A Reminiscent Tour of Mapusa Town in the 1950’s – Part I

During the Portuguese regime, Goa was divided into three main parts – Bardez, Salcete and Ilhas or Tiswadi. The name ‘Bardêz’ is derived from Bará-dês, signifying twelve (12) “dessaíados”, or small feudal centers that after undergoing various dominations came under the Portuguese State. In the absence of transportation, people were confined to each of the above-mentioned parts. In fact, it was difficult, if not impossible, to travel from one village to the other.

In the middle of the last century when I grew up, the majority of Goans worked and lived for the day. People tilled fields and grew rice and all kinds of cereals and vegetables and were quite self-sufficient. There was no electricity in Goa except in cities. The word ‘technology’ was alien to Goa. The Africanders (Goans who worked in Africa) who returned to Goa in the 1960’s, brought along with them ‘Electrolux’ brand kerosene-based refrigerators; until then we had not seen a refrigerator.

In the absence of a refrigerator, if any food was left over, it had to be warmed up at least twice a day during the hot summer or else “randlelem finnfinnttalem” (the cooked food would get spoiled). Each village had a centrally located place called "Tinto" where basic necessities like fish, vegetables, etc. were sold. Since there was no cold storage facility, small markets were arranged around villages where people bought and sold their home-grown produce. The market days were fixed in such a way that people could make use of the fetched products for 2 to 3 days. Thus, the Anjunkars attended two small markets every week which were located at almost the same distance: (1) Budvaradis Siolecho bazaar (Siolim market on a Wednesday) and (2) Sonvaradis Kongottcho bazaar (Calangute market on a Saturday). Besides these two weekly markets, one big market took place in Mapusa town and this was meant for all Bardezkars (residents of Bardez). In this article, I shall reminisce on the Mapusa town as it existed half a century ago.

Everyone had to walk to Mapusa on foot, regardless whether he/she had money or not because there was no public transportation then. Children, mostly from the age of 7 onwards, accompanied their parents to the bazaar. It was fun to walk to Mapusa but not as much fun when we returned home because while mother and father carried big “pottleo” (packages) on their heads and in both hands (in my case only mother - as my father was abroad), each child was required to carry one “poti” (small bag) in each hand. There were two “Dovornim” (stone built structures on which one rests his/her burden if carrying a head load) each in Assagao and Parra located at approximately 2 ½ kilometers from each other.

Mapusa is a small sleepy town, 13 Kilometers from the capital, Panaji. It is one of the oldest cities of Goa, retracing its establishment to the time of Marquês de Pombal. It was the capital of the old province of Bardêz. “The crown of Bardez”, as it is also known, is basically a market place which forms the hub of north Goa. It is the most important commercial capital of the North Goa where the weekly “Sukraracho bazaar” (Friday market) takes place. It is also the administrative headquarters of Bardez Taluka (the province comprising of 12 villages), one of the Old Conquests of Goa besides Salcete and Ilhas or Tiswadi. Mapusa was categorized as a “vila” (town) by a Decree dated September 14, 1858. By Order No.1911 of the Governor General, dated December 29, 1933, the town was designated the status of a ‘cidade’ (city). The Mapusa market was first heard of in the 1580 by a Dutch Chronicler who is believed to have described it as the ‘Bazaar Grande’ (Big market)! The older part of Mapusa town lies along the base of the hill. To me, Mapusa remains the best town; no modern, sophisticated town/city can ever replace it for me!

During the Portuguese regime the name of the town was written as Mapuçá. Post liberation it was difficult for people to write it with the ‘cedilla’; so, they wrote it without - ‘Mapuca’. Later, people dropped the letter ‘c’, replaced it with 's’ and wrote it as ‘Mapusa’; most people write it this way now. In Konkani, people call it ‘Mapxem’ and its residents are known as ‘Mapxenkars’. Some people from Salcete, especially the carpenters who bring furniture to the Fair at Milagres’ Feast, call it ‘Mavxem’!

There are various versions about its name – some say Mapusa is derived from the Konkani word “map/mhap” meaning measure, and “sa” meaning to ‘fill up’. The word put together “Mapsa” or “Mhapsa” means a place of measuring and selling goods. It is also believed that the name is derived from “Maha” which means big and “push” means to sustain or feed – a big center for distributing village products, which is what it was and continues to be to date for North Goans. Yet another source connects its origins to a Sanskrit word “Paisata” meaning a land reserved for the administrative official granted in exchange for the services rendered; hence, from ‘Maha-paisata’ to ‘Mapusa’! Since its early days, Mapusa was the economic and commercial center due to its strategic localization.

Anjuna is connected to Mapusa by a road which runs through Assagao and Khorlim at the end of which it is linked to the Main Mapusa Street, which at first was just a way for connecting the town to the northern part of Goa but became important later when administrative buildings were located along its side. The street is located in the core area of the town and is part of the main traffic artery as well as a connecting spine for the secondary streets in the town. The Main Street buildings reflect the pride and aspirations of the community. In those days, the street was the center of community activity; the center of its commerce, banking, government and social life. So, my description of the Mapusa town in the 1950’s shall be along the Main Mapusa Street which actually housed major shops in town, and, of course, the old market.

The Anjunkars mostly went to Mapusa via Assagao because the distance is a little shorter than going via Parra. Once people reached the peak of the Khorlim Ghat, they took a short cut from the right through the rocky hill which saved them about 400 meters distance. To the right, there was a small Ghumati where Hindus stopped and prayed for a while and then proceeded to Mapusa. Today, there is a small temple built in its place. Although the road on the down slope was meant for vehicular use, hardly any vehicles, not even bicycles, passed by that road because they were a rarity at the time.

If you walked down the slope and looked to your right mid-way before arriving at the U-turn, you could see a Tuberculosis (TB) Hospital which was built by the Portuguese at the fag end of the 1950’s. In those days, TB was considered a very contagious disease so much so that when a person died, the roof of the house would be opened so as to let off the microbes and the whole house went through a kind of sunshine fumigation. Hence, the hospital was built on the hill in an isolated place, away from the residential area. To my knowledge the hospital had only half a dozen inmates; as such, it was hardly put to full use. I really don’t know what ever happened to it post-liberation.

If you continued to walk down the slope and looked up on the hill on your left before you got to the U-turn, you can see a small ‘copelin’ (chapel). It is called: “Khorle Ghattavoilo Milagrincho Khuris” (Miraculous Cross of Khorlim Ghat). Post liberation, it is customary for vehicle owners who travel the route to hold a yearly “ladain” (litany) in the month of May as a thanksgiving for saving the motorists from accidents at the sharp U-turn. Only once did a bus skid off the road but it got stuck to the stone railing and everyone was saved. People have great faith in the cross.

Back to the short cut via the hill: As we climbed down the ghat through “paim-vatt” (pathway) – actually, there was no pathway – one had to step on rocks and stones and make way through the bushes – we sometimes even ate “churnam” and “kanndttam” which we found on the way. The walk was so rough that sometimes some people sprained their ankles, hit rocks and broke their fingers or fell to the ground. My mother and I were among the fortunate to walk with slippers; most men, women and children walked barefoot. If a thorn poked, they would just lift the foot, remove and throw it away as if nothing happened; there was no time to waste to cry over it - they had to get to the market, do the shopping and return home for lunch where not only their family members waited for them but also sunnim, mazram, dukram ani kunkddam (dogs, cats, pigs and chicken) waited for their feed!

As we climbed down the little ghat short cut, we came across two Christian houses, one on each side; the one on the right belonged to Jaki (Joaquim) Fernandes. He was a short person but his wife, Carmelina, was taller than him and hefty; she was a jovial person; both of them smoked “pamparo”. On our way back home, we mostly halted at their place to drink water. Carmelina would entertain us with her funny talk and crack jokes which would elevate our mood and make us feel much better after a tiresome trip to the market. The house on the left also belonged to another Christian, Ruzai (Rosario) Fernandes; his son’s name was Milagres.

In those days, there was practically nothing in Khorlim as we proceeded to Mapusa for the Friday market except a garage on the left side which still exits. At the first road crossing, on the right side, there was and still there is a ‘gironn/makn’ (paddy husking, wheat grinding machine; they also ground various spice powders, including chillies powder). On the same side, a little after the crossing, there was a “Taverna Manu” (Manu’s bar) which still exists. From here on and until the next road crossing there were several “kansarachim dukornam” (coppersmith shops) on either side of the road; the place is known as “Kansarvaddo”.

From the afore-mentioned road crossing and until we reached the next
crossing, both the sides had residential houses surrounded by compound walls through which the street ran and it remains the same to date. At the end of the Khorlim road, two roads branched out – the one on the right was followed by vehicles to get into the town and the one on the left was a ‘No Entry’ for vehicles; pedestrians usually took this road to proceed to the market. However, the few private taxis from Anjuna/Assagao used the wrong entry in order to avoid direct confrontation with the police from the front of the quartela (police station) because their cars were always overloaded with at least 10 passengers!

For now, I shall travel as a pedestrian from the ‘No Entry’ road and then come back to the point and travel from the vehicular road on the right.

Travel to Mapusa by foot was not a big thing for children but there were two sensitive points which bothered us while we crossed the ‘No Entry’ road. Yes, I am talking about the back side of the ‘quartela’ with fortified compound wall inside which robbers, murderers and freedom fighters were imprisoned, and the sentry at the top; we had to cross both these points on our way to the market and back home.

When we were about to reach the quartela corner, fear would grip us; suddenly our heart palpitation would go “dab-dab, dab-dab, dab-dab, dab-dab, dab-dab” – much faster than regular beat because we had heard so many stories taking place at the quartela where suspects were interrogated, threatened and flogged with a chicote – if one had been to a quartela once, he would never want to visit it again. They laid the prisoners/freedom fighters (mostly innocent) on ice blocks, beat them with calvalmarine and hit them under their feet with thick wooden pieces/rulers until a person could not walk, which sometimes resulted in paralysis – Joe from Assagao was a living example. Anyway, this little stretch of road of about 100 meters was the most difficult and fearful for us to cross. When we were about 15 meters away from the quartela corner/compound wall, our mother would say to us: “Ugich zap kaddinastannam, azu-bazun ani voir pollenastannam chol/cholat, nam zalear ghaltam tujer/tumcher ek.” (Walk straight quietly without looking sideways or up, otherwise I will give one on you). The moment we reached the corner of the prison, though instructed by parents not to look sideways, I could not help looking at the corner cell through the corner of my eyes. I could see two prisoners standing and clutching the iron bars from inside in the corner cell and grinning at us – obviously they were grinning at the women! They kept on signaling: “Tst, tst; tst, tst; tst, tst; tst, tst" until we crossed the corner!

We had crossed the first point. The next was to walk past the sentry who was stationed in a sentry box in the middle of the fortified compound wall, which had barbed wire on both its sides plus the top of the wall had broken glass pieces planted on it (most of the bhattkars in those days also fixed broken glass pieces on the top of their compound walls to prevent anyone jumping into their compounds). Yes, the sentry was fully geared in uniform with a helmet on his head and a gun attached with bayonet; he wore a wide leather belt to which ammunition filled packets were fixed. Post liberation, I saw many Second World War movies in which they depict sentries guarding prisons with search lights on, but in those days quartela was the only place we witnessed such sentries stationed at the top of the compound wall. Here again, despite parents’ prior warning, I couldn’t help looking up at the sentry at least once. Whoever was stationed there always carried a serious look on his face and looked in a bad mood. Surprisingly, most of the time, the sentry on duty was a black African, who gracefully strolled around the sentry box and was ready to fire his gun at the slightest provocation. This is why our parents would warn us in advance and request us not to look up.

Once we crossed these two sensitive points, we felt like free birds! While we returned home, it was only one hurdle – the sentry at the top, as we couldn’t see the prison cell windows. If we looked back, parents would come to know, as we were always made to walk before them, and disobedience in those days, was not taken kindly. The Mapusa Police Station continues to be in the same quartela with a prison attached to it.

Now I return to road crossing at the end of Khorlim road. If the Anjunkars proceeding to the market took the road on the right, they would first come across a green house inside a green compound wall which belonged to Mr. Bandekar, one of the mine owners from the town at the time.

A little further, one came across St. Joseph’s Chapel which falls in Ansabhatt. People in those days were God-fearing. As soon as they reached the chapel, they would halt for a while, say ‘ek Amchea Bapa ani Noman Mori’ (one Our Father and Hail Mary) and proceed to the market.

In front of the chapel, there is a horizontal road – if you turn left, it leads into Ansabhatt and if you turn right, it blends into the main street. If you kept on walking straight through the open space in front of the chapel, you could see a row of prison cells attached to the west side wall of the quartela. Adjacent to these cells across the road there was open field where Konkani tiatros were held in a mattov. Walking on the main street, about fifty meters ahead was the front side of the quartela. Here again, we were asked not to look inside the quartela’s entrance on the left. The Police jeep drivers in those days were very rough; they exited the quartela like a rocket! If we heard the accelerating sound of a jeep coming out from the quartela, we would wait until it exited and took off like an airplane. The quartela also had message carriers called “pilotos” (pilots) who carried messages on motorcycle from Mapusa to Betim/Panjim and vice-versa. One of my Escola Primaria mates, Innocente D’Souza from Chinvar, Anjuna, who was much senior to me in age, joined the then ‘policia’ as a ‘piloto’; he retired a few years ago as ASI.

Adjoining the quartela was the only Post & Telegraphs office (P&TO) which served us, Anjunkars, until the 1980’s! Although Anjuna is only around 8 kilometers away from Mapusa, a telegram received at P&TO in Mapusa would be directed to Siolim from where a person would pedal his way to Anjuna on a bicycle and deliver the telegram to the addressee. Though delivery was late, people appreciated his services and gave him tips. My father expired on Thursday, April 28, 1983, while I was employed in Saudi Arabia. Telephone service then was still a rarity in Goa. I was able to convey messages to my family in Anjuna through ‘O Coqueiro Restaurant’ in Porvorim where my neighbor, the late Joaquim Antonio D'Souza was employed. I also sent several telegrams to my family in Anjuna. Due to the 2-day weekend here, I could not get an Exit-Re-Entry visa, which I was able to get only on the following Saturday. When I reached Bombay, it being the peak season, I could not get a seat on a flight to Goa because I did not have a confirmed ticket. After spending 10 hours at the airport, I went to the Cooperage Maidan where I managed to get a standing place in a bus. I traveled from Bombay to Mapusa as a standing passenger; I reached home on May 2. However, all the telegrams that were sent from Saudi Arabia reached only after I arrived home, almost after a week! In fact, the person from Siolim brought them to my house for three consecutive days and I received them all in person!

The large yellow building next to the P&TO was the Escola Primaria de Mapusa where ‘Segundo Grau’ public exams were held. Opposite the school, there was a Children’s Park.

As we kept on walking, we came across the Hanuman Temple on the left. Behind the temple, there was ‘Dassarat Talkies’. Next to the temple there were various small shops and outside those shops there were rows of bicycles for hire – the cheapest and convenient transportation means in those days. A little ahead, in Ajrekar’s Building, Shri Nivas Naik Buriye, a spare parts dealer was located.

If one looked to the right, he came across the beautiful ‘Mapusa Municipal Jardim’ (Mapusa Municipal Garden) with a concrete floor in the middle. It was known as the square and municipal garden "Mártires da República"; it was in this place that the population of the city came for their enjoyment and pastime, especially in the evenings. The garden was famous for hosting two annual dances – “Natalanche Porbek Dans" ani "Milagr Saibinninche Porbek Dans” (Dance at Christmas and the dance at Our Lady of Miracles’ feast). To my knowledge, no dances were held anywhere else in Bardez in those days except in Mapusa Garden. Since the dances were formal, only elite people participated. I did venture a trip to Mapusa on my bicycle on a cold Christmas night and witnessed a Christmas Dance in the garden. People occupied the middle portion of the floor, held each other tight (the weather was very cold with dew falling from the top with no protection from above) and danced Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Bolero, Rumba-Samba, Cha-cha-cha, Lancer, Contradans, etc., to the rhythmic tunes of the one and only Johnson and his Jolly Boys! The late Johnson Carvalho’s was the top band in the whole of Goa until the 1960’s! Chairs and tables were arranged around the concrete floor for people to sit down and relax and enjoy their drinks and snacks at the end of each dance.

Adjacent to the garden, on the east side, there was a tea shop and by its side there was a little entrance which led to the stairs of the famous ‘Pensao Imperial Bar', which was frequented by men who wanted to avoid people moving on the ground.

If one kept on walking straight on the main road, a little further there was a two-storey ‘Carvalho’ building on the left. One always saw a fair, young man, Faria, (Milo’s son), popularly known to all as “Babush”, probably in his late twenties, strolling up and down the balcony of the building facing the road, nibbling at his finger nails, smiling and greeting everyone passing by that road; he was out of his mind. He went crazy if you talked to him about marriage and immediately shook his head in agreement.

If you turned from the main road into the gully on the right, you came across some more spare part shops but the gully was very famous for ‘Shri Krishna Bhojan’ popularly known to all as “Bhatt’ttachi khannavoll” (Bhat’s eatery) where they served hot raw rice in a “pelo” (stainless steel glass) with “nusteachem umonn” (fish curry) which was brought in a stainless steel container and served with big spoons. Fried fish, papad and pickle were also served. The food was served by “bhatts” who wore a “dhontir” from the waist on without a top except for a religious thread which hung across their chest and back; they did not wear any footwear. The food was always warm and the service was very fast. On the left, there was ‘Dhuri’s khannavoll’. At the end of the gully, there was ‘Janaki Bookstall’ from where I bought my stock of Konkani Romansi (Novels)!

Coming out of the gully and getting back on the main street, as we walked a little ahead of the ‘Carvalho’ building, we would come across ‘Café Chaya’ where one could eat “patoll vo mix bhaji, bhoje, mirsango, bottate-vadde, etc.” and wash it down with a cup of tea, coffee or godd’ddeachi soda. Next to the café, there was a bookstall; sorry, I cannot recall its name.

As we kept on walking and approached the corner, we came across the famous ‘Farmacia João Menezes’ which was located at the tip of the shops-cum-residential stretch by the main street. The pharmacy was run by the proprietor, Joao, and his wife, Dona Bertha. Joao was a well-built, tall person who had little protruding teeth and wore spectacles low on his nose. Bertha was the one who mainly handled the business; she, too, wore spectacles low on her nose and looked more like a scientist. She was one of the few smart women I came across in those days who was actively involved in the pharmacy business. Both of them wore Lab coats and so did their staff.

To the left of the pharmacy, there was a wooden upper floor in an old building where “Zunvea voilo haddancho dotor” (A bone setter from the islands) had a small dispensary. He was a very good bone setter and I know it for a fact because he reset my broken hand. While I was jumping around, I fell on the edge of table with my right hand under the belly and broke it into two pieces. While I was rushed to the doctor, bamboo sticks were placed around my broken hand and tied with lugttache tir (cloth strips) to hold it temporarily in place. The doctor put me at ease with a nice smile, held my broken arm in both his hands and asked me several questions about my place, schooling, etc., including funny questions like: “Tum dukra pattlean vo cheddvam pattlean danvtalo re? (Were you running after a pig or girls?) At one point, he suddenly reset my broken bone in one push which sent a dizzy sensation in my head. He then applied a thick “lep” (a sticky plaster made from the bark of several trees, including “assnnanchi sal”. Next, he placed four flat bamboo sticks around my hand and tied them tightly with gauze. An appointment was given to see him in 8 days at which time he would know if the bone was set properly, which mostly turned out to be right. Total recovery period was about 8-10 weeks which is the same if one took treatment in a hospital. I still remember him say: “Ho tuzo hath sarko zatoch, adlea poros vodik mozbut zatolo!” (When you recover from the fracture, your hand will be stronger than before!)

A little further to bone setter’s dispensary, one would come across ‘Madhav G.S. Duklo’ shop, Stationers from Calangute – the shop is still there, followed by ‘Tadeu Sports’ shop, and next to it there was ‘Luis de Menezes’ – a wholesale distributor.

We then came across the "Tikttem" – a T-shaped road junction. Though there were hardly any vehicles at the time, a traffic police was stationed at the junction. He stood facing the up slope so that he could stop anyone trying to enter the main street which was a 'No Entry' zone. He directed the vehicles coming down the slope either to his left to Assagao/Anjuna road, or to his right to Betim/Panjim road.

Next, there was the ‘Café Zuzarte’ – a hotel owned by Africanders from Guirim. Besides patties, egg-chops, samboosa, bottate-vadde, bhoje, mirsango, etc., it was quite popular for a variety of pão-bhaji. People found it convenient to step into the café as soon as they descended the slope. One of the brothers was married to one of Jaki’s daughters from Khorlim.

Next to the hotel there was ‘Eugene DeMello’ – he sold musical instruments, including violin, as well as religious statues, rosaries, etc. Next in line, there was the ‘Coulecar Bookstall’ – they sold books and all types of stationery. Next to it there was ‘Drogaria Menezes & Cia’ and adjoining it there was ‘Casa Leao’ Bar. Next to the bar there was the famous wholesale liquor dealer ‘VALENTINO F. PINTO’ who sold famous brands like ‘St. Pauli Girl’ cerveja (beer), ‘Maceira’ Brandy; Moscatel, Tinto, garrafao de Vinho Branco, etc. The main entrance had a swinging Saloon Door – it swung either way when customers entered and exited the shop. Outside its main entrance door, there was a two-way staircase - people entered from one side and exited from the other. The name of the shop was written in bold letters in white against green background on the staircase wall facing the road.

Continuing on the up slope, a little further at the curve on the left, there was a watch repairer and next to it there was Bhiku’s small office where he helped people obtain their passports.

If one kept walking up the slope, on the left there were some tea shops, and above them, on a wooden floor ‘Hotel Godinho’ was located, where government employees had their lunch accompanied with a drink. On this very side, there was the famous ‘C. D’Souza Hotel’ - the oldest hotel in Mapusa – other hotels emerged at a later date. Initially, they had a tea shop in the main old market (my neighbor, Joaquim Mariano Fernandes, aka Jaki Mari, still runs a welding garage in that shop) but later on they succeeded in obtaining the above-mentioned premises on the main street, and they had a very successful business at this place.

Everyone’s specialty then was ‘mosko paõ vo ghoddacho paõ’ (sweet bread with a few raisins in it with an application of butter), which was very tasty and quite filling. The bread was quite big in size – it wouldn’t fit in children’s hands. Everyone preferred to eat the paõ with coffee. As soon as the waiter brought the paõ and coffee, we would dip the bread in the cup and savor it bit by bit and it would melt in our mouth. It is a pity they don’t serve that bread any more in Goan cafés. However, the late Anthony Mendes left the taste of ‘ghoddacho paõ’ for us in his song ‘Mogachem Tarum’ which he sang in ‘Amchem Noxib’ movie. Every Goan band proudly plays this number at weddings/dances till date. Here are the lyrics of the song:

‘MOGACHEM TARUM’ by the late Anthony Mendes:

Bexttench ragan chavon, kiteak vetai danvon
Tujea mogan poi voitam hanv bavon
Mogan zaitem baie ghoddta, kednaim hansta kednaim roddta
Punn tem tuvem-hanvem sozmochem poddta

Moga tum mojem sukh, moddta mogacho rukh
Gopan astoch tum lagonam mhaka bukh
Hacho mog kelolo porum, danvta koxem aka dhorum
Doriean lotton voita mogachem tarum

Painnean doloitam mhunnon bexttem mhuttlem
Mog sozmonam poieat hem ragan ful’lem
Dubav lagta hem konnaimkui punn bul’lem
Hem mhaka fottovn-fottovn, kalliz tuttovn hath dakovn chol’lem

Moga zalem tem zanv, mozo ghoddacho pão
Mhaka soddxi tor jiv ditolom hanv
Mhaka bhuloilolo forsan, mog zalolo gelea Marsan
Azun povnk nam hanvem mogachi ghoddsan

Rav gho sukha mojea, sorga velea anjea
Kolsanv denvta poi sintimentan tujea
Puro xikoilam tem lisanv, zogddim nakat koriea tensanv
Devan ghatlea puro kurpechem bhesanv

Mog tuzo assa mhunnon danvon ietam
Zalem tem zalem sogllem visor atam
Tuji khoxi kor sogllem sonsun ghetam
Punn tuka fuddarachi rannim korun, raza hanv zatam.

Café C. D’Souza is also responsible for Mapusa’s unique snacks – patties, crockets, sandwich, egg-chops, bottate-vadde, etc., which continue to be the attraction of everyone visiting the town. The moment one entered the hotel, the waiters would bring and place plates on the table containing the above-mentioned snacks. I remember, once an old woman wanted only a ‘ghoddacho pão’ and coffee but she was shocked when she saw several plates placed on her table with various snacks. She immediately said to the waiter: “Baba, hem sogllem hanvem tuka hadd sangonk nam re puta; mhaka fokot mosko pão ani copi (coffee) hadd”. (Baba, I didn't ask you to bring all these things; just bring me bread-butter and coffee.) The waiter replied: “Bhienakai ghe maim, tuvem teo vostu khal’learuch ami tuje poixe ghetelet nam zalear nam”. (Don’t worry mother, we will charge you only if you eat those snacks otherwise we won’t). The old woman felt good and said: “Toxem re mhojea puta; hanv sozmolim tumi mojea lagchean hea soglleache poixe ghetelet; hem sogllem ghora vorpak, mojea ghoran anik konn nam!” (Is it like that my son? I thought you would charge me for all these snacks; to take all these things home, I don't have anyone else at home!) When outsiders enter today’s cafés and hotels in Mapusa, they are as much surprised as the old woman when all those snacks are placed on their tables without ordering them, and they sometimes pose the same questions to waiters as posed by the old woman. Anyway, hats off to the late C. D’Souza for introducing this unique way of serving snacks without asking for them. It is a pity that the heir to the hotel, Francis, disappeared from the face of the earth without leaving behind a single trace of his disappearance. One of my neighbors, Menino D’Souza, worked at the counter of the old hotel on the main road. He walked from Gaumvaddy to the hotel every day - 365 days a year!

Continued ………………

Domnic Fernandes
Anjuna/Dhahran, KSA

Express yourself instantly with MSN Messenger! Download today it's FREE! http://messenger.msn.click-url.com/go/onm00200471ave/direct/01/

Reply via email to