Tuesday, 4 August 2009

In Memoriam - Raymond Fernandes


If you go down the hill in Mangor Hill, Vasco, Goa, to the end of the road, before the garbage dump on your left, you will come across the house you are searching for.

'RAYMOND FERNANDES' said the name-plate smartly on the door. But that name would never open the door. Instead, the person who pried it fearfully after demanding to know who it was that disturbed them after dusk, beyond the hushed voices, verily looked like a madwoman. Her hair in disarray, her dress exposing her bodice, her eyes wild - my first impulse was to run.

For Raymond (26) was no more to be found there. He had left this world early. His time was come. Murder or suicide, the jury is out. A young Goan life has been snuffed. His father had passed away years back. His ailing mother struggled to make ends meet.

The long stems of 6 white roses with ferns looked regal in grief. I had taken much care to select them, but they were tossed aside by the mother carelessly. A glass of water later, Raymond's sister joined us, smiling bravely. She slammed a few of the local newspapers for colouring the incident as suicide making it seem like an open and shut case. She rued the bad company her brother kept and how he was done in by his friends. 'No one came to help us. Not even the neighbours,' she said.

They recalled how Raymond disliked eating 'tal-leys' [a kind of fish] and how he would creep in by the back door of the house at night to rest, so as not to disturb them. He had done well in life at an early age, they said.

It was a vicious spiral of money, debt and fast cars, I gather. Down in one of the beach huts at Bogmalo beach they found the body.

The months mind Mass is tomorrow at 0815 a.m. at St Andrew's Church, Vasco. The near and dear ones have been informed. They buried him in the pouring rain. This patriot* is coming home. May his soul rest in peace.


RAYMOND

by Brian Mendonca

Hounded by your desires
The packs of wolves came for you
Easy money on the roulette wheel
Was this a spin of the Lord of Death?
In a hut by the sea
they found you, they said
In the whisper of the waves
you courted oblivion.
No doubt you remembered
your dear father, your sister.
Vassal to the spirits
he had gone before you
Torn asunder
in the dice of life,
What remains of a family
but the vestiges of love?
Now where is your mother to turn
when she cries out for your voice?
Your monosyllabic moods
replaced by absolute silence.
No debts to repay
but life itself.
Rest now in peace
beyond all harm.

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*'The Patriot'- Poem by Robert Browning at http://poetry.poetryx.com/poems/146/
Pix courtesy: travelblog.org

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