Personal Tributes
to Pascoal

Family Trees

About the Author



After 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 booked!

He 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 vaddo.

Return of the native

There 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 vaddo.

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!

By now 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.

He had 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 authority.

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 head.

He 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.

For the better

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 confessionals.

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.

By the 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.

Among 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.

Those 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.

What 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.

There 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 hire!

There 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 cheese.

And 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 vacation.

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