“Everything is a journey,” was a reaction to my choice of the theme ‘Journeys’ for this issue of Tambdi Mati. Inevitably so, since life is a moving-on. And since Joseph Campbell reminds us of the Hero’s Journey, we may for a moment believe, immodestly, that we are in congenial company.
People in Goa are used to comings and goings. They have frequently left home in search of employment, or ideological freedom, or the higher reaches of education. A standard greeting among people in Goa was the affectionate “Chitt ailia?” i.e. “Have you received a letter (from your folks who are away)?” Goa’s history talks journeys, those of visitors to her land like van Linschoten as also those of her own migrating gaon-bhau/bhoinni such as Dharmanand Kosambi. And among the big fish there are countless quiet names, the unnamed, unseen presence, of men and women who have braved fearful journeys, and have woven into the culture of the land rich textures and joyful or sorrowful patterns. Some of these stories keep pace here with us.
Travelling in the Goa of the yesteryears was slow-paced, full of stories. The train from Londa crossed the border to a foreign country called British India. Ships carried brides away from their families to Africa to marry arranged bridegrooms, and young men to Europe on strange quests. The first little aircraft landed in Mormugão on 19th November 1930. It was named Marão and the flight reached Goa in a mere 19 days! An accidental collision on a road between a car and a horse-carriage? A rare occurrence, recorded on camera, fortunately in black and white.
So journey, people did, to and from their tambdi mati. A distant call? We, here, think nothing of hiring a ‘pilot’ to fly us from the tintto to the nearby bus-stand.
When do we arrive at Ithaca? Who can tell? Ask our poet-in-residence, Salil Chaturvedi, and he will quote the Chinese maxim at us “If we don’t change our direction, we’ll end up where we are headed.” Perhaps numerous Ithacas beckon to us, journeys within journeys, Chinese boxes yet to be freed open. Yete mi. Punha lavkarach bhetu. Haun ietam.
- Isabel de Santa Rita Vás, Guest Editor
(Cover image for issue, courtesy Vivek Menezes)