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Old Goa: Mrs Suares in Fontainhas


Mrs Suares is a sprightly 92 year-old  Goan lady of education and culture. She was a schoolteacher, like her late husband. He won many awards for his teaching of Portugese and I wish I had asked her to recite me some verses from the Portugese Shakespeare, Camoes,  who came to Goa in 1553.

RED  rose the dawn; roll’d o’er the low’ring sky,
The scattering clouds of tawny purple fly.
While yet the day-spring struggled with the gloom,
The Indian monarch sought the regent’s dome.
In all the luxury of Asian state,
High on a star-gemm’d couch the monarch sat:
Then on th’ illustrious captive, bending down
His eyes, stern darken’d with a threat’ning frown,
“Thy truthless tale,” he cries, “thy art appears,
Confess’d inglorious by thy cautious fears.

Mario Miranda, the famous Goan cartoonist whose sketches enlivened the long deceased Illustrated Weekly of India, drew an hilarious send-up of a traditional upper-class Goan family: Papa clutching a  copy of The Lusiads, Camoesepic poem, Mama in afternoon frock seated decorously on an armchair and two children arranged at the parents’ feet like obedient pets.c1c3

I imagine Mrs Suares belongs to this class. But she is not haughty and proud, but sweet and sad. She lives on her own in the lovely little township of Fontainhas, and misses her son who is in Portugal. All her working days  she taught and brought up three children on her own after her husband died young.P1010556


Here she is, in front of a gracious colonial style dwelling, enjoying her evening promenade, upright and with no need of a stick, though she says she will have to start using one soon.

Comments from several Indian visitors on Tripadvisor complain there is nothing special about Fountainhas, “What is this blah-blah place?” “Very overrated”. I can only conclude that these tourists can’t tell the difference between a mud hut and the houses in this area that are reminiscent of old Lisbon.P1010550

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Then I came across  a young group of musicians practising  “She wore an itsy bitsy   teeny-weeny yellow polka dot bikini”  and their leader kindly let me take pictures. I told him my daughter is a violinist and he said, “It is an honour, Ma’am that you are here.”P1010575




{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Richard February 10, 2013, 3:14 pm

    I’m loving the stuff from India, Nanu! Keep it coming – I was also going to ask some Kashmir related questions, next time you have the time!

  • Primila Lewis February 18, 2013, 8:22 am

    Nan, lovely to see this and hope you enjoyed Montego Bay as well? We leave for Goa tomorrow morning for ten days. Are you back in Dilli? Why have you not rung? Love, Kinna

    • pratima February 18, 2013, 8:33 am

      Oh dear! I came back 10 days ago and thought you were already there. Almost time to go back to Oxford. Have a great time there and do eat at “Sublime” (see my article)

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