Walks

THE DON VADDO WALK

This is a walk through the tiny ward of Don in the village of Saligao. The walk takes you through the village ward and o the top of the hillock for a panoramic view of the whole village. There is nothing unusual about the walk except that you take it one of Saligao’s most illustrious residents, Jean Kalgutkar.

Begin this walk at the chapel dedicated to St. Anne on CHOGM Road on the way to the popular beachfront. Get off the bus you have come in and take the narrow lane that takes you to Jean Kalgutkar’s house on your right. Consumer activist and choral singer Jean Kalgutkar is a fund of knowledge on the village she lives in and say she “could take this walk up to fifteen times in a day”. To make life a little easy, however, it might be a good idea to call her on 0832-2278006 and ask her to accompany you if she has not yet completed her walking quota for the day.

If you are on your own, nose-dive into the lane across the street from the chapel. Pass Fieldside Bar on your left as you make a nodding acquaintance with two fabulous-looking silk cotton trees on your lift and model Goan houses in front of you. Paddy fields both divide and unite all the various elements in this pastoral scene. The silk cotton flowers in the month of February before the trees bear fruit. Summer breezes then fill both the air and Goan homes with fluff from the pods of silk cotton. A nuisance for some and soft pillows for others!
The paddy fields are devoid of paddy at this time of the year. Instead, corn, tambdi bhaji (red spinach) and Goan chillies splash the brown with spurts of red and green. Jean says she takes this walk every evening for the exercise but one suspects it is more for the opportunity to say “’hello!” to half the village. Beware of being stopped in the middle of the land of her ancestors in 1995 and hasn’t looked back since. “I’ve learned something new about Goa every day since I first came,” she says.

Look for the exposed stone house on the right. It is a palatial house but bereft of a family to fill it with the sights and sounds of laughter. Listen to the calves complain as evening falls and they are tethered to their poles for the night. Dodge children on their bicycles on this little village street. Now look at the house with the columns and railings printed in green. The house was in shambles until a family bought it in 1990 and restored it to its present state. Villa Valer Ida, on the other hand was built from scratch in 1967. Goan house names can sometimes invite a degree of curiosity. In this name we have a combination of the names of a husband, Valerio, and wife Ida, Almost every available space on the front façade has been engraved with their initials in the most endearing fashion.

You can either take the little bye-lane on the left and walk through an extended pastoral scene or you can take your walk a little more seriously and literally, head for the hills. Jean walks up the hilly terrain at breakneck speed! Slow her down a bit and pause a minute to take in the fragrance of the flowers. The cashew is in bloom in February its heady scent will have you begging for more. Listen to the roar of traffic from way below on the other side of the hill and try and reach the top through a maze of trees. Jean reaches choral singing at Goa’s prestigious Goa Kala Academy. “The children here are so musically inclined and the place so beautiful,” she says, “now I don’t want to die!”

Look at the largish house on the little chapel in the vaddo as you go down the same way that you went up. It belongs to Camilo Colaco of the Saligao Civil and Consumer Cell, Goa’s first consumer rights group which is Fighting for cooking gas connections, regular power supply the question of potable water.