Monthly Archives: September 2017

Is there no room in the Inn?

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‘and remember always to welcome strangers for by doing this, some people have entertained angels.’ ( Hebrews 13:2a)

What is it to host a visitor?  It means..  a willingness to give up some of your space.

Hosting with  great  desire and enthusiasm can have a tremendous impact on guests.

Our experience at our home in Mumbai, of caring for visitors from various countries, has given us  great joy. Some of these have helped us in our Community way of way of life  to be lived in the Christian context…in todays world..

Our love for hospitality has given Anjean and I the desire to  try our dishes from various  cuisines .  Dishing out these …to our guests is an added bonus , when positive comments flow in.

Our home is special….but our hearts are large enough to accommodate as often and as many as we can. Of course when it comes to surrendering our bedroom, it is a small sacrifice compared to the joy of hosting.

We are ably helped by Sushila,, but it is most often all hands on deck.

Our children have seen us hosting, and now do the same in their new homes..

Some of the remarks we heard from our guests are very amusing

“ Now tell me if I have got the ingredients right for this dish…while passing I got the aroma and think this is it.”

“ I eat what is placed before me” …no fuss at all.

“Wow, I am tasting  such hearty breakfast with eggs and bacon after a long time.” Being away from home.

“ Your pastas and swiss roll are exquisite”..

But the goan sausages and pullao always bring out the best comments.

This hosting experience has led us to  try our hand at hosting in Goa , through Airbnb , which is an international hosting site. For the past 20 years our apartment in Miramar was our holiday home. So it was only during the summer holidays that as a family , we visited Goa and spent at least a month ( for me only 15 days due to work )

The journey from Mumbai to Goa by car  was always an adventure.  We would load the car with practically everything needed, from the guitar, keyboard, violin , and cricket bats, badminton rackets etc. and all other requirements needed for a long stay.

Loading the car was a ceremony , the previous night. We then left early next morning with only one driver(myself) and a navigator( Anjean) …to tell me what was ahead, or keep talking to prevent me from sleeping on the wheel. At the rear , our 4 children would be seated. Stops for breakfast , midmorning tea, lunch and evening tea, ended with our arrival in Goa.

On the way if the children had any arguments , my reprimand followed with“ I will stop and offload any one fighting “  which would stall heated discussions for a better seat or to avoid the sun beating on the person affected.

Entry into Goa was the most thrilling moment. In the early days, we sailed in the steam ships which took 24 hours to reach Goa from Bombay ( now Mumbai),….the next morning , we awoke to  a view of the sunrise, white beaches and the beautiful entry into the Panjim bay of Betim…who can forget the green of the palm  trees and pine trees on the fringe.

Times have changed and now it is either the flight or rail or road ( bus/car)

The latest is the ‘Tejas’ – a luxury super fast train fully airconditioned , which reaches Goa in 9 hours.

As I write this I see the best of this Konkan region fully forested and rivers and lakes and even water falls, as the monsoon is just ending. The Tejas is particularly good for tourists , as one can see the scenery out of the huge glass windows. The interior is like an aircraft and toilets with hands free appliances…most importantly very clean. The waiters have colourful resort type uniforms and meals provided with alacrity.

We have started hosting at Miramar since only few months , and have had a wide variety of guests. It feels so good to know that they appreciate home comforts without the formality of the hotel experience.

Earlier we never installed any of the latest amenities, as it served only as a holiday home for us. However to meet the expectations, we upgraded this home to include all the requirements.

The most interesting part, is that we still get to stay as a family ,at our apartment when we decide. So my grown up children , specially Karen who is  the eldest with her own family, are overjoyed at this development. She was the one who encouraged us to start giving this apartment on the Airbnb .

Lino, our man , a brother to me, takes good care of our guests. He sets up the place and is there to welcome and assist in any way. Suzanne our neighbor also helps in any emergency, Aparna a simple man does a good job of cleaning and scrubbing the place .

Anjean and I are thankful to the Lord, that we can continue to serve in this way.  All the more, as we are now retired, and our apartment helps to earn some income.

I did not mention,that my entire career at work was in the hospitality line…The last being at the YMCA International House. I still remember our motto was to provide every guest a “Home away from home” .

Our greatest asset was our workforce and their focus was ‘ always to care for every need of our guests, with a smile.’

You are weicome to check out our home at Miramar on

http://abnb.me/EVmg/TRDWPO2k8A

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Down Memory Lane with Tyronne

 

 

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We have had many renowned people in Matharpacady , but  Tyronne has been so different. Every ‘event’ in the Village  always saw Tyronne visiting the residents personally to encourage their participation in various ways. I even joked with him, that we would need a monument dedicated to him for such service, which kept the fabric of unity in the Village.

He is the last person to want himself  featured prominently on any forum; but invariably his determination to serve, brought him on several committees.

He schooled in St Isabels  and started working early in life. With two years of work experience he joined the  Britannia Industries  Ltd Co. where he served for 33 years. His dedication and hard work was recognized by the trust reposed in him, during his tenure with the Factory Manager’s Office.

“ I remember the times when requests for donations of biscuit hampers and boxes by relatives, friends and Charitable Institutions  were taken up by me, and  people’s hearts were gladdened, when the approval was granted by the Factory Manager.” His years of  secretarial service helped him to be astute in following up with important matters concerning the village and municipal authorities.

He has been  on the Cross Committee  for the past 50 years. Those were the days,  years ago when the Cross Feast was the high point of the village calendar. However the Vespas ( one day prior to the Feast) was the main  day. The Village square and avenue in front of the Oratory, had a border of Flags from different countries draped on either side. Potted plants would be specially brought down from Bapty’s Garden adjacent to the   bungalow behind the Holy Cross Oratory…  here is where  the late sisters,  Lily Baptista (Founder of St.Isabel’s , Daisy (Principal) and Violet(Supervisor Primary School) stayed and actively participated in the Cross Feast. Monarch Society has now replaced their bungalow.

The ‘Village Band’ gave us the flavor of things to come a fortnight earlier when  Frank Gonsalves (chello), Rene Rico (double bass),Francis (clarinet) Eusebio (chello) , Joaquim (trumpet), Arthur Sequiera(violin), Jennifer (piano) would practice. Charlie Gonsalves conducted the choir. Later Royden Gonsalves and Vinod joined up with the double bass and violin.

The Cross Feast was  usually held on the morning of  3rd May after the    Vespas on 2nd May . A lot of preparation went into the days before the feast. The Baptista brothers Dennis, David and Stanley along with Cliffy ( Tyronne’s brother) and many others were the silent volunteers behind the scenes. The Cross Committee planned well ahead. The entire Litany of Prayers were prayed  in  Latin, a language few of us really understood.

Years later the prayers were prayed in English .  Percy Pereira’s stentorius voice was well remembered when he raised his voice in prayerful intercession. Later   Sammy Leao and Martin Cardoso took up the baton . Peter Miranda never failed to back up the hymns with his electric organ. The daily novena prayers ended with traditional distribution of boiled gram . On some occasions vitamins or farsan was distributed.

Subsequently many more younger people  got involved leading the prayer with guitarists and organists to accompany the choir.

The Feast became the main day on 1st May, which was also dedicated to  St. Joseph  the Worker.

The Cross Committee became more innovative and included an entertainment programme after the Feast Mass. At one point there was even a Village Dance, which was later replaced by skits, choreographed dances by children and Housie; not forgetting the provision of  some substantial snacks.

Christmas was heralded in the village by the aroma of homemade sweets and cake. Tyronne’s sister Audrey( may her soul rest in peace) is fondly remembered for her delicious sweets. She was also an expert in embroidery , needle craft and flower making for weddings and important celebrations.

The  big Christmas Star of the village , was central to bringing   all the big guys of the village to join up to fabricate a huge star over the weeks ahead of Christmas. This work would be done late in the evenings, away from the public eye on the Viegas terrace. Those were the days when the young people enjoyed just hanging out and sang away with the guitar and bass box  accompaniment. The big star has now given way to numerous smaller stars hovering at all parts of the village, which gives it  a sparkling look , and draws numerous visitors to the village at this time.

Tyronne reminisces  “Diwali was celebrated with fireworks in the heart of the village and at Dr. Micky Mascarenhas’ home.”

“The Rosary Church Feast , in Mazagon, was one of the days when Kite Flying ended with mass participation and many released their kites on that day.”

“ Years ago , Carnival was held in the village and Peter Miranda was King Momo. I prepared the scroll, which was then  read out by the King in jest” remembers Tyronne.

Tyronne has served  on the  Board of Trustees of St Isabel’s School, since the past 27 years; he is now the Managing Trustee for the School, which is  mainly a Girls School, and has over 1600 students. Earlier it was  a co-ed school before 1968.

Tyronne is also a Board Member for the Bombay Institute of Deaf and Mutes since past 10 years. It is the oldest institution of this kind.

He stays at a quaint cottage  called ‘Anthonio Rest 1936’. A painting of it has been  specially done by Tyronne’s niece , Trudy, and  is proudly displayed on their sitting room wall.

The year 1936  signifies its renovation, but the cottage is actually more than 100 years old.

Like many homes in the village , the  walls were  thick and reinforced with  stones and other material before the repair and renovation.

Tyronne persisted in following up on civic issues and  Govt policies. Hence when the Development Plan of the city, prepared some years ago, showed a road passing through the village ..it was successfully thwarted through the intervention of St.Isabel’s School and the Matharpacady Resident’s Welfare Association (MRWA)

Even a Fish Market proposal in the vicinity of the Village was avoided with the cooperation   of St. Isabel’s School,  Monarch Society and the MRWA

St. Isabel’s Management succeeded in getting a favorable judgement from the Bombay High Court to stop the set up of the market in the stilted area of Monarch Society behind the Cross Oratory.

His involvement on these committees also helped in  followup with BEST for Water Supply and Electrical supply problems.

Tyronne’s message finally to us is “ have an open mind .. we may  not  all have the same view; so let’s  be tolerant and have a listening attitude . Let us  pray for our people, to be united and work together.”

Its no wonder that you see a small gathering of Village residents , praying at the Cross every evening.

Matharpacady still survives despite  the various fears arising from the gradual onslaught of redevelopment in the city of Mumbai. We hope it shines as a beacon of hope to many , and even to the numerous tourist groups that visit this pearl of the past.

 

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