10 days in Pilerne, Goa

10 days in Pilerne, Goa
As we drive through the Ghats section, I call Bhujang our caretaker on the iffy connection that keeps coming in and out as we climb the Chorla Ghats into Goa. The electricity line in the house has gone, he wails and he is trying to get the Goa Electricity Board guys to fix it.

You had better fix it I say, worried and annoyed that our break will be hampered with no electricity, which makes things impossible in the old homestead. We are used to excellent electricity supply in the village, unlike Karnataka where we require a 24 hour back up genset.

We had carried our Vaccination certificates which stood us in good stead at the border. There were ques waiting to cross over into Goa, but we sailed in, on the strength of the certificates in minutes.

We arrive by afternoon after leaving at 5 am in the morning from Bangalore. The house was all opened up, with lights and fans and windows wide open, breathing fresh air into the house, by Bhujang. The garden is lush and green with the continuous rain and such a joy to see. However, the entrance from the road to the house is covered with tall weeds which tickle the bottom of the car as we drive in. Nothing can be done because in the rain the weeds grow – well like weeds!
Hundreds of pretty pink, wild Balsams grow in gay abandon everywhere. Hardly what one can call weeds. I have seen them grow feral across the UK, double this size, taken there and sprinkled by a little old lady who went home from India, and who loved them according to legend. Now they don’t allow the native species to grow, which is sad.

Bhujang helps us bring in the luggage and the old house welcomes us into its waiting arms. What a happy feeling to be back with all the ancestors looking down at us as we settle in. I would have liked to have met Great Grandpa who has always looked handsome and regal to me with his high collar and tie. I wonder how he dressed like that with cow dung floors, which were changed only a few decades ago by Dad.

We’re tired and I’m glad we had stopped at the Porvorim Azvedos to pick up half kg of chicken. My regular basket which I bring from Bangalore with all the supplies from oil to salt, really stands me in good stead to kickstart a meal. Keerti’s pile of chaptees which she sent with Lydia for the journey, is the perfect accompaniment with the chicken.

For the Very first time we re just going to rest and do nothing. Of course Pradeep the young electrician has to come into fix the electric board in the house The Electricity Board repairs only upto the house says Bhujang. We have to do the inside work ourselves! Pradeep arrives and smilingly fixes he junction box and the switch board, checks on all the lights in the house, changes few bulbs and his bill is 400 bucks. In Bangalore we would have paid in thousands.

We sleep peacefully to the sound of the pouring rain. The next morning I was wakened by chorus of birds just outside the window. The distinctive call of he Golden oriole in the teak trees above and in the distance he plaintive call of the peacock in the chill morning air.

Ten days of doing nothing except putting in a new electric meter. A massive tree had caused the line to break as it fell. Old houses always have work. But this time because of the rain, we could just chill enjoying the village, chatting with the neighbours, dropping into the new Communidade shop for eggs and ofcourse meeting the panchayat boss and paying our taxes.

Fresh fish has started coming in a posh air con van to Marra at the coconut grove on the main road. However Steve and Bonny prefer buying fresh ones from the Verem market. They bring home a kg at a time and I clean and use half kg per day. They tried mackerels one day but were not happy with eating bony fish, even with rechardo masala.

Sticking to the village was a lovely retreat for a change and we spent long hours in the garden. The effort we put in when we visit the old homestead twice or thrice a year seems to keep the garden happy and thriving. Each tree is fed the prawn and wet waste by digging a hole near its roots and burying the stuff. Ofcourse the fruit trees get the most waste to be able to rev up and grow taller by our next visit. Infact Dads chickoo that he carried carefully from Bangalore looks like it is all set to fruit after shooting up several feet.

The rain was heavy but not too bad. Since we have been working on the roof every time we visited, the whole house was lovely and dry indoors and no trouble at all for us like before. Every roof we have worked and put in new beams and rafters, after painting them with white ant repellent. Its been years of work and its continuous but this time we just sat back and enjoyed a dry house.

Next time we have to look at tiling the dining area and chunnaing the inside of the house. Chunna is the best ‘cause you don’t get stung too badly with a big bill, having to redo it over and over again with the rains of Goa. The front wall of the house especially looks awful with the green mossy stuff growing from the ground up.

Ten days flew by sadly and we had to put away all our stuff and lock up. It’s been 12 years since we have employed Bhujang and we need to look around as he has begun to steal. The latest, the brand-new tablecloth I bought the last visit. Cannot tolerate a thief.

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