Thursday, December 15, 2016

Cyprian Fernandes: Maureen and Nev: celebrating art and literature, and life in Goa.

IN the early 1970s, the Goan community was shocked by a horrific motor car accident that claimed three young lives: young lovers Avena D'Sa and Derryck D'Mello and Shafu Butt (?). They were all vibrant members of the Railway Goan Institute.

As an investigative reporter I had come to handle death as just as another part of the job, nothing personal. On this occasion, however, I fell apart. I loved these three kids. We did so much together: with his sister Maureen (pictured) they were a part of everything we did together, the hugely successful anniversary variety show (everything, the scenery, the music ...) the picnics, the fishing trips, and all of the things young folk do. I was slightly older and they looked up to most of us seniors.

I could not handle it at all. Until the funeral, I locked myself up in my bedroom and was lost in a void of my own making. At the funeral, I could not condole with Derryck's wonderful mum and dad or put a consoling arm around Maureen. In fact, it was not long before I stopped going to the club somewhat. I never asked what happened or how it happened. Until now.

I found Maureen D'Mello in Pilerne with her terrific husband Nev (Nevett) D'Souza with whom she built a beautiful life for her children Leanne and Mark. On Wednesday for the first time I listened as Maureen with her heart breaking recalled that fateful evening. At last, I have closure on a nightmare that has haunted me for 46 years.

Nev, a former teacher, headmaster, a poco Italiano who taken Maureen and the children on the beautiful safari of his life as sought new challenges with Maureen who is a willing in any endeavor Nev undertakes. She developed her own skills: painting on canvas, or porcelain, on any material that takes her fancy. She is today a magical artist and she is still blooming because artists never stop flowering.

Nev has also developed a love of antiquity especially books and arts. He also loves modern classics and I had pleasure of listening and introducing me to some of the gems that continue to pleasure his senses of thought, imagination and discovery.

Mark who began designing computer games is now pursuing success in the advertising field at a very high level in London.

Leanne is married to a young hotelier genius Werner (?) and together they have built the Santana Resort on Candolim Beach which is today one of the premier attractions. Tell your friends, tell your folks, if you are coming to Goa, Santana is a little heaven for you. Next door used to be their world famous Calamari ... but the family still treated me to a dinner on the beach that was everything I wished (very Calamari) for and the second time I lovingly surprised by the cuisine. I had similar experience at Leila Athaide's where she served an enchanting vegetarian meal. I share Maureen and Nev's pride in their children and their grandchildren.

With a bit of luck I may get to see Olive, Maureen's mum in Panjim.

I can sleep a little easy and find solace in prayer for family and friends who have left us.

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