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Toronto old-timers, "them good old days" here again!!!






OLD-TIMERS RE-VISITING THE “REBELLIOUS” ERA

BY ARMAND RODRIGUES

There was a time when retirees languished because of scant offerings for them by the motherhouse, the Goan Overseas Association (Toronto). The deficiency spawned two seniors’ clubs in the West-end of Toronto and two in the East, to cater to their social needs.  However, the situation changed for the better when Greta Dias was appointed Director of Retirees at the G.O.A.(T). She came in with a vision of inclusivity and has held court for eleven continuous years.  She has been conjuring up a variety of social offerings for the retirees, making them theirs for the taking.
With a dimple in her cheek and a mischievous glint in her eye, Greta challenged the retirees to re-visit the nostalgic 50s & 60s and re-live the Bohemian non-conformist days of flower-power and hippiedom, at an event on September 15, 2019, held at the Kalyaan Centre in Mississauga. People responded with alacrity. It is likely that they rummaged through the old tin trunks in the attic to find suitable abandoned apparel of the period. Some simply improvised. Justice was done to the clarion call.
Needless to say, music and an efficient M.C. go hand-in-hand-- like a horse and carriage-- and are conducive to a favourable outcome. MUSIC MACHINE provided appropriate music that resonated with the aging generation.  Joan Rosario was in her element as she presided over the proceedings as the M.C.   John Noronha and Delphine Francis joined the band and belted out familiar vocals to liven up things. For a while, the revellers went quiet while they were wolfing down the goodies in their plate of hors d'oeuvres.  Enoe D’Souza and Maurice Dalby emerged as the best-dressed hippie couple.
While John and Alexandria Sylvan doled out toe-tickling music, KONKAN DELITE provided comestibles to tickle the palette, after Bertha Carvalho said Grace.  A multitude of helpers provided seamless assistance.  B.R D’S. was everywhere with her camera when she was not serving drinks. Jennifer Castelino’s finger-prints were on the centre-pieces. And, somebody was thoughtful enough to provide paper and pencil to book dances, as was the practice in days gone by.

Everybody seemed to know everybody else.  Co-mingling in a congenial atmosphere came naturally to all.  Who could have asked for anything more?

Kenya night a huge success from all accounts

According to friends, the first Kenya Nite in London was a huge success. Thanks to a special friend who sent me the photos below.  Any names?






















The day I met Enoch Powell


House of Parliament London-UK.

By Roy Pacheco

I was working at this giant Green Giant frozen foods store in Osterly-Egham just south of Heathrow Airport in London, when my boss called me to inquire about the progress of the work at this cold room. I told him I was almost done and was hoping to be at my next call in about half hour. My boss replied that he would like me to hustle over in to the Houses of Parliament. He had just received a call from the Parliament about the air conditioning not working in the smoking room.
"Just drive to the steel gates just south of the River Thames and the Police will greet you and just follow their directions," the boss said.

On my way there,  I thinking back to my days in Nairobi when I  was there to complete the air conditioning at Parliament buildings in Nairobi. That was in 1964. Then latter on,in 1967, I worked  in the Parliament buildings in Kampala-Uganda,  doing maintenance and repairs to the Carrier centrifugal-air conditioning deep in the basement of   the building. In this case, the chillers cooled a huge tank of chilled water which was pumped to various parts of the building.

Back to London: at the steel gates I was welcomed by six Policemen.I was escorted into Parliament House right under Big Ben. On the pavement with the  triple yellow lines I parked my motor as directed by the escorting Policemen. Where I was parked was a only a stones throw to the base of the actual Big Ben! All the policemen offered to carry my tools,welding  bottle,vacuum pump, Freon gas bottle, gauges and a leak detector. I was ushered along the embankment with the River Thames higher on my left. We came to this large double door almost 12 feet tall and about eight feet wide. This door, the policemen explained was the very same door Guy Fawkes tried to enter when trying to enter the gain access to  blow up Parliament. 

On entering,  immediately to my right, stood a large York Borg Warner unit which supplied cold air to the smoking room. The Police left me at this point and told me that they would be back in an hour's time.  So, I just took my time investigated what when wrong! I found a big leak on a cracked copper pipe. No big deal, I had all the equipment to mend this with me. I got to work right away: welded the cracked pipe, vacuumed the system and was about to start up when I found that the unit had been shut off inside the smoking room at the thermostat.


 I had to enter the smoking room and head for the thermostat located on the far wall. I turned the control ON and proceeded to exit the way I came in. The room had all  lush furniture all leather clad, a coffee machine, a refrigerator probably loaded with wine and booze. The room also smelt very strongly of cigarette and pipe smoke. On glancing around, there was a lone gentleman smoking a pipe and coughing as well which attracted my attention. He laid his newspaper down to pull out a handkerchief. Lo and behold! It was Enoch Powell (the anti East African Asian immigration, who warned that England would drown in "rivers of blood" if the immigration was not stopped)!  I exclaimed "Hi Enoch" and put both hands to my ears mockingly, and proceeded to the exit with out waiting for a reply.

Returning to the machine room, I switched on the air conditioning and topped up the system with Freon. After doing a final test, I glanced at my watch, it looked like the Policemen would be arriving very shortly. I let the unit run while I watched the temperature drop. Suddenly as planned, the Police showed and each one of them picked up my equipment. W en I got back to my van, I got one of the Police men to sign my sheet for work completed.


Nizar, the headmaster


Memories are made of this!


OLD-TIMERS RE-VISITING THE “REBELLIOUS” ERA

BY ARMAND RODRIGUES

There was a time when retirees languished because of scant offerings for them by the motherhouse, the Goan Overseas Association (Toronto). The deficiency spawned two seniors’ clubs in the West-end of Toronto and two in the East, to cater to their social needs.  However, the situation changed for the better when Greta Dias was appointed Director of Retirees at the G.O.A.(T). She came in with a vision of inclusivity and has held court for eleven continuous years.  She has been conjuring up a variety of social offerings for the retirees, making them theirs for the taking.

With a dimple in her cheek and a mischievous glint in her eye, Greta challenged the retirees to re-visit the nostalgic 50s & 60s and re-live the Bohemian non-conformist days of flower-power and hippiedom, at an event on September 15, 2019, held at the Kalyaan Centre in Mississauga. People responded with alacrity. It is likely that they rummaged through the old tin trunks in the attic to find suitable abandoned apparel of the period. Some simply improvised. Justice was done to the clarion call.

Needless to say, music and an efficient M.C. go hand-in-hand-- like a horse and carriage-- and are conducive to a favourable outcome. MUSIC MACHINE provided appropriate music that resonated with the aging generation.  Joan Rosario was in her element as she presided over the proceedings as the M.C.   John Noronha and Delphine Francis joined the band and belted out familiar vocals to liven up things. For a while the revellers went quiet while they were wolfing down the goodies in their plate of hors d’ouvres.  Enoe D’Souza and Maurice Dalby emerged as the best-dressed hippie couple.
While John and Alexandria Sylvan doled out toe-tickling music, KONKAN DELITE provided comestibles to tickle the palette, after Bertha Carvalho said Grace.  A multitude of helpers provided seamless assistance.  B.R D’S. was everywhere with her camera when she was not serving drinks. Jennifer Castelino’s fingerprints were on the centrepieces. And, somebody was thoughtful enough to provide paper and pencil to book dances, as was the practice in days gone by.

Everybody seemed to know everybody else.  Co-mingling in a congenial atmosphere came naturally to all.  Who could have asked for anything more?

You visited my blog 300,000 time, asante sana!




300,000 hits on my blog, all because of you!

HEADLINESOFMYLIFE.TODAY

PEOPLE used ask me forever why I had not written a book and I used to shy away from answering the questions because I really did not have an answer. I had often thought about it but never really paid much attention … not many, months after My Blog was born in around 2009.

I had seen one or two or three blogs but had not paid much attention to them. The two years following my wife Rufina’s passing in 2007 were a big challenge. While my public persona was one of quiet confidence and a kind of normality which gave the impression that I had come to terms with this great loss. Inwardly, there were one or two personal issues that I need to get to grips with pretty quickly. My local GP, also a pretty good friend, too one look at me one day and said: Skip you are depressed. My reaction was that he must be joking. Anyway, he shunted me off to see a psychiatrist and a psychologist.

Before I went to see the two professionals, I paid a visit to Dr Google and read as much as I could on my ailment. As far as the psychology was concerned, I learned that I needed sack from my head whatever was causing me concern. I had to have a clear head. I had to deal with issues that were only within my control and not worry about anything else. I had to develop, I learned, drivers to drive weevil thoughts out of head. After my second visit to the psychologist, I was already feeling better. I felt even more at ease when she told me that I would be as good as gold after two more visits.

It was a similar situation with the psychiatrist. He put me on some non-addictive medication and by the third week he was weaning me of it. The result was that I was more comfortable with myself, a lot more reassured, confident and determined to celebrate every moment of my life from that moment on.

However, the thing that really helped me get back on track was the blog. After the four weeks with the psyches I had gone to see my friend the GP. His question was: What are you going to do keep busy? (Idle minds, idle hands are a danger to one’s health.) What do you like doing most, what is the one thing you enjoyed doing? Writing. I told him. So, write, he said.

So, with the help of a lot of wonderful people all around the world, the blog now has more than 400 stories. The shelf has two books. Then there is the Facebook Page. Irritates me no end because of the incessant advertising and I was thinking of downsizing my commitment to it. However, a few very special friends passed away in the space of a few months and as the Vanishing Tribes from East African continues to diminish, I thought there was a need to recognize them somewhere. The Blog and FB page was the ideal place. So, for the time being, if I am able, I will continue with the blog and the FB page.

I have always felt very strongly that it was painfully sad that very little of the East African Goan history has been recorded. So much has already been lost. Through the eulogies we do not only pay tribute the person who has left us, we also share our common historic memories of growing up in East Africa or continuing our history in the diaspora. I hope more people can learn to share.

I never dreamt for one moment that I would have written 400 stories, two books and little bits and pieces of others, let alone attracting 300,000 hits to the blog. I am humbled and grateful that you allow me to share these stories with you, your families and friends.

God Bless

Skip

“Kongotcars” Whoop It Up In Canada




“Kongotcars” Whoop It Up In Canada

By Armand Rodrigues


There was a time when Goan village socials were all the rage in Toronto.  Over the years various factors have come into play in the dwindling interest in this ritual. One of the few villages that has kept the home fires burning is the village of Calangute.  John Lobo was the first President at its inception in 1992, with a term in office running for two years. Successive committees have played a pivotal role in ensuring continuity. Antonio Mascarenhas stands out as being at the helm for a total of ten years out of the twenty-eight that the association has been in existence.
Fast-forward to September 8th, 2019 and a celebration at the Europa Convention Centre on the outskirts of Toronto. Three hundred and sixty villagers and guests crammed the hall. Steeped in the religion of their forefathers holy mass preceded the revelry and was celebrated by the well-known Fr. Martin Pereira.  Invocations were to St. Alex, the patron saint of the village. The Konkanim hymns of “Conceicao Saibini” and “Jesu Mojea Deva” embellished the offerings.

Music was provided by the “Amigos” band, and a D.J. supplemented their output.  The acoustics seemed somewhat overwhelming for the size of the hall. However, folks of all sizes and shapes were seen cavorting on the dance floor and making the most of the nostalgic music. For some it may have been reminiscent of the days of their youth when they danced bare-footed on the shores of Calangute. The music appealed to a large segment of the gathering as was evidenced by the congestion on the somewhat limited dancing space. This may have hampered some from displaying their best gyrations. And, it may have posed a problem in selecting the “Best Couple” on the floor.

Edgar Dias, the President, welcomed all in his opening speech, introduced his committee, recognized past-Presidents, and thanked all and sundry for their invaluable help.  Of particular significance was the commemorative plaque presented to centenarian Leonard D’Souza on attaining the remarkable age of 102 !  Yes, this is the Lenny of field-hockey fame who played for the Lusitanians and Tatas in Bombay in days of yore. Formal cutting of the anniversary cake was a given that followed.

Worth noting was the sumptuous sit-down lunch of soup, roast beef, chicken and all the trimmings among other things, that all enjoyed. So also, was the floor-show put on by the President’s wife in the form of a troupe that livened things up with a Portuguese dance. And, winners of the numerous raffle prizes were noticed toting large packages wrapped in cellophane, of assorted prizes with intriguing contents. To their credit, the association published an account summary for the preceding year in the interest of transparency and accountability, in its brochure.

When all is said and done, special recognition goes to Milena Marques who emceed the function with vivacious aplomb in a full slate replete with activities.
A good time was had by all.

Antoinette: A daughter's tears


A true love story, a broken heart




As a young girl growing up I watched my mum from the corner of my eye with her designer shoes and handbags, her perfectly groomed nails, and her constant array of new outfits. Hoping I would secretly turn out like her. What I didn’t realise at the time was that I was learning to be like her.

Mum worked for Kenya Airways and, as a result, I was in the privileged position of being able to travel the world from the day I was born. Through these experiences, my mother gifted me her passion for travel and I eagerly embraced it with both hands.

My parents were inseparable. They had the same hobby - travel. That was their game. In the earlier years, they each travelled on business trips alone, and more recently, my mum was more an executive assistant to my dad on his marketing trips abroad.

In the early days when dad was starting up the family business, Mum would regularly whisk me away to London, Bombay, Australia the US – just the two of us. Mum took me to Goa one time to her village Tivim & Mapusca once showing me off telling everyone I was her daughter and telling everyone she was Lily and Micks daughter It was so exciting. While we were away, she would teach me about how to live, how to shop for the home, and we always brought back beautiful products for us all to enjoy. She would tell me, ‘Travel is the best teacher’.

Although she was a director of Visit Africa Ltd she never interfered with the business, preferring to stand by me and encourage me as I built my confidence in the world of safari tourism operations. I confided a lot in her, with my petty problems at times. She always listened and offered me her sage advice and unwavering support.

When I moved to the UK to study, mum spent 10 good years between the UK and Nairobi, sharing her time with dad and me. She worked part-time while visiting me and always got better jobs than me, always with parking included. I was so impressed by this! Here again she would make sure I had everything I needed – buying me the goodies I deprived myself of, such as salmon.

She took me to University, handed me a 50-pound note and said, “You have a bank account, you know how to use it.” This was one of my scariest moments in life after the rollercoaster ride as a child in Disney Land. My friends and even the hostel warden thought my mum was a student at University when she came to stay as she always looked her best and young. It was mum who encouraged me to do my Masters abroad, which I thank her for. I thank her for making me, me!

I was brought up loving dogs and people. My parents’ network of friends reaches all corners of the world. I can’t count how many of their classmates and friends have reached out to me during this past week. More recently, mum became somewhat of a Facebook and Whatsapp expert, which allowed her to stay in touch with her friends and family.  

Mum was a good cook she loved the finer things in life, yet she was so simple and unassuming. She was elegant in her own way. Setting the table with the finest and cooking us Cordon Bleu meals. She would cater for 30 people at a time single- handed. She loved to entertain around a beautifully set table.

After dads passing mum, cried every day, and I regularly reassured her that she would be ok.  I am not sure she believed me; that she could see her way without my dad. She gave up, and I wish she could have been that strong woman I knew when I was born. I always remember thinking she lost her dad at 18, and how lucky I was to have my parents, not knowing I would lose them both in the same year.

I have very few words this time around.  I have some very dear friends supporting me.

I would not have been able to stand here today if it was not for my Godfather Olly his wife Mel my nutter friends, my dad’s brother Simon, his sister Pam and their families, My mum’s first cousins, and, of course, my strongest supporter Clive, who my parents loved and trusted always. 

RIP Mum, I know you are happy with dad fly now fly. Please watch over me always. I  hope your love never died and you continue to love as you did – for yours was one love story that we will not forget. I will miss our chats. I love you.

Heather-Gail de Souza, M.Sc


Antoinette and Me




Memories: Antoinette and Me

By Cynthia Fernandes


It is with a sense of profound sadness and grief that we share this recollection of a beloved, dearest friend ... Antoinette De Souza.

Our 50-year friendship with Antoinette and her beloved husband Lewis certainly withstood the test of time. In Nairobi, from the early 70s to 1992, when we emigrated to Canada, we met almost every evening, spending hours together just chilling, joking and laughing. Our guests got their ‘cue’ that they had to go home when Mike
stood up, and started drawing the curtains, which, invariably, was never before 11 pm. But the truth is, we never ran out of conversation.

We travelled to all the Game Parks and Lodges together, enjoyed several fishing trips and picnics, and our incredible journey and remarkable and unique friendship only blossomed and flourished. We were inseparable – shared a common, irreparable bond;  we understood each other, supported each other, broke bread together, and most of all, we loved each other unconditionally.  Our kids and Heather were school mates and best friends.

We also had a host of other friends visiting almost daily, and our home was more of a Club. We played darts, we played cards, we listened to music, we had cookouts, and come Mondays, we were already planning our entertainment for the weekends!  Invariably we used to attend the Dances and fun activities at both the Goan Gym and the Goan Institute.  One year, Mike decided to organize the 31st Dance at the late Steve Fernandes' ‘Makini School Hall’, and with the help and support of all our dearest friends, this New Year’s occasion was, by far, the most enjoyable and fun event EVER!

The dinner was catered by the New Stanley Hotel, and Lewis and Antoinette offered to prepare breakfast for the entire crowd in the wee hours of the morning – a real team effort! It was also a ‘given’, that Antoinette and Lewis would host a huge gathering of friends at their lovely home in Elgeyo Marakwet Road every New Year’s Day.  No matter how exhausted they were following the New Year’s Eve function, mere hours before, Antoinette and Lewis entertained in style, and they were both perfectionists.

Antoinette was a phenomenal cook, and Lewis took pride in making sure his guests' every need was taken care of.  I’m sure many of you who have had the privilege of indulging in Antoinette’s bebinca will testify to their taste, consistency and texture. She loved trying out new recipes and had no qualms in sharing them. If Antoinette liked and trusted you, she made it pretty obvious that she accepted you as her lifelong friend, and her caring and compassion knew no bounds.

When Antoinette’s Mum, Lily Abreo, passed away in 2004, Antoinette’s heart was broken.  Mrs Abreo lived with Antoinette, Lewis and Heather, and they left no stone unturned to ensure her well being at all times and that she was blessed with the simple pleasures of life.   

When Lewis was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Antoinette was crushed and devastated, and her world literally fell apart.  Initially, she found comfort and solace in denial, not entertaining any negative energy or comments from any of her friends, and getting extremely irate if someone misspoke and said things she did not want to entertain.  She genuinely held out hope that the Good Lord would touch her Lewis with His Healing Hands, and firmly believed that a miracle would occur.    When the love of her life passed away, Antoinette told to me that her ‘grieving process’ had actually kicked in when Lewis was handed his dire prognosis. She could not comprehend her life without Lewis by her side, and she missed him insanely and desperately.

Even though Antoinette attended a few functions following Lewis’ passing, attempting to live an active and fulfilling life, she felt incredibly deflated and lonely, and many of her posts on Facebook will testify to how very much she missed her dear husband.  Heather told me that 'when my Dad passed away, I never saw my Mum smile ever again'.  Antoinette travelled the world with her Lewis and Heather, and after she retired from Kenya Airways, she continued to support Lewis with 'Visit Africa'.   She was Lewis's love, rock and strength. 

Antoinette and I also had one common interest, and that was our fierce love of animals!   We brought two of our four dogs to Canada, and when Lewis and Antoinette offered to take one of them, we knew that our ‘Ricky’ was going to a very loving home and would be well looked after.   She and Lewis were heartbroken when their gorgeous German Shepherd, Simba, passed away in 2015.  We both loved dogs, and it was merely a few weeks ago, that Antoinette showed me, on skype, her new Daschund puppies playing on her bed.   

On a personal note, I will always remember her kindness to me when she handed me a free air ticket to England during May 1984, when my sister in law, Sushila, passed away.  Her exact words to me were 'what are friends for'!  And all through the months that my beloved and cherished brothers, Alfred and Cecil battled their illnesses, Antoinette constantly reached out to me, despite her own struggles with Lewis' health crisis. Suffice to say, she was a source of tremendous comfort and consolation in recent months.  Heaven decreed that it would be our lot to become partners in grief, and now our shared bonds had shifted:  they were now rooted in shock, sadness and sorrow.   

Our hearts go out to Heather Gail, who was the brightest light, love and life of her parents.  Their lives revolved around Heather, and I know that Antoinette and Lewis will be watching over their darling girl from their heavenly abode.     

Dearest friend, your time on earth was blessed but fleeting ..... now, with your beloved 'Lui' at your side again, your togetherness is eternal.




Cynthia & Mike


A Pure Goan ... Part 2

Even as Ronald only comes to this realization by journeying to the homeland, the sojourn does not make him feel any more or less Goan; if anything, it makes him more attuned to the multiculturalism of Damibia, his birth-country, and its racial segregation and class stratification. Of a community organization called the Goan Institute, Ronald explains that he supported the dropping of the word “Goan” from its title, post-independence, so as to move away from the purpose of its “creation during the colonial period of Divide-and-Rule!” (16). Thereby, the institute could become a space of integration, and “[provide] a window into Goans, so that Goans could at least be known and so that Goans could know Damibians” (16).
“I  don’t  want  to  be  considered  to  be  a  poor  innocent  victim,”  you emphatically state earlier, in reference to critics calling In a Brown Mantle a book about the Asian expulsion. On the contrary, I find your writing refreshing precisely because it considers the multiplicity of Goan diasporic identities when it comes to class and caste. Moreover, you pull the curtain back on the complicity of some Asians within the colonial system, in addition to them being the target of post-independence Africanization policies. You go even further in showing how it was not only Asians who found themselves in dire straits during such times, but also many Africans, including student agitators, minority tribespeople, and the very poor.
So, even as Ronald arrives at his Goanness and Africanness by visiting Goa, his identities are not dependent upon an attachment to the homeland, one can conclude. A similar sort of revelation seems to have occurred for you in your visit to Malaysia, where your mother was from; it even resulted in you writing “Rosie’s Theme.” Have you had the opportunity to visit Goa, and did it similarly influence your writing? Might you also be able to say something about how the Goan and Black East African communities received your novels, given their frank portrayals of interracial relations and the attendant politics of the time?

PN  Africans received In a Brown Mantle very well. All African readers praised the novel. Africans who read the manuscript on behalf of the East African Literature Bureau  recommended  publication.  Theo  Luzuka,  student  at  Makerere  doing English Honors, who designed the cover of the novel while working for EALB, wrote a critique in The Makererean, the university newspaper, during the time of the expulsion, a long critique, which contradicted what Amin said.
Someone working in the Entebbe post office praised the novel to me and
said he would like to read such a novel by Patels.
It was Goans, with the exception of Antonio da Cruz, who seemed to have
problems with the novel.
I wonder whether I ever mentioned to you Zenaides Morenas who worked for the Uganda government. He and I and Ted Abura from the Ministry of Public Works were sent to Abidjan in 1970 on a water supply project (a project to be financed by the African Development Bank to improve our water supply in rural regions of Uganda). I told him about my novel, which was in manuscript form, and he asked to read it.












When he read it, he said I knew a lot about politics in Uganda but not in Goa so he gave me the book by Alfred Braganza, The Discovery of Goa, to read. (Braganza was a Goan poet born in Kampala.) I did read it and made significant changes in the novel.
Morenas retired and went to Goa before Amin’s coup. He introduced me through  letters  to  a  writer  and  journalist  named  Antonio  da  Cruz.  I  began corresponding with da Cruz.
Da Cruz wrote me many letters about Goan writing. He was very cynical. At one point, I wrote to him that Goan writing reminded me of Chicano writing. He replied that he was not surprised because Goan writing was so full of chicanery.
I sent him In a Brown Mantle and was surprised to receive from him in less than a month a long review of the novel in The Sunday Navhind Times. It was very political and made the connection with Pio Gama Pinto. It was radical in a political way. I liked it, though I thought he overlooked the human side of Goan behavior in Uganda, and he dumped on the Goan Institute. I told him so, and he thought I was finding fault with his writing. It was all or nothing with him.
I edited and included his essay in the Goan anthology, making a change in the
conclusion because he was very patronizing about Africans without realizing it.
I included one of his stories from a volume he sent me, “The Bomboicar.” Sadly, he died before the anthology came out, and we never met. I went with
my parents and siblings to Goa twice: in 1946 and 1950. There are many things that stuck in my mind. The land was different from that in Uganda where I lived. I used to walk about barefooted at that time. I walked from our home in Novo Portugal in Moira to Mapusa. I remember the pigs in the lavatory and was stunned. I went to the small farmland where my step-grandmother lived (my grandfather and grandmother both passed away before I was born).
I was scared of the foxes howling at night. When I had to go from the dining room to the sitting room at night, I had to cross an empty room which was like a corridor. I used to walk quickly through this room. I was six years old. One day, as I was going through the room, my mother shouted from the dining room, “The fox is after you!” I ran through the corridor and collapsed on my father’s lap. He gave me a brandy to recover. He got mad at my mother.
Some of the things Ronald observes were what I saw and thought about.
My  father’s  neighbor  in  Novo  Portugal  was  a  goldsmith,  a  Hindu.  I remember going to see him at work. Then I took over and began hammering a piece of copper, being determined to turn it into gold, to the amusement of the goldsmith. He had a son named Narayan, who was my age, and we became good friends.
Incidentally, Augusto Pinto wrote to me a few years ago to say his house was directly  opposite  my  grandfather’s  house  and  he  could  see  the  house  every morning. So, I sent Augusto some of my books: my Trickster book,4 my Two Radio Plays (both produced by the BBC African Theatre). I felt that I was sending my books to my grandfather’s turf.



RBF  Your wonderfully detailed reminisces of Goa, mirror some of my own from visiting my grandmother in Panarim, Aldona, which, incidentally, is the village that adjoins Moira. Furthermore, it was very compelling to read about your process, and in particular how your correspondence with other Goans informed your writing. There is, thus, a sense of the communal here, to evoke Simawe. With your last response in mind, especially in thinking of literature and the communal, I would like to ask you more about one of the most important compendiums of Goan literature to be put together. I am referring, of course, to Goan Literature: A Modern Reader, which you compiled and edited as a special issue of the Journal of South Asian Literature (JSAL) in 1983.
To many of us who come to the study of modern Goan literature, this is the text that at some point became our go-to for reference on the subject, if not a direct source of inspiration. What this issue of the journal indicated to me when embarked upon my own research was that there was an existing body of writing by Goans, as well as scholarship on the literature of this community. It is equally important to point out that your efforts in chronicling this material, especially in light of its appearing in a journal of a very specific geographic and literary context, was not just to highlight the particularities of Goan literature in relation to a larger corpus of South Asian literature, but also the diversity within this community itself and its cultural production.
What were the challenges you faced in compiling work by a diverse range of Goans of different backgrounds of faith, class/caste, gender, and geographic locations? Here, I am also reminded of Professor John Hobgood’s observation that “Goans [are] ‘cultural brokers,’” a reference you make in your 1988 interview with Irby (98). Is this a theme that one might say informed the compilation of the issue, thinking about the work you did in bringing together Goan writing from the multiple locations of the community’s presence in Asia, Africa, and the West, but also given the heritage of Goans as a people with multiple colonial histories?

PN  I told the story of how I was roped into editing a volume of Goan literature for Michigan State University (in the second edition of the issue of JSAL on modern Goan literature and then in the book5). I may repeat myself in what I say . . .
Dilip Chitre, a writer from Maharashtra, India, told me to take it up and he
would give me advice, connections, etc.
So, I sent out letters, including to Antonio da Cruz.
When I began receiving material from Goa, I found it very strange.
I was an African writer and after coming to the US, I extended my knowledge of  African  literature  to  Afro-American  literature  and  Caribbean  literature (Singapore literature was to come later).
I thought I would be able to extend my knowledge of the above literatures and take my energies to Goan literature, but found it was not working. But, I did not have much context for Goan literature. I felt I was struggling through mud.
Furthermore, I found that Goan writers seemed to want to break into the
west in their writing, to get famous for their writing in the west. They seemed to











have some wonderful idea of the US which was not mine and they thought they could use me to get famous. I decided that the only way to move would be to take a step back and to develop muscles regarding Goan literature. The first thing I did was to write an essay on Goan writing which had an East African connection, and I published this in Afriscope in Nigeria. Then I moderated a panel on Goan literature in the conference in Wisconsin. By the standards of what I had already done in the other literatures, this was low. But, I found ways of sneaking in Goan connections. I was using myself to draw attention to Goan writing.
In his early book of essays, God Made Alaska for the Indians, Ishmael Reed referred to me as a writer from Goa. The essay in which he refers to me is entitled “Race War in America?”:

Peter Nazareth, a writer from Goa, said: “Many black Americans seem to believe that all was fine in Africa before they were snatched off into slavery, and that they can somehow recapture the innocence of those early days by romantically embracing their African identity, as though nothing has changed in all those years. This is a dangerous illusion, as one can see from African plays like Ata Aidoo’s The Dilemma of a Ghost and Wole Soyinka’s A Dance of the Forests. In Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo returns from exile to find his place has been filled, ‘just as the lizard that loses its tail grows another one. [(85)]

You will see what I mean if you read my books of literary criticism which came out before the issue of JSAL on Goan literature. I mean about being far ahead as a literary critic of Third World writing. A good example is my book The Third World Writer: His Social Responsibility which came out in 1978. It made an impact, despite typos and a title given by the Kenya Literature Bureau instead of what I had given it.
Chitre suggested that I write a letter to The Times Literary Supplement requesting submissions to the Goan issue I was going to edit. The Times Literary Supplement did not normally publish such letters, but it made an exception in this case. Richard Lannoy in Bath saw the letter and wrote to his sister-in-law Bemvinda in Goa to send me copies of the typescript of Violet’s short stories and she did. I found out from her covering letter that Violet had an unpublished novel, Pears from the Willow Tree, so I wrote to Richard Lannoy and sent him some money so he could make and send me a copy, which he did.
I found it very difficult to read Violet’s work because it was very dense, unlike my writing. But that was the time I had been given a research assistant by the Afro- American Studies Program, Joseph Henry, who was African American, and I asked him to read some of the Goan work and tell me about them. It was he who told me Violet’s work was very good and we should publish her short story, “Roses in the Grass,” in its entirety instead of making an extract, as I had intended. He was right. By the time the anthology came out, I was able to read all of Violet’s work, and I realized just how good a writer she was. In fact, one of the best Goan writers. I sent one of her stories to Callaloo, and it was published. And you know the story about how the novel got published.
I found the novel by Leslie [de] Noronha in the library, The Mango and the Tamarind Tree, and I taught it in a class of selected global literature. It went well. I asked Joe to read it and he wrote such a good report that I included it in the volume.
















I mentioned The Discovery of Goa by Alfred Braganza which Zenaides Morenas in Uganda had recommended. I lent it to a Goan who never returned it. By chance, when I was in LA visiting with a friend of Mary’s,6 Phyllis Correa, she mentioned she knew Alfred. He was in LA. I went to see him, looked through the Xerox of his book, and selected two chapters, which he sent me.
I chose some extracts from what I was sent to fit into what I felt the manuscript required. When the manuscript became much thicker than I was told to submit, I raised money from the University of Iowa to pay for the extra pages so a double issue could be published. I also raised money to be able to send every writer in the volume a copy.
The person who typed the manuscript was Evalyn Van Allen, niece of the famous James Van Allen, who was working for the Iowa Writers’ Program, and so she did the work without payment. She suggested that we include some of the drawing by Mario Miranda from a volume of his cartoons that someone sent me.
I also included things about Goa and Goan literature by people who were
not Goans such as Adil Jussawalla.
So, I was all embracing.
The first edition included a short introduction by me in which, following the model of Andrew,7 I did not say anything about the work, except for what was in the biobibliographies. But the first printing sold out, and I raised money for a second printing in which I wrote a fuller introduction, which was a shortened version of something I wrote about editing a volume of Goan literature published in World Literature Today.
My father brought me and my siblings up without any consciousness of caste. We did not know what it was, and so we did not know what caste other Goans were. The only time I began to know about caste was at university, from some books I read on religion, and that was academic.
I understood much later that my paternal grandfather did not believe in caste
because it was man-made.

RBF  I am really glad you brought up Violet Dias Lannoy. As you mention, I am familiar with the story of how Pears from the Willow Tree came to be published posthumously and the pivotal part you played in making this happen. Readers of the novel can learn about the book’s pre-publication historya saga unto itself, and one that involved African American writer Richard Wrightby referring to Richard Lannoy’s introduction and your postscript in the text. I heartily agree that Dias Lannoy is one of the best fiction writers of Goan origin, and an extremely important one, though she has never really gotten her due. This fact is made all the more poignant given the belated publication of her novel.
It is a pleasure to teach Pears from the Willow Tree in my classes on the literature of Goa and its diasporas, not least because students are awed by Dias Lannoy’s mastery of her craft. But they also see the book as a scathing exposé of the caste politics of the Indian nation-state following its independence from the British. This representation of India emerges from Dias Lannoy’s own involvement in the











freedom movement under the tutelage of Gandhi, but it is also true that her book arises out of a sense of disillusionment with Gandhian politics.
“In the minority Goan Christian community, where caste status had never lost its cardinal Indian role, the Dias family were openly proud to be ‘low-caste’ rather than, like the majority of their prosperous middle-class Christian peers, brahmin” (xxii), Richard Lannoy emphasizes when referring to his in-laws. If this was the familial influence Dias Lannoy brought to her writing, it was equally inspired by her larger world view as someone whose birthplace was Portuguesecolonized Mozambique. Certainly, there is an overlap in Dias Lannoy’s personal history and your own, seeing as your existences have spanned multiple geographies, colonizations, and political dispensations.
The JSAL special issue you edited did the important work of preserving the Goan literary legacy of its moment, as epitomized by the discovery of and inclusion of  Dias  Lannoy’s  writing.  As  a  theoretical  exercise,  were  you  to  compile  a contemporary survey of Goan literature today, what would set it apart from its predecessor?

PN  I agree with what you have said about Violet and what Richard said about her work.
I would like to think about your question. But I have a comment regarding my new introduction to the anthology for publication in the book, Pivoting on the Point  of  Return  (inadvertently,  the  publishers  did  not  include  the  epigraph  by Desmond Hogan, from which the title is taken, which was in the issue of JSAL).
World Literature Today agreed to my condition that I would review books they sent me in the field of African Literature provided I could send them voluntary reviews and take my chances whether they would publish them or not. Most of my reviews of Goan books were my books that I reviewed voluntarily.
WLT selected three of my reviews, not about Goan literature, to publish in a book called Twayne Companion to Contemporary World Literature, edited by Pamela A. Genova of the University of Oklahoma. My reviews, in Volume 2, were Nuruddin Farrah, Somalia, “Sweet and Sour Milk”; Simon Tay, Singapore, “Alien Asian”; and Evelyn Accad, Lebanon, “L’Exercise.” I did not select these reviews for inclusion in the volume.
So, when writing the new introduction to Pivoting on the Point of Return, I thought, “If they can do it, I can do it.” After all, most Goans will not have been aware of my short reviews in World Literature Today. So, I included the reviews in the   new   introduction—without   asking   WLT   for   permission.   I   thought cumulatively, they had a lot to say.
Additionally, they would build up the confidence of Goans that their work
was worthwhile and worthy of world recognition.
I looked at your question again, but I find it hard to think about caste issues. Richard Lannoy does not find it hard because he believes it served its purpose. There are people who believe that you move to your caste according to what you can do, not because of any notion of superiority or inferiority. The Indian writer













Shiva Prakash, who was in the International Writing Program some years ago and who attuned my wife and me to reiki, told me he was lower caste but has no objection to Brahmins who do not behave Brahmin.
You will have realized from what I sent you that I am a well-known scholar of Singapore Literature and of African Literature and of Caribbean literature and of  African  American  literature.  Not  only  what  these  literatures  mean:  also deciphering the meanings of specific works. And encouraging the writers. And taking from one literature to another, and more important, to the local scene.
I think once I got there, I lost interest in Goan literature as such. I am interested in specific writers, of whom one of the greatest is Violet Dias Lannoy. I feel there are other scholars in the field who can do what I am not so interested in doing. I don’t know enough now to write about Goan literature today. I think you are able to take it further.
I feel privileged that you have turned up to write about my work and ask me
searching questions.

RBF  Thank you, Peter. Again, I would reiterate that my own interest in literature about and by Goans grew out of the pioneering work you did in the field. What I glean from your statement about the multiple other literatures you work on— Singaporean, Caribbean, African, and African American, among othersis that even though you may no longer work on contemporary Goan writing, you see Goan literature as part of a larger terrain. If Violet Dias Lannoy as someone born in Africa who wrote about post-Independence India is emblematic of the “place” of Goan writing in past decades, then one might see a similarity in the American- born Margaret Mascarenhas writing about enslaved Black people, Goa, and Angola in the novel Skin, more recently. Issues of caste, race, displacement, gender, and colonialism are extant in, but definitely not unique to Goan writing; yet, they signal the complexity of the cultural production from and about the territory. That a place so small is entangled with world history, as can be seen in the multiple diasporas of Goans in so many parts of the planet, further complexifies the narrative of Goan literature. However, much work remains to be done in the multiple literatures of Goa as pertains to the different local languages in which such cultural production occurs, as well as the various communities these literatures might represent, including Goa’s First Peoples. The Goan academy itself also needs to develop scholarship  that  is  mindful  of  caste,  indigeneity,  diasporic  displacement,  and regionality to recognize marginalized voices, as well as secure the legacies of writers who are in danger of being forgotten.
In addition to Dias Lannoy, I would suggest that you were also instrumental in bringing back into public memory the work of Leslie de Noronha, whom you previously mentioned. In the past, you shared with me that he wrote to you and your research assistant on the JSAL project, Joseph Henry, and almost as an afterthought revealed that he was gay. What relevance might this have, if any, in future studies of de Noronha’s novels?











PN  Leslie de Noronha’s casual declaration to Joe Henry that he was gay made no difference to our reading of his The Mango and the Tamarind Tree. However, it did prepare me for the gay presence in the sequel, The Dew Drop Inn, which I reviewed in World Literature Today.

RBF  My final question is about your own writing. In your Indian Literature interview with H. S. Shiva Prakash, in 2001, you reply to his question about whether “the writer is completely free in the United States” by emphatically stating that you do not think so, and that “[t]he real battle is taking place in the field of literary criticism,” because it offers “the power to interpret” (161). As one of a rare group of writers who has worked in the fields of both literary criticism and literature creation, might readers still await fiction from you in the future? Please also add anything else we might not have already covered. Thank you for giving so generously of your time.

PN  I have always been interested in writing all kinds of works. As an anthologist, I am able to make a lot of different kinds of writers and writing available which I would not be able to write about in fiction myself. As a literary critic, I am doing a lot of creative criticism, breaking the rules, such as the way I wrote about Suchen Christine Lim’s Fistful of Colours in a book edited by Gwee Li Sui. I said at the end where I was explaining what I did that I took my model from Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar.
Many people assume that if I write a novel and also criticism, the criticism must be by definition inferior to the fiction. I don’t agree. Whatever comes to me is what I will write. If fiction comes to me again, I will write it. If radio plays come to me again, I will write them. I will not force myself to write in any particular form.





Peter Nazareth is Professor of English, and Advisor to the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. He was born in Kampala in 1940, his father in Goa, and his mother, though Goan, in Kuala Lumpur, where her father was a classical musician. Nazareth graduated from Makerere University College, obtaining his English Honors degree from the University of London. He did graduate work at Leeds University. A Senior Officer at the Ministry of Finance in Uganda, he left in 1973 to accept the Seymour Lustman Fellowship at Yale University, after which he was a Fellow of the International Writing Program.

R. Benedito Ferrão is an Assistant Professor of English and Asian & Pacific Islander American Studies at The College of William and Mary. His interests are in Afro-Asiatic literary connections between Portuguese and British post/coloniality. In addition to having previously taught at UCLA and BITS (Pilani) Goa, he was also a Mellon Faculty Fellow of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at William and Mary. Previously, he was an Endeavour Postdoctoral Fellow at La Trobe University. An internationally published writer of fiction, non-fiction, op-eds, and academic works, his writing appears in Outlook India, Media Diversified, India Currents, Mizna, AwaaZ, The Goan, and the João Roque Literary Journal.
Even as Ronald only comes to this realization by journeying to the homeland, the sojourn does not make him feel any more or less Goan; if anything, it makes him more attuned to the multiculturalism of Damibia, his birth-country, and its racial segregation and class stratification. Of a community organization called the Goan Institute, Ronald explains that he supported the dropping of the word “Goan” from its title, post-independence, so as to move away from the purpose of its “creation during the colonial period of Divide-and-Rule!” (16). Thereby, the institute could become a space of integration, and “[provide] a window into Goans, so that Goans could at least be known and so that Goans could know Damibians” (16).
“I  don’t  want  to  be  considered  to  be  a  poor  innocent  victim,”  you emphatically state earlier, in reference to critics calling In a Brown Mantle a book about the Asian expulsion. On the contrary, I find your writing refreshing precisely because it considers the multiplicity of Goan diasporic identities when it comes to class and caste. Moreover, you pull the curtain back on the complicity of some Asians within the colonial system, in addition to them being the target of post-independence Africanization policies. You go even further in showing how it was not only Asians who found themselves in dire straits during such times, but also many Africans, including student agitators, minority tribespeople, and the very poor.
So, even as Ronald arrives at his Goanness and Africanness by visiting Goa, his identities are not dependent upon an attachment to the homeland, one can conclude. A similar sort of revelation seems to have occurred for you in your visit to Malaysia, where your mother was from; it even resulted in you writing “Rosie’s Theme.” Have you had the opportunity to visit Goa, and did it similarly influence your writing? Might you also be able to say something about how the Goan and Black East African communities received your novels, given their frank portrayals of interracial relations and the attendant politics of the time?

PN  Africans received In a Brown Mantle very well. All African readers praised the novel. Africans who read the manuscript on behalf of the East African Literature Bureau  recommended  publication.  Theo  Luzuka,  student  at  Makerere  doing English Honors, who designed the cover of the novel while working for EALB, wrote a critique in The Makererean, the university newspaper, during the time of the expulsion, a long critique, which contradicted what Amin said.
Someone working in the Entebbe post office praised the novel to me and
said he would like to read such a novel by Patels.
It was Goans, with the exception of Antonio da Cruz, who seemed to have
problems with the novel.
I wonder whether I ever mentioned to you Zenaides Morenas who worked for the Uganda government. He and I and Ted Abura from the Ministry of Public Works were sent to Abidjan in 1970 on a water supply project (a project to be financed by the African Development Bank to improve our water supply in rural regions of Uganda). I told him about my novel, which was in manuscript form, and he asked to read it.