I'm a Goan woman, working in Mumbai as the founder of a studio called Totem Creative. I try to make the world happier, safer and more meaningful. I believe education, knowledge and awareness, art, writing and creating Social Impact are my means to achieve that end.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Me: So we're going to Emeralds right?

Ap: ?? Am I loud?

The Mental Convict

23rd Dec 09

The Mental Convict

So there I was, next to Azaad maidan, with Supro. We were experimenting on my cam. It was a sunny evening, and I was telling her of the aperture value, when suddenly, out of nowhere comes this man!

He had short cropped hair – looked like he got an electrical shock. (Maybe he did land up in a rehab after all, right Supri?) Anyway.
Here I was, taking the pic, and “Are you a professional photographer?” Supri thought he was here to ask the price of the cam, which was his next question.
“No, actually, I’m just trying to learn my new cam.” I said, confused.
“Oh! It must be expensive. How much is it?” he asked. “I’m a dentist you see! I practiced it in Panjim, but now I’m doing cosmetic surgery, in Nainital. I’m studying in Panchgani also. Dentistry is like an art you see,” he said, flapping his hand over an invisible canvas that might’ve been someone’s teeth. Supri imagined him painting teeth with a flat brush.
He continued, “Do you study here? Are you a lawyer?”
“Um, no, I’m studying Design.” I said.
“Where? Fine-art College over here?”
“No, Pune, actually. I stay here.”
“Oh! My full family consists of doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers, dentists and all. But I like photography! I like painting also!” said he, excited. Supri and I exchanged the ‘he’s nuts’ look. She wondered if he’d ever stop talking.

“Do you know I’m related to Mario Miranda – the cartoonist? He’s my cousin! I know his whole family.”
Supri must’ve really lost hope in him now. She didn’t believe a word of what he said, and was considering reporting him. I, on the hand believed every word.
“Really? Wow.” I said. “I know Pablo, his nephew. His nephew, right Supri?”
Supri nodded – “He met with an accident a few years ago.”
“Lucious’ son right? Was Pablo his first wife’s son, or his second wife’s son? Oh yeah, Pablo no his name is? He was so small! Must’ve become big now no? And? Whose daughter are you?”
Before I could open my mouth to answer, he turned to Supro.
“And you look just like your mother!” he exclaimed.
I was beginning to doubt his sanity now. Supri looked taken aback.
“My mother?” she whispered. “She works in a bank..”
“Yeah! A bank! Or your father, one of the two. My father started the first bank here.”
He mentioned the name of the bank. “He was the first catholic amongst the Brahmins. I know Portuguese, I’m Portuguese. That’s why I don’t know English so well.”
His English seemed fine to us.
“I’m coming to Goa after 10 years. I did 33 years of dentistry you know.” he said.
“Oh, why did you come?” asked Supri.
“Actually I divorced my first wife. I married my first love then. She died in a car-accident...”
“Oh I’m so sorry…” said Supro, apologetically. She was wearing her mournful puppy-face, the one I always fell for. But the ‘man’ just brushed away her condolences (according to her) and rattled on about his other relationships.
“Then I married my first girlfriend. I used to play myujeek you know,” he gestured, now wagging his hand over the strings of an invisible guitar, and bobbing his head to a make-believe tune.
Supri chucked. Her image of him was confirmed. She was sure he was an escaped mental convict from the lunatic asylum.
He continued, “I learned from the Academy of Myujeek you know? And Kala Academy.”
“Isn’t that in Altinho now?” I asked.
“What, Kala Academy?”
“No, the music Academy.”
He mumbled something to cover up his ignorance about the issue, and rambled on. “My wife and kids are out to kill me -” he said incoherently, slitting his hand over his throat.
Supri and I exchanged another one of those looks. Now it was getting freaky. Supri thought she was talking to some sort of murderer.
“I treated Pablo’s dad – Lucious you know! And his first wife, and his second wife. You know Souza towers? My family and I own that place. Those stupid Brahmins!”
Supri and I felt ourselves turning red and giving the ‘pissed Dory’ glances. He didn’t seem to notice.
“They intermarried into our family. The niece married the uncle twice.”
Twice? Supri thought. I didn’t know why she was using her brains with this guy. It was futile.
“The first generation always die. Some genetic disorder.”
Okay, so now he was a religious racist.
“They all die. Some genetic mutation happens and the always die. The second generation survives.”
’But, without the first generation, how would there be a second?’ thought Supri. Again, she was unnecessarily using her brains.
“They settled in London, America and all. Half my family is there.”
He seemed to be coming to some sort of conclusion, because he turned to walk back but turned back to finish off.
“How much is the camera?” he asked, randomly.
Supri’s mind was processing his family tree, but her brain activity came to an abrupt stop.
“Um, it’s 35 grand, I think.” I said, confused.
“Oh.” he said, and left.
“It was nice meeting you,” my voice was fading.
Supri and I turned, and burst out laughing. We even turned around to see if he was stalking us.
Funny man.