Friday, 3 June 2011

Velsao, Goa - 10 years on

This morning I turned the page of the wall-calendar to June. The rains are here in Goa and everything is green and pristine save for a few garbage dumps along the road to provide a sense of reality.
The scene at Velsao-Pale with the sea in tumult after the rains was a sight to behold. I recalled my poem:

-          Brian Mendonça

Like a slate of grey,
The sea stretches
 to meet the sky
The horizon blurs
As the dawn
Swollen with rain
Douses the sun.
O let me be here
Like Rodin on a rock
And forget existence
In the lisp of the waves.
Let the fishing boats carry me
To the crest of the storm
And the palm trees
Murmur the caress
Of the breeze.

‘Velsao’ was written in 2002, enroute the Goa Express from Delhi to Goa. Today, almost 10 years on, it is possible to translate some of those dreams into a way of life.

Velsao-Pale has a new landmark – ‘Queeny Nagar’ – just a small reminder of the tremendous infrastructural development which has taken place on the Dabolim road from Vasco to Kesarval. First Murgaon Education Society’s (MES) college of Arts and Commerce shifted there, then Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani  (BITS) came along. The picturesque views of the river Zuari to the North and the Arabian sea to the West are a sight to behold.

Days back, I had peered through the windows of the chapel from  Pallotti House at Chicalim to view the Zuari but could not as a row of swank bungalows obscured my view. Hoary trees are being cut down as they are deemed inconvenient to development plans.

Our return to Goa was a turning point in our lives. It was a move which was always hovering on the horizon. We just took the call and made it happen. Despite the fence-sitters and the looks of dismay I have always believed in Goa.  This is where we belong. No matter what. 

Yes, a lot of Goa is not what it used to be – but what is? Divisive forces are rampant. It is well that Goans in sleepy hamlets are taking up cudgels for the welfare of their land and loved ones. The umpteen trains coming in from all parts of the country to Goa have brought in migrant population, to the extent Goa has never seen before. It is true we are well-connected to the rest of India but are we connected to our soul, to Goa?

Many acquaintances live humdrum lives in big cities with ‘good’ jobs and pine for Goa. We don’t have forever and we need to make our days count. Beyond the projected glamour of Goa as a tourist destination, this is a place where Goans live and eat and sleep. Our needs are few, for we are blessed with much. To recognize this in one’s own lifetime is the route to inner peace and harmony.

‘The crest of the storm’ is always nigh. It is what the poet Iqbal wished for us – a storm – so that we may rise to realize our full potential. As summer gives way to the monsoon in Goa, may the drops of rain rejuvenate us and point us to our true purpose in life.  

Picture courtesy: wintersong(dot)wordpress(dot)com

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