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Walking from Mollebhatt to Dakhtem Morodd

by Fr Nascimento Mascarenhas

[This piece was written by Fr Nascimento in May/June 2004. It’s possible that much has changed since then. Please do pitch in if you have any updates - Val Souza]

The famous CHOGM Road beginning at the Airport in Vasco Parish passes through the villages of Chicalim, Sancoale, Cortalim, Agassaim, Goa Velha, Siridao, Bambolim, Santa Cruz, Panjim, Alto Porvorim, Sangolda, Saligao, Calangute, Candolim and ends at Sinquerim. During my sojourn last week in Saligao, I walked along a part of this CHOGM Road, beginning at Reddeachi Xim in Mollebhatt, until the end of Pequeno Morodd (Dakhtem Morodd).

This road from Saligao passing alongside St Anne’s chapel towards Sangolda was called Estrada de Dom Pedro during our younger days. On the left hand side of Reddeachi Xim there is a muddy road leading one to ‘Aquem Zor’ and a board indicating the way to Club West End. On the right hand side is the Ximecho Khuris, followed by a shop of Diogo Fernandes and Remedios Industries. The vast fields extending up to Monte de Guirim and beyond brought old memories of the green vegetation and plenty of rice and Congueo and other vegetables that we ate when we were kids.

In some fields there still exists the lath that drew water from the field well. The Mollebhatt cross reminded me of the feast of that cross in May every year, and the Maroddantlo playground welcoming all of us to play football there. At the back of this playground is the temple dedicated to the Hindu deity Shri Vetal, with a special devotion ceremony every Monday. On the opposite side was the Buddugeli Baim, where, during the months of June and July, we would go for a swim. A vau (stream) separating Mollembhat from Tabravaddo still exists. We used to play in the waters of the stream and sometimes even caught fish in it.

A little away was Remedios Communications (temporarily closed) located in Emilia Apartments, which made communications easier between the people of Saligao and their friends and relations in other parts of the world. On the right hand side, in Tabravaddo, I came across a small shop followed by the Casa Vincella General Stores where one can even purchase even the daily local newspapers. The Tabravaddo cross with its canopy is partially visible from the road.

On the right I spotted the Sunrise Restaurant & Bar, which supplies vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals. Then, facing the vast field area, my eyes took me to the distant village of Parra, famous for its watermelons. A hundred yards away from the road is a farm house in the field where rice and vegetables are grown. As I passed the Cross Villa I saw Manuel Bar & Restaurant, St. Anne’s Tailoring Ladies Special and Fernandes’ General Stores, all in the proximity of St. Anne’s chapel. From here I was able to glimpse Donvaddo and the Saligao Seminary, slightly obscured by the trees on the hill.

Close to the chapel there is a gaddo owned by Shivant Sirganvkar, followed by Datta Stores and Franclina Stores of Jose Franco. In the old “Bekeriguelem Ghor” where we had tuitions in Portuguese, Rachol seminarians used to pass six months regency while simultaneously studying for their degree at St. Xavier’s College in Mapuca.

A little away on the Chogm Road, I noticed the border line indicating the end of Tabravaddo and the starting point of Mudd’davaddi A small cross is a landmark of this “Bairro”. Nearby is the C M Braganca Workshop, fabricating grills, gates, aluminium windows, etc. On the opposite side is Vijay Tailors, specialist in suits and safaris, and Vijay Jyoti General Stores.

On either side of “Mannchem Bett” I saw Richa Ladies Beauty Parlour and Rudy’s Wine Bar. The next was a storied building that is a household name in the locality. It is the Saligao Super Market building, where I came across the Second Skin Ready Made Garments Shop, Proprietor Melicio Fernandes; The Pirna Urban Co-operative Credit Society Ltd, Saligao Branch; Saligao Super Market, Proprietor Austin Fernandes; Ms. S V Velguenkar’s Beauty Center (hairdressing salon), ladies & gents beauty parlour; Baskar Tailors; Saligao Cold Storage; Golden Bar Restaurant; Library de Saligao and Donald Fernandes’ counter supplying foreign and Indian products.

As I turned back to the walk towards the road, I noticed the old private chapel of Sao Jeronimo and continued my journey, calling first on a roadside cross, followed by the Saligao Mill (Mixin). Opposite the Mill is the Eden Garden plant nursery and the open field that touches the Arrarim road. On the right hand side of this field is the Saligao playground, where an inter-ward football tournament was in progress. I stopped to watch the game in progress, between Mudd’davaddi Blue and Cotula; the Blues one by a solitary goal. A couple of days later  I read that Mudd’davaddi Blue had won against Mudd’davaddi A in the finals, via a tie-breaker (4-2), in the Philip Dias Memorial Soccer, played at Saligao grounds. Three cheers!

This football ground is not far from the Panchayat Ghor, the Tinto, the Communidade Hall, Post Office and various other shops where old and young exchanged views and gossiped. It is a cherished spot for all Saligaokars. The Saligao church is not visible from the Mill, being obscured by several tall trees around the Aula (primary school); however, the cemetery and the crematorium are in full view.

Walking ahead, I reached the Aula, now called “Sarkari Pratmikvidyalai – Saligao Goa”, with its old and new buildings, and enveloped on one side by some coniferous trees. Opposite the primary school is a playing field where once upon a time many important football matches were played, and national and international players from Saligao had their first lessons in football. From here, the Saligao church is visible in its full splendour. I looked towards Cotula and remembered the sick in the two aged homes located there.

I turned around and saw the coconut grove with its small “sankov” where village elders passed their evenings exchanging news and views, and looked onward to the muddy road proceeding towards Santo Caetano’s Chapel and the Saligao Institute. Lourdes Convent and School can be spotted from this locality, as can the Sonarbhatt temple, and the electric sub-station.

I walked further on to the renowned football ground of Saligao Sporting, the location for many football tournaments as well as the Foxes Nite dance traditionally held on Mae de Deus Feast Day.

As I passed the crematorium and the cemetery, I said a prayer for the departed souls. The slaughter house (Sougi) near the cemetery where we used to buy meat has completely disappeared. On the other side I saw the Church standing majestically, and this sight brought to mind our brothers and sisters in the village and Saligaokars all over the world. Here all roads, minds and hearts lead to Mae de Deus, the Mother of God. She has never failed any Saligaokar wherever he or she may be.

I went a little further, passing the coconut grove and paddy field. I noticed a restaurant, and a footpath that led me and many of my colleagues in the days gone by to Mater Dei Institute — the Alma Mater of many famous Goan personalities. On my right was Pequeno Morodd. My eye fell on Cornell’s Bar & Restaurant, the CIE administration building and Villa Saligao – housing the Cottage Industries Exposition. This villa is known for its handicrafts, carpets and jewellery.

The Florentine Bar and Restaurant, next to Saligao Villa, is well-known all over Goa for its chicken cafreal and other dishes. The adjoining Ayurvedic Natural Health Centre is quite noteworthy for its treatment, massages and exhibitions of medicinal plants. As I walked still further down the Chogm Road I came across the border separating Calangute from Saligao and, in its proximity, a small chapel in the distance. I stopped  to gaze at Arrarim and Vhoddlem Morodd and breathe a little fresh air wafting in from the Arabian Sea, before turning to walk back to Mollebhatt with nostalgic thoughts on my mind — unfortunately  interrupted all too frequently by the cars, motorcycles, buses and other vehicles zooming past. Walk cautiously!

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