WE EVEN as the movement to get back to reading gathers momentum the Out-of-Context Book Club changed its venue from the usual Broadway Book Shop to Café Cremeux at MG Road, Panjim, on May 13, 2023. Perhaps once in a way we booklovers should meet at different venues, says Archana Nagvekar who one of the moving spirits behind the reading, talking and re-visiting of books new and old….the book was pre. On this occasion the book for re-visiting was the classic read of Jack London’s novel “White Fang.” An American novel which traces the story of a wild wolf dog of the same name and his journey towards domestication in the Yukon and Northwest Territories during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush. London offers a unique perspective of White Fang and it’s a treat to get such sensitive insight into the life and times of a wild wolf’s interaction with the world of humans – where the Charles Darwin’s law of the jungle rules or so to speak. The fittest survive? Yes and No, it’s up to the human beings concerned. “White Fang” examines the violent nature of both wild animals and humans while exploring complex themes such as morality, redemption, motherhood, nature versus nurture and of course the law of the wild in sub-arctic conditions. Jack London’s book was hailed as a real coming-of-age novel from a dog’s point of view! Definitely a book to re-visit one of these days. Present for the reading were Archana Nagvekar of course, Eric Pinto and a few more including Joanita Lobo all the way from Aldona who presented the book in a most inimical way! Also, this Café Cremaux has a grand old world balcony offering the lovely scene of peepal and other trees, come the rains we are returning here for an afternoon’s worth of looking and listening to the rain fall! They also do a good lemon soda here and we talked the F & B man here to put kokum soda on the menu — after all this is Goa where kokum rules in every kitchen (never mind that so does lemons).


SOME Goankars are excited about the new Vande Bharat train scheduled to run Goa-Mumbai-Mumbai-Goa! We hear trials are over now and soon it will an 8-hours train ride on fast track to Mumbai and back. From all accounts a real boon for Goenkars and Mumbaikars. Commuters will be able to catch the train early morning and get to Mumbai by 2pm, finish work and catch the train back to Goa by 9pm, next morning in Goa by 5am. No disturbing relatives at night or staying in Mumbai overnight stays. The question is will the Vande train touch Thivim railway station? It means less taxi fare for people headed to Panaji. What the other hitches are is left to be seen. At the moment all’s rosy for Goa-Mumbai lovers and vice versa! If there’s a rush the fares will be steep before you can blink!


WE finally know how many varieties of Goan mangoes there are! According to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) complex at Old Goa they have identified 82 goan varieties of mangoes and these have been evaluated for their commercial value. Quoting senior scientist AR Desai, “We have about 82 Goan varieties in our germ plasm bank at ICAR’s horticulture section.” ICAR, he says, has a list of 77 varieties but among these, especially Mancurado and Hilario there are different varieties and with their inclusion the list is 82 mango roll-call strong in Goa! At one time it was believed that Goa had a 100 varieties but now…some varieties have died out perhaps because farmers are not planting them. According to Dr Desai the varieties with potential for commercial use are multiplied and if farmers ask for specific varieties, ICAR provides the seedlings. While Mancurado and Hilario are much loved there area also Jesuit and Toranja and Monserrate which is good for mango jam. The variety called Karel is ideal for making the green mango pickle called “miskut.” There is also the pulp Cardozo Mancurad variety growing on a tree in the Cardozo family compound in Mapusa, this is a superior mango variety! This is to say one may have a pick of mangoes in Goa, you just have to go from market to market. Superior or inferior, no Goans go without feasting on some mango or another come the mango month of May. Mangoes offer a host of ideas in preparation of the monsoon month – make mango pickle miskut or masala-stuffed whole mangoes, mango jam called mangada, mango saath or aam papad thin or thick and a lot more welcome ingredients with mango at the heart of a recipe.

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