'Fatle char dis' ;Reading Ramesh Ghadi; A walk back through..... the fields of time.

Posted by A.Anthony FERNANDES on May 4, 2015 at 5:35 PM

 


A VIGNETTE INSPIRED BY THE MUSINGS OF RAMESH GHADI 

'Fatle char dis ,amchea gavant dov podok nam.. ani dhukei podok nam.

 

'I just love that feeling , in the foggy wet morning ,while walking in the paddy field.......moist soil...tonnachi kudim..nostril

tickling scent of the dry grass.kapillea bhatachea mulantlean (ami taka nol mhuntat) sokali podlelea dovachi pichkari (spray)

usolta..Walking with the wet feet at the dawn in the paddy field was always great fun when we were kids...

I haven't done it for long time... may be this Sunday !'

 

 Italicized text above and captures by Ramesh Ghadi- Saligao via his Facebook page

 https://www.facebook.com/ramesh.ghadi1?fref=photo


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Reading Ramesh almost always fans the embers of nostalgia pleasurably ;like taking a walk down an old unfailingly

evocative childhood path instinctively remembered . The familiarity of remembered footfall, long filed away in the

subconscious of nuanced smells and sights is inbuilt;However it takes the quiet humility and genius of the man himself to

capture all those mental and olfactory snapshots as simply , elegantly succinctly and exquisitely as he does.

 

Inevitably one feels like part of a shared narrative that appeals across demographic and social lines,of our shared soil and

history.His words revived some mental snapshots of child/youth hood. of the 1970's of no TV , social media , mobiles and sketchy

public transport let alone private transport.

 

In the Saligao of that era , your choices of education locally were the Aula/'Patshala' , Lourdes Convent High and Mater Dei.

or at a push if one felt or were 'steered' towards a calling ; the seminary on the Saligao-Pilerne plateau hard by the 'Ghost

of Cristalina's tree.

 

Most girls stayed on @ Lourdes High , ( boys were turfed out after Std VI then) and many would have already made the

move to commuting to St. Britto's, Mapusa on the bus from Calangute via Parra. Some girls also moved to St Mary's in

Mapusa and there were a few like myself who were enrolled in St Anthony's Monte de Guirim , the hillock arising hazy in the

distance. Few had access to push bikes , bus transport would have involved a convoluted trip to Mapusa and then a bus

from there to Guirim and a further long hike up the hill. Fewer still  had money for fares and heck the CHOGM road was still a

narrow dust choked 'murram' road where the very odd bus , car, scooter and bullock cart reigned supreme .



 

School assembly was at 8:30 if I recall rightly and those from Saligao who were not boarders at the gignormous boarding facility

on the hill (nigh on a 1000, were boarded there some years) would hoof it in all weathers from various parts of the village in

the main; Tabravaddo, Muddavaddi and Donvaddo to the 'house' on the hill.

 

A natural pattern developed ;where some with 'wheels' or possibly a year or so older and hence considered more

responsible would push bike, passing the long defunct Costa's school @ the Mollembhat Ximer ( where my father was once

schooled) via Sangolda cutting across to Guirim, along quiet,unsung,humble backcountry red mud roads that straddled the

fields surrounding Sangolda and Guirim.

 


Others would emerge around seven thirty like stray ants heading towards a promising morsel of bread, onto the 'bandhar

( raised pathways)'network, leading along the fields towards Guirim and surrounding villages.

 

Somewhere along the path , they would gradually meld into larger groups and then amalgamate into a single Indian file of cream

shirted/blue shorted , flip flop wearing youngsters, which were often quickly slipped off in favour of bare feet.Possibly

because it just felt better to walk, gain traction and tactility that way ! Or, perhaps reserving the rubber for a more 'formal'

setting such as the school premises itself , once the sandy loamy soils of the fields gave way to the stonier rougher

footslopes of the school grounds itself.

 

The fine mist and light fog of the early hours would rapidly give rise to increasing sunshine and by 9:am when classes were

underway ; the temperatures would have been rapidly heading north to sweltering.

 

June is the onset of the school year and simultaneously the reign of the all giving monsoon gods , when craggy, cloddy, bone dry lands would be deluged, morphing within hours into flooded fields and rivers. Wading across the 'vau' or waterway from Donvaddo to Muddavaddi (near singer Lorna's Tabravaddo family home) was always a precarious yet fun experience;the waterway now torrent swollen swift, the steps up and down slippery with moss and such;the small fingerling fry which seemed to have sprung from nowhere,nipping audaciously at ones feet and ankles.



A 'vau' at very low ebb with 'resident' egret .


Setting out from Donvaddo , I would meet up with my mate Paulo and sometimes Joachim Vaz( former Sarpanch), passing

by the homes of Espy and Mona etc.?, Mr's Joe and Bertha Lobo and family (Raymond/Edmund/Rosalind/Osmund) as

also Francis, Belinda and the matriarch.Then across the CHOGM road onto the other side of Tabravaddo. past the Felix

Godinho household and descending from the coconut tree 'bhats'/plots into the fields, proper.

 

More often than not ,it would be bucketing down and the 'standard issue, you can have them in any colour as long as it's.....)  black umbrellas with wooden crook/ed handles would appear . One would see and hear as today, the greyish white approaching lines of pregnant cloud, blotting out the skyline,miles before it enveloped all, in frenzied driving sheets of life giving rain.

 

The Indian file forming now resembled a cross between a dancing bobbing conga line and an undulating caterpillar of black

topped umbrellas, as we met up with the Muddavaddi contingent of Ignatius, Marian, Aniceto, John and others

 Narrow footfall blazed pathways crossed semi flooded rice paddies , which by tacit mutual understanding we respected

;the tillers could have so easily have grown more crops along them, thus forcing us to take the circuitous longway

around even further along the bandh works.

 

In retro only now do I fully savour and appreciate the simple pleasures of walking along white sandy loamy soil brushing

past dew moisture glistening -touch me nots, gracefully wrapping themselves into their folds, like shy village maidens of

yore (Goenchem manna' as the term used to be).

 

Striding past green to amber and then chartreuse gold paddy stalks , as they grew and ripened from June through September;occasionally there would be the rapid fire rustle of possibly a bandicoot , 'a divod' snake, a python, a cobra breaking for cover. Or perhaps even a cheeky mongoose or monkey poking it's head out , from between coconut laden , cashew and pandanus/screw pine treed 'raised bandhars' , like tropical atolls in an ocean of monsoon water and greenery

 

Baby python rescued and released by Ramesh Ghadi 


Ditto in the dry season with the planting of watermelons, (worsande), green beans and such , at 'porsu'market garden season;the

harvesting , transplanting etc. Still despite the insouciance of hormonal teenaged voracious appetites;the most we might have

helped ourselves to, was a pod or two of fresh beans from an open field ; touching the prized watermelons ripe for the

market was an unspoken 'no-no' and hopping over the mud barriers of enclosed ones, most definitely not ! The hard graft

digging of the wells for irrigation is a practice still time honoured, from ancient times and civilizations like the Indus ,

Nilotic,Sinotic and such ,with it's trademark long drawn out creaky yet musical sounding 'lathi', weighed down with a heavy

millstone at one end for ballast.

 





Finally emerging from the fields , the rough beaten foot slope tracks, gave way to steep uneven natural stone laid steps as

the Chapel at Monte loomed. However not before (in season) ,someone inevitably would have knocked down with a few well

aimed or home made 'robon' style catapulted stones;at least a couple of raw mangoes off the trees

 


Later , these with perhaps a little salt and chilly powder ,begged , cajoled or even importuned from Anton, a gruff, scruffy

but kindly -( 'kusner/cozinheiro'/cook), seemingly from the central casting talent bank of a Konkani movie unit, would go some ways towards

supplementing the spartan lunch 'experience' in the mini air hangar like refectory. At meal times , the clanging of knives and

forks on standard issue blue rimmed white enamel bowls ,did indeed sound like some demented cacophonia of percussion

bands run amok, wholly devoid of  talent ,tune or rhythm .

 

..... That's however another vignette for another rainy day .. ! 

 

For now my thoughts go to the four kismet winds that inevitably scatter us all to the far corners of life in adulthood , but

here in the Camelot realm of romanticism ; the mangoes are always sweeter ; the sepia film of nostalgia fades but never

really dies.

 


'The past is a foreign country ;they do things differently there' - L.P. Hartley

 

 By: a.a.fernandes

 


PS: Comment is free and perhaps that way, we also encourage the latent storehouse in us all to share our stories, pictures

and such; for thus is heritage preserved and enriched for us and future generations

 


HASHTAGS #crowdsourcing #goaheritage #goana

 

 

 (E) rockrambler@gmail.com

 

https://www.facebook.com/a.anthony.fernandes.1

 https://about.me/rockrambler

 LINKS

 

Touch-me-not plant (Mimosa pudica) in action

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPf3FbR6eQE

 

Bund/bandhar in Konkanni the vernacular

 

https://makanaka.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/goa-2010aug-avenida_cocos.jpg

 

Rod brake classic Raleigh of the day

 

https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRXgcpOQ2MwSVbLntdLxRaaokcp30nDE-b0OhFn0fh-SGzSbXZ7

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandanus

 

'robon' = push bike tire inner tube rubber

 

/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Go-Between

 


 


 


 

 


 



 

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2 Comments

Reply Louis
3:59 AM on May 17, 2015 
Took me back many decades to the days of my youth! I could almost smell the freshly tilled fields and hear the trickling vau along with the pitta patta of raindrops. I look forward to coming "home" to Saligao soon and experiencing it all in the flesh once again.
Congratulations to both Tony and Ramesh for keeping the recollections and musing alive.
Reply Patricia
6:09 PM on May 5, 2015 
Absolutely brilliant, as always - Tony and Ramesh! The feelings you evoke defy description.