Hansel asks if oil could be found near a volcano, said my smug lecturer, and smiles spread across the faces of everyone in my class.
As a 19 year old I suddenly realized that I had been on this planet for almost 2 decades yet I knew next to nothing about what was below what I walked upon.
In that flash of insight, I was no more a biologist, and became an eager student of the earth; climbing the Ghats scouring for geodes, or climbing down a meteorite crater in 48°C weather.
I carved on wood, I rescued snakes, bunked university to wade in the mangroves of Zuari to catch humongous 2 kilo crabs…and then my University teacher told me… “you will never get a job at this rate.”
He did not realize that I was studying the Tambdi Mati (lateritic soils) so characteristic of Goa, and the field work was worth more than any textbook in his class.
So, I was hired before I finished my Masters, and was transplanted immediately to New Zealand.
I now describe samples of rock coming from 4km under the earth, and look for traces of oil or gas, constantly on the move between Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
I have lived out of a suitcase for 4 years now and I don’t have a permanent address.
Goa remains home. I make excuses and fly back twice a year; for the sake of Furtad mangoes, for the smell of rain on dry earth, for feni, for choris pao, and most of all to see my family.
I lived all my life in Goa, and yearn to be based back on home soil, blending feni (our best kept secret) and ploughing the experience I have gained back to the place and society that made me. Blogging regularly at tambdimati: the Goa review is a first step towards that goal.