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Short Story :   Ronnie is back in his home village


Ronnie  was back in his bucolic  village, nestled by a hilly terrain  with its cashew and mangoes  plantation  on its southern edge  and to its north  ensconced by lake  that surrounded it, which would inundate  with

monsoon rains necessary

 to grow the rice saplings

into  green green paddy

fields for miles at end

guarded on its edge, side

by side like sentinels at

the post the  familiar

coconut palm trees..  

Its here his ancestors

had settled after escaping

the major plague that struck their  fabled  city of  Old Goa, the "Pearl of the Orient", in 16th century  with its handsome citizens,  which  rivaled Venice in its  opulence and grandeur in her glory days. But with wealth and splendor came the perversion of the spirit followed by the black plague  which decimated its handsome citizens and devastated the city but some survived

 Its here in this village of Velim, the survivors  made their home after long arduous bitter  trail, dug in and  built their exquisite  villas once again   their tradition and culture that seeped through the generation preserved for posterity  and in the street corners  white brick laden crosses the villagers would   gather for the litany and for prayers. And at dusk as the sun receded slowly in the horizon, it was amorichea vellar (time for angelus) the bells would chime  and silence  would descend on the  village as they   huddled together  in thanksgiving for the day.

Its here in his ancestral home, he had spent  many a school summer vacation in the  company of his Grandma, now after almost a lifetime in USA, He savored every moment in his village, his broad shoulders gliding lazily his body still erect, teenage memories gushing like  a torrid spring nearby on  heavy monsoon day, it seemed it happened just yesterday as  he  sauntered down the curved undulating road now paved, dried browned  leaves on either side chugging on to the Kerb and the  Goan villas with the familiar patios or  balcaos, still graceful on either side  withering the rigors of time, and the cozy villa she  lived and spent her summers, he peered across the courtyard, it was desolate and curtain drawn, there was no  music  and no laughter emanated from her ancestral villa.


He noticed and old tenant sweeping the dead leaves tending the villa, he marched across the gate the rusted iron gate creaking at the hinges as he yanked it open. and made his way toward  the caretaker, dead leaves crunching under his shoe on graveled path, he extended his hands for a handshake..

before he could exchange any pleasantries, the tenant now  startled, responded in haste  " i am Joao, just a helper, I look after the villa.

Ronnie : "where is the family, where is  everyone ?"

Joao:" yes, yes, yes they go abroad, Canada, long time ago. no come "

and Ronnie pressed him again in a hushed tone, this time very personal.

 "and where is  Audrey?

Joao was taken aback surprise and tinge of resentment  clouded his face 

" and who you?"

It was Ronnie turn to remains silent after all these  years he could not  respond, she wasn't  there,  it seemed so forlorn  and  gloom and desolation crept in his being again. what was he thinking?, he could snap his fingers and travel back in time and the memories will come alive the laughter, the  music the teenage years and Audrey with her dark brown hair  waving carelessly in the summer breeze

                                                                                                                to be continued every week

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