spending 43 months in rather desolate border outposts, Pascoal was
entitled to his first official home leave. Eagerly anticipating the
delightful prospect of revisiting Goa, he did not delay but applied
for the various sanctions well in advance. Imagine his excitement
when he recieved intimation that his return passage was
left Isiolo for Mombasa, and from there boarded the British India
steamer for Murmagao via Seychelles. On the ninth day land was
sighted. Home at last! It was customary for each passenger to have a
special boatman allotted to him for the purpose of ensuring that his
luggage would be transported directly home.
Pascoal's porter, Pandovi by name, came up on board and they
clinched the deal.The man was as good as his word, and the following
day all Pascoal's trunks were delivered intact to de Mello
Return of the native
was a rousing reception awaiting Pascoal when he reached home. His
mother greeted him with open arms, laughing and crying at the same
time. He could hardly recognise his younger sister Luizinha - she
was a grown-up young lady now! There was much excitement in the
neighbours rushed forward to see him; a lot of hand-shaking and
back-slapping; how well-dressed he was - in clothes of a fashionable
cut! And so very poised!
Pascoal looked around the vaddo. There were now some nice
little cottages fronted with gardens. It certainly was good to be
home again. What a pleasure it was to hand out gifts from another
land - presents he had picked with loving care and purchased from
his own earnings!
Pascoal was an eligible bachelor to boot. He was just 25 years old,
and he wanted to stay foot-loose and fancy-free. But word got around
that a prosperous and single, young "Africander" had arrived.
Mothers with marriageable daughters planned their strategy.
Match-makers entered the field. Pascoal could easily take his pick.
He was constantly in demand, invited here and there, for
"ladhainas", weddings, feasts. He was the centre of attraction. But
he had come home to enjoy the company of his loved ones, to see his
home, his village, and meet old friends.
a whale of a time! His mother pampered him, preparing his favourite
dishes and sweets. He accepted every invitation, to the homes of his
relatives and friends and made up for the 43 months of comparative
isolation. With his old companions he watched the football games,
and the "dirrio" or bull-fight on the church feastday. Many of his
juniors came to meet him to inquire about prospects abroad. He felt
quite important to recount his adventurous experiences to and offer
friendly advice to those who wanted to go overseas. He was quite an
Pascoal also revelled in the simple old delights like taking
a bath at the well. Standing bare except for the traditional
"cashti" or loin-cloth, he used the pulley to draw "cousos" or pots
of fresh cool water and rain them in a gushing shower over his
went down to the sea with his friends and gazed at the foamy waves
dashing against the rocks. He decided to go fishing early next
morning with an old-timer, to learn the art in which his own
grandfather had excelled. His trial was rewarded and he came home
proudly with a small catch which his mother promptly fried as a
relish to go with his morning "conjee" or rice gruel. And so the
days flew by.
Pascoal moved around the village, making observations all
the time. Things had not changed very substantially in the village.
The parish church of St. Michael had just got a remarkable face-lift
with generous donations from some of the more prosperous villagers:
four chandeliers specially ordered from Paris by the Abreos
illuminated the church; Paul David D'Souza, coach-builder in Bombay
presented a glass case for the statue of the Virgin Mother; the
Original Club of Anjuna in Bombay put up a huge glass shield for the
image of St. Michael trampling Satan, right up in the niche on the
facade of the church; Dr. Manoel F.Albuquerque commissioned Daniel
D'Souza - master-carpenter of the village, who had already carved
the exquisite pulpit - to make a couple of ornamental chairs and
Actually the people of de Mello vaddo seldom attended mass
in the parish church. They found it much more convenient to go for
Sunday mass to the little chapel of St. Antonio in the lovely
"prias", closer home, near Soranto. This lineal descendant of the
erstwhile garrison chapel in Chapora Fort had its humble origin in
1819, but had undergone several renovations since.
time Pascoal returned home, a number of small classes and schools
had mushroomed into existence in various parts of the village. What
denoted progress was the fact that they were being patronised by
girls as well as boys.
these were English-teaching classes conducted in the house of one
Jacob D'Souza at "ganv vaddi"; a class for little ones under Prisca
de Souza at Grande Chinvar; a similar one run by the wife of the
renowned lawyer-cum-writer Mariano Vaz at their home in Pequeno
Chinvar; an English-medium nursery school popularly known as "Nado's
school" also at Pequeno Chinvar, managed by an elderly couple Joao
Baptista D'Souza and his wife Mary.
who made the grade from these classes were admitted to the Sacred
Heart School, popularly referred to as "Rogdo's school" because the
house belonged to a person with that nickname.
Located near the Tembi, it was formally set up by a group of
civic-minded persons including L. J. Denis, a local Africander.
Under a good set of teachers it gradually developed into the present
High School of the village.
must have been a most entrancing sight, adding to the beauty of
Anjuna, was the stately fairy-tale like castle, an architectural
replica of the palace of the Sultan of Zanzibar. It had only
recently been erected by Dr. Manoel Francisco Albuquerque, who,
after several years of service, returned home with great honours for
distinguishing himself while physician tothe Sultan.
were still dirt roads in Anjuna; but there now existed an infrequent
but fairly regular "camiao"/ bus service to Mapuca. Though meant to
accomodate 20 passengers, in peak season it obligingly crushed in
even double that number; and never known for observing punctuality,
it would wait for latecomers and stop anywhere on request. There
were just a couple of private cars in Anjuna, one owned by the
well-known proprietor and village practitioner Dr. Olencio da Gama
Pinto. In addition, "Potto's" taxi was now available for
was incessant activity in the de Mello kitchen. One day a pig was
slaughtered and, besides the usual pork dishes, a heap of "chorico",
the succulent spicy Goa sausages, were made at home. They were
carefully hung to dry in the sun; Pascoal's mother lovingly gave him
a jar of "lonchem" pickled mangoes, and "perada", guava
then suddenly the holiday was over; it was time to go, and he had to
repack his bags. Amidst many tearful farewells Pascoal left the home
of his childhood, knowing that his job awaited him miles away. He
had enjoyed every moment of his holiday, and he had stored a lot of
pleasant memories of home to sustain him until his next long