Monday, 25 April 2016

Dodamarg, Dad and Dramila

Brian Mendonça

Seeking to make the best use of a public holiday, a group of families from our housing complex planned a day this April at Raut Farms, Sal village, in Bicholim taluka. The bus was to leave from Devashri Garden, Porvorim at 9 a.m. The prospect seemed daunting for us residing in Vasco – especially since we had to factor in the logistics for Dad (86) who was full of beans for the trip. Queenie made the excellent suggestion of coming in the night before and staying over at our place at Devashri Gardens.

On the day of the picnic, all of us had our breakfast listening to the ‘Breakfast Show’ from 8 a.m to 9 a.m. on 105.4 FM. At 9 Dwayne (5) ran to the balcony and shrieked ‘Dada the bus has come!’ Dad had suggested we take his car so he could travel in comfort for the 32 kms. to Raut Farms. Dwayne decided there was no way anyone was going to take a ride in the bus away from him! He promptly ran into the waiting arms of the rest of the group who took care of him along the way, while we followed the bus in our car.  
As we branched off from NH17 towards Tivim, I was amazed by the zest for life dad showed as we meandered through Tivim, Sirsaim and Assonora. Having spent his childhood in Parra in the 1940's, it was like a homecoming for him.  He pointed out the tar (stream) he used to swim in as a boy. 

As we sped by he alerted me to St. Cristopher's church, Tivim and St. Clara's church, Assonora.  He reeled off the names of the trees we saw. He also recalled friends and family who used to stay there. We crossed the excise check post at Dodamarg to reach our destination just 4 kms. before the Maharashtra border.
By 10.30 a.m., after sandwiches and juice, the group set off to explore the man-made waterfall at Raut Farm very close to the cottage we had hired for the day. Two swimming pools – one for the kids and the other for swimmers – gave us the much needed exercise to fight the flab.

We worked up an appetite with chilled beer and beverages. A delicious lunch of Chicken Xacuti with paos and prawn curry rice with fried fish and salad awaited us. A game of football was next on the cards for the gents, while the ladies cooled off in the spacious AC room. At 3 it was time for group games and laughter followed by tea with walnut cake and chips. 
Sandip Raut (9423322981), the owner of the farm, said he had preserved the natural beauty of the farm. One could see a variety of trees like cashew, chickoo, mango, banana, papaya, coconut and pepper.

We were back at Devashri Garden by 6 p.m. After freshening up we covered the remaining 30 kms. to reach Dramila apartments, Vasco, dad’s home, the same night.
Published in Gomantak Times Weekender, St. Inez, Goa on Sunday 24 April 2016. Pix by Brian Mendonca

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