Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Varca 2015

-Brian Mendonça

As we sped from Vasco to Varca end-May I was wondering whether we would be afforded any glimpses out of a poem by Eunice de Souza titled ‘Varca 1942.’

The last time I was on these roads was when I had gone to pay a condolence visit at Carmona. On that occasion too I was spurred by resident of Carmona and noted author Savia Viegas’ Tales from the Attic written about the goings-on in Zonkar vaddo of Carmona. We almost dropped in to the sprawling old Goan house and Saxti Kids, --Savia’s initiative -- but felt that our mission was one of bereavement after all. The dead would frown on this levity.

We were on our way to Varca, 30 km. away, to visit friends from Bombay who were putting up in a prominent club resort, complete with a fun zone, on the lip of Varca beach. Meeting the same people in Bombay is not quite the same, as the pace of life is so frenetic. The conversation is not as placid and intimate as it is in Goa.

I was overwhelmed that the family agreed to forego their morning programme on the eve of their departure to spend time with us. As the tête-a-tête ripened we found the clock nudging 1 p.m. Even though they were on holiday the couple said they went for Mass daily to the imposing Our Lady of Gloria church, Varca. On Sunday they heard the 9.30 A.M. English Mass at Colva. The ’boys,’ their sons, were very well-behaved. As we sat in the lounge one of them, a teenager, emerged from the room and asked his mother permission to go out. Here were the Catholic Goan values at their best. For lunch we were offered sausage-bread which the mother had prepared. The smell assailed our nostrils the moment we entered the suite.

We drove back after a satisfying conversation. I was keen on going to Fisherman’s Wharf a little way up the road to Mobor beach, Cavelossim. But we had left baba at home and good times need to be enjoyed with the family.

On the inner roads, advertisements of Moods condoms were displayed prominently. A vegetable vendor read me the riot act -- in Hindi – when I parked in front of his stall at Betalbatim where we stopped to pick up some beef, prawn and chicken patties for our guests.

We had gone to visit our friends during our visit to Bombay, when they said they were in Goa. Our friends had been coming to the resort for the last 5 years, we discovered. As we left we told them we looked forward to their next visit to Goa (hoping they would inform us about it!)

The opening lines of Eunice’s poem distinguish it as one of her ‘Catholic poems’:

The Archbishop said
Great landlords and peasants
must worship together.
So the great landlords of Varca
shot at their Archbishop
(they missed)

We would need another trip to Varca to ascertain whether the classes live in amity now.
Published in Gomantak Times Weekender St. Inez, Goa on Sunday 21 June 2015. Pix from flickr.

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