we had an afternoon. we had a car. we had petrol. we had energy. as we made our way from old goa to panaji leaving behind the gorgeous ruins, churches and history, we saw the board for the ferry, “Divar Island”. this was the plan for the afternoon. we drove onto the ferry, parked the car and stepped out to stand near the front. divar is an island on the river mandovi and is only connected to the mainland by ferry. however inconvenient it seems, the locals don’t want a bridge. the isolation has kept this island, despite it’s proximity to the capital city, remote and rather protected from the unraveling eye of the tourist and the destructive eye of the businessman. divar is just a few winding roads, that have the meandering quality of not leading anywhere. you drive down those tiny lanes but do not go anywhere. there are picturesque old bungalows on either side of the road that take you right back to portuguese times with their tiled roofs, pillared verandahs and wooden-slatted windows.
the original occupation of the people of divar was farming, and still is. large paddy fields and vegetables grown in small gardens. the ferry point is still the meet-up point and some believe where all romance begins at divar. there is one small school and a couple of chapels.
these are a series of photos to take you for a drive about this island.
there are beautiful bungalows at every bend. some small and homely and others that seem to go on forever. many locked up with owners in shiny, crowded and densely concrete mumbai. i wonder why?
some in pristine condition, but there are always those that are falling apart; ignored and left like a orphaned plant till total annihilation.
there was this one huge house that was so colourful that it felt like we needed to cover our eyes and wonder what kind of people lived there. fortunately, it was the village panchayat office and now someone’s home. yet, why should even a panchayat office be so distastefully bright, i do not know!
every house had decorative name boards with the pretty portuguese styled tiles.
and a curious feature were these animal figurines at the gate. one even had birds and peacocks decorating the main house. the best one where the pigs sauntered in and made the porch their shed!
we roamed around those aimless streets and then turned around and made our way back to the mainland. on either side of the road lay empty fields and the monsoon’s presence announced in the buds and shoots. a lone tree stood guard of another time and another memory. we drove on by a football field sitting in the lap of emerald green enclosed by water and hills at some distance.
divar makes for a lovely evening spent in goa, away from the beaches and the incessant ‘coolness’ of the shacks. there is a peace, a quiet and a worldly wisdom about this tiny island. and i hope that it never gets popular or populated. if you plan to visit, consider the portuguese festival called ‘bondeira’. it is normally sometime in august so 2015 is when it might happen, but do keep a look out.
make it happen:
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