The other day I visited Cardoze. Cardoze is a Goan bachelor who come back to Goa after many years in the capital. In him I saw myself. Both of us had come back to Goa around 6 years ago. Both of us had spent time in the capital.
When I was toying with the idea of coming back to Goa after 10 years in Delhi, it seemed preposterous to my acquaintances. ‘What will you do in Goa?!,’ they would ask incredulously. I couldn’t answer that one at that time. But I felt I had to come back. I had to return to my roots. Marriage and our little son made the transition more urgent.
There were many stories of Goans I had known who simply could not adjust to the pace of Goa after they came down. They wanted the same salaries, the same lifestyle of the capital. They pined for the fast life, the big cars, the big city. And most of all they struggled to find meaningful (self) employment.
Cardoze (44) is ‘taking a break’ in Goa deciding what to do. He hasn’t found out yet what that would be. He has built a nice house for himself in the village where he stays with his amiable mother. He is ‘working on’ making marriage happen, but one can see he is so much of an idealist. Between puffs of smoke he tells me about his penchant for photography, travel, playing the drums, and cooking. He is keen on starting a portal to market Goan bands.
He used to write on social issues but then got singed when he took on the establishment. So he stopped writing. He told me he read the Bible, the Koran and the Gita. When it got too much he burnt them all. I told him Picasso did the same with his paintings. He liked Picasso but he admired Dali more. Surrealism was far more appealing. For poetry Gibran was unmatched. Rumi he had read, but stopped short of Hafiz. He refurbished old wells with bits of coloured tiles. He urged others to do the same in an ad addressed to the ‘Well-wishers of Goa.’
He took me upstairs to his floor, ‘My pad,’ he said. A bower with ornate benches on the terrace reminded me of a Zen meditation space from Rajneesh ashram. Surrounded by trees, and the hush of birds, and village homes, this was what life was all about, one would be tempted to imagine. But Cardoze confided that he was keen to get out of Goa and do something. An offer had come in to work with children in the Middle East.
The male menopause sets in at 40. Middle age offers you a rethink on your life. You step back and reassess your priorities. Menwhopause is also the name of an Indian rock band based in Delhi. Perhaps one will have to listen to their album Home (2006) to get a clue about till when Cardoze will keep his life on pause.
Published in the weekly feature 'On my mind' in Gomantak Times Weekender on Sunday, 29 November 2015. Pix of Salvador Dali's 'The Persistence of Memory' (1931), courtesy wikimedia.