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The best gift ever

By on May 17, 2016
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The best gift ever

The best gift my parents ever gave me was a home in Goa. At the age of three, our second home became the Love House on Baga Beach. It took a while for the local fisher folk to accept us. They watched us from a distance and gradually understood what my family was all about. And once accepted, they became fiercely protective of us. So much so that often it was just my mother, young brothers and me with my father away on a shoot, and the fishermen would take it in turns to sleep on our balcony to guard us!

I soon learnt Konkani and roamed around the beach and into homes freely. Having adopted two of my friends' mothers as my own, I was enormously privileged to have had such an amazing experience in what was to be among the last of the Goan fishing villages. Life then was with infrequent and weak electricity (my mother would read in bed with a torch on her shoulder!), no drainage or sanitation (the pigs were our cleaning system) and one learnt to pull water from the well and test ones strength at the speed you could fill a bucket in! I also learnt how to apply the lep of dung on my friends' floors and how to walk on tiles – to paint the white heart on our roof.

 I spent up to three months a year in Goa annually, between the age of three and 15. It was my family’s haven. Today, I cannot even visit Baga – it hurts too much to see the destruction of what was one of my most precious parts of my life. Why “development” cannot come without destroying the culture, ethos and dignity of a people I can never understand – but that is another story.

Read the full article in 'Viva Goa' magazine copy.
Viva Goa magazine is now on stands. Available at all major book stalls and supermarkets in Goa.

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