The elders called her Precy, but she was Nana to us her grandchildren. She was a very devout and a multi talented lady, adept in horse riding, tennis, besides also being an experienced midwife. The Africans in the village greatly admired her. She was an able support to my grandfather who was a district officer in Kenya, East Africa.
She had three children , Sophia, John and Joseph. All three were sent as boarders to Pune to the good schools which accommodated boarders and gave a very good all round education. Nonetheless, my mother Sophia ,the eldest struggled with homesickness. Her consolation was her first cousin Margaret( Maggie).
Precy showed tremendous internal strength in all she did in Africa and subsequently in Goa , when she shifted base and looked after the home affairs. My grandfather completed his service in the District Services of East Africa, with honours, and was awarded an OBE( Order of the British Empire), a citation given by the Queen of England for distinguished services rendered .
However when he returned to Goa, Precy changed, to become much quieter and subdued. Gone was that spirit of boldness. She displayed a prayerful demeanor, and looked after affairs of the home.
She showed a sharp eye to watch over her grandchildren who visited Goa on holidays. She did her best to give us a good holiday besides carefully watching over our recreational activities. Thus she undertook the role of guardian very seriously, specially when it came to the local girls. I remember a ball falling into the next compound, and entering the compound to fetch it; she called out frantically to return immediately. Surely this was a gesture to ensure that no infatuations develop into serious relationships.
I have vivid memories of my grandmother preparing the elaborate Goan sweets. Each sweet was worth its weight in gold, simply because the method was so tedious.
Another memory was of her rewarding the coconut plucker with a good sundowner As she poured him a drink, he would make a fuss, saying that was’ enough’ , but give the glass a slight jerk, to get even more of the drink in the glass; Precy pretended as if she did not know the joke.
Still my grandmother was very brave,. She spent her days alone after the demise of my grandfather. However she rather stayed alone, than be with us in Bombay. She disliked the city and enjoyed being in her own home in the village environment of Goa at Guirim.
Eventually she had a fall, or what one would call the fracture before the fall. She was flown into Mumbai, as the city was later called, and had a surgery for hip replacement after which she never regained her independence .
She spent her last days at Vasai in a home for the aged , under the care of nuns. She had begun to lose her memory. One fine day , she breathed her last. The surprise , on that day; her son John was travelling to Vapi, on work, when the train stopped suddenly at Vasai; this was the exact time that Precy passed away. We will remember her for all the love and care she showered on us. May her soul rest in peace.