What Will I tell them now?

Food for Thought - Poems
Poem by: Tony Fernandes

On my journeys the world over
I meet and speak to people about Goa,
At the slightest chance I sing praises
About our traditions and culture;
About our mando and durpod,
Zothi and grandma’s stories,
Endlessly I chatter;
Have they now heard about Scarlett?
I mean the crime or whatever, not the fever,
If so, what will I tell them now?

On my travels I show pictures of Goa
to people I meet
and a childhood picture of myself
standing in front of the chapel I carry.
Of our sun-drenched beaches,
white-washed churches,
And way-side crosses,
mosques, temples and green fields,
In words a picture I paint
of Shigmo and Carnival parades
that to visitors provide an exciting treat;
Incessantly I rant about our bazaars and feasts;
Have they now seen the pictures of faeces
Along the rivers and beaches? I wonder
Then what will I tell them now?

On my voyages to various distant shores,
In our ancestral proverbs I relate about the wit;
I harp about dedicated warmth in our pleasant welcome;
Proudly I insist that peace is our emblem;
That in harmony we dwell with no problem;
Have they heard about the priest being beaten? I wonder,
Tell me then, what will I tell them now?

Often my colleagues are held spellbound and awestruck,
“Sounds like a fascinating place” they often say,
Declares another: “I must go there on a holiday”,
“I am sure you will love it,
you will surely enjoy your stay” I firmly say,
“I was there some years ago” asserts another,
Have they seen the concrete jungles
that now mar the countryside?
I wonder, But what will I tell them now?

Performing like an ambassador
at the slightest option,
My friends to rapt attention
I hold with a history lesson;
Boasting about our land I depict
a picture of the lone farmer
In the fields with his plough,
Of fishermen braving rough seas,
hoping for an ample catch
And along the unspoiled seashore
pulling in the nets at dusk;
Have they seen the brazen,
belligerent, paunchy Russians
That roam the beaches now?
Perhaps not, I wonder what will I tell them now?

Latest events have inflicted on her a huge blow,
Left a scar on her brow,
White sands are now stained red,
My land once perfect and pure,
Unblemished and untouched;
Has now been tainted and corrupted,
Hatred in society has permeated,
My heart is torn, my pride is worn,
A guilty feeling I bear,
of myself to blame,
How will I face my new and old friends?
What will I tell them now?

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