They had the southern Malabar Coast covered and with the capture of Tiracol, they had an early-warning vantage point on the
The five friends, Gautam and Rita, Yogi (of the Motwane family whose historic public address systems, Chicago Radio, broadcast the nationalist message of Gandhi and other leaders of the freedom movement), Estelle and your Goa-besotted correspondent, sat on the battlement sipping beer. We were not that concerned about Portuguese naval strategy. We just sat transfixed at the Monsoon magic on display. We watched the giant whitecaps of the choppy brown sea attack the shores of the
Then, as the rain came pelting down and clouds of mystery poured confusion on the ground, we watched the beach and the river disappear from sight; a curtain of water descended to obscure our vision.
It was like a performance by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra raised exponentially to the nth degree. Our ears were filled with the wail of the whistling wind, the staccato rhythm of the falling rain, the crash of the waves and the tympani of raindrops falling on our heads; our eyes were blinded with sheets of monstrous rain and jags of lightning in the sky. Behold, I thought to myself, the menacing majesty of Nature!
Our experience at Tiracol was a stunning counterpoint to an afternoon we spent on the
It is a huge island with mangroves and swamps and lush paddy fields. The only link it has to the mainland and therefore to the world is a ferry that operates all day until midnight. With impressive villas and pretty cottages, the island is a dream. You can walk or bicycle around the place with no care for traffic.
The jewel in Divar’s crown is the hilltop church, which is being restored to its pristine grandeur and offers from its balconies and its foreground, sweeping views of the
The story goes that the church once had a bell donated by the master of a sinking ship that sailed up the Mandovi and made it to Divar. He survived and in thanksgiving presented his ship’s bell to the island's church. The bell sadly was too loud and shattered the windows of the church and nearby houses. So it was moved to the Se Cathedral in Old Goa, across from the famous Bom Jesus Church that houses the remains of St Francis Xavier.
As we wandered the island, we came upon the Devaaya Resort that occupies nearly five acres on its northeastern tip. We thought we might stop there to have a drink and refresh ourselves but were refused entry. When we asked why, no explanation was forthcoming. This led us to conclude it was a shady place built by outsiders in league with
No wonder that Goans are up in arms against outsiders and their development projects in their haven. Clearly, the developers of this resort had the clout to override any objections the local people of Divar may have had. Its secretive exclusivity is a blot on the bucolic island. Many questions need to be asked about the place.
Aside of that glitch, our sojourn in
copyright rajiv desai 2008