Friday, June 6, 2014

new book, Bomoicar (Konkani for 'Bombaywallah'), chronicles the life of Goans in Mumbai,

Girgaum Road

Development of communications and arrival of « Goan Christians »

Until the second half of the 19th Century, Girgaum remained characterized by a large concentration of gardens and palm groves; however, significant changes started emerging in Bombay due to the development of trade and communications channels.

The first dock was built in 1736, and port developments kept occurring until 1914. By the beginning of the 19th Century, the population of the city had reached 120 000 inhabitants. Other factors contributed to speeding up Bombay’s development as well. In 1813, the East Indian Company lost its exclusive control of trade, as rival companies established themselves and flourished. Steamboats and railways in the late nineteenth century further accelerated the growth of the city, rendering the older large Portuguese landholdings and organizations economically unsustainable. The East India Company thus divided lands to make them accessible to individual farmers, who subsequently became landowners.

It is in such a context that Dadoba Waman Khot – a Pathare Prabhu, a sub-caste of the region’s Brahmin community – received lands in Girgaum. Initially collecting revenues from Hindu farmers only, he progressively extended his collection to the East Indian Christian community that he helped to settle. In practice, the community began investing in this space around 1840. By 1880, the locality had officially adopted the name of Khotachiwadi, acknowledging the significant role played by the Khot family in its development.

Khotachiwadi’s growth is unquestionably linked to the widening of roads. In 1839, Parel and Breach Candy Roads (later renamed Girgaum Road and Jagannath Shankarsheth Road respectively) gained 60 feet in width, while Grant Road was opened to traffic, thus facilitating greater access to the area.

In the 19th Century, a new wave of Christian populations coming from Goa – where the Portuguese Empire still kept its influence – migrated to Bombay. These Goan Christians, also called Portuguese Christians, were Portuguese subjects, contrarily to local Christians who were subjects of the British crown.

Feeling threatened by this new influx which the local Christians of Bombay feared would undermine their status and privileges, they formulated a request in 1832 asking to be recognized as East Indian Christians, marking their Indo-British affiliation more pronounced. At the same time, this move helped distinguish them from the Koli fishermen Hindu populations as well.

In 1887, during Queen Victoria’s « Golden Jubilee Year », the community’s leaders filed a petition to officially use the name “East Indian Christians” as a means to establish their administrative and official rights and privileges as original inhabitants of Bombay.

At the same time, in several localities, such as Mazagaon, Bandra and Girgaum, the Christian communities had grouped and started to live together, Goan and East Indian alike. To this day, Khotachiwadi continues to epitomize this trend. Today, even if members of the two communities still distinguish each other, the official census does not recognize the distinction. According to a survey done on Khotachiwadi in the 1990s by the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA), the two communities have merged, following their common religious affiliation. Thus Khotachiwadi’s “Christians” represent 44% of the population, “Maharastrians” 36% and “Gujaratis” 16%. Far from generating tensions, the diversity of Khotachiwadi is a source of pride for its inhabitants. They valorize the neighborhood’s special nature by presenting it as a place of openness and exchange, a place with an inspiring past and a promising future.

  PITCH PERFECT: Goan cricketer Tony de Mello was the soul and spirit behind the construction of Brabourne Stadium NewsCulture News

9 hours ago - A new book, Bomoicar (Konkani for 'Bombaywallah'), chronicles the life and times of Goans in Mumbai, through various voices. An extract.
 WAVES OF NOSTALGIA: The Konkan Shakti, one of two passenger steamers operated by Chowgule-owned Mogul Line
Waves of nostalgia: The Konkan Shakti, one of two passenger steamers operated by Chowgule-owned Mogul Line - See more at:

Photo credit: lars erlandsson (flickr)

On board Photo credit: lars erlandsson (flickr)
On board
Photo credit: lars erlandsson
DAYS OF YORE: Memories, like photographs, are black-and-white. PIC/GETTY IMAGES


Roana Maria Costa visits a club whose membership per day is less than the cost of a vada pav

    It’s mid morning and Goa’s nightingale Lorna’s magnetic voice fills the air as she croons Tuzo Mog, a famous Goan classic.
    In a little corner hidden behind a white sheet pinned up to cast off the heat sits James Rodrigues adjusting the volume knob on his CD player and watching the world go by. His shop, C F Rodrigues and Sons, in the business of selling Konkani CDs and VCDs for over 70 years, is stacked with music and tiatrs by Goa’s artists like Alfred Rose, C Alvares, Junior Rod, Jacinta Vaz and, of course, Lorna.
    Rodrigues couldn’t have found a more perfect location than below 30-odd Goan clubs in Jer Mahal Estate. He knows his posters strategically placed advertising ‘Pisso Dotor’, a Konkani comedy, will find enough takers.
    Easily one of Mumbai’s better chawls, Jer Mahal Estate at Dhobi Talao is a stone’s throw from Metro theatre and St Xavier’s College. Anyone could mistake this for one more old chawl especially when a huge board screams Great Punjab Hotel on the first floor. Even when you step through any of its five narrow entrances there are no telltale signs. But walk up the wooden staircase
and peep into any of the rooms and you know that you are in the middle of Goanness. The flavour of the tiny state fills your senses. The air is sussegado and Konkani rules the airwaves.
    The club system in Jer Mahal does not involve gyms and swimming pools. A club here is one or more rooms, which are more like huge halls where Goan Catholics put up. Each village from Goa has its own club. Some villages have more than one club, depending on how many waddos or zones it has. Most members are male and take refuge in their respective village clubs when new to the city.
    Cruz D’Costa came to Mumbai when he was 19. Resident at the Majorda club for close to three decades, for him this is “a home away from home—a second home’’. He speaks passionately about his love for Goa and how he holds the “the record’’ for going home the maximum num
ber of times in a year, “at least eight times’’. Taking the steps two at a time and greeting everyone he meets, Cruz speaks a typical South Goa, Salcette Konkani. He says that getting admission into the club is simple—you need to be Goan, Catholic and have an identification. Once you are a member, you can stay there as long as you want.
    Every club has similar interiors: wooden or steel boxes called pattis that line the walls, shoe stands, iron boxes and TV sets. One
characteristic feature is the painting or statue of the village patron saint. The saint occupies pride of place at the altar and his or her feast is celebrated annually. Each club also has its own kitchen and a block of bathrooms as well as toilets that may or may not be attached.
    There are 200 Goan clubs in Mumbai spread over Dhobi Talao, Chira Bazaar, Crawford Market, Dockyard, Mazgaon and Dadar. Dhobi Talao houses the maximum number. These clubs or Kuds were set up in the 1920s
when Goans started coming to the city in search of a livelihood. They mostly took jobs in hotels or as seamen and were charged a nominal lodging rate. Today, although the clubs may boast 10,000 members, the number of full-time residents has dropped sharply. This, despite the fact, that the rent per day is less than a vada pav. Most clubs charge members Rs 40 a month.
In Dinshaw Mahal, you find magician Praxis Remedios from the Guirim club. A resident for over two decades, Praxis says, “Not many Goans know about the club. Though accommodation is inexpensive, takers are few as there is no privacy. Everyone just puts their bedding on the floor for the night.’’ Praxis’s fa
ther came to the city in the early century as opportunities in Goa were few. He says, “Today, hardly any Goan wants to be in Mumbai for long. They see it as a gateway, to gain experience and move to the Gulf, US, UK or the ship. Unlike earlier, one can do most of the paperwork for immigration or to sail in Goa itself.’’ Cruz adds that people prefer to check into a hotel with their families even though the clubs offer a family room for Rs 50 a day.
    Gilbert Pinto from the Bastora club laments that even up to five years ago his club had 25 full-time members, while today there are only three guest members. Jobs abroad and on the ship pay so much more, he says, that people prefer those to a life in Mumbai. Andrade Costa from the Nuvemcares club says this is second home to him, and today the building is better maintained than 10 years ago after its interiors were repaired.
    Joel Fernandes lights up when you mention football. “It’s just an excuse for the whole club to sit together in their jerseys and root for their favourite team,’’ he says. “By the way, it’s Brazil,’’ he whispers with a smile.
    With dwindling numbers,old customs like the evening rosary are dying.But veterans like Cruz and Praxis say that the clubs are still a great place to catch up on the gossip over an evening drink. Even though these residents have lived in Mumbai for decades their culture, speech and mannerisms have not changed. As you talk to Praxis, Gilbert, Joel or Cruz, one thing is clear—you can take a Goan out of Goa but you can’t take Goa out of a Goan.

Threat of demolition? Not yet There is confusion among the residents about whether the building, which is over a hundred years old, may be torn down. However, coordinator of the Jer Mahal Estate Forum Farookh Shokri squashes all such fearmongering. He explains that the building is a Grade III building, which means it can be demolished only if 70% of the tenants approve. That is not the case right now. The Forum is also pushing to make the building Grade II to ensure that its facade is protected. For this, the urban development ministry has to grant permission. Shokri says, “We are facing no threat or pressure from the developer.’’
    President, Jer Mahal Tenants’ Residential Clubs Association, Thomas Sequeira says a builder, Rohan Developers, has bought the property and approached them to redevelop it but has not come up with a final plan.

Bomoicar: Stories of Bombay Goans, 1920-1980 Published by Goa 1556, 154 pages Price R 200

MAKE ME A MATCH: Ramesh Date’s illustration, from the book, of Matchmaker Susan quizzing likely eligible prospects

CLUB STREET: Ramesh Date’s illustration of Jer Mahal at Dhobi Talao, home to many Goan clubs
Image result for jer mahal at the Junction of Kalbadevi Road & Girgaon and the Goan history

Between St Xavier’s College and Metro Cinema is a Grade-III heritage structure known
as Jer Mahal. A cluster of six buildings and an annexe, it represents the finest example
of a whole style of vernacular Indian architecture. It has even been called ‘Bombay’s
most beautiful chawl’.
A Goan cultural hub, Jer Mahal accommodates 50 Goan clubs on its premises at Dhobi
Talao. These clubs have been around for over a century; the oldest one can be traced
back to 1857. Each floor accommodates 3 to 4 clubs, along with a single kitchen and
a bathroom. Today, the clubs are characterised by broken walls, protruding cable wires
and worn out arches.

File:Jer Mahal.jpg

Club class

Published: Sunday, May 18, 2008, 3:40 IST
By Radhika Raj

The Goan clubs at Dhobi Talao’s Jer Mahal have been around for over a century, but now their crumbling rooms face the threat of demolition, finds Radhika Raj
Praxis Remedios pulls out one coin after another out of thin air and then makes them disappear within a blink of an eye. His black jacket and a magician hat hang from a rusty hook on a chipped room wall. Above it lies a broken wooden board that says Guirim Club. Remedios is one of the residents of a Goan club at Jer Mahal in Dhobi Talao. “These clubs are boarding houses for people from Goa,” he explains. “Every village has club for its residents here. It is a mini-Goa in Mumbai.” Remedios has been living in his club for over twenty years, but still has a difficult time explaining his address. “If I tell people in the city of our club, they ask if there is a swimming pool there,” he smiles.
Sandwiched between city stalwarts like St Xaviers College and Metro cinema, Jer Mahal bears the distinction of being one of Mumbai’s most beautiful chawls and a Goan cultural hub, accommodating 50 Goan clubs in its premises. Jer Mahal however is facing the threat of demolition because of its location.“Jer Mahal is a Grade III structure and hence can be pulled down if proven that it cannot be restored,”says conservationist architect Abha Lambah.“It is necessary to list Jer Mahal as a Grade II structure as it is one of the most culturally rich chawls in city. We must protect it from turning into another concrete tower”.
With over 104 years of history tucked away in its crevices, notice boards with Konkani scrawls, chapels in each of the clubs, posters of Jesus Christ (and occasionally white women in skimpy outfits) this bulky structure is indeed a world in itself. The oldest Goan clubs can be traced back to 1857. Later, the second world war and an acute food shortage brought people to the newly developing city of Bombay. Goans, with their Portuguese backgrounds and knowledge of the Roman script, could easily pick up the English dialect. They were employed as cooks, clerks, musicians and seamen. Most clubs were set up at Jer Mahal at Dhobi Talao, since it was near Crawford Market and convenient for the cooks. Government offices at Fort and the docks for seamen were close too. Even today, most residents here work as seamen for the navy, musicians in Catholic orchestras or waiters at five star hotels. “This is home away from home. All the people here go to the same church, most of them have grown up together,” says Joel Fernandes from the Majorda Club.
Dinshaw Mahal, one of the wings of Jer Mahal, where Fernandes stays, contains Goan clubs all the way up to the top floor. Each floor accommodates 3-4 clubs, along with a single kitchen and a bathroom. The rent or the baddem is as low as Rs200 per month. “These clubs are so old that some traditions have been followed for a century,” says Vitthal Aranjum, accountant and member of the United Club of Assondra. For instance, due to space constraints, mattresses were not allowed at the clubs in the 1950s. Despite the number of residents reducing by almost half, this rule is still religiously followed and every member picks a spot on the floor at bedtime.
These days the clubs are characterised by broken walls, protruding cable wires and worn out arches. “A decade ago there were 14 people at our club, but today there are only four,” adds Aranjum. Four clubs in the past few years have merged to form one United Club of Assondra. Most clubs at Jer Mahal have downed their shutters while others have been lent to locals.
Change has trickled into these stolid old structures. Football and cricket have taken over the annual feasts and the Goan DJ brought in every year during Christmas also plays Himesh Reshammiya songs. There are also some constants, like the resident ghost who allegedly haunts the terrace. As Anthony Fernandes cooks pork vindaloo, someone at the neighbouring club plays a popular Goan classic. Residents at the Durga club dig out an old frame. When they they find it, they look at it with amazement. ‘Established – 1908 it says in Konkani. “Oh my god, our club turns hundred this year,” they exclaim. “We must celebrate

By Frederick Noronha

PANJIM, May 10: Fulgence Rodrigues was surprised when he recently
tried to get a place for his shipbuilding-qualified son at one of
Mumbai's kudds. He realised that the famous decades old clubs
of Goan expats in that city, that served as a gateway to a better
life for generations, are verging on collapse.

Shocked and saddened by the sorry state of affairs of these
institutions that played a crucial role in the history of Goan
emigration, Vasco-based Rodrigues is now all fired up to do
something that could safeguard the kudds.

Says he: "In the halcyon days of the fag end of the eighteenth
century and the beginning of the nineteenth, our farsighted
ancestors in their wisdom and for the benefit of visiting Goans,
founded clubs known in the vernacular language as kudds in
erstwhile Bombay, now renamed Mumbai."

"In the beginning they were like chummeries. Our village folk in
those days would migrate to Bombay, as it was a city of
opportunity, in quest of jobs", Rodrigues says.

Some went for medical treatment. Others for professional studies.
Many Goan youth, particularly Christians from simpler and less
affluent backgrounds, would go there in droves for a sea-faring

These institutions provided low-cost accommodation, and friendly
mentors from among one's fellow-villagers. Today, with
allegations of suspicious deals by some of those in charge, and
pressures from land-sharks, these institutions face a bleak

Recent amendments in the Rent Act mean that the real estate lobby
has "cast its greedy eyes" on these dilapidated properties, says

Even owners and landlords -- perhaps whose grandparents had
originally leased out these structures -- have tried to take up
eviction proceedings in Mumbai's Small Causes Court.

Some kudd secretaries have developed questionable links with
the builders lobby, and disposed off kudd premises, getting
free flats in the bargain for themselves. In the rumour mill,
some names of prominent individuals are already being mentioned.

Secretaries of the kudds are supposed to maintain accounts.
But, without supervisory control, some secretaries have allegedly
run amuck.

Migrant Goan villagers would arrive in Bombay by bus, train or
boat. Strangers in that huge and heartless city, the kudds
would offer them "shelter, board and facilities such as they were
accustomed to back home", says Fulgence Rodrigues.

This home-away-from-home offered them low cost boarding. Their
needs were often subsidised by other members of the kudd (or
village club), till they could find a job of their own. Prayers
were said at 8 pm sharp, and members also had to stay present for
the Sunday cleaning-up operations.

Collective funds fuelled the mess. Profits, if any, would accrue
to a general fund, which was "disbursed appropriately to those
members who would retire or leave the kudd in order to settle
down back in their respective villages or towns", says Rodrigues,
in a brief study of this issue.

Many clubs have large, spacious halls. Most are situated in old,
multi-storeyed buildings constructed in the nineteenth or early
twentieth century. Many buildings have become decayed, decrepit
and dilapidated.

Bombay's Rent Control Act froze the rentals taken from tenants.
This meant no repairs or maintenance was done on buildings.
"During a recent visit to Bombay, I was horrified at the
appalling situation in some of these kudds, which looked
abjectly pathetic," said Rodrigues.

Interiors of many kudds are on the "verge of collapse owing to
paucity of funds, and nobody seems to be doing anything nor
anybody comes forward to repair them," adds Rodrigues.

Fulgence Rodrigues believes that with institutions like the NUSI
Maritime Academy at Assolna and the Institute of Maritime Studies
at Bogda-Sada, Mormugao, Goa badly needs institutions like the
kudds to help its youngsters get access to better jobs offshore.

"Goa government has a Goa Bhavan in Juhu. But (the average) Goa
cannot avail of these facilities due to its distant location from
Greater Bombay, considering transport costs, travelling
inconveniences and bureaucratic hassles in booking
accommodation," says Rodrigues.

On the other hand, the kudds are located at prime and
convenient spots.

"I've visited kudds of villages like Chorao, Divar and Margao.
There are many Bardez kudds too. Most are located in areas like
Dhobitalao and Mazgaon. I was told that there are some at Dadar,
Parel, Matarpakaddi, and Byculla too," Rodrigues told this

Rodrigues says something badly needs to be done to save these
institutions. Interested persons can contact him at 555063, says he.

He has sought the support of former Goa Speaker Simon D'Souza,
and politicians like Dr Wilfred Mesquita. "I want to speak to CM
Sardinha and persuade him of the need for a detailed report into
the functioning of all the clubs."

He suggests the clubs could come "under one umbrella" to fight
against eviction attempts.

Rodrigues says that the prestigious Jer Mahal, in the centre of
Dhobitalao, is popularly known as a "mini Goa", and is full of
Goan kudds.

"It was a miniature capital of Goa and their cultural hub. Now
the kudds have fallen into utter neglect, and are on the verge of
extinction. Economic and social changes in the lifestyle of Goans
have had deleterious effects on the kudd system," says he.
Perhaps the growing affluence of Goans has also made us more
individualistic and selfish! (ENDS)


Mohammadi Mahal at the Junction of Kalbadevi Road & Girgaon[ Jer Mahal ]

Mohammadi Mahal at the Junction of Kalbadevi Road & Girgaon

Between St Xavier’s College and Metro Cinema is a Grade-III heritage structure known
as Jer Mahal. A cluster of six buildings and an annexe, it represents the finest example
of a whole style of vernacular Indian architecture. It has even been called ‘Bombay’s
most beautiful chawl’.
A Goan cultural hub, Jer Mahal accommodates 50 Goan clubs on its premises at Dhobi
Talao. These clubs have been around for over a century; the oldest one can be traced
back to 1857. Each floor accommodates 3 to 4 clubs, along with a single kitchen and
a bathroom. Today, the clubs are characterised by broken walls, protruding cable wires
and worn out arches.

Image result for jer mahal

Image result for jer mahal
Image result for jer mahal
Image result for jer mahal
Image result for jer mahal
Image result for jer mahal
Image result for jer mahal
Image result for jer mahal
Image result for jer mahal
Image result for jer mahal
Image result for jer mahal
Image result for jer mahal
Image result for jer mahal
Image result for jer mahal
Image result for jer mahal
Image result for jer mahal
Image result for jer mahal
Image result for jer mahal
Image result for jer mahal
Image result for jer mahal
Image result for jer mahal
Image result for jer mahal

The Musings of a Night Owl: Jer Mahal - Glimpses of Mumbai - Part - II

Their plans for the Jer Mahal is to look like this -

  2. Apr 24, 2011 - Uploaded by Panthi.Ravi
    INDIA 100 YEARS AGO SOME RARE PICS. Panthi. ... Up Next. Mumbai City at 1920s - Awesome Video _ bet ...
  3. Rare pictures of India 100 years ago - YouTube
  4. Jul 28, 2014 - Uploaded by Suryaoneplus
    RARE PHOTOS: A 100-year-old glimpse of British India. ... A mountain railway that existed 125 years ago ...
  5. Oct 23, 2010 - 100 years on, Mumbai then and now. ... The World Luxury Council (India) recently hosted a vintage art exhibit at The Oberoi in Mumbai called Mumbai 100 Years Ago ... "Some of these were postcards, others were photographs, which were .... It has been given a five-star ranking by the National Assessment ...
  6. May 8, 2012 - RARE PHOTOS: A 100-year-old glimpse of British India. ... The 178 negatives were found in a shoebox for a pair of grey, size 9, .... A mountain railway that existed 125 years ago ... Kejriwal takes swipe at PM over 'Lalitgate'.
  7. 'Yeh hai Mumbai meri jaan': 30 vintage, black and white ...
  8. Apr 24, 2014 - 'Yeh hai Mumbai meri jaan': 30 vintage, black and white photos of Bombay from the last 100 years you need to see as the city goes to polls ...
  9. Days of the Raj: Huge collection of photographs showing life ...
  10. May 7, 2012 - Archivists have confirmed some of the images were definitely taken in 1912, when the royals visited. ... the British Raj and it is thought the negatives were untouched for almost 100 years. .... Ralph, Mumbai, India, 3 years ago.

100 years ago today, Gandhi returned from South Africa to a ...
Jan 9, 2015 - Photos: 90 km from Kolkata, traditional midwives are still the only hope for ... 100 years ago today, Gandhi returned from South Africa to a week of parties in Bombay ... Reception to Gandhi in Bombay at Jehangir Petit's house with Sir ... Kasturba and he gave speeches, were given speeches at, and most ...

some  make a quick buck selling  130 year++ old photos of 19 century!what is available in chor bazar from antique shops for 5oo rupees is being sold for 50000 and 60000 rupees

Image result for psst for sale funnyMohammadi Mahal at the Junction of Kalbadevi Road and .
.. › ... › Bombay 100 Years Ago

Mohammadi Mahal at the Junction of Kalbadevi Road and Girgaon

Mohammadi Mahal at the Junction of Kalbadevi Road ... › 2015/06 › mohamm...
Jun 27, 2015 — Mohammadi Mahal at the Junction of Kalbadevi Road & Girgaon[ Jer ... The Musings of a Night Owl: Jer Mahal - Glimpses of Mumbai - Part - II.

Oct 13, 2011 — Remedios is one of the residents of a Goan club at Jer Mahal in Dhobi Talao. “These clubs are boarding houses for people from Goa,” he ...


  1. Chic-Chocolate | Music-Directors | Music-Composers ... - Radio City

    Chic Chocolate had a flourishing career as a music composer in Bollywood movies. ...He is remembered for his work with Naasir in the 1956 filmKar Bhala.

    Also known as

    Chick Chocolate, Antonio Xavier Vaz

    Brief Biography
    Chic Chocolate had a flourishing career as a music composer in Bollywood movies. In 1951, he began his career as a music director with the movie Naadaan. He was an exceptional Goan Catholic musician. His speciality was western music.

    Naadaan had a fantastic track list, including melodious songs like Talat's 'Aa Teri Tasviir Bana Lu' and Lata Mangeshkar’s unforgettable 'Sari Duniya Ko Piichhe Chodkar'.

    Chic Chocolate was an integral part of composer C. Ramchandra's team. Their collaboration in the 1952 movie Rangeeli was a huge success, especially the song "Koi Dard Hamara Kya Samjhe, sung by Lata Mangeshkar was highly appreciated.

    He worked as an assistant music director to Chitalkar for Sagai. Chic Chocolate also worked as an assistant with Madan Mohan and O. P. Nayyar. He is remembered for his work with Naasir in the 1956 film, Kar Bhala.

    Kar Bhala

    Chic Chocolate’s favourite instrument was the trumpet.
    Music composer Chic Chocolate died in 1967 at the age of 55, in Mumbai.

    I Couldn’t Sleep a Wink Last Night was part of the soundtrack of the 1943 film Higher and Higher. It was recorded in Calcutta two years later by Chic Chocolate and his Music Makers and featured the band’s regular vocalist, Charles Sheppard.
    This track is from the Marco Pacci collection.

DAYS OF YORE: Memories, like photographs, are black-and-white. PIC/GETTY IMAGES

Lithograph of a view of Colaba by Jose M. Gonsalves (fl. 1826-c.1842
) plate 3 from his 'Lithographic Views of Bombay' published in Bombay in 1826. Gonsalves, thought to be of Goan origin, was one of the first artists to practice lithography in Bombay and specialised in topographical views of the city. Colaba was originally the southernmost of Bombay's seven islands and named after the Koli fishermen who lived here. The island was visited by the English residents of Bombay for recreation from the 18th century and also used as a military cantonment in the 19th century. Colaba was connected to Bombay by a causeway that was only accessible at low tide by 1838. Within six years, Colaba became the new centre for the cotton trade

The Asiatic Steam Company,  employed a large percentage of local Officers that included Indian, Anglo-Indian, Burmese and apprentice in 1946 EARNED:-In the first year of his apprenticeship he was paid 15 Rupees per month, the second year 30 Rupees a month, third year 45 Rupees rising to 60 Rupees for the fourth year. The deck crew did not come from the Maldives but from the Laccadives, more specifically Minicoy Island which is about 200 miles west of Cochin, the engineroom crew came from the Nhoakali District of East Bengal (now Bangladesh), carpenters were Chinese and the cabin stewards were from Calcutta. The crew did not eat Curry and potatoes for breakfast but enjoyed a balanced diet including Mutton, vegetables and Rice and like all ships crewed by their ilk ‘live’ supplies were also carried for their consumption such as chickens and sheep which were slaughtered as required because the ships had no refrigerators, running water or air conditioning.MAHARANI.

Asiatic Steam Company,
 Formed in 1878,ships were registered in either London or Liverpool its principle port of operation was Calcutta. Like British India’s eastern service ships once they had departed the United Kingdom they were never to return. The new company enjoyed the patronage of Messrs Thomas H. Ismay and William Imrie of Ismay, Imrie & Company, managers of Oceanic Steam Navigation Company known in the shipping world as the
White Star Line. 

Built: 1884 by Harland & Wolff Ltd, of Belfast.
Tonnage: 2,967 grt, 1,936 nt.
Wrecked near Cape Comorin whilst on passage Bombay to Calcutta on the 21st of November 1890.

The company increased its fleet to five in 1880 when Peshwa the company’s first 2,000 tonner was launched and two years later a further two ships were added to its number on the completion of Nurjahan and Kohinur the company’s first all steel ships.


Built: 1889 by Harland & Wolff Ltd, Belfast.
Tonnage: 3,142 grt, 2,041 nt.
Engine: Single screw, Triple expansion by builder.
The company decided to increase its sphere of trading and began operating services to Java and was also successful in tendering a contract with the Government to carry mails to the Andaman Islands, however there was a downside, they 

also became responsible for the transportation of convicts to the penal settlement at Port Blair situated on South Andaman.


By now Ceylon and Malaya had entered onto the company’s trade routes with principle cargoes being made up of teak, coal, sugar, rice and of course its usual carriage of native deck passengers.






Vasna Boatdeck

Vasna Chartroom

Vasna First class lounge

Vasna First Class lounge

Vasna Bridge

Officers Vasna



Built: 1919 by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson, Ltd, Newcastle.
Tonnage: 5,305 grt, 3,199 nt.


Photo dated November 1951.

Built: 1922 by Lithgows, Ltd, Glasgow.
Tonnage: 5,843 grt, 3,656 nt.

Built: 1923 by Charles Connell & Co., Ltd, Glasgow.

Photograph dated July 1947.

Photograph dated March 1956
15th of November 1940, Ranee  fell victim to a mine when in the Suez Canal on the 5th of February 1941.

Shahzada lasted a year longer than her sister when she was sunk on the 9th of July 1944 by torpedo 500 miles west of Goa


Subadur, sank by torpedo and gunfire from unknown submarine on the 7th of April 1942, 170 miles north west of Bombay in the Arabian Sea.BAHADUR


Built: 1940 by Lithgows Ltd., Port Glasgow.
Tonnage: 5,407g, 3,1


Built: 1946 by Lithgows Ltd., Port Glasgow.
Tonnage: 5,460 g, 3,210 n.
LOADING COAL AT GARDEN REACH.1947to load 7,000 tons using local labour would take approximately two days, note in these photo’s there are no women or children present, whereas the norm was for them to be working alongside the men, also note the lack of footwear. After tipping the coal into the hold trimmers down below would spread it to the sides of the ship, I think its fair to say that conditions for the trimmers must have been quite appalling. After discharging their baskets the carriers would drop them on deck to be returned by yet more labour and proceed to the bunker station for another load, for their efforts remuneration was about four Rupees a day.

Air travel started in 1950 from JUHU airport Bombay(Mumbai) used super constellation planes made by Lockheed with four propellers


  1. Imperial Airways : The Definitive Newsreel History 1924-1939 - Civil Aviation This is the definitive celebration of Britain s first national airline Imperial Airways. Imperial Airways were the ...

  1. Imperial Airways at Croydon Aerodrome in 1924. Film 8358

    Imperial Airways. Croydon airport in 1924. Lovely shots of ground crew preparing passenger bi-planes for take off. Amusing air ...


    • HD

BELOW-INDIA'S FIRST JET ENGINED PASSENGER PLANE AT SANTA CRUZ ;21 February 1960 when  first Boeing 707–420, named Gauri Shankar (registered VT-DJJ), was delivered,(OBSERVE THE DRESS AND FASHION OF BOMBAY AT THAT TIME -ONLY SAREE FOR WOMEN,white shirt and white pants for men)

Air India - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Morning You Play Different, Evening You Play Different

Aik re by naresh fernandes
Their eyes give it away. Chris Perry wears a slick black jacket, the sleeves of his crisp white shirt revealing the glint of dark cuff links. His fingers clasp a gleaming tenor saxophone with a lover’s gentleness. Arms crossed coquettishly above her waist, Lorna Cordeiro is chic in a bouffant and a form-fitting gown that shows a flash of ankle. They stare into each other’s eyes, mesmerised. Behind them looms a giant camera aperture borrowed from the opening sequence of the Bond films.

You couldn’t miss the poster as you sauntered down Jamshetji Tata Road in downtown Bombay. It hung outside the Astoria Hotel, across the street from the octagonal Art Deco turret of Eros cinema, inviting thecity to Chris and Lorna’s daily shows at the Venice nightclub. It was 1971. India was savouring its newfound place on the world’s stage. The country’s armed forces had decisively liberated Bangladesh and the idealism of Independence had welled up again. India’s middle classes were capturing their polyester memories on Agfa Click IIIs that cost 46.50 rupees (taxes extra), aspiring to the lifestyles of “The Jet Set Air Hostesses” described in The Illustrated Weekly of India (price: 85 paise), and being encouraged by newspaper ads to “Go gay with Gaylord fine filter cigarettes”.
As the City of Gold bubbled through its jazz age, Lorna and Chris enthralled Bombay with their shows at Venice each night. Remo Fernandes, who would go on to become the first Indian pop musician to record an album of original English-language tunes, was among those locked in the spell. “Two artists sometimes ignite a creative chemistry in each other which goes beyond all logical explanation. Mere morals can only look and listen in awe,” he rhapsodised. “In such duos, one plus one does not make two. It makes a number so immeasurable, it defies all laws of calculus.”
But the sparks that flew at Venice gradually built into a roaring conflagration. As Remo put it: “Hyper-intense, high-temperament artistic relationships often end in emotional disaster, like two comets when they steer too dangerously close. Chris’s and Lorna’s, as we all know, was no exception.”
Like the myths about the city in which they soared to fame, the tale of Chris and Lorna has gained so much in the re-telling it’s sometimes difficult to thresh the apocrypha from the actual. Thirty years after the two stopped performing together, old-time musicians in the bylanes of Dhobi Talao and Bandra still beg anonymity as they reminisce in sad whispers.
“He was shameless. He left his wife and three small children for that girl.”
“Chris and Lorna were in love. When they fought, they became mortal enemies. He destroyed her and he destroyed himself.”
“She was very good singer. Beyond that, she was nothing. She got her break with Chris Perry. He made contract with her. She couldn’t sing without his permission. She had no brains, so she signed. Then he went back to his wife.”
“He didn’t let her perform with anyone else. He threatened to break the legs of one Hindu fellow who tried to get her to sing with him.”
“She hit the bottle, men. She became an alcoholic and just disappeared.”
Chris Perry – who was born Pereira – died on January 25, 2002, his last years hobbled by Parkinson’s disease. Lorna has refused to recount her version of events for publication. But the fidelity of her contralto booming out of our speakers, embroidered with Chris’s perfectly crafted sax filigrees, speaks its own truth.
Cazar by naresh fernandes
*    *     *
Ronnie Monserrate was 19 when he began to play Sunday gigs at Venice with the Chris Perry band, sitting in for the regular pianist. Venice had a reputation. It was the jazzman’s jazz haunt, the rendezvous for musicians from around the country and occasionally from around the world. Dave
Brubeck swung by when he visited Bombay in 1958, as Duke Ellington had when his band set out on their famous world tour of 1963. As Ronnie tells it, the dapper Chris Perry was the musician’s musician: “He had perfect pitch. He was an arranger, a composer, a player.” Chris played both trumpet and saxophone, sometimes switching from one to the other mid-tune, a feat that required elaborate lip control. His trumpet tone was broad and true. He didn’t have flashy technique, but the notes he coaxed out of his horn had a mellowness that kept the fans coming back night after night.
Chris was 43 at the time, Lorna was 25. No one seems quite sure exactly how they met, but everyone’s agreed that he groomed her into one of the Bombay’s finest crooners. One version maintains that Lorna got her break when still in school, after she won the Connie Francis soundalike competition at Metro cinema. This prompted a musician named Raymond Albuqerque to invite her to sing in his show at the Bandra Fair. Her rendition of Underneath the Mango Tree got the crowds so fired up that Chris Perry, already an established performer, went to her home to audition her. She was just 16 when she joined Perry’s band.
A vocalist in the Shirley Bassey mould, Lorna belted out every tune like it was her last time on stage. “She had a lot of black feel,” is how Ronnie describes her performances. “You could see the intensity when she was on stage. She’d give it her best, every time. She was like a magnet. You couldn’t help but be attracted to her when she was on stage. And with Chris Perry band by her side, it was like magic happening. There was incredible attraction. There was a lot of love in the interaction. It was apparent in their body language. They brought out the best in each other. They’d look into each other’s eyes and their understanding was so great that there’d be spontaneous combustion.”
Offstage, though, things could get awkward. Any man attempting to talk to Lorna was liable to get a taste of Perry’s famously volatile fists. During breaks, the musicians would sit around their table, absolutely silent. “They were jolly people but they were afraid to laugh around Chris,” Ronnie says. Ronnie was the only exception, perhaps because his youth made him seem unthreatening. Two decades later, he’d find opportunity to call in that bond of trust.
Venice was around the corner from Bombay’s swinging jazz strip, Churchgate Street (now Veer Nariman Road). Pianists, trios and quartets were to be heard all the way down the 200-metre thoroughfare as it led off from Churchgate station to the Arabian Sea. First came Berry’s, with tandoori butter chicken that was the stuff of Bombay legend and accomplished piano-fronted groups led by Dorothy Jones and Stanley Pinto. Across the fence was Bombelli’s, named after its Swiss owner, where a trio held sway as ad men sipped cappuccinos. Then came the Ambassador, where Toni Pinto’s quintet encapsulated Bombay’s diversity: the group had two Jews – a singer named Ephrim Elias and drummer Abie Cohen, an Anglo-Indian tenor saxophonist named Norman Mobsby, and, in addition to Pinto, another Goan, the bassist Clement Furtado.
Pinto’s kingdom was named the Other Room, so called because after the rich and famous had finished drinking at the bar, they’d say, “Let’s go to the other room.” He ruled for 16 years from 1958, his sharply dressed group spinning out hard-driving bop and light classics, and playing back-up for cabarets and visiting acrobats, magicians and flamenco dancers. The Ambassador was owned by the cigar-chomping Jack Voyantzis, an ebullient Greek who was assisted by his brother, Socrates. The siblings had started their subcontinental journey in Rangoon, opened a café in Delhi, and finally found their way to Bombay, where they transformed a hotel known as the Argentinian into the Ambassador. The cream of Bombay society turned out to catch Toni’s tightly-rehearsed band. Toni remembers once looking up from his piano to see three of the city’s leading editors appreciatively tapping their feet: Rusi Karanjia, editor of the left-wing tabloid Blitz, D F Karaka, editor of the rival Current, and Frank Moraes, editor of the Indian Express, with his American girlfriend. Another time, as the band was going through its routine, Toni realised that someone from the back of the room was playing along on a trumpet. It turned out to be American hornman Eddie Calvert. “He came for dinner one night even though he was staying at the Ritz,” Toni says, and he asked his drummer, Bobby Hadrian, to go back and get his instrument. Calvert and Toni’s band jammed for an hour, playing the tunes the American had made famous: Cherry Pink, Begin the Beguine, Wonderland by Night.
 Dabolim and TAIP Photo credit:
Elsewhere on Churchgate Street, music spilled out through the doors of the Napoli, The Talk of the Town and Gaylord’s. Opposite Venice, there was jazz at the Ritz, while at the Little Hut, Neville Thomas led a group calling itself Three Guys and a Doll. Past Flora Fountain stood Bistro and Volga, home to a quartet led by the grandfatherly baritone saxophonist Hecke Kingdom.
Dave Brubeck was impressed enough by the local musicians to attempt to make some recordings with them during his visit. But Bombay defeated him. He later recounted the episode to an interviewer: “The current fluctuated in Bombay in those days and so the tape would speed up and slow down. Like, when you were shaving, the speed of the motor would go up and down. It ruined one of my favourite tapes I’ve ever made.” Another visiting jazzman, the pianist Hampton Hawes, was overwhelmed by problems that were rather more basic. “Bombay turned me around,” he wrote. “I’d never seen poverty before.” Art, he decided, was irrelevant amidst the gnawing deprivation. “Here I was thinking about making a big splash, a hit record, going home a hero, and I’m walking the streets with motherfuckers who don’t even know what a piece of bread is, let along Stravinsky or Charlie Parker. If Bird was alive and played for them they wouldn’t be able to hear him because they’d be too damn hungry.”
Admittedly, jazz had always been the preserve of Bombay’s elite. But while the audiences were upper crust, the musicians who cooked up the syncopated rhythms were not. Like Toni Pinto, Ronnie Monserrate, Chris and Lorna, the majority were Roman Catholics strivers from the former Portuguese colony of Goa, 550 kilometres south of Bombay. They’d been an important part of the Bombay music scene since the 1920s, when Bombay began to develop its appetite for what was then called “hot music”. Jazz had made its way from New Orleans in the waxy grooves of phonograph records and travelled over the oceans with touring American bands that played for the administrators of the Raj. Bombay’s first jazz concerts were performed at the Bandstand, south of the Oval. Among the earliest jazzmen to play an extended stint in Bombay was Leon Abbey, a violinist from Minnesota, who led an eight-piece band at the Taj during the 1935-’36 season. Abbey wore white tails on stage and played the freshest sounds. He told one interviewer, “I kept up with the latest numbers because someone would always come up to the bandstand and say, ‘Old Bean, would you play so and so…’, because as far as he was concerned, we should know how to play everything that had ever been written.” Midway through the trip, the Taj management sent Abbey and saxophonist Art Lanier back to New York to pick up the latest music.
Abbey’s outfit was replaced by the Symphonians, fronted by the cornet player Cricket Smith. Smith had been featured on the seminal recordings made by James Reese Europe’s Society Orchestra in 1913 and 1914, capturing jazz at the moment of its transition from the relatively unsophisticated ragtime style. Smith “signed his contract for a fixed amount of money and two Coronas a day, so every day, the manager would have to bring him his cigars”, recalls Luis Moreno, a Spanish trumpet player who lived in Bombay for 20 years. “He was a character.”
In 1938, pianist Teddy Weatherford, who had played with Louis Armstrong, took the stage with his men. His swinging style and treble voicing had been an important influence on jazz during its formative years. The Taj, it would seem, wasn’t quite the genteel venue it now is – not at least from the way Weatherford’s occasional Russian bassist named ‘Innocent Nick’ described the gigs to the jazz magazineStoryville. “Teddy used to play downstairs, in the Tavern of the Taj, for the soldiers, sailors and others, a very rough place,” Nick said. “Teddy would play for hours without a break. Even with drinks, he would continue one-handed. He had tremendous hands.”
For the African-American musicians, Bombay provided refuge from the apartheid in the U.S. Men like Weatherford and his sidemen, such as the saxophonist Roy Butler, spent long years shuttling between Europe and the subcontinent, where racial barriers seemed non-existent, at least for them. Butler’s years in India as a Weatherford sideman, he told Storyville, were among his happiest – the work was relatively easy, the pay and conditions good, he was treated splendidly by both management and clientele, and enjoyed the luxurious life under the British Raj. The Taj management, on its part, honoured Weatherford by naming a dish after him: Poires Glace Weatherford. (The absence of colour prejudice was only to be expected. After all, industrial baron Jamshetji Tata was moved to build the Taj after being prevented one leisurely Bombay evening from dining at the Europeans-only Pyrke’s Apollo Hotel. Later, he famously hung a notice in the Taj forbidding entry to South Africans and dogs.)
Weatherford’s sidemen were an eclectic lot and opened Bombay’s ears to a wealth of new sounds, the Cuban drumming of Luis Pedroso and the Spanish brass of Luis Moreno, among them. Butler, who was known as the Reverend in acknowledgement of his abstemious ways, helped Weatherford drill the band. Moreno characterised Butler as the “gentleman of the orchestra”. Moreno added, “He never drank in his life and if someone said, ‘How about a round of drink?’ Roy would say, ‘I’ll have an ice-cream. You enjoy beer, I enjoy ice-cream.” Butler went on to lead his own band at Greens, located where the Taj Intercontinental now stands.
Both Weatherford (who married an Anglo-Indian woman, before dying of cholera in Calcutta in 1945, aged 41) and Butler recruited Goan sidemen, plugging Bombay into the source of jazz. The trumpet player Frank Fernand, who played in Weatherford band with his Goan compatriots, Micky Correa and Josique Menzies, says that his stint with the American taught him to “play like a negro”. Moreno helped Fernand develop the ability to hit long, high notes, eventually extending his range up to E flat. Butler, it must be noted, was less than thrilled with his Goan employees. “My short stretch as a bandleader in India was not too earth-shaking,” he told Storyville. “The local musicians were not too familiar with jazz at that time. I understood that there are some very good jazzmen out there now, but the time was too short for anything to develop, good or bad.” For their part, some of the Goan musicians weren’t overly impressed with Butler, either. They believed his decision to stay in India was motivated by the fear that he wouldn’t find work in the US. As Fernand put it, “The faltu fellows stayed, the good ones went home.”
But by the ’40s, Bombay’s swing bands had earned a solid reputation. After listening to Mickey Correa and Frank Fernand play their hearts out the wind section in the outfit fronted by Rudy Cotton (a Parsi who had been born Cawasji Khatau), one contemporary correspondent wrote that “the band really jumped, just another bunch of righteous boys who helped to prove, if proof were needed, that this jazz of ours has developed into an international language”.
*     *     *
Both Lorna and Chris lived on the edges of a precinct of cemeteries known as Sonapur – the City of Gold. Lorna lives to the south of Sonapur, in Guzder House in the Dhobi Talao neighbourhood. When the wind blows east, her starkly furnished room is filled with the aroma of hot mawa cakes and fluffy buns being unloaded from the ovens in Kayani’s bakery next door. In the narrow corridors of Guzder House, even whispers carry clear down the hallway, and the mundane details of Lorna’s spats with Chris became common knowledge. “He was a big gambler,” one neighbour recalls. “He’d come in a car and say, “Lorna, give me 5,000 rupees.’ She’d go to the bank and withdraw it. All her savings were wiped out.”
Chris lived to the north of Sonapur, opposite the church of Sao Francis Xavier in Dabul. Once he got home, he became a strict but caring father. “He was very religious,” his eldest son Giles told one interviewer. “We had to recite the Rosary at 8 every evening. At 12 noon and at dusk, we had to say the Angelus. If the phone ran during prayers he would say, ‘Throw the phone out.’” Miles, another of Chris Perry’s sons, described his father’s devotion to his art. “His daily routine when he woke up was to first smoke a cigarette and then blow his trumpet. Only then would he go for a wash.” His son Errol added: “He always had his favourite instrument close to him. Even while he slept, the trumpet would be on one side and mummy on the other.”
The neighbourhood in which Lorna and Chris lived had long been the focus of Catholic migrants from Goa. The first significant numbers of Goan migrants came to Bombay in 1822, liberal partisans fleeing political persecution in the Portuguese colony for the safety of British India. More followed in 1835 after a rebellion by mixed-race mestizos deposed Goa’s first native-born governor general, Bernardo Peres da Silva. The mestizos launched a two-year reign of terror, forcing da Silva’s supporters into exile. As the century progressed, Goan emigration to Bombay swelled. The Portuguese hadn’t been especially attentive to developing industries, so the pressure on cultivable land was intense. Adding to this, many Goans chafed under the oppression of the bhatkars, as the feudal landlords were known. By the 1920s, many Goan men were being employed as seamen by such British lines as BI, P&O, Anchor and Clan. They used Bombay as a base between their voyages. Other Goans found work as domestic helpers in British households and social institutions. The early Goan fortune-seekers were almost all male: The arduous overland journey from Goa to Bombay, which took between 10 and 15 days, discouraged women. But the opening of the rail line between territories in April 1881 changed that. By the 1930s, Goans in Bombay had come to be associated with the ABC professions: they were ayahs (maids), butlers and cooks. In a column titled Random Jottings published by the Anglo-Lusitanian Journal in 1931, a writer calling himself Atropos noted that of the 37,000 Goans resident in Bombay that year, 14,000 were seamen, 7,000 were cooks or waiters and 3,000 were ayahs. A full 700 were estimated to be musicians. (At least 7,000 Goans were unemployed.)
The neighbourhoods around Sonapur began to fill up with Goan dormitories known as coors, a word that derived from the Portuguese cuadd or room. These were established by individual villages back in Goa to provide a home away from home for their neighbours who were too poor to maintain two residences, one in the village and the other in the city. By 1958, half of the estimated 80,000 Goans in Bombay lived in such quarters – which were now being called “clubs”, adopting the word used to describe the chummeries many firms had established for their single European employees, writes Olga Valladares in her 1958 thesis titled The Coor System – a study of Goan club life in Bombay. As you walk down the narrow lanes of the neighbourhoods around Sonapur today, you can see fading signboards for them everywhere: the Boa Morte Association (Club of Majorda); St Anne’s Club of Ponda; Fatradicares Club; The Original Grand Club of Pombura; Nossa Senhora dos Milagres, Club of Sangrem. There were 341 Goan clubs in the city in 1958, mainly between Dhobi Talao and Dabul. The seamen who lived in them found it easy from there to get to the docks and the shipping offices, while the cooks and domestics were within walking distance of the produce sellers at Crawford Market, where their chores began before they moved on to their employer’s establishments each day.
Life in the clubs was spartan. Residents were allowed minimal baggage, usually a big trunk. “Life was lived out of the box and on it,” Valladares says. The club-dweller’s box “is not only the repository of all personal possessions, his wardrobe and his safe, but it is his dining table at mealtimes and his bed at night.” The altar was the centrepiece of the club. In addition to statues of Christ and Mary, they contained icons of the patron saint of the village, decorated with offerings of flowers. Every evening, members were required to gather around the altar to say the Rosary. The highlight of the year was the celebration in exile of the village feast. Collections were taken up and, after Mass, there was an elaborate meal, followed by musical performances.
The music, old-timers recall, was superb. After all, the musical talents of Goans had earned the community a formidable reputation throughout the subcontinent. The Portuguese may have neglected higher education in Goa, but the parochial schools first established in 1545 put into place a solid system of musical training. As early as 1665, a Goan choir performed an oratorio by Giacome Carissimi in seven voices at the Basilica of Bom Jesu. The recital caused such a sensation, it led the Carmelite musician Guiseppe di Santa Maria to declare, “I feel I am in Rome.” The clash of civilisations in Goa created a whole range of syncretic forms: the Goa sausage was a Portuguese chorizo with a tear-inducing splash of Indian spice; cashew feni was drunk in a leisurely Iberian manner after sundown; and the mando – the only harmonised folk musical form on the subcontinent – melded saudade, the nostalgic melancholy that pervades Portuguese fado, with Indian folk melodies. Transgressing subcontinental norms, the mando was the accompaniment for social dancing between the sexes; as the musicians crooned their songs of yearning, couples struck up delicate postures of stylised courtship.
 Their musical inclination came in handy when Goans sought work in British India. They soon established themselves as the musicians of the Raj, staffing the orchestras established by British administrators and by Indian maharajahs seeking to appear sophisticated. In Bombay, Goan musicians took over both ends of the music business. In 1888, The Times of India mentions a Goan ensemble playing in the Bombay Philharmonic Orchestra in the Town Hall. Other Goan groups are said to have displaced the Muslim street bands that played at the weddings of the common folk and other festive occasions. Salvador Pinto, who played coronet in the Volunteer Corps, is thought to have formed the first proper street band, writes Bombay local historian Dr Teresa Albuquerque. She says that the demand for Goan musicians was so great, one ingenious man named Francisco Menezes trawled through the clubs to find unemployed men to march in the processions, instructing them to inflate their cheeks without blowing a note. Dhobi Talao’s Goans were prominent not only as musicians but also in the city’s musical instrument trade. L M Furtado opened his store in Jer Mahal, around the corner from where Lorna lives, in the 1920s, importing pianos and violins that had been tropicalised to keep them from warping in the Bombay swelter. Marques and Company was nearby.
Goan musicians also conjured up soundscapes for the silent films. Bombay’s Watson’s Hotel had been host to India’s first cinema screening on July 7, 1896, a show that advertised itself as “living photographic pictures in life-sized reproductions by Messrs Lumiere Brothers”. By New Year’s day in 1900, the Tivoli Theatre was screening 25 pictures, with music by a string band. A portrait photographer named Harishchandra Sakharam Bhatavdekar became the first Indian to import a motion-picture camera from London and he shot a wrestling match between two well-known musclemen in 1897. Other locally shot films followed, including Alibaba, Hariraj and Buddha by a Bengali named Hiralal Sen. A creative flashback projects the tantalising image of Bombay audiences drinking in black-and-white scenes from Indian folktales as a Goan string quartet trots out phrases from Mozart and snatches of mandos, varying the tempo to match the action on screen. Goans have stayed in the picture ever since.

When jazz swung into the subcontinent, Goans seized it as the song of their souls. “Jazz gave us freedom of _expression,” explains Frank Fernand, who played in the Teddy Weatherford band at the Taj. “You played jazz the way you feel – morning you play differently, evening you play differently.” New tunes came to India as sheet music, but that sometimes wasn’t much help even to accomplished readers: jazz contained such unconventional instructions as glissando, mute and attack. “But when we heard the records, we knew how to play the notes,” Frank says. For a Goan jazzman, the greatest accolade was to be told that he “played like a negro”. No one seems to have received more praise on this account than Chic Chocolate, who occasionally led a two-trumpet barrage at the Green’s Hotel with Chris Perry. Chic – whose name Goans pronounced as if they were talking about a rooster’s offspring – was known as the “Louis Armstrong of India”. His stratospheric trumpet notes and his growly scatting were a tribute to his New Orleans idol. “He had a negro personality,” Frank Fernand marvels. “He played everything by heart.” His stage presence was unforgettable. As the band reached a crescendo, Chic would fall on one knee and raise his horn to the stars.
Chic had been born Antonio Xavier Vaz in Aldona in 1916. His mother wanted him to be a mechanic and earn a respectable living, but he dreamt of a life in music. He started out with a group called the Spotlights and, by 1945, his own outfit, Chic and the Music Makers, beat out 12 other bands to win a contract at Green’s, which also was owned by the Taj. The pianist Johnny Fernandes, who later married Chic’s daughter, Ursula, remembers the stir the trumpet player caused when he played at parties in Dhobi Talao homes. He says, “People would flock to see him as if he was a (movie) hero.” To have Chic perform at a wedding or a christening was a matter of prestige, but it could bump up the catering expenses. “You’d have hordes of gatecrashers coming to hear him,” Johnny explains. Chic, his contemporaries say, not only played like a negro, he even looked like one.
The swarthiness of some Goan jazz musicians, such as the saxophonist Joe Pereira, came from ancestors with roots in Portugal’s African colonies of Mozambique and Angola. But Chic’s dark skin is attributed by one musician to his being a Mahar, a member of an untouchable caste. Many of Bombay’s jazzmen, this musician says, were drawn from this caste. As he theorised: “In Goa, Mahars were grave diggers. They’d also play snare drums and blow conches in funeral bands. When they came to Bombay, they became good jazz drummers and trumpet players.”
They say Chic performed one of his greatest feats of improvisation offstage. “Chic lived in Marine Lines and had a girlfriend called Catherine, with whom he had a son,” a matter that shocked conservative Catholic sensibilities, one musician recalls. “But then he decided to marry another girl. The wedding was to be the Wodehouse Road Cathederal in Colaba. But Catherine landed up there with her son, so the wedding was shifted hastily to Gloria Church in Byculla”, across town. The befuddled guests waited patiently in the Colaba church, even as Chic said “I do” in the deserted neo-Gothic nave of Gloria church.

The Mickey Correa band at the Taj, with trumpet player Frank Fernand in the second row

Many early Goan jazzmen were sideman in Micky Correa’s band, which played at the Taj from 1939 to 1961. Among them was Ronnie Monserrate’s father, Peter, who was known as the “Harry James of India”. Peter’s five sons formed Bombay’s second-generation of Goan jazzmen: Joe and Bosco play trumpet and fluegelhorn, Blasco the trombone, Rex the drums and Ronnie the piano. The family lived in Abu Mansion, an apartment block in the textile mill district of Parel. The boys would come home from school at four and begin to practice, each having been allotted a two-hour slot by their father. The music would continue late into the night, then occasionally start again in the wee hours when Peter Monserrate and his gang – violinist Joe Menezes, trombone player Anibal Castro, drummer Leslie Godinho and Chic Chocolate – returned from a drink after work to demand an impromptu performance. As their mother cooked up a meal, the Monserrate boys would go through their paces. Their neighbours, mainly working-class Hindus, tolerated this with fortitude. Ronnie surmises, “I suppose it’s like living next to the railway tracks. After a while, you get immune to the roar of the trains if you want to get any sleep.”
Activity in the Monserrate household would get especially hectic just before the biennale Sound of Surprise talent shows that the Bombay Musicians’ Association organised on the Sunday in November closest to the feast of St Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians. Bombay’s hottest swing bands took to the Birla theatre’s revolving stage to compete for the Franz Marques award for best original composition. Even though Peter Monserrate rehearsed his band hard in the corridors of Abu Mansion, his group never managed to win the trophy. His friend, Chris Perry, won in 1964, the first year it was given out. Toni Pinto took the award home in 1966 for Forever True, a gentle bossa nova tune that leapt out at him late one night as he travelled home in a cab. With only the bulb above the meter for light, he scribbled the theme down on the back of a matchbox.
Goan musicians who didn’t play the nightclubs mainly worked at weddings, Parsi navjote initiation ceremonies and Catholic funerals. For many, finding a job for the evening meant taking a trip to Alfred’s, the Irani restaurant on Princess Street, midway between Chris’s home and Lorna’s apartment. Tony Cyril, Dennis Vaz, Johnny Rodriges, Johnny Baptista, Mike Machado and Chris Perry – the major bandleaders each had a regular table at which they’d slurp up endless cups of milky chai. “You’d come there every morning and hang around there as a routine,” says Johnny Fernandes, Chic Chocolate’s son-in-law. People who wanted to liven up their parties would land up at Alfred’s and approach one or the other leader. The cry would go up: one bass player needed. Two trumpets and one piano. “Once you got your assignment, you’d go home to get suit and head out to the venue,” Johnny says. It paid to be sharply turned out: in addition to their 15 rupee fee, musicians got three extra rupees for dressing up in a white jacket and black trousers.
*    *     *
When Bollywood films are beamed through their melodramatic prism of stock characters and broad stereotypes, Catholics emerge as not being quite Indian. They speak a mangled Hindi patois with Anglicised accents. They’re dolled up in Western clothes. The men are given to wearing climatically inappropriate jackets and felt hats. Unlike Hindus who knock back the occasional glass of something in bars, Catholic men tipple at home, as their wives and children look on. Still, they’re genial drunks, unthreatening sidekicks to the hero. Often, their role as sideman was literal: The screen musicians backing the hero as he performs that nightclub sequence that seemed mandatory in every Hindi film shot in the ’50s answer to names like George and Sidney and Michael. As for Catholic women, they never wear saris and their immodest legs show out from under their frocks. Older Catholic women, often called Mrs Sequeira or Mrs D’Souza, are landladies or kindly neighbours offer the hero consolation when he is temporarily stymied in his pursuit of the loved one. But younger Catholic women (with notable exceptions) are danger incarnate. They smoke. They have boyfriends to whom their parents don’t object. They dance in nightclubs and lure men to their doom with their promise of a world in which the sexes interact more freely, in which arranged marriages aren’t the norm, in which love isn’t taboo. In the end, though, the Catholic characters have only minor roles, a reflection of their lives at the margins of Indian society.
The bit parts in which Catholics found themselves cast on screen weren’t an accurate portrayal of the vital role Goans played the Hindi film industry. Until the ’80s, India had no pop music save for Hindi film songs. Millions memorised and hummed the compositions of C Ramachandra, Shankar and Jaikishan, Laxmikant and Pyrelal and S D Burman, whose names rolled by in large letters at the beginning of the movies. But the Sound of India actually was created by Goan musicians, men whose names flickered by in small type under the designation “arranger”. It’s clear. The Hindi film classics that resound across the subcontinent and in Indian homes around the world wouldn’t have been made without Goans. Their dominance of the Hindi film world is partly a function of the structural differences between Indian and Western music. Indian classical music is melodic. The ragas that form the basis of Indian music are unilinear, each instrument or vocalist exploring an independent line. To move an audience, film scores must be performed by orchestras, with massed instruments playing in harmony. Only Goans, with their training in Western music, knew how to produce what was required.

Frank Fernand at a recording session

FRank Fernand was among the first Goans in Bollywood and assisted such worthies as Anil Biswas, Hemant Kumar and Kishore Kumar. As he describes it, the men who composed the scores for Hindi films couldn’t write music and had no idea of the potential of the orchestras they employed. They would come to the studio and sing a melody to their Goan amanuensis, or pick out the line on a harmonium. The Goan assistant would write it out on sheet paper, then add parts for the banks of strings, the horn sections, the piano and the percussion. But the assistant wasn’t merely taking dictation: It was his job to craft the introductions and bridges between verse and chorus. Drawing from their bicultural heritage and their experience in the jazz bands, the Goans gave Bollywood music its promiscuous charm, slipping in slivers of Dixieland stomp, Portuguese fados, Ellingtonesque doodles, cha cha cha, Mozart and Bach themes. Then they would rehearse the orchestras, which were staffed almost entirely by Goans. After all, hardly anyone else knew how to play these Western instruments. To Frank Fernand, the music directors were mere subcontractors, men whose main job was liaising with the financiers. “We arrangers did all the real work. They’d show off to the directors and producers and try to show that they were indispensable. But to be a music director, salesmanship was more important than musicianship.”
Chic Chocolate spent his mornings assisting C Ramachandra, who is popularly credited with having introduced swing into Bollwood. But tunes like Ina Mina Dika and Gori Gori (inspired by the mambo standard Tico Tico) bear Chic’s unmistakable signature. His stamp is also audible on the throbbing Cuban percussion opening of Shola Jo Bhadke, a tune from Albela. Chic and the Music Makers made a brief appearance in the film to perform the tune, clad in an Indian wardrobe director’s frilly Latinesque fantasy. Cawas Lord’s conga beats out the introduction and hands clap clave. Chic smiles broadly at the camera in the best Satchmo tradition.
Among the most reputed arrangers in Bollywood was the venerable Sebastian D’Souza, who did his best-known work with the duo of Shankar and Jaikishan between 1952 and 1975. “His arrangements were so brilliant, composers would take snatches of his background scores and work them into entire tunes,” says Merlin D’Souza, Sebastian’s daughter-in-law and a rising Bollywood music assistant herself. Sebastian had a brush with the film world in pre-Partition Lahore, where he led a band at Stiffle’s hotel. His earliest arrangements were for Lollywood composers Shyam Sundar and Mohammed Ali, recalls the saxophonist Joe Pereira. Joe was Sebastian’s cousin, and had been adopted as a 14-year-old by his older relative. Joe would spend his mornings taking music lessons from Sebastian, then take him his tiffin in the afternoon when Sebastian took a break from rehearsals. After 1947, Sebastian made his way to Bombay, but found that there was a glut of bandleaders in the hotels. He called on his Lollywood contacts and made his way to the film recording studios, where he got a break with O P Nayyar. The first tune he arranged was Pritam aan milo, which was sung by C H Atma in 1955. Merlin, who occasionally accompanied her father-in-law to the studios, remembers him walking around with a pencil tucked behind his ear. He devised a system of notation that incorporated the microtones that characterised Indian melodies. Sebastian was highly regarded by his musicians for his ever-generous nature. He often lent musicians money to buy better instruments or tide over a crisis. His contemporaries also remember him for the patience he showed even less-than-dexterous musicians. Merlin says that Sebastian was willing to give anyone a break. “Even if you played the viola haltingly, you’d find a place there, on the back row,” she says.
That proved the lifeline for many Goan musicians, who, by the mid-70s, increasingly were being thrown out of work as Bombay’s nightclub scene went into decay. A more rigorous enforcement of the prohibition act and a crippling tax on establishments featuring live music kept patrons away. Besides, rock and roll was changing musical tastes and Bombay was developing the ear for beat groups. The film studio, which until then had been a source of supplementary income, suddenly became everyone’s main job. But the relatively simply Hindi film music Goan musicians were forced to play ate them away. “Their passion was to play jazz and big band,” Ronnie Monserrate says. “This was their bread and butter but they didn’t enjoy it. They were really frustrated. That’s probably why so many of them became alcoholics.” It took only four or five hours to record each tune. Musicians would be paid at the end of each shift, so they’d grab their money and head out for a drink. Few actually cared to see the movies in which they’d performed.

Chris Perry (centre) with his big band in 1968

Chris Perry also had a stint in the film studios, assisting Khayyam and working with such names as Lakshmikant and Pyarelal, R D Burman and Kalyanji Anandji. He eventually was emboldened to produce his own film. Bhuiarntlo Munis (The Man from the Caves) was the first colour film to be made in Konkani, the language spoken along the west coast between southern Maharashtra and northern Karnataka, and which is the mother tongue of most Goans. Chris wrote the story, the music and the lyrics. It starred Ivo Almedia, Helen Pereira and C Alvares, who had gained prominence for their work in tiatr, as Goa’s satirical musical theatre is known. The film was based on The Count of Monte Cristo, a tale that has great resonance in Goa because one of the characters, Abbe Faria, who in the Dumas novel is described as an Italian priest, in real life had been born in Candolim, in Goa, in 1756. Father Jose Custodio de Faria is acknowledged as having been among the earliest protagonists of scientific hypnotism, and a statue of him stands prominently in Goa’s capital, Panjim. The priest, who moved to Lisbon, was forced to flee to France in 1787 when a rebellion he had been associated with in Goa was crushed. The Conjuracao dos Pintos, the conspiracy of the Pinto family, was the first Asian struggle that aimed to replace European colonial rule with an independent state on the European model. That’s how Dumas came to meet the man he knew as “the black Portuguese”. Abbe Faria threw himself into the vortex of the French Revolution, was imprisoned and died of a stroke in 1819. In the Dumas novel, Abbe Faria takes it upon himself to educate the hero, Dantes, when the two are unjustly imprisoned in the French version of Alcatraz for 14 years. Dantes escapes, transforms himself into the Count of Monte Cristo and destroys his enemies. When the novel was published in 1844, it earned the Vatican’s ire because the tale was seen to propagate the un-Christian impulse of revenge. But as the trumpeter Frank Fernand points out, it seemed like an entirely appropriate subject for Chris Perry, the man whose quick temper was the stuff of popular lore.
*    *    *
Bebdo by naresh fernandes
One April evening in 1966, the Goan pop musician Remo Fernandes, barely a teenager then, strolled down to Panjim’s Miramar beach to take the air on the esplanade. All Panjim society, high and low, was there too. “There, decked up in our over-flared bell bottoms, we checked out the chicks dolled up in what we all thought were mini skirts – after all they did reach a full quarter of an inch above the knee,” Remo recalls. Keeping an eye on the younger folk, clumps of parents sat on the green wooden benches on the esplanade, “running a commentary on whose son had gone off with whose daughter for a walk along the sea”.
From a kiosk on the beach, a pretty lady named Bertinha played records on the speaker system provided by the Panjim Municipality. She had a weakness for Cliff Richard tunes, Remo says. But that evening, she spun out a song called Bebdo (Drunkard). Miramar Beach was hypnotised. “The Panjim citizenry stopped in its tracks, the sunken sun popped up for another peep, the waves froze in mid-air,” Remo has written. “What manner of music was this, as hep as hep can be, hitting you with the kick of a mule on steroids? What manner of voice was this, pouncing at you with the feline power of a jungle lioness? And – hold it – no, it couldn’t be – yes, it was – no – was it really? Was this amazing song in Konkani?”
Bebdo had been recorded a few months earlier by Chris Perry and Lorna in a Bombay studio and released by HMV. The jacket bore the flirty image that would later hang outside the Venice nightclub. The 45 rpm record had four tracks, opening with the rock-and-rolling Bebdo and ending on the flip side with the dreamy ballad, Sopon. “Sophisticated, westernised urban Goa underwent a slow-motion surge of inexplicable emotions: the disbelief, the wonder, the appreciation, and then finally a rising, soaring and bubbling feeling of pride,” Remo says. “The pride of being Goan. The pride of having a son of the soil produce such music. Of having a daughter of the soil sing it thus. And, most of all, of hearing the language of the soil take its rightful place in popular music after a period of drought. Chris and Lorna had come to stay.”
It isn’t as if there hadn’t been Konkani records before. HMV released its first Konkani tunes in 1927. The earliest records had been made by Anthony Toloo, Joe Luis, L. Borges, Kid Boxer and Miguel Rod, all of them cantarists from the tiatr world. But by the ’60s, Konkani song had grown creaky and old fashioned. The melodies often were copied from western songs and the lyrics, for the most, were banal. Konkani songs, he says “were predictable to a fault – you could whistle the next line and anticipate the next chord change on the very first hearing. Add to that a few wrong notes from two inevitable trumpets and modest recording quality.”
Chris Perry’s tunes shattered the mould. They married the sophistication of swing with the earthiness of the Goan folk song. “The songs were sensuous, funny, sexy, sad, sentimental, foot-tapping,” Remo raves. “His songs are peopled by unforgettable fictional characters whom we have come to picture as real-life acquaintances – Bebdo, Pisso (Madman) and Red Rose are as palpable as personages created by a skilled novelist or cartoonist. He has taken us on unforgettable journeys to Lisboa and Calangute, ” the Goan beach that was being colonised by hippies around the time Chris was making his landmark recordings. Some of the tunes had been written for the two tiatr shows Perry had produced: Nouro Mhozo Deunchar (My Husband, the
Devil) and Tum ani Hanv (You and Me). Nouro Mhozo Deunchar was Goa’s introduction to Lorna and the 28 performances were an unqualified success. The crowds were so large, people waited outside the performance tent to hear her voice, one correspondent writes. After the shows, people would surge backstage to shake Lorna’s hand. One tune she sang, Saud (Peace), became a standard at Goan weddings, and is still sung before the toast is raised.
Chris Perry’s heart may have been in Goa, but it was Bombay that made it possible for him to record his classics. His albums crystalised the nostalgia of Bombay’s Goan community, giving voice to their rootlessness – and his. Bombay allowed him to soak in jazz and rock and roll, sounds from which he crafted his own template. Besides, his Bombay nightclub stints help him assemble the tight-knit band that accompanied him to the studio – where his Bollywood experience came in very handy. “His recording work meant that, unlike the tiatr people, he knew his way around the studio,” notes Ronnie Monserrate. “He knew about placing microphones to get the best sound and about mixing.”
Most of all, there was Lorna. Her rich, sassy voice, everyone’s agreed, is what alchemised Chris’s compositions. Their long years together gave him an acute sense of her potential and he composed especially for her. “Her nightingale’s voice created the magic in rendering the songs effectively,” insists Tomazinho Cardoz, the tiatrist who went on to become the speaker of Goa’s legislative assembly. Remo, among others, has no doubts about this. “Without Chris there would have been no Lorna, and without Lorna there would have been no Chris,” he has written.
*    *     *
Lorna stopped performing in 1973 after her relationship with Chris Perry fell apart. The stories about their break up are hazy on the details. In one version, Lorna came home from a vacation to find that the apartment they shared had a new lock on the door. Chris’s wife, Lily, is said to have served him an ultimatum and he went home to Dabul. But before the split, he’d made Lorna sign a bond on stamp paper, prohibiting her for 20 years from singing with any other band leader without his permission. He is said to have reasoned that Lorna was his creation, so she had no right to perform without him. Chris is said to enforced the bond in a muscular fashion. “Once, Emiliano got her to sing with him when he was performing at the Flamingo. Chris landed up there, chased him all the way down Marine Drive and gave him a black eye,” one musician says. “Imagine doing that to Emiliano. He’s such a harmless bugger.”
Another musician told of how Chris would leap out of his seat at Alfred’s restaurant when he saw Lorna go by on her way to the bazaar. She would squirm out of his clutches, but was terrified enough to refuse all offers to perform again.
Chris eventually moved to Dubai with his family in the mid-’70s, and opened the Dubai Music School. The split is said to have left Lorna a wreck. People who know her say she became an alcoholic. She worked as a secretary in a firm that sold earth moving equipment for a while, but disappeared from the world of show business. Every afternoon, though, Goa radio would broadcast the tunes she and Chris had recorded and two decades after she’d made her last record, every Goan still knew Lorna’s voice. Rumours boiled over: She’s emigrated. To Canada. To Australia. No, she’s dead.      *
Goans were still discussing Lorna’s whereabouts a quarter of a century after Ronnie Monserrate first backed her at the Venice. Now a successful record producer and hot film studio sideman with his brothers, Ronnie kept receiving inquiries about Lorna when he toured Goa in 1994 to promote a new album. He decided to take a trip to Guzder House to persuade her to record again.
A woman fresh from the shower with her hair in towel opened the door. She sat him down and asked what he wanted. “I want to see Lorna,” he explained. She replied, “That’s me.” Ronnie was taken aback. “She looked like a wreck. I remembered her as she was in 1971 – a total bombshell. But since then, she had hit the bottle and become total gone-case.”
It took a while to convince Lorna that he was serious about getting her into the studio again. She told Ronnie that it had been a couple of decades since she’d last performed. “She was trying to tell me tangentially that anyone who’d tried to get her to sing had got a pasting from Chris Perry,” Ronnie says. But after another visit, Ronnie managed to recruit her mother to his cause and win Lorna over. They began rehearsing in February 1995, knocking the rust off her voice. “The old power was still there,” Ronnie says. “I began to feel good about the project.” Ronnie also made a trip to HMV’s vaults to dig out the infamous contract. The company’s lawyer assured him that it wasn’t legally binding. Back in Goa, Ronnie had recruited Gabriel Gomes to write tunes for the album. “It had been Gabru’s dream to have Lorna sing his songs,” Ronnie says. Gabriel set to work in a frenzy of cigarettes, building into such a peak that, after composing just one track, he took ill and had to be taken to hospital. He died shortly thereafter. New composers had to be brought in.
When the recording of Hello Lorna finally got underway in a Juhu studio five months later, Ronnie would travel back across town with her after each session. She was still afraid that Chris Perry would accost her.

On December 3, 1996, Lorna performed publicly for the first time in 24 years at a tourism festival at Miramar beach. The traffic was snarled up for kilometres as Goans swarmed to catch a glimpse of the legend. State police say that the show drew 300,000 people – the biggest crowd since the one that had gathered to celebrate Goa’s liberation from Portuguese rule in 1961. At a press conference the day before, Lorna had been mobbed. “There was mayhem,” Ronnie recalls. “People ran unto stage and were hugging her and kissing her. They were so overjoyed that Lorna was back.” Chris Perry landed up at Lorna’s hotel in a last-minute attempt to scare her off. She wasn’t in, so he left a note. Ronnie intercepted the missive and didn’t pass it on.
A few hours later, cheers erupted as Lorna climbed to the stage, looking out over a choppy ocean of heads. When the hubbub subsided, Ronnie’s aching piano introduction washed over the audience and Lorna began to belt out the opening tune from her comeback album. “Aicat mozo tavo,” she urged. “Avaz mozo tumchea canar sadonc ishtani ravo portun aicunc mozo tavo.” Hear my voice. Let the sound linger in your ears, my friend. Hear my voice.
Aicot Mazo Tovo by naresh fernandes
[This article first appeared in Bombay Meri Jaan (Penguin), an anthology of writing about the city I co-edited with Jerry Pinto.]


Bombay to Goa - The Little Odyssey


Bombay (now Mumbai) has been a second home to many Goans who have lived and worked there for generations. Nevertheless, they have not lost touch or their love for Goa. During the months of April and May, entire families will flock to Goa for their annual summer holiday along with their kids, soon after school final examinations. These two months have traditionally been the most enjoyable months, full of fun and frolic for everyone. The purpose of visits are many-fold; some of them are to get away from city life, holiday for parents and the kids, while other reasons are to carry out necessary repairs to ancestral homes and visit their loved ones. In the old days, many of us looked forward for such holidays. It would be an unforgettable experience. For most people the modes of transport to travel for this holiday was by steamer and bus, and to some by rail and air. Of all these, traveling by ship was the most popular and full of excitement. It was as though one large Goan family of more than five hundred members traveled for one mega holiday to one common destination: GOA. Here is my own experience.

It was the month of February
Not losing count of any single day
In quite a hurry
I seemed to be;
Thoughts of getting away
From life in the city
Of bright lights
Bus, tramcar and train
Far away from the hustle
And bustle of Churchgate,
Fort and Flora Fountain.

Endless waiting
Thoughts of remaining days of school
And final term examinations
Seemed never ending;

Thoughts of mangoes
Jackfruit and cashew apples
Were in the offing
Their aroma I imagined
And was for a while lost
In far away thoughts
And awakened by the sudden screech
Of the speeding train.

“Just one more month, son”
Mum and Dad seemed to comfort;
Dad has his suitcase
And holdall at the ready;
Mum has already been shopping
For summer wear
At the local market fair.

Tickets are booked
Dad has made sure of that
“We will be going by steamer” he said.
“Aunty Pam and kids will join us too”
Said Mum in the summer of nineteen seventy-two.

The day to leave for Goa
Has finally arrived
The Ambassador taxi
Is waiting down by the kerb-side.

Off to Ballard Pier before dawn we head
And on board our place we finally get
The steamer’s deck is full;
There seems to be quite a din,
Each in their own place,
The great journey is about to begin.

The ship sounds its siren,
With a mighty roar
As it lift its anchor;
There’s slight rumble on deck
As tugs pulls it out to sea;
In the distance the majestic grandeur
And awesome structure
Of this landmark Gateway of India
Grew smaller and smaller.

Soon we head south
Along the hazy coast on our left,
On the right we see the huge expanse
Of the Arabian Sea;
While for some at the start
Of the twenty-four hour journey
Seems to be to quite dizzy,
Slight pitching of the ship
Only a short-lived agony;
Others are quite at ease and jolly
Perhaps having traveled
So many times before
That they lost count
In their memory.

It is midday out at Sea
Ship’s canteen is busy;
Gathered on the aft deck
It’s a hot summer’s day
A bunch of teenagers
Have already got started
With their guitars tuned;
Joined in shortly with some new friends
They have a go with the first round
It’s the beginning of our summer holiday
With the popular hits of the times
Of Cliff Richard and the Shadows
Bachelor Boy and Young Ones.

Its evening
With breeze from the south-west
There is a slight lull on deck;
The ocean’s waves are high
It seems the ship’s constant roll
Had its toll
For many are now relaxed
After a short snooze.

Silhouettes of seagulls at sunset
Formed flying patterns,
As the passing ship heading north
On our starboard side
Seemed to bellow
With its siren a huge hello;
Promptly acknowledged
By our ship that woke up
Many a tired fellow.

It was supper time
The silvery moon
Seemed to smile
With its reflection
On the starboard side
Leaning on the rail
We took it all in
And young men sang
Lilting melodies of moon songs
As we sailed along in the splendid night.

Astern the moon lit up
A white trail of surf in its wake;
Aft deck above the horizon
The Pole Star
Posed as a direction finder
Amidst the seven bright stars
Spanning the northern skies
In the mighty constellation
Of the Great Bear.

Fishing line cast out into the sea
A lone sailor
Joined us later
As he stared into the dark horizon
And before everyone fell asleep
Narrated mariner’s stories,
Great travel adventures and life at sea.

Dreams on the upper deck that night were plenty
If fact a huge string of them,
Happy and lengthy;
Thoughts of Calangute,
Colva and Miramar beach
Friday Mapusa Bazaar;
Visits to Goa Velha
And Dona Paula.

After a marathon journey and a long night
The sun seemed to be in no hurry to rise,
The landscape seemed familiar
Something I have seen in the years earlier
Dad pointed out to me
The distant forts of Tiracol and Chapora
And the oldest lighthouse of Asia
At Fort Aguada;
He seemed to hold court
For almost everyone on
On the ship’s portside
As we to our destination
Were getting closer .

The ship glided gently
Through the delta and sandbar
At the mouth of the Mandovi River
Edging towards the quay
Some admire the beauty
Of the city of Pangim
To our left other admire
The beauty of the hills of Betim.

Dreams will shortly turn into reality
Uncle Seby will come
To fetch us hopefully
In a reserved ‘Opel Rekord’ taxi
Taking us to our ancestral home finally
With an experience of what seemed to be
A little odyssey.

Excerpt | Long gone blues

Excerpt | Long gone blues
Comment E-mail Print
First Published: Sat, Dec 03 2011. 01 15 AM IST
Swing time: The Mickey Correa band at the Taj hotel, circa 1939. Photographs courtesy Naresh Fernandes from his book Taj Mahal Foxtrot: The Story of Bombay’s Jazz Age (Roli Books)
Swing time: The Mickey Correa band at the Taj hotel, circa 1939. Photographs courtesy Naresh Fernandes from his book Taj Mahal Foxtrot: The Story of Bombay’s Jazz Age (Roli Books)
Updated: Sat, Dec 03 2011. 12 10 PM IST
As a teenager in the Goan village of Curchorem, Franklin Fernandes spent long hours practising the trumpet with only one goal in mind: he wanted to “play like a negro”. It wasn’t an ambition his teacher, Maestro Diego Rodrigues, would have understood. Like all teachers in Goa’s parochial schools, Rodrigues coached his charges in musical theory and instructed them in the art of playing hymns and Western classical music.

Swing time: The Mickey Correa band at the Taj hotel, circa 1939. Photographs courtesy Naresh Fernandes from his book Taj Mahal Foxtrot: The Story of Bombay’s Jazz Age (Roli Books)
Fernandes was a precocious talent. His mastery of the violin was recognised early but the young man, to his teacher’s dismay, soon developed a fascination for the clear, ringing sounds of the trumpet. It wasn’t long before Fernandes became a regular member of the village marching band, playing at parish feasts, weddings and—in New Orleans style—at funerals too. However, unlike the New Orleans bands famed for their improvised flights of fancy, Fernandes’ village orchestra was, he recalled, a “paper band—they played what was written”. Soon, even this was to become trickier as new instructions began to appear on the music scores: glissando, mute, attack.
It was all very baffling. “But when we heard the records, we knew how to play the notes,” Fernandes said. The thick shellac records that set him off on his journey of discovery bore the names of Ellington, Armstrong and Cab Calloway, and Fernandes grew addicted to hot music. Jazz, he said, gave him “freedom of expression”. He still looked at the sheet music, of course, but he knew that it could take him only so far. “Like Indian music, jazz can’t be written,” he said. “You have to feel it. There are 12 bars, but each musician plays it differently. You play as you feel—morning you play different, evening you play different.”
Frank Fernandes grew so enamoured of the new music from America that in 1936, aged 16, he decided to make jazz his life. He headed to Bombay, where, like so many other Goans, he hoped to find work in one of the city’s famous dance bands. Of course, it wasn’t quite so easy. Competition for jobs was intense, so Fernandes—who would soon adopt the stage name Frank Fernand—began to work for the Bata shoe company in Mazagaon for 12 annas a day. After work, he performed at the amateur nights at Green’s hotel, hoping to attract the attention of someone who mattered.

Singer Pamela McCarthy.
At first, Fernand lived with his uncle but later moved out to share a room with friends in Dhobi Talao. After work at the shoe shop, he’d practise intensely. One of his roommates remembers coming home to find Fernand standing with his back to the room, blowing his trumpet into a corner so that he could hear the echoes of his instrument. Fernand’s persistence at the amateur nights eventually paid off and he was hired to play at the Majestic Hotel on Colaba Causeway by an Italian piano player named Beppo di Siati, who led a band staffed with musicians from Germany, the Philippines, the UK and the US.
Like Fernand, other Indian musicians had also come to value the freedom that jazz allowed them. Indians had been playing hot music, with varying degrees of proficiency since the 1920s. In 1937, when Teddy Weatherford took over leadership of the band at the Taj from Crickett Smith, as age began to catch up with the trumpet player, several Indians had become skilful enough to play alongside the African-Americans. A photo of Weatherford’s band from 1938 shows three Indians looking out from behind their instruments. Two of them were brothers: Hal and Henry Green, from Bangalore. Their father, Cecil Beaumont Green, was an army surgeon who had fought in the Boer War before becoming the personal physician of the ruler of Mysore. Hal Green, the fourth of the doctor’s six children, had begun his musical education on a reproduction copy of a Stradivarius that his father had given him. He was an autodidact. He devoured American films and records to learn as much as he could about ragtime and Dixieland music, also teaching himself about European classical music on the side.
Before they joined the Weatherford band, Hal Green and his younger brother Henry had led the eightmember Elite Aces at the Taj in 1933, performing what Ali Rajabally described as dance music with a jazz accent. Hal Green played guitar, reeds and the violin, while Henry was a bassist and saxophonist. “The type of music they had brought with them may be an overworked cliché today but it was an unheard of departure then,” Rajabally wrote. “Night after night, Hal and his alto sax drove the band through performances so exultantly searing that no band in the country, local or foreign, could have successfully challenged them for the No. 1 spot.”

The Correa Optimists in the early 1930s.
The third Indian in the 1938 photo of the Weatherford band is a Goan multi-instrumentalist listed as Josico Menezes, who changed his name soon after on the advice of Weatherford. The pianist told him, “It’s too much to call you Josico. Drop the ‘o’ and shorten the Menezes to Menzie. Josic Menzie, not Josico Menezes.” He was equally adept on the violin and the saxophone. Born in the Seychelles, he had been trained in England by Professor Sweeting, a violinist in the London Symphony Orchestra. He had led his own band in Karachi before coming to Bombay, where he accompanied silent films at Capitol Cinema under the baton of Jules Craen. Before joining the Symphonians, Menzie had spent some time conducting a symphony orchestra for the Maharaja of Bikaner. Menzie formed part of the six-member saxophone section that Weatherford would put together when he felt like showing off. The Goan musician would be summoned to the front line along with Roy Butler, Rudy Jackson, the Green brothers and the pianist Weatherford, who would fake it.
In 1939, the outbreak of World War II in Europe shook up Bombay too. As barrage balloons went up over the Oval maidan like “a school of enormous airborne white whales”, in the description of one young observer, German and Italian residents were taken into custody or fled the country. Beppo di Siati, Frank Fernand’s Italian bandleader at Majestic Hotel, was among the enemy nationals interned. As the conflict spread, Bombay became the temporary home to troops from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and England, passing through from the Eastern front to Africa and Europe and for soldiers from the Western theatre of war on their way to the Far East. The journalist Dosoo Karaka observed the influx with his usual cynicism. “The city,” he wrote, “was a halfway house for the cannon fodder of [the] great war.”
En route to the front, the soldiers created quite a commotion. One observer recalls Australian troops commandeering the horse-drawn Victoria carriages that thronged the street outside the Taj, pushing the driver into the backseat and racing one another through downtown Bombay. “The crowds roared their applause,” he wrote. “The Aussies could have perpetrated more danger in Bombay than they did on the battlefield.” The arrivals weren’t all male. Allied officers brought their wives, while other Englishwomen realised that it would be prudent to wait out the war in the safety of India. There were refugees too—Poles, Danes, Czechs and Jews from Germany and Eastern Europe.
Karaka went into a funk and couldn’t bear to listen to any music at all. He became addicted to the wireless. “The news bulletins were the funeral marches of our modern composers—the men of the Hood, the men of Dunkirk, the men who died in the huge craters of Crete. That was the music of this generation—the music we were destined to hear,” he wrote. “Music that was written on the casualty lists, the dead being the flats and the wounded with their anguished cry being the sharps.”

A view of early 20th century south Bombay.
Everyone else, it seemed, was trying to find comfort in the screaming brass of “jump” music, a style that seemed to perfectly capture the heightened emotion of the times. The Entertainment National Service Association did its bit to help them forget the looming violence, if only for a little while. ENSA had been established to keep the British troops in good spirits and it dispatched jazz bands to cantonment towns and frontier posts across India to cheer up the soldiers. India’s first generation of jazz musicians found themselves working overtime.
The most durable of all the war-time bands was headed by Micky Correa, a saxophonist born in Mombassa who had perfected his craft in Karachi with his family band, the Correa Optimists. When he moved to Bombay in 1937, he played with Beppo di Siati’s Rhythm Orchestra at the Eros Ballroom, famed for its sprung dance floor. At the band’s next engagement, at the Majestic Hotel, he performed alongside Frank Fernand and shared a room with the trumpeter in Dhobi Talao. In 1939, Correa formed his own band at the Taj—and set a record of sorts by staying there until 1961. Perhaps the longevity of his stint at the Taj was the result of his physical endurance. Correa prided himself on his fitness and exercised regularly with dumbbells, following the techniques devised by the Canadian bodybuilder Joe Weider. He also knew how to please a crowd, never turning down requests. The Taj publicity brochures described Correa as a musician who was “untired of repetitions”.
Correa’s orchestra at the Taj was a hothouse for Bombay swing. The men and women who would go on to lead the city’s most popular groups found early encouragement on his bandstand: saxophonists Johnny Baptist, Norman Mobsby, George Pacheco and the Gomes brothers, Johnny and Joe; trumpet players Peter Monsorate, Pete D’Mello and Chic Chocolate; and pianists Manuel Nunes, Dorothy Clarke and Lucilla Pacheco, among others. Recalled Ali Rajabally: “The Bombay jazz scene was honeycombed with virtuosi of high calibre. The pace was intense, but it was carried on in a spirit which placed the love of jazz above every other consideration. Nobody played with one eye on the cash-box and the other on the clock.”

The cover of Taj Mahal Foxtrot.
Another war-time swing powerhouse was led by Rudy Cotton, the keen young saxophonist who, trumpet player Bill Coleman had recalled in his memoirs, would hang around the Taj to chat with members of Leon Abbey’s band. Cotton was Parsi, a rarity on an Indian jazz scene dominated by Anglo-Indians and Goans. His father was a producer of Parsi theatre, a melodramatic genre of musical drama from which India’s earliest films had drawn their aesthetic conventions and acting talent. Cotton had dropped out of school to pursue music as a career, the only one of his siblings to continue the family showbiz tradition (two brothers went on to become noted boxers).
Cotton started by playing the trumpet, but decided to dump his horn after dropping by the Taj one day in 1936 and being captivated by the smooth tenor sax of Cass McCord. He was an early follower of Lester Young. “In those days, Rudy was often criticised for having a soft, what is known today as a ‘cool’ tone,” an amateur musician named Rusi Sethna told Blue Rhythm magazine later. “Rudy belonged to the modern school of tenor playing but that term came into being recently while Rudy has been blowing like that ever since I can remember.”
Rudy Cotton’s big break came when he was hired by Tony Nunes, the pianist who headed the Teetotallers band, but he credited his ability to really “feel jazz” to the stint he spent in the orchestra of Vincent Cummine, playing alongside such talents as Cummine’s violinist brother Ken, the bassist Fernando “Bimbo” D’Costa, the drummer Leslie Weeks and the spectacular trumpet player Antonio Xavier Vaz, who was already winning legions of fans under his stage name Chic Chocolate. Cummine’s band travelled to Rangoon in 1938, but by 1940, Cotton had formed his own group, persuading his former bandmates to join him, and adding Sollo Jacobs on piano.
“As anyone who knows the history of Indian orchestras can well imagine, this combination proved a tremendous success overnight and from then onwards Rudy’s fame was on the upbeat,” The Onlooker magazine reported. Bookings poured in from the Taj, the Majestic and the Ritz, among other establishments.

Toot your horn: Parsi musician Rudy Cotton, born Cawasji Khatau, became a musical force on a scene dominated by Goans and Anglo-Indians.
Soon, the saxophonist’s band was spending a lot of time on the road. Each summer, the band travelled to Mussoorie, the Himalayan hill station to which Delhi’s colonial administrators retreated to find respite from the heat. Cotton’s performances at the Savoy were among the main attractions of the season. He was later lured away by Hakman’s Hotel, where he headed an 11-piece orchestra. Cotton’s secret, Rajabally contended, lay in his ability to merge a small-band approach with big-band projection. “The rhythm section…rolled on ball-bearing wheels,” he gushed. “Rudy Cotton was outstanding. He had an extraordinary tone, impeccable taste in choosing phrases, flaming imagination and a technique that few could equal.”
The busiest of all the war-era bands was led by the inimitable Ken Mac, who had managed to retain his hold on the Bombay dance-music scene long after Leon Abbey’s departure. By the mid-1940s, Mac was being signed up for about 40 engagements a month. Every Wednesday, he played regular shows at the YMCA on Wodehouse Road for Allied troops. His crooner at that time was Jean Statham, whom he later married. Occasionally, his young niece, Pamela McCarthy, would sing a tune or two. She had been stricken with polio at the age of 11 and performed from her wheelchair, dressed in a glamorous ball gown. It was a hectic life. “Music and dancing was so popular and we played all the top venues—the Taj, Ambassador and Ritz Hotels, the Radio, Willingdon, Yacht Clubs and Bombay Gymkhana to name a few,” said McCarthy. “Sometimes we did two sessions a day—an evening dance and later a night dance.”
Mac also made regular radio broadcasts and cut dozens of swing-tinted records. The first, “Down Argentina Way”, sold more than 25,000 copies. Mac told one interviewer that there was much more to being a successful bandleader than merely having to ensure that the musicians played the right note at the right time. “He is the band’s star salesman who must obtain the most favourable terms,” the journalist wrote. “He has to make sure the boys will meet always on time and are dressed as they should be. He has to exercise tact and good temper to smooth out frictions and difficulties. He is responsible for building up the library—as the sum total of all the band numbers is called.”
Bombay’s band leaders obtained their music from publishing houses and from local cinema distributors, and listened hard to the radio and to new records. All the best bands had their own arrangers, men who wrote the parts of each instrumentalist in a unique way so as to make their outfit’s version of standard tunes stand out from their competitors’. Indian musicians were also beginning to compose their own tunes. Pianist Sollo Jacob had written a foxtrot called “Everyone Knew”; Hal Green, already a much-in-demand arranger, had composed tunes he called “Copacabana” and “Get Out of the Mood and Into the Groove”, while Chic Chocolate was performing his “Juhu Jive”.
Naresh Fernandes is a consulting editor at Time Out India. This is his first book.
Excerpted from Taj Mahal Foxtrot: The Story of Bombay’s Jazz Age by Naresh Fernandes; published by Roli Books, accompanied by a CD of original recordings, 192 pages, Rs 1,295 (the book may be pre-ordered on Taj Mahal Foxtrot will be released on 20 December.

FRIDAY, JULY 17, 2009

Days of the Passenger Ships

'Navigating through the River Mandovi'
Passenger Ship berthed at the Panjim Jetty
Goa - India
(Line Artwork by Tony Fernandes)

Companhia Nacional de Navegacao

45:India, in service 1951-71, 7631 grt, 387 passengers
Unidentified commercial card of India - number 2 of series 18.


BI Logbook

Karoa (BI 1915-1950), one of three Swan Hunter built, K class ships for the Bombay-East Africa/South Africa service

Goan Catholics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

More Seriously: Dabolim and Mopa Photo credit:

Indian troops are greeted by supporters as they march through the streets of Panaji, shortly after the Portuguese retreat

The Indian Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Pran Thapar (far right) with deposed Governor General of Portuguese India Manuel António Vassalo e Silva (seated centre) at a POW facility in Vasco Da Gama, Goa

Konkani Videos

  1. Ya Ya Maya Ya - Remo Fernandes.wmv

    One Song that has taken our Goa on the World Map.
    • HD
  2. Goan song -by Remo Fernandes

    Created By Sergio Pinto UK/SIRIDAO,Goan Konkani Song.
  3. Goan Konkani Songs And Dance

    Goa,Goan folk dance and Konkani Songs - Kunbi - It is an Indian Folk Dance. Kudumbi - It is originated from the aboriginal Kunbi ...
    • HD
  4. Goan Masala Mix

    Two camera shoot with Jimmy Jib.
  5. The Goa Song (Amchem Goa) -Varun Carvalho

    The Goa Song (Amchem Goa) was written on a lazy sunday afternoon on Nixons Balcao while reminiscing the good old days in ...
    • HD
  6. Goan Portuguese Folk Dance Corridinho

    Goan portuguese Folk dance or Goa Folk dance - Corridinho is a form of Famous Portuguese Dance or Music performed in Goa.
  7. konkani goan song marqus

    Konkani goan by marquce 2010.
  8. Song from goan old konkani film 'Amchea Noxibh'

    taken from old goan konkani film 'Amchea Noxibh' Brought 2 u By Sergio Pinto Siridao Goa INDIA.
  9. Goan Konkani Masala

    The Goan Masala is a mix of konkani, marathi and english verses which are mostly sung for weddings, parties and picnics. one ...
  10. Goan konkani Songs By Little Girl(guess who)

    Brought to you by Maria Menezes, Hollant Cansaulim GOA Song taken from the goan konkani film ''GHANTT'' Mario Menezes.
  11. Goan Konkani Non-Stop Hit Songs & Comedy

    Goan Konkani Non-Stop Hit Songs& Comedy Edited And Created by Sergio Pinto Siridao Goa.
  12. Konkani Song - Romantic Goan Song - By Jr Reagan & Bushka

    Konkani Song Jr Reagan & Bushka.

  1. Goa's Most Popular Classic Film Song

    for song lyrics and musical notes Amchem Noxib Mollbavelo ...
  2. Song from goan old konkani film 'Amchea Noxibh'

    taken from old goan konkani film 'Amchea Noxibh' Brought 2 u By Sergio Pinto Siridao Goa INDIA.

Konkani Drama

  1. INAM [Reward] - Domnick de Agacaim [Full Konkani Drama]

    INAM - Powerfull Real Story, By A Great Goan Director & Writter Domnick de Agacaim INAM is a based on the true story which is ...

    TIATR RINKARI (FUL TIATR) Bore Dir. Mary & Perry.
  3. Gurkar. Full Konkani Drama.

    Gurkar. Full Konkani Drama.
  4. Tho Mhaka Naka - Comedy Konkani Drama (Complete)

    Konkani Drama - Tho Mhaka Naka - Performed in Dubai - Sheikh Rashid Auditorium. Actors: Manohar Pais, Dayan D'souza, ...
  5. Konkani Drama By Normandez

    Mhoje Dhage Tutt'lle : a Konkani stage drama written and directed by Normandez, a story about angry son who lost his route in ...
  6. Konkani Drama ಪಿಟ್ಟಾಶಿ.wmv

    Kpg Abudhabi.
  7. Amchea Noxib [Full Konkani Film Old]

    Goan Konkani Hit Film ''Amchea Noxib'', Amchem Noxib is a Goan Konkani film released in 1963. It was only the second Konkani ...

    'OOTRE UZWADLE', is a social comedy drama by Sangon Mugdana Kalakar, a professional troupe of young Mangalore-born ...
  9. Sangaatin - Candido Araujo [Full Konkani Drama] Part 1

    Brought to By Sergio Pinto Siridao Goa Sangaatin - Candido Araujo --Konkani Drama Actor's & Actress:- Mathew Araujo, Fatima ...

    'OOTRE UZWADLE', is a social comedy drama by Sangon Mugdana Kalakar, a professional troupe of young Mangalore-born ...
  11. Nirmon - [Full Konkani Film Old]

    Nirmonn was Frank Fernand's second production. It had story and direction of A. Salam and music by Frank Fernand himself, ...
  12. Novem Jivit [Full Konkani Comedy Movie]

    Music House Present ------------------- Philip De Orlim's 11th Konkani VCD ------------------- NOVEM JIVIT 'New Life' ...
    • HD
  13. Konkani Drama - Toiar Rau

    Konkani Drama - "Toiar Rau" by Agnelo Mascarenhas from New Zealand. This Drama was held at Auckland in Nov'2011. With his ...
  14. Old Konkani Songs Book Launched in Goa

    GREATEST KONKANI SONG HITS vol I by Francis Rodrigues Goa/India.
  15. WATCH KONKANI COMEDY ONLINE- Konkani Drama- Amchim bhurgim Amcho Fuddar 1

  16. Results for similar searches

  17. Full Konkani Movie " BOGLLANTT "

    Prem Kumar, Rita Rose, Alfred Rose, Betty Naz, Frady Barbosa, Ophilia.



BOMBAY GOANS-1920-1980-[2]
When crossing from Goa to India needed a visa
As New Delhi intensified pressure on Lisbon in the 1950s to hand over its territories in Portuguese India, Goans on the move had to surmount all sorts of bureaucratic hurdles.

Polem was where Goa ended and India began, as the soil went from brown to red.

When I first arrived in Polem in 1956, the Portuguese immigration staff was largely of European origin.

Checks were carried out way beyond sunset, and if you missed the last bus to Margão

 you could sleep in the verandah of a little restaurant near the check post or under the trees. The restaurant served xitt-koddi, fried bangdas, tisreos (clams), spicy xacuti and tender coconut water, along with a host of Portuguese wines – a small Vinho Porto cost eight tangas (eight annas or fifty paise).

On two occasions, I carried a bed-sheet and timed my entry into Polem only for the experience. The leftover passengers made friends easily and broke into mandos, music

goan band tidal wave playing portuguese n goan
Nov 17, 2011 - Uploaded by Camilo Fernandes
goan band tidal wave playing portuguese n goan .... konkani music at verna summer fete 2012 ...

Mando - Dances of Goa - YouTube
Aug 20, 2013 - Uploaded by Cidade de Goa
As part of the musical accompaniment, the Mando also saw the East-West ... goan band TIDAL WAVE .

fados music

Fado, Music of Portugal - YouTube
Jul 31, 2013 - Uploaded by Viking Cruises
Born along the waterfront, the dramatic songs of Fado speak of life, struggle and passion. The genre originated ...

Sonia Shirsat .. . Goan Fado singer - YouTube
May 12, 2009 - Uploaded by Frederick FN Noronha
The lady with the powerful voice. A Cesera Evora in the making... From the Sigmund and Friends concert, May ...

or English pop, to the accompaniment of a guitar till late into the night. To keep up with the rising number of travellers, General Manuel António Vassalo e Silva, the Portuguese governor general,

 visited the post and ordered a spacious shed with toilets to be built there.
Kaleidoscopic insight to the Mini Portugal,

Kaleidoscopic insight to the Mini Portugal,Goa
The passport system
On the other side of a hillock stood the Indian Customs office, a British-style building with a trellis frontage. Passenger baggage was checked in a shed outside the building next to a snack bar that served tea and samosas, and was frequented by office staff and porters. Those entering Goa via Karwar

 usually ate breakfast before setting out, and those leaving Goa carried staples like roast pork or
 chicken cafreal,
Chicken Cafreal - Goan Cuisine | Cooking with Thas


 and bananas.

The immigration and customs posts stayed open from 10 am to 6 pm, all through the week. Those whose travel documents could not be processed had to return to Karwar. But if you were on the blacklist for being pro-Portuguese, you were deported to Goa regardless of your documents.

In February 1950, India presented its first aide-memoire to Portugal to discuss the handover of its territories, but Portugal replied that their future was non-negotiable. India allowed for a peaceful Exposition of St Francis Xavier’s relics in Old Goa

from November 25, 1952 to January 6, 1953. The Bombay State Road Transport Corporation

was permitted to ply its luxury buses right from the Belgaum railway station up to Panjim, which had a neat booking office.

But hardly had the Exposition ended, that Delhi started dispatching shriller aide-mémoires to Portugal for an immediate handover of its territories. India shut its legation in Lisbon from June 11, 1953, and started to mount pressure, both territorially and on Portuguese Indian-born emigrants working in India. Bombay was host to some 400 Goan clubs

 that provided Goans dormitory accommodation at a pittance. At a certain stage, these clubs were required by the Bombay Police to maintain registers under the Foreigners Act, 1946.
Morning You Play Different, Evening You Play Different var _gaq ...
From October 1953, all Portuguese European officials were required to possess permits or visas to enter Indian territory; and in February 1954, this rule was extended to Portuguese officials of Indian origin. On July 31, 1954, Portugal announced that all Indian citizens entering its territories would have to possess a passport or an equivalent document, stamped with a visa from the Portuguese consular authority. India promptly made it mandatory for Portuguese citizens from the colonies who were entering the country to have permits from the Indian Consulate General in Panjim. Those proposing to enter India on Portuguese passports needed Indian visas, and had to be registered at the nearest Foreigners Registration Office before getting residential permits.

From August 1, 1954, the local Portuguese civil administrations of Goa, Damão and Diu, began issuing a bilingual transit permit, the Documento Para Viagem to Portuguese citizens travelling to India. The Portuguese passport and DPV had to be stamped by the district police headquarters before exiting Portuguese territory. This endorsement was valid for a week.

Those travelling to Portuguese territories were issued an Emergency Certificate printed on a sheet of brown paper by the Passport Office in Bombay. This certificate was valid for a fortnight, though it invariably expired by the time the Portuguese Consulate General processed the visa, in consultation with authorities in Goa.

These are Portuguese India 1952 First Day Cover and Maxim Card of 400th Death Anniversary of Francisco Xavier in my collection.

Routes interrupted

On August 1, 1954, shipping and road transport services to Goa came to a halt. A year later, the meter-gauge train that ran from Poona to Goa via Londa

Steam locomotive train service Goa to Bombay, longest ...
Dec 19, 2010 - Uploaded by torontochap1
circa 1985, margao train station and bombay to goa train arrival/departure at ... 0-8-0 Loco China old steam ...

Steam train at Margao Station, longest running service in ...
Dec 19, 2010 - Uploaded by torontochap1
... this train at margao railway station headed to vasco terminal, goa. train ... Steam locomotive train ...

also came to a standstill. At Castle Rock
and Collem stations, passengers were put through immigration checks and their passports and travel documents were stamped.  At Caranzol, the first station in Goa,

 I recall a strapping white Portuguese immigration official with an automatic rifle strapped to his chest verify my visa on the train with due courtesy. On arriving in Goa, one of the few objects to be taxed were playing cards  – they were impressed upon by a Portuguese customs stamp. Foreigners had to report to the district police headquarters in Goa. As a British citizen, I was graciously assisted by the Portuguese-speaking regedor of Ucassaim, Chintamani Gaitonde, in extending my fortnight-long stay in Goa.

Raia House

The August 15, 1954, satyagraha to Goa flopped with barely a hundred Goan volunteers gate-crashing. But a year later, Delhi aided and abetted a much more formidable satyagraha of thousands of Indians, hoping that locals in Goa would rise in revolt. But Goans were of a different psyche and could not be mob-roused by outsiders who had not realised that the political scenario in Goa was very different from that in India during the independence movement. Despite bloodshed, life moved on so peacefully that Pandit Nehru told the Rajya Sabha on September 7, 1955, that India was not prepared to tolerate Portuguese presence, even if Goans wanted them there.

The blockade and a chink

On August 6, 1955, the Portuguese legation in Delhi was ordered shut and Portuguese interests were entrusted to the Brazilian Embassy there. On September 1, 1955, a diplomatic, economic, post and telegraph, and travel blockade came into effect between India and Portuguese territories. Mail from Goa to the rest of India was routed via Karachi in Pakistani mail bags, but mail to Goa was redirected to the sender even if the address was under-scribed via Karachi, Pakistan.  However, by November 1955, the Universal Postal Union international protocol prevailed, and censored mail began to move via the southern-most land posts of Majali and Polem.

Around April 1954, India began issuing ad-hoc permits on compassionate grounds through the Bombay state government, regulated by the Ministry of External Affairs’ Goa office in the Bombay Secretariat. Every applicant had to be interviewed by the MEA chief, Ashok N Mehta, an Indian Foreign Service officer and son-in-law of Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit.

My friend, Benito de Sousa, was bluntly informed by Mehta that he could reach Goa only via Karachi, as he was a British passport holder. When my turn came, Mehta asked me, “Do you not know that foreigners are not allowed anywhere near the Goa border?”

“Yes, I am aware, but I seek this permit on compassionate grounds,” I replied. “I have to visit my grandmother in Goa, as my father is tied to his work in Aden.”

“Alright,” said Mehta, “I shall see.”

A few days after returning to Poona, I was surprised by a brown envelope affixed with an official service postage stamp. It carried a letter permitting me to travel to Goa via Majali for a non-specified period.

The Indian overland route permit
Taking leave of my grandmother, uncle and aunt, I boarded the 10 pm Bangalore Mail and arrived in Belgaum at around 6 am on May 30, 1956. Within half-an-hour, I got onto the Bombay State Transport bus to Karwar. It was a nine-hour journey through winding ghats offering unparalleled natural vistas, but the journey weighed heavily on my digestive system.

At Karwar, I was faced with a choice of only two hotels – the posh Sea Face Hotel and Hotel Rodrigues in the shopping centre. Being low on cash, I chose the latter and for five rupees got an apology for a room with sack-cloth walls and a bedful of bugs. The toilet were mercifully separated from the bathroom.

On the morning of May 30, 1956, I boarded the bus for Kodibag, carrying a green steel trunk. It was a 45-minute ride through palm-fringed roads lined with pretty cottages. From Kodibag to Sadashivgad, from where you caught a bus to Majali, was a creek to negotiate by launch  – a rather crude one when compared to ferries in Goa. After a stopover at Majali village, the bus proceeded to the immigration post where I was offloaded with a teenage girl and boy. Both these students had declared in an affidavit that they were moving to Goa for good.
Portuguese passport for Goans : the "original document" hunt | Goa ...
At the Indian customs post, I was ordered to surrender my money  – 43 rupees, two annas and three pice  – against a receipt valid for four months. If I failed to return before its expiry, the money would be gifted to the Government of India, they said. Such perfidy, I fumed. We cooled our heels for 45 minutes till the Indian immigration officer showed up.

“Did you state in your application for this permit that you possessed a foreign passport?” he asked, looking at my British passport.

“Yes,” I replied, handing him a copy of my application.

He stamped the brown permit, but not the passport. My new found companions and I walked about two furlongs  – over 400 meters  – along no-man’s land. We then went through a gate and stopped at a police check-post before crossing the international line and entering the Goa Gate in Polem.

All three of us were bankrupt, and to worsen matters the fund from which Portuguese border authorities offered five rupias gratis to every stranded passenger had already been exhausted. So the uncle of one of my companions loaned me five rupias which I promised to return, noting his Goa address in my diary.

The same afternoon, my companions and I boarded the bus to Margão, a two-hour ride through largely virgin forest and past an impressive temple. At Canacona, a district police officer stopped the bus and called out my name. He had been telegraphed by Polém, about the presence of a foreigner, and after politely checking the entry stamp on my passport, he allowed us to proceed.

In Margão, I decided to take the shortest route home to Ucassaim, via the Cortalim-Agaçaim and Panjim-Betim ferry crossings. I reached Panjim at sunset, emerging a curiosity with a trunk that belied my journey from India  – a rarity during the blockade. One good soul, who may have gauged that I was cash strapped  – I had only five rupias left  – advised me not to buy a ticket on the ferry, but to claim I had a pass instead.

By the time I reached Betim, I was left with eight tangas (eight annas) to pay for my bus ride to Mapuça. As I alighted, a European in a dinner jacket took leave of those seated beside him, and wished me boa noite (good night), as was Portuguese etiquette. I hailed a Mercedes Benz taxi. The tariff was two rupias, but those were days of honesty and no haggling.

When I reached Ucassaim, it was already 8 pm. I had to bang on the door to jolt my relatives from their uninterrupted routine. Aunt Vitalina opened the door to her greatest surprise, for no one had expected me to beat the blockade and reach home. There were shouts of “Johnnie ailo! (Johnnie’s arrived)” from the neighbouring family house whose door had opened at the sound of the taxi. Uncle Alcantara came rushing down the steps ecstatic, and Aunt Vitalina rushed in to fetch money for the taxi fare.

The next morning, the Regedor of Ucassaim, Chintamani Gaitonde, registered my arrival at the district police headquarters, O Commissariado do Norte, in Mapuça. But because the Brazilian embassy in Delhi had not specified the permitted duration of my stay in Goa, I had to also visit the Quartel Geral (Police Headquarters) and Secretariat in Panjim. The latter affixed revenue stamps of appropriate value on my passport, and entered a notation on the same page. The stamps were countersigned by the Director of Civil Administration, Dr. José António Ismael Gracias.

On my return to Poona on September 20, 1955, the Portuguese immigration officer at Polém put a saida or exit stamp on my passport. Walking through no-man’s land, I was back at the Indian immigration post in Majali where I saw roughly three times as many people, as on May 30. My money deposited at the Customs was gracefully refunded, and I boarded the bus for Karwar, where I arrived by sunset and checked into Hotel Rodrigues for the night.

The next morning, I boarded the 8 am bus for Belgaum and at two police outposts, beginning at Karwar’s municipal fringe, we were asked to alight and details of our permits were registered.
Permits and etiquette at Polém
On April 3, 1958, India scrapped its permit system, but locals in Goa had to still produce the Documento para Viagem; those in the rest of India had to posses a Certificate of Identity. This was in addition to the visa, a bilingual document in Portuguese and English, issued by the Brazilian Embassy in Delhi or the Quartel General in Panjim.

Those entering Goa had to still go through immigration checks at Polém, where Indian travellers without a health certificate issued by the municipality were administered anti-cholera and small pox shots; and travellers could exchange upto 50 Indian rupees for 50 Portuguese rupias.

The Portuguese post in Polém was far more relaxed than the Indian one in Majali. In May 1960, my travel companion, an IAF Wing Commander who hailed from Porvorim, was invited to the Portuguese military-police canteen in Polém before he could board the bus to Margão. There was a standing protocol of courtesy when an Indian military man entered Goa at Polém. On another occasion, a woman who had lost her baby in Goa while on a visit, was graciously offered condolences by Portuguese immigration officials, on seeing the child’s death certificate. But when the same certificate was handed over to Indian immigration officials at Majali, they were sceptical and put the mother through some difficult questioning.

Border blacklist

Immigration staff at Majali had a thick handwritten book, with names of those considered personae non gratae on the basis of their activities in India, published writings, official placements in the Government of Portuguese India or connections with those on the same list. In Bombay, one never did know who was an informer, and even at a house party it was a safe bet never to air political views. I once stood behind an Indian immigration official as he checked my name against the blacklist, and found an equal number of Hindus and Catholics with remarks against their names. In January 1959, a family physician from Colaba, Dr. P.N. de Quadros and his family were debarred from entering India despite valid travel documents, and had to take a devious jungle route by country-craft to Bombay. Dr Quadros’ brother had been the President of the Military Tribunal in Goa, and had sentenced political agitators and satyagrahis. The same June, a pharma employee, Luis Antonio Chicó, and his family were detained in Goa for a month despite valid travel documents, and were allowed to return to Bombay only on the intervention of influential voices in Delhi. A few months later, a group of Goan tiatrists led by A.R. Souza Ferrão, and Fr Nelson Mascarenhas, assistant parish priest of St Francis Xavier’s Church in Dabul, were also disallowed entry to Majali for a month on their way back from Goa.

It may surprise young readers to know that Goa had a small airline called Transportes Aéreos da Índia Portuguesa. It originated in 1954, after the establishment of airports in Goa, Damão and Diu, and flew tri-weekly. The Heron aircraft had to be navigated with skill to avoid violating Indian airspace. After the Indian land permit had been made partially redundant on April 3, 1958, several Goans took the train to Damaun Road (renamed Vapi) and tonga to Chaala on the Damão border, to catch a flight to Goa. Some broke the journey at the Parsi-owned Hotel Britona in Damão Pequeno (Little Daman).

Last flight

On October 7, 1961, the Government of Portuguese India issued the following press note: “The Government of the State of India came to know through the press of the Indian Union about the decision taken by the Government to open two more points of passage from her frontier to Goa via Banda and Anmode. The new points of passage across the frontier opened by the Indian authorities will contribute to facilitate travel of Goans to and from the Indian Union. For this reason the decision has been welcomed by the Government of this State and orders have already been issued for carrying out the work necessary to open as soon as possible the frontier of Partadeu via Pernem....”
Jeeps at War on The CJ3B Page

Goa, 1954 The city of Goa and the surrounding area on the west coast of India had been a Portuguese ..
The new routes to Goa were never to be. They turned out to be Delhi’s carefully crafted ploy to allow the Indian Army access to Goa’s heartland. On November 25, 1961, hostile vessels appeared off the Portuguese island of Angediva and an Indian fisherman was shot while trying to fend them off.
Goa falls to Indian troops | History Today

Damaged Portuguese military vehicles line the route to Panjim Airport, Goa, December 19th, One of the problems vexing the Indian prime minister Jawarhalal .

A few days later, Indian naval ships appeared at the entrance of the Mormugão harbour, and started to monitor shipping movements. Within a week, Indian soldiers and armoured vehicles were parked at the frontier. Placido Rodrigues, a Goan traveller who happened to be at the Majali post on Sunday, December 17, 1961, was whisked away to safety by the Indian military, as armoured columns topped up fuel tanks and cranked their engines en route to Polém.
Operation Vijay Goa 1961 | Attack on Goa by Indian Armed Forces

Page by Raisten Fernandes - Portuguese troops before operation Vijay at Old Goa

At 4 am the next day, the Indian army entered Goa, ending 451 years of Portuguese rule


The Indian Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Pran Thapar (far right) with deposed Governor General of Portuguese India Manuel António Vassalo e Silva (seated centre) at a POW facility in Vasco Da Gama, Goa

happy people of Goa with Indian national flag after liberation from portugal

Goa-Invasion-1961: May 2013

Gallery - Category: Operation Vijay

Portuguese leave Goa

John Menezes retired as the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Bombay Port Trust. He lives in the heart of old Bombay, researching and writing about a city that jogs only in memory.

This is an extract from Bomoicar: Stories of Bombay Goans, 1920-1980, edited and compiled by Reena Martins, Goa,1556. Available via mail-order from

you will get the old photos of traveling in ship

The Konkan Shakti, one of two passenger steamers operated by Chowgule-owned Mogul Line - See more at: