I’m such a Goan sham .. shame, even!
I don’t speak either Konkani or Portuguese (it’s another thing that i can manage to phonetically scam my way through singing most of those old mandos)
I don’t have an ancestral house in Goa (the good wife fixed that a few yrs ago, when we got ourselves one)
I didn’t continue playing the violin (although i kinda regret it now)
I don’t go to daily mass (shall not get into those details, for fear of family fire and brimstone)
I don’t play the beautiful game, and i certainly don’t fancy the beautiful CR7 either
.. and I can’t handle the stench of bodily fluids post ingesting cashew feni (coconut feni and limca i can ables, though)
But yes, I still burst some chest buttons considering myself to be one of the fold.
I’m a Braganza (complete with many embarrassing middle names), I think I can sing the bailas better than most, I think I can ‘jive’ passably well, I use ‘where men’ copiously and without reason, and being a Bandra boy definitely gives me some consolation brownie points.
But last week it was wonderful to witness the real deal of everything Goan!
I happened to message Wendell that I was in Goa on some work, and he said to come over for a meal! Now I’ve been a fan boy of the man and his work for years – which also means that I follow (it’s the more civilized way of saying stalk) his every social media move! So obviously I was gonna make the 50km trek from my house in Bogmalo to Colvale (it’s another thing that it takes less time to traverse that distance, than one would from Ulsoor to Koramangla on a good day) to see his wonderful new house (the old one is well on its way to become a Goan heritage museum), his affable Frenchman, and spend some time with his 4 canine children
From the moment I got there (late, as usual) it was like time had retired for the day, and what followed that evening was the most unpretentious and gracious display of laid back Goan village life and hospitality! T’was a small gathering of about 10 people, all on the candlelit balcao, sipping their whiskeys and their fenis, strumming guitars and singing things that ranged from Bossa to bailas and beyond. The highlight for me, was Maxie Miranda with his wonderfully delightful finger picking guitar playing style and vocal interpretations from Jobim to Sergio Mendes – if you closed your eyes you would probably think you were in some taberna on a narrow Sao Paulo street. The otherwise very regal Athena and Sophia sprawled on the red oxide floor (I love dogs that make for good ottomans). An ingenious round of snacks was being served. Hummus with Goa sausage sprinkled over with small squares of kadak poi (pita seems so ‘dough’ in comparison) to scoop it with. And another first – breadfruit french fries (that he said his house help grew in their gardens that were bigger than his). Dinner was simple blissful home fare of tambdi bhajji and teesrios and bombil fry and prawn curry (the real deal) with Goa rice, out in the garden overlooking their lovely plunge pool. By this time Wendell had slipped off to bed unannounced (I learnt later that he’s one of those birds getting the worm at 5 in the morn). Jerome and I decided on a nightcap (which I think ended up in six each) and we sat in the dwindling flickering candlelight and gossiped like village aunties after Sunday mass! I thought I was good to drive back all the way southwards, but the moment I got into the car and switched the a/c on and pushed the seat back, I clearly wasn’t going anywhere. Next thing I know, is I’m woken up by the raucous chirping of birds all out to beat W to that juicy worm!