Personal Tributes
to Pascoal

Family Trees

About the Author



In 1920, when he was just twelve years old, Pascoal accompanied his father to Karachi. They made the long voyage by steamer - a novel and interesting venture for the boy! But to leave the familiar surroundings of home, his mother and his sisters, was a painful experience; yet he had always known that this wrench was inevitable.

Education in English was regarded as the open sesame for any-one who hoped to get on in life. Knowledge of Portuguese might be the stepping stone, but no more! What prospects were there in Goa? English education in Goa was still in its infancy. Anjuna itself had nothing more to offer, though some boys did trek the distance on foot to Fr. Lyon's pioneer English-teaching school at Arpora, the neighbouring village. Caetano Maria and his wife Christalina were determined to give their only son any chance they could, to rise higher than they had been able to. It seemed sending him to Karachi would be best.

So to Karachi Pascoal went, along with his father. Life in a big, bustling city was altogether different from anything he ever imagined. Suddenly he was confronted with sights and sounds so new and unfamiliar - tall gaunt camels drawing big open carts, towering buildings flanking wide sandy streets, the raucous cacophony of countless honking vehicles speeding away, jostling crowds of people in quaint garbs, a harsh babel of tongues never heard before! What a totally bewildering, awesome encounter for the village lad! Heavily he clung to his father's hand till at last it seemed they had reached their destination.

The Goan Quarter

Sommerset Street, Sadar was the Goan stronghold. Just like Dhobie Talao and Cavel in Bombay, it was the place to which new Goan emigrants to Karachi gravitated. Later as circumstances improved, they launched out to settle in new and better housing colonies like the one set up by their enterprizing compatriot Cincinatus D'Abreo.

Several Goan families resided in Sadar. In this area there were also "chummeries" like the "kuds" where a group of young bachelors or married men, who had not yet been able to bring their wives, stayed together in the interest of economy. This was where Pascoal's cousin John Francis Monteiro lived. The young man was employed in the Government Postal Department.

Since Caetano Maria was unable to accomodate his young son in the household of his employer, he entrusted the boy to the care of his nephew. So his place became for Pascoal a home away from home. He felt safe and secure under his cousin's wing, knowing too that his own father was around. Here he was more at ease, listening to the grown-ups conversing freely in Konkani, the familiar mother-tongue. Besides, being the youngest, the other occupants indulged him, realising also how home-sick he was.

St. Patrick's

Two days after Pascoal's arrival, his cousin took him to be enrolled at St. Patrick's High School. It was an excellent institution run by the Society of Jesus not far from where Pascoal lived. The school was largely attended by Goan boys, many of whom were also residing in the neighbourhood. Pascoal, therefore, did not lack congenial companions. In fact, with his naturally friendly disposition he soon acquired a number of friends.
Pascoal was admitted to the Preparatory class, comprising mainly of boys who were not yet conversant with English. The class teacher was a Goan lady, Miss Luiza de Souza by name. She was kind and patient and deftly handled these raw youths. With his basic groundwork of Portuguese, before long Pascoal was able to read and write in English and, with the aid of a counting board, he also picked up elementary arithmetic.

His progress was most encouraging and very soon he was promoted to Std.I. Gradually he had became accustomed to the sound of English and by associating freely with other children, he was unconsciously compelled to start speaking in English. Acquiring more playmates, ne was now able to play field hockey every evening on a routine basis. This healthy sport was encouraged by the Jesuit Fathers whose motto was "A healthy mind in a healthy body". It helped young Pascoal to develop, grow, and to be accepted.

With this spirit of confidence in his new surroundings he began to take greater interest in his studies, and to stand up to competition and secure a high rank. His kindly lady teachers encouraged his effort and, much to the pleasant surprise of his father and his cousin, at the final examination of Std.IV Pascoal topped the class of 30 students! He was awarded a scholarship of Rs. 25/- no mean sum in those days! He proudly recalls that from this reward his cousin was able to purchase some new clothes for him.

He was growing fast, now quite acclimatised to Karachi weather - the sultry desert heat in summer and the chill blasts of the long cold winter. He had even picked up a bare working knowledge of Hindustani - an amalgam of Urdu and Hindi. From Std.V there were no more lady teachers for the boys. His teacher was now a young Jesuit scholastic who taught well and was also a firm disciplinarian. One Patrick Mendes taught the class history. He was popular with the boys : for his wit and humour and because he used to coach them at hockey on the play-field in the evenings. Later he became a well-known hockey player.

Somehow Pascoal did not fare so well in Std.VI and VII. Perhaps he was too distracted with games. He began finding his subjects getting too difficult. And more so, in Std.VIII, the final year.

Yet in 1928 he passed the matriculation examination of the University of Bombay, Karachi then being part of the Bombay Presidency; and of course a part of India. Only with Partition in 1947 it went into Pakistan.

Pascoal secured admission to the D.J. Sind College of Arts; but he had hardly entered the college when his mother made other plans for his future. His elder sister Maria Severina was already married to Andre Mendonca, who had migrated to British East Africa earlier and secured a good position in the East African Railway. To help Pascoal better his prospects, his brother-in-law invited him to Kenya, very generously offering to pay his deck fare by steamer from Murmagao to Mombasa, and to secure him an entry permit. Naturally Pascoal's mother was overwhelmed at the prospect and advised her son to accept the offer. There was a world-wide financial Depression at the time.Without any further ado Pascoal, the youth, - as he himself declares - "was accordingly shipped to Kenya!"

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