Goan Spirit Rules

Lionel Messias, Pushpa Iyengar and I go a long way back; 20 years to be precise. Lionel had been the chief of bureau of The Economic Times, while Pushpa had been the chief of bureau of The Times of India in Chennai. I had just joined the The Week magazine as its correspondent, after somehow convincing Mammen and Philip Mathew, and the editor T.R. Gopal that I could speak Tamil better than 'Kalaignar' (The Artist) Muthuvel Karunanidhi. Fortunately my grasp of the Tamil language, or mostly the lack of it, was never put to the test, but that is a different story.

The three of us stayed in touch in Chennai, and subsequently in Hyderabad, where Lionel and Pushpa had relocated. By then, I had moved to The Economic Times in Hyderabad. Pushpa and I were subsequently colleagues at the Deccan Chronicle. At the Chronicle, Pushpa's attention to detail in all the articles she wrote or commissioned is something that is apparent at www.goanspirit.com as well.

The web site is easy on the eye, and its color scheme is pleasant. The content is also varied and well-written. I have an idea it will soon be the go-to site for all things Goa.

I have been to Goa two times. The first time, about 10 years ago, was a hurried trip for a weekend. I did not get to explore much of Goa.

The second time was a more leisurely visit, along with my wife. We were there for five days, and both of us could not get enough of the Portuguese quarter of Goa. I also took a fancy to an old Portuguese-era mansion on the river front. An inquiry, purely academic, revealed that the mansion was: 1. Not for sale; 2. It cost upwards of Rs. 3 crores; and 3. It belonged to either the Dempo or the Salgaocar family, I don't remember which. Both families, I was told by the guard at the gate to the mansion, were part of the Goan elite. My wife and I stood and stared at the mansion, till the guard started scowling at us. We came away impressed by the old-world charm of Goa. We hope to go back for a visit soon.

Meanwhile, my wife and I will be sure to check out the happenings in Goa on www.goanspirit.com. I wish Lionel and Pushpa and their web site all success.

Shaukat H Mohammed, Hyderabad

April 6, 2013