Girl Gone Goa

Travel, sex, magic, and cycling in an Indian state

Bemvinda’s House in Nachinola November 16, 2008

Filed under: Travel — UR @ 5:26 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Left behind in Nachinola

grandmothers-house-exterioUncharacteristically, Aloysius’s voice grew faint and his sentence ended with the shake of a head. We were lunching on fresh Goan prawns and lime soda at the family-run Andron Restaurant in Nachinola, a village on the Mapusa-Aldona Road.

We were discussing our pre-lunch visit to my grandmother’s (and Aloysius’s father’s) ancestral home just down the road. I watched him go silent and knew that our tour of the vacant estate had brought up some memories and troubling thoughts for him.

gms-house-verandahNow empty except for a caretaker, the house is grand and typical in layout to other Portuguese-Goan style homes I’d been in: a generous, wraparound verandah reached by a grand BALCAO staircase; wide, airy main hallway flanked by sitting and bed rooms; kitchen, pantry and toilets at the back; and a drying loft up a narrow flight of wooden stairs.

It also had a wide-walled, deep well that the caretaker said he didn’t use since two cats dropped into it and didn’t come up. A separate stone building behind the house served as both a storeroom and outhouse. Aloysius pointed to a cement bench with two toilet holes.

“Your grandmother didn’t like using it because – see that?” He pointed to the area under the holes, which was a trough rather than a pit. “That’s where the pigs would eat,” he paused for effect, “Then they’d eat the pigs! They say pork sausage doesn’t taste the way it used to in the old days – maybe that’s why!”

gms-house-mementosThough structurally intact and with many original mementos and figurines on its walls, the house felt – lonely. Handmade chairs needing a re-caning had been stacked in a pile in a bedroom. Metal bed frames covered the floor of another.

The house wasn’t empty, it was left behind. Like many other homes and properties I’ve heard about in Goa, this house is “in dispute” and as a result, it sits here on a beautiful tract of land in a pretty village in a lush valley, abandoned by its own family.

The caretaker proudly showed us the shrubs and trees he’d planted in the front yard. “I’m not good with house fixes, but I like plants,” he beamed. He pointed to a tall Norfolk pine and told me he’ll decorate it at Christmas for the pleasure of his 11- and 13-year-old daughters and anyone who might want to visit.

gms-house-caretaker“Come visit,” he urged me. He motioned around the front property, tangled and teeming with plants, shrubs, trees and vines. “There will be lights everywhere, it will be beautiful. Please come”


3 Responses to “Bemvinda’s House in Nachinola”

  1. Aloysius D'Souza Says:

    Thanks Ulrike,

    You saw through the memory wall I have built around our Nachinola house (you notice I still say “our Nachinola house”).
    I enjoyed many holidays there by myself with only Granny Leopoldina for company — together with quite a bit of spoiling — home grown medicines and not out of bottles or in pills — various types of foods from the same basic ingredients — and to a boarder used to spuds, dhal and rice / chapattis at every meal for nine months at a stretch — that is why I was quite intrigued when your Uncles Allan and Ronnie told me their way of getting puddings and eggs, etc.
    My stay in Nachinola were happy memories — with books, long cycle rides, and occasional visits to neighbours or relatives in Saligao — your Dad’s family were rarely in Goa at the time I was there — December to end Feb — for me school was from March 7th to December 7th — Christmas with Mum and Dad in Bombay and then Nachinola for the feast on Jan 1st and lovely holiday thereafter.

    We discovered trees, fruits, ginger, turmeric and the medicinal type of turmeric (amba haldi) — and got whacked for digging up these roots ahead of time. But when I sprained my wrist the swelling came down in fifteen minutes by Granny applying a paste of amba haldi.

    The stone quarries — logs shaped into tools for ploughing– and when I tried to use the adze it bounced off the log and took a good piece out of my shin.

    I wonder if I will be able to show my new born grandson any of these normal events of Goa.



  2. savio Says:

    Im born n brought up in nachinola,which vaddo is ur house located?,couldn’t really determine from the photographs

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s