Monday, December 26, 2011

Me, Kalidas on 18th December 1961

What went through the minds of simple Goans on 18th December: Ex… Me!

By: Kalidas Sawkar

Every Goan must have woken up that morning wondering about planes flying low at the top of coconut trees. My mother was under strict instructions never to wake up any person who is sleeping, but here she was shaking me excitedly telling ‘Kalidas, Kalidas, wake up there are lots of planes out there flying very low’. I turned over sleepily since the preceding few days that had become a usual phenomenon. But, mother didn’t give up I did, woke up and ran outside in our compound, my excitement at full blast. The unimaginable was coming true, becoming real and the freedom was at hand.

Whatever went into my mind, 14 years and 97 days old?

For self, my aspirations went sky high. The horizons of opportunities were opening up, education of varied kind would be there and I was game for it all. Next was, as a book worm I looked forward to easy excess for that great literature of which I had read only cross references and sighed. Before 1961, there were two libraries in Mapusa and I had ransacked them all. I had read practically every Marathi book in the catalogues and the librarian in charge would get exasperated with me. He would tell me to read English since he knew I studied in English medium school. He would continue, ‘there are so many books in English ‘even’ I wouldn’t be able to finish them’

I had understood, after completing my education I had to do something, work, but in Goa at that time nothing was working accept the match box factory at Ponda. This factory had become a permanent excursion spot for Goa schools and I had no intentions of working in a match box factory. For self, I had thought of inexplicable mirages, board rooms where important decisions are taken, real intellectual work as being done such as BARC, TIFR, looking at the stars for more knowledge of the space. Yes, in 1959, Russia had already blasted at the moon, which was among Lord Shiva’s protectorates and I rejoiced at that event, being a confirmed agnostic by that time. I wanted to attend meetings held by Jawaharlal Nehru and other leaders, no not Ram Manohar Lohia, I thought he was a bit cranky, but I did not mind Atal Behari Bajpayee and a few others.

A great opportunity was waiting for me and my friends after liberation. Cricket. Period. The various grounds, the Brabourne stadium, the Green Park, The Chepauk, and so many others were for me on the ninth cloud. Nawab of Pataudi, Abbas Ali Beg, ML Jaisimha, Bapu Nadkarni, and others were my deities. I did not bother much about films then, nor now, but would have liked to know if one could touch these celluloid people or they were just like ghosts.

And last but not the least, the Gods own relationship, the cousins! A posse of them along with their parents were my chief attraction after liberation. Even though we met for Ganesh and vacations, I was ready for more of the good things. Portuguese had incurred my curses since they restricted any crossings across the border. I had been suffocated for relationships; I knew instinctively, I stand to gain positive impacts from them and wanted to check their reactions to me as well.

Possibly on that day as I went to bed I felt what Swami Vivekananda must have felt standing at Kanyakumari and facing India.

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