Sunday, April 15, 2007

These are my Children

Poignant, bittersweet, earthy. Nine heartwarming slices of life from Goa about empty nests, affections betrayed, relations made and unmade.The entanglements and entailments of human feeling echo through this engaging gallimaufry of stories from the pen of one of Goa's finest writers. In this deeply sensitive translation from the Konkani, These Are My Children mirrors a Goa that may have changed with time yet holds on steadfastly to a character and energy that is all its own.

The Statesman
(Thursday, 12th April, 2007)
From the Katha stable comes the book These are my Children by Konkani writer, Damodar Mauzo, which has been translated by Xavier Cota into English. The book narrates stories from Goa that speak of affections, love, betrayal and relations made and unmade. Human feelings are aplenty in these nine beautiful portrayals by one of Goa's finest writers.

Rich in vocabulary and few characters, the nine not-so-short stories have strong characters – rich and poor, good and evil – that impart an important message. Whether it is living in harmony or treating the rich and poor as equal or even debating the righteousness of someone’s actions; the stories are educative and important for character building.

The entanglements and entailments of human feelings echo through this engaging range of stories. In this deeply sensitive translation, changes with time that have entered Goa are spoken of but repeatedly narrates the character and energy that is typical; of the place. How Goa through its very strong characteristic customs and values retains its old world charm in spite of the ever-growing changes engulfing the new world is the main theme behind the book.

The Vow is a story about a priest and an old man. The priest finds solace in treating the needy., telling people about God and His grace while the old man shows strength of character by keeping a vow that a mother once kept to get her son back. The priest deeply moved by the old man’s faith, devotion and fatherly affection, learns more about life and God through him.

When sons go awry and do not listen to their father, sometimes young age and deep conviction in one’s abilities leads the youthful, intelligent men onto a path of their own. Minguel’s Kin is also the story of a man whose son goes away to prove his mettle without the help of his father and his money.

The story sharing the name of the book is These are my Children. This story narrates the woes of an old woman in Goa who bore three children, Abel, Anthony and Angela but all three of them go to foreign lands leaving her alone. She loves the coconut trees in her yard as they are named after her children reminding her of them and keeping her company. When the notice to hand over the land to the government is served so that a train path can be laid there, she is troubled as now with the land would go her children (the trees) she had nurtured with immense care and great love. Here is an excerpt from the story, These are my Children.

It was a nightmare. She tossed and turned the whole night long.

The three saplings she had planted in the names of her children had grown into healthy coconut trees. She had lavished those young plants with all the maternal love that couldn’t reach her children across the seas. They weren’t just like her children. They were her very own Angela, Anthony and Abel.

“Don’t pour your heart out for them, dear,” Diniz would chide. “After all, they’re only trees. What if one of them falls in a storm, tomorrow?”

And she would be furious. “Why should the tree fall? If it must, then may it fall on me! If it’s ruined, may I be ruined with it!”

- Aroma Sah.
The author

The Translator
Xavier Cota

Publishers: Katha
Cover Design: Geeta Dharmarajan
Category: Katha Konkani Library
Statistics: 5.5" x 8" [PB]
Price: Rs 200 [India and the subcontinent only]

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