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Mapusa: Yesterday and Today – A Reminiscent Tour by Domnic P.F. Fernandes

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Mapusa was once a sleepy small town in Bardez and grew out of the settlement known as Gaunsavaddo that was by the river, and Angodd.  Today, the bustling city is the commercial capital of North Goa, has a colourful market, and has produced a number of proud sons of Goa.

Former Saudi-based expat, a resident of Anjuna and a writer who honed his skills in cyberspace, Domnic PF Fernandes released his book in October 2012. Fernandes’ book is more his own personal reminiscences rather than a formal history.

To contrast the change that has come about, he takes a walking tour through the urban area, describing what he knew of it in the late 1950s and what exists today. Many names, both prominent and humble, people its pages. Right from the Viscount of Bardez, to one of the most famous jewellery designers across the world Ambaji Shinde, the Mapusa-linked Aquino Braganca who was aide of former Mozambique President Samora Machel, bishops who trace their roots to Mapusa and the many merchants and businessmen who make Mapusa what it is.

Across 23 chapters, the 320-page book walks across different streets of Mapusa, entering from the side closest to Anjuna. It also gives an insight into the lives and times of two generations ago. Incidentally, the author’s earlier books include Domnic’s Goa (2007), which also focuses on life at the times of the last stages of colonial rule, just before speedy change set in.

In his book on Mapusa, Fernandes describes different localities, the traditional trades, the colonial police and some prominent landmarks — the beautiful municipal garden and the well-organised market set up in 1960. Carnival and official marriage procedures, old administration buildings, springs around Mapusa, traditions like casting out the Evil Eye, and the currency of pre-Liberation Goa, are the other themes touched on. One chapter gives a detailed description of the Mapusa weekly Friday market, and how villagers from all around brought in their specific produce to sell there. Many prominent homes and landmarks feature in the book, which contains over 170 photograph-based sketches. A few images are even eight to ten decades old.

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