Sunday, 27 November 2016

Free-kick Specialist

-Brian Mendonça

When Brian passed away I felt a part of me had died with him.  Not only because we shared the same name, but because he was living in Goa -- and I did not know it. Brian was in my batch – the class of ‘81’ – in school. Don Bosco High School, Matunga, Bombay was the place where it all happened. We were boarders and so we along with the other mates took the good times and the not-so-good times together.

35 years later I land up at his home in Nachinola, for his funeral. To be frank I have never visited the place in my life. But for Brian I did. From Vasco I went to Nuvem to work and from there I drove to Nachinola to be in time to pay my last respects at 3.30 p.m. Family had come from around the world, but no one was with him when he died.

It appears Brian had gone to a hospital without informing anyone to carry out a procedure. In the process he suffered a cardiac arrest and pushed off without a by-your-leave. His mother was informed later the same day. ‘Baba, he never told me he was going,’ she said.

Brian was born less than a week shy of a month after me and was gathered to his fathers a fortnight before he was 51.

I came to know about his untimely demise when I received a call in the canteen from Anthony our buddy who put together this WhatsApp group of our batch. He was calling from Kuwait to inform me about the funeral. So I went, to represent Brian’s batch mates from around the world. With due permission, I took photos and videos and WhatsApped the group. They even sent a virtual wreath.

When we started a wallpaper on Brian everyone went back to the time Brian won the match for us. This is what Llewellyn Basilio, from Dubai wrote on the WhatsApp group:

“I remember staying back after school in grade 10 back in 80 or 81 to watch a football match vs our highly rated rivals St. Paul at our Bosco’s school ground.

We got a free kick and I was wondering what’s going to come out of it.

Three of our players clustered around the ball while their defence formed a wall.  First Flavel Monteiro ran as if to take the kick and jumped over the ball, in a split second Anthony Machado sold a dummy and then Brian Lobo stepped forward and coolly kicked the ball and I could only watch in awe and anticipation and gasped as it sailed over the defense in what seemed like slow motion, curved beautifully and glided with inch perfect precision into the far corner of the net leaving their rivals with a WTF expression.

Up until then, I had never ever seen this concept and such amazing skill. No run up, just concentration and confidence, pure class.”

Rest in peace brother. Until we meet on the playground of heaven.  

WTF: What the F#@%.  Published in Gomantak Times Weekender, St. Inez, Goa on Sunday, 27 November 2016. Pix of Brian in violet by Anthony Rodrigues.

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