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An Ode to my Childhood

Write an ode to someone or something you love. Bonus points for poetry!

Goa is beautiful !  Goa is home to some of the best beaches in India – take Miramar, Calangute, Colva, Candolim, Bogmalo,  Anjuna or Vagator.  Here you also find some of the best churches and temples.  .  The Dona Paula beach was just a kilometre away from our home.  We would go there for evening walks.

In pre-primary school, I studied in Our Lady of the Rosary a convent school a walking distance from our home.  My 3 sisters and brother also studied in the same school.  When I was in Primary 3, I stood first in my class.  I remember that day very clearly  because when I came home from school my mother hugged me.

From Primary 4, I joined the Don Bosco High School in Panjim the capital city of Goa.   When I was in my primary school, I had no idea what I wanted to become in life.  During recess time, an icecream man would come outside our school selling all kinds of icecream – milk, chocolate, strawberry etc.  He would ring a bell to attract the students.  I always found him smiling and happy.  I used to tell my parents that I wanted to become an ice-cream man when I grow up.

My earliest memories of Goa revolve around activities off school.  The walk from school back home yielded so many treasures.  We would pluck black berries, tamarinds, mangoes, cashews and jamuns (fruit with blackish-purple skin ).

My brother and I would do most of the home shopping.  This involved buying ration rice, sugar , wheat and kersosene for lighting the stove.  In those days there were no gas stoves.  The walk to the shop was down a steep slope and quite an adventure.  The walk upslope carrying the kerosene was really tiring.  We would also have to carry the wheat to a mill where it would be pounded into fine powder so that my mother could make chapathis.

We would balance the shopping, studying and play after school.

We mostly played cricket, table tennis, basketball and other games like hide and seek, kabaddi and just running around with bicycle tires, marbles etc.

We lived in the staff quarters of National Institute of Oceanography.  We had a nice club here with ping pong table, there was also a cricket ground and a basket ball court.  The club had a library and a bridge room.  There was also a dispensary nearby.

Festivals were a great time in our colony.  I still have vivid memories of the Sarvajanik Ganesh Chaturthi celebration.  There were seven days of celebration involving dances, drama and bhajans.  All children would get a chance to participate.  We also celebrated Diwali, Holi and Christmas and everyone came together to celebrate.

Another interesting event in our colony was the open air screening of movies once a month.  It was a great occasion.  A screen would be setup and a projector was also setup.  The movie reels would come in the evening and all the children would be excited.  People would setup chairs in places where they could get the best view.  We watched most of the Bollywood movies of the 70s and 80s in our colony.  This was before the advent of the television.

I still remember the day television came to our colony.  As we did not have a television at home we would go to our friends place to watch Chayageet , Chitrahaar and the Sunday movie.  A year later we got a television at home.  It had a light brown shutter cover and was a Weston Black and White television.

In school, I loved to take part in elocution, debates, and quiz competitions.  My teacher Ms. Vilma Vaz who was pretty had a great love for English and inculcated the same love in us.  She explained poetry and English literature with great passion.  She also encouraged me to take part in poetry recitation.  I was good at mathematics and usually scored full marks.

Another teacher Mr. Crasto taught us music and public speaking.  He had a great oratorical style of speaking.  He has been instrumental in developing my public speaking skills.  On the last day of school, Mr. Crasto wrote this quote in my autograph : “Conquer yourself.  Self conquest leads to world conquest” .  I will never forget those inspiring words.

We could take up a second foreign language in school and I opted for French.  I loved French and studied it upto higher secondary.  I still remember some French and would love to visit Paris and see the Louvre museum , the Eiffel tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the museums and vineyards.

To commute to the capital city Panjim we had to walk down a steep slope and come to a bus stop near the National Institute of Oceanography.  From there it was approximately a 7km bus ride to Panjim where Don Bosco High School was located. Near the bus stop was a kiosk selling cigarettes, candies, milk etc.  Mr Fernandes was the owner of the shop.   Some of the candies were multi-coloured spherical balls and looked so wonderful  – called “godye” .  There were also chewing gum and bubble gum which we loved when young.

Growing up in a big family of 5 taught us a lot about sharing and we had to grow up learning to share space and also appreciate our differences and quirks.  I admire my parents for instilling in all of us the right values in life since young and giving us the greatest gift that they could give us – a good education, the foundation on which we could build our lives.

After my higher secondary, I joined the Goa Engineering College at Farmagudi which was about 35kms from my home in Dona Paula. It was  a great experience living with students from all over India in the college hostel.  After my graduation I had a brief stint of work at the National Institute of Oceanography.

There are myriad of magical memories that come to my mind when I think of Goa.  I am eagerly waiting and planning for a visit to Goa to re-kindle some of the moments that shaped my life!

Other interesting posts in this category:
1) https://zainabjavid.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/growing-up/
2) https://joec0321.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/odetospring/
3) https://thelonerose.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/love-is/
4) https://whoison1st.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/bliss-thy-name-is/
5) https://yzhengblog.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/to-you/
6) https://dragoneystory.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/let-my-words/
7) https://zombieflamingoes.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/a-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-odes/
8) https://howyoufeeling.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/love-yourself/
9) https://looking4godtoday.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/my-soul-sings/
10) https://siapositive.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/gift-of-love/

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