goan writing. If Goa’s literary heritage in Portuguese survives, and if it is still an object of study today, it’s in large measure down to Devi and Seabra’s efforts.
It is problematic to harp on about appropriation without some consideration of the severe disproportion in literary representation and the subjective filters that invariably do apply. In other words, who is narrating the stories about cultural difference? Shriver was deplatformed in Brisbane. Her opening speech was insensitive to Aboriginal people and other minorities in Australia …
There was one other thing, my DNA results told me. They provided me with a long list of people, I may be related to. My closest cousin was identified as a Fernandes, many 4th cousins were identified as Costa, Figueiredo, Barreto, Marquis, etc, but this is where it gets interesting: among my 6th and 8th cousins were a Shenvi and Pai.
Panjim 2019, March, Fontainhas, mild weather. Dogs: no collar, no leash, sharing the public space. Technological ideology suggests the perfect observation of animals must be based on my total invisibility. I enjoy talking with dogs a foot from me. The animal scrutinises me across a narrow abyss of non-comprehension.
‘There is war, there is peace, and then there is ambiguous truth.’..Ashwin Kumar, filmmaker and part-resident at Sangolda, Goa, recently completed his trilogy on Kashmir. His third film No Fathers in Kashmir, which was released on 5th April, mirrors human stories of militants, uniformed men, politicians and the commoner with their multiple truths .
We still lived in two rooms no kitchen, cooked, ate and slept in the same rooms. Cooked on a (Makara) char-coal brazier. (Gicho). We had a make shift oven which was a large container, the bottom layer was sand and we put the item to be baked inside on the sand layer, covered it with a metal cover and heaped hot coals on top.
Jessica Faleiro in conversation with Suneeta Peres da Costa discusses Costa’s latest book Saudade. This is a coming-of-age story of Maria-Cristina, told from her point of view of growing up against the tumultuous political backdrop of pre-Independence Angola while still under Salazar’s rule.
Back in the car, Yessonda reminisced about her father Angelo da Fonseca. A Gandhi cap, block-printed shirts and kolhapuris were his signature clothing. The bicycle was his only mode of transport. She followed him in all that he did during the day: shopped for vegetables, fish, cooked, dug around their little garden and painted.
Newman is by no means condescending of those who visit the ashram. He seeks only to understand the fictive abstractions underlying the pan-India consciousness. Long before Yuval N. Harari in Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (Penguin, 2011) popularised the idea that the human ability to create fictions was fundamental to evolution, Newman sought to understand a pan-India consciousness
While we know Orta today as a man for his medica materia, I would like to push for his recognition as an early antiquarian — probably the first European antiquarian in India. As Markham points out in his critical edition, it is almost certain that Orta was the earliest European visitor to Elephanta Islands.
The irony is that the genteel culture which was the hallmark of Goa’s villages is now no more. The brash culture that has succeeded it, has muscle and decibel power. Those that fear a confrontation move …
Shirley L. Gonsalves’s book The Luso-Indian Stethoscope (Goa 1556, 2019), is an extraordinarily incisive look at the mandarin class the empires of Britain and Portugal created in the Indian subcontinent, and how these early transnationals heralded the golden age of intellectualism and public philanthropy.
Yes, I am getting a strange sort of husband indeed. Hugo is: an Indian, a Portuguese citizen, British protected with a British passport, born in Africa – pff- and he’s going to get married to a Norwegian.
Konknnichea molleant, the artwork by Loretti Pinto, is a significant and powerful metaphor for how weaving transforms conflicting ideas in our minds. The Aztec philosophy calls weaving a cathartic activity, and elaborates that weaving begins with fibre-dried grass stalks, bunched together into two groups, warp and weft.
Pacing his office, badly served by his predecessor and left in a ‘chaotic condition,’ Lieutenant-Colonel Bremner knew nothing good would come of his posting to Goa. Outside lay a land shorn of adventure, a land whose weather he found to be ‘unbearably sultry,’ whose Southern European colonisers spent their time in ‘cheery inebriation’ …
From 1975 to 1983, we lived on Pedder Road, Bombay, as paying guests. Vijaya and I were recently married and the one-room-bath kitchenette accommodation suited us fine — especially after the few months we had spent in a shabby and claustrophobic place in Kurla East …
Even the most cursory glance at the sizeable body of literature in Portuguese from Goa demonstrates the many ways in which this assertion, redolent of stereotypes about Goa peddled both in India and Europe, is simply erroneous.