Helene Menezes’ review of "Domnic’s Goa”

Goa through Domnic’s eyes By Helene Menezes

ABBE FARIA Productions released ‘Domnic’s Goa’ on April 27 at the Black Box, Kala Academy, in Panjim.

‘Domnic’s Goa’ by Domnic Fernandes is a wonderful insight into the Goa of yesteryear. Its thirty one chapters take you deep into the heart of life growing up in Anjuna in the 50s and 60s from the young Domnic’s view point. Fernandes was born in 1947 and, though he spent much of his adult life outside Goa, it is the memories of his youth that the book focuses on. The first chapter reminisces over the steam boat journey from Bombay down to Goa via Ratnagiri. Taking you through what food was served to the pitfalls of sea-sickness and finally casting anchor in his beloved Goa. From the moment you read the first page you are transported on board so make yourself comfortable for the journey around Domnic’s Goa for it is one you will want to savour.

Fernandes has an easy style of writing which was honed on the internet where he started writing in 2003. It was in cyberspace where Cecil Pinto, proprietor of Abbe Faria Productions first noticed Fernandes’ postings and his talent for incredible attention to detail. They made contact and corresponded over the years. Soon Fernandes had a large following on the Net that hungered for more of his postings highlighting growing up in Anjuna. The idea of a book, though obvious with the volume of writings that Domnic produced, was not the original idea but thankfully due to pressure from his ‘fans’ and the hard work of Frederick Noronha as editor, today Domnic’s Goa in its printed form is the result.

Domnic’s Goa is far from a romanticised account of the Goa of yesterday. It is quite simply a documentation of how it was and in some cases, in the more rural areas of Goa, still is. Though the book is set primarily in Bardez, the life it describes must be true of most places in the state and thus appeals to everyone who lives or visits the state. Fernandes has a purely masterful skill of recollection and contextual portrayal. He makes you realise life’s many paths, though hard, are a gift to be cherished and observed in any direction they take you. Through Domnic’s pen, the way of life in the latter half of last century comes to life in your mind’s eye and you are there with him as he makes the journey of growing up in this diverse and beautiful state.

The book is peppered with Konkani which is then translated into English. It is illustrated by wonderful line drawings by Calangute’s Domnic Cordo, which are plentiful and a joy to look at. This book is the perfect gift when traveling out of Goa and an even better home holiday read.

The book is distributed locally by Broadway, near Caculo Island, Panjim, and internationally by OtherIndiaBookStore.Com. For trade enquiries please contact cecilpinto@gmail.com [The Goan Observer]

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