Monday, April 30, 2007

A Page from My Diary

It is hard to imagine, yet I make another futile attempt at it.

“The Goa Regional Plan” So the news article proclaims.
Is it that impractical to visualize? I wonder…

An instant image of the place forms in my mind. Sun kissed beaches and sparkling blue waters, with tiny towns, villages and cities sprinkled all over-A beautiful image formed from age-old memories, deep rooted in my goan heart.

A new thought tries to make way on to the canvas of my memories. A thought crowded with IT parks and concrete jungles. I try hard to fight it off. It resists. I want to fight back…. losing this struggle would mean the beginning of the end of a certain mystique that weaves its spell around this place. I am forced to let it stay…
Can this thought exist in harmony with my invaluable memories? Would these pieces fit in like those of a jigsaw puzzle?

I doubt…

It is impossible to wipe out memories that have been collected over decades, memories so unlike all others. Amongst these treasures of mine, precious thoughts of the city that I was born and brought up in stand out the most. A city nested in a picturesque island’s greenery, characterized by Portuguese styled houses interspersed with low lying buildings, cobbled streets zigzagging their way through.

Single lane roads with a few rarely used signals were all that Panaji had, and still has. I would step out on the street only to be greeted by vibrant waves and big wide grins. Everything was located at a stone’s throw distance-The Panaji Market, Mahalakshmi Temple, Church Square, St. Inez Church, everything. I have never known Panaji to have had more than one or two tiny sari shops, couple of book stores, and two ‘pharmacias’ Most of these owned by a neighbour, a family friend, or some school friend.The city was known for its relaxed lifestyle and afternoon siestas. Easygoing weekdays ended in leisurely weekends. Come Sunday and Panaji would resemble a deserted township. Shutters down, not a single soul to be seen on the roads.

Everything about the place was unique. The “Poder” heralding in the new morning with his Pomp Pomp followed by the Nustekaan’ and her “Sungtan, Bangde Jayge” chants making me tug at my mother’s saari asking her to buy it all.

From the Konkani “Kantaara” and the “Dhaalo”, “Pink Panther” and “Tiger” the lovingly named private buses which plied on the Panaji-Dona Paula route to the soothing sound of the waves hitting against the Miramar shore …each thought with a new story to unfold.

These memories make me smile; the picture looks so colorful with all the images painted with my thoughts as the paintbrush. It’s a blissful feeling.

Suddenly the brush goes awry. A dark threatening grey appears on the canvas making my vibrant colors fade.

The grey deepens, creating sketches of malls, departmental stores, and swanky cars snaking in and out of the ever growing traffic. It leaves me shaken.

I helplessly watch as each sun kissed beach turns into a Juhu Chowpatti. It doesn’t stop at this. More grey makes its way on to my canvas. The tiny stores and the lush green fields give way to towering multiplexes and apartment complexes Myriads of strangers fill up the tiny cobbled streets, leaving me with the feeling of being just another face in the no longer goan crowd.

The thoughts have grown in number; each sniggering maliciously making me feel powerless. The sound is deafening. I gather all my memories and hide them away lest I loose them.
It pains me as I watch my freshly painted picture wash away.

I give in…These thoughts are here to stay…They make me want to sigh in defeat.A triumphant moment for the industry developers it might be, but for the goan in me it’s a never-ending moment of melancholy.

Life would never be the same again…

“Poder”- the baker. The name originates from the Portuguese days.
“Nustekaan”- Fisherwoman
“Kantaara”-Konkani Songs
"Dhaalo“ – Goan Folk Dance


  1. it is the way things are... sad, yet true. In the name of development, we see our most beloved places turn into concrete jungles.

  2. yeah... you should see the so called IT corridor in chennai. ruthless destruction is on out here..

  3. Well ... Even I feel terrible to see these developments... but where in Goa do we have cobbled streets... ?[:)] But true, life will just not be the same anymore .. the root cause being money... "You can't be happy with just one". With land prices spiraling sky high I don't think so a goan would be able to purchase a small sweet home for himself/herself!


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