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Saturday, 19 November 2016

NaBloPoMo Day 19: Gifts of Being Brought Up in Goa

So, after all these days of reminiscing about growing up in Goa, it is but natural that the next thought that comes to my mind is to talk of why I think it is the best thing that could happen to me and all of us sisters..

1. Beyond the obvious natural beauty of the place, Goa is a clean and safe place. Growing up here, we imbibed an innocence that comes by virtue of a small-town upbringing. There was no fear of danger lurking around the corner if kids were unsupervised, so parents also were not as anxious, and let us explore things on our own. All these factors put together, we grew up trusting that this world is a good place and people are good, devoid of the cynicism that easily settles over the city-bred.

2. Goan people were very accepting of us; in all the places we lived – Surla, Thivim, Sirsai, Ponda and Tisca, our neighbors were mostly honest, simple in outlook and very helpful. For example – in some places, they gladly helped us access electricity and water until the connections came to our house; they invited us for their festivals, sent sweets across to our house and in general, never treated us like we were not one of them.
3. We learned to adapt to people of a language, culture and lifestyle that were quite different from ours. It helped us develop an inbuilt respect for everyone and gave us the healthy attitude of accepting everyone and living in harmony versus a narrow-minded, short-sighted spirit of mere tolerance.

4. With a father committed to his work and a homemaker mother, we were thrust into a situation where there was no one else but ourselves to rely on. What all and whom all could one man run around for? Unlike our cousins in Karnataka, there was no male escort to watch over us or run around for our errands – naturally, we grew adept at managing on our own. We grew independent not just in action, but also in thought, learning to analyze things by ourselves and take decisions on our own, without waiting for someone else to take the initiative. To this day, this quality serves not only the 6 daughters of Ramaiyengar well, but also his 5 sons-in-laws and 5 grandchildren!
5. Because we were in Goa, all of us got a good education. This may not have been possible in Bangalore – because one, here, fees including donation fees are all high and my father would definitely not have the economic wherewithal to educate all 6 of us as highly as in Goa. There, we all got merit seats, so the fees were nominal. The second reason why I believe studying in Goa was a boon is that we were far away from the well-meaning relatives who all kept asking Anna not to educate his daughters very much saying 'highly educated boys are difficult to come by, so who will marry your educated girls?'  Of course, Anna was very sure he wanted his girls – husband or no husband – to be capable of leading fulfilling lives did what he thought met that purpose.

Perhaps the biggest gift of being brought up in Goa was the exposure we got to a spiritual atmosphere. Whether it was attending pravachans or being part of a weekly bhajan group and hosting bhajan programs at home, or doing recitation of the Geet Ramayan, this beautiful land ensured that we got prepared with the education, skills and faith to face all that life had in store for us.

1 comment:

  1. True words about Goa. Such good qualities about Goa is rarely known to people outside. You have to spend some reasonable time in Goa to experience.

    You are quite right about you and your sisters education in Goa. Not just in Bangalore, anywhere else it would have been impossible to get higher education on merit alone

    But it all started with the bold decision of your father to take a job in unknown Goa many years back. He has managed to give you all more than a decent education in spite of many hurdles. I admire him for that. Know how difficult it is.

    Agree about spiritual introduction through weekly bhajans. This fact when mentioned was met with curious look back home.

    Really enjoyed your Goa memories. Hope this is not the end and you can add more later.


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