A golden memory of my Dad will always be of him carrying me on his shoulder. I was a little young boy, struck by diphteria. Next door my granduncle ( more like my grandfather, as Dad lost his father in his childhood) was hosting a lunch for the entire family; and since I was not keen on being left out , my Dad carried me across.
Those were the days of beautiful memories, when I remember playing cricket,and Dad on his way to his clinic, would try out his overarm spin for a brief moment and then carry on to work.
He always encouraged us in sports and studies.
We were five brothers and played nearly all games….hockey, cricket, table tennis, badminton, …later he ensured we learned the nuances of tennis, with proper coaching on finishing with school. We also learnt to swim.
His idea of education was not only studying well, but to be able to relate well to others big or small, rich or poor. For this reason he insisted on sending us to Antonio De Souza’s High School, where he himself studied. It certainly helped to achieve this purpose, as this school also reached out to people of lesser means, and had good results in academics and sports.
We had a simple lifestyle. Even though Dad had a car and a driver, we would normally either walk to school or take the bus. On finishing the morning session at school we would return with Dad in the car. The times it rained heavily, he would insist that we get the driver to drop us to school ( a drive in pouring rain was a thrill )
At the family meal, we all had our respective places, with the youngest at the table end. Being a slow eater, Dad finally promoted me to sit at his right hand. This helped me in the process of being more alert and quick during the meal.
Summer holidays were memorable. Many young boys would join us , ( we were 5 brothers) to play various team games in the home compound. Dad never raised his voice and I never saw him losing his temper. The only time I saw him upset was when my older brother accidently got a severe cut on his arm through kite manjar ( thread with glass coating ), which went quite deep near the bone. Dad hurried home and his first reaction, was to give him a few spanks ( just light ones) and then deal with the medical concerns .
We also visited Borivili for short holidays at our bungalow in beautiful natural surroundings. Those were the days when we relaxed in the balcony on the first floor and enjoyed the light breeze blowing in from a creek nearby. Well water was so good , that the cup of tea, had a delectable taste. I have good memories of pulling water from the well. However we still required to replenish our water requirements from a bullock cart carrying water container. We relished the mangoes we plucked from the trees in our orchard.
There were more holidays later in Goa. But Dad’s visits were few on those trips. He was a staunch Indian and involved in the freedom struggle with his uncle Dr. Ubaldo Mascarenhas, who later became the Mayor of Bombay. Hence he was on a black list of the ruling Portuguese in Goa until Liberation. The holidays in other parts of India are still fresh. We had a few , but beautiful ones. ….in Bangalore, Nainital and Matheran. I treasure those holidays as we really enjoyed family time and got refreshed .
Even though he encouraged us all in our education. I really appreciate his special concern and patience for me, when I faced challenges of exam stress and choice of careers in my youthful days.
He worked very hard and never thought of retirement. He reached out to many people in the course of his medical practice. We learnt of his generosity, when many patients returned long after his passing away. Even though he never joined serious politics, he was well versed in current affairs and I would often hear him express very mature views on problems the country faced. On several occasions he was requested to stand for elections, but turned down these offers, for the sake of his own family responsibilities. We were a close family , but he also handled the affairs of the extended family, which involved property and other legal matters; this eventually took a toll on his health.
A quiet man indeed. However some of his accomplishments speak for him. He was a Gold Medallist in Pathology at King Edward Memorial Medical College. He also won medals in Badminton and in his Stamp Collections … The Philatelic Society of India Exhibition of Stamps. He served in his quiet way on Committees for the Underprivileged, like the Society of Piety and Tagore Society( for reaching out to students in Education)
The additional worries and responsibilities, led to him experiencing several strokes due to high blood pressure. He slowed down and it was a compulsory retirement from his private medical practice . Even then I was amazed to hear his shuffle as he came down the stairs to sit with us and enjoy some exciting matches of the Football World Cup or Hockey or some of the Olympic Games.
He experienced a mini revival some days before he passed away. It was such a joy to see his smile on Easter Morning. He even visited my brother next door for a birthday celebration. But that was his last walk ……….he slept peacefully that night , to wake to eternity at 0030hrs on the 24th April 1984..
My Dad…..Dr. Micky (Michael) Leopold Mascarenhas…….R.I.P.