The East Indians of Vasai

Skipping top destinations to go local


Skipping top destinations to go local

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Portuguese inscriptions on the Vasai Fort wall

Travel is always associated with seeing places outside of your neighbourhood. Seeing the hills, valleys and sceneries that one must have seen only in wallpapers or pictures of economically comfortable friends and their Facebook albums.

I’ve often realised that aspiring travellers never look around them intently so as to recognise the true potential of exploring their surroundings – for example, age-old villages and communities. The distinct architectural style, language, food and festivals that they indulge in in their daily life.

I realised that I had hit bulls-eye only after I pondered on the subject. I happened to visit an East Indian house a few weeks back in Vasai in Mumbai. Now brick and concrete, Mrs. Faroz who has been staying with her family for the past three decades spoke about Vasai during the time of the Portuguese. What’s different you ask? Everything.

She spoke about houses from the very same village made of thatched roofs and high ceilings. People were converted by just dropping bread into their water source (usually wells) they drank from.

Also Read: 7 Places To Visit While You’re In Chennai¬†

It is after this rapid conversion that surnames in the locality in the western and southern part of Vasai changed to Menezes, Lopes, Almeida and Gonsalves. She went on to further add that their food is mainly fish curry which they eat with red rice. The making of their popular bottle masala has also undergone change; while earlier her ancestors ground the masala themselves, today they give it to the local grinder due to the lack of time.

Vasai has undergone major development in the last 10 years but the villages have remained the same. One can see the difference when they enter the narrow by-lanes which endlessly lead you from one village to another and past the facade.

A weekend trip can always be made to Vasai for people who are interested in history and like to travel. While the Tungareshwar waterfalls are a popular tourist attraction, the East Indian villages of Vasai are waiting to be explored.

Mode of Transport: A cycle is the best way to travel through the villages in Vasai.



From U to You

The slow death of the English language

english.jpgIt started with Orkut scraps and then Facebook chats. SMS (Short Message Service) was still better back in 2009 when I joined Facebook. Sadly, the English language has been crushed under the gigantic and ever-growing weight of what I would like to call the ‘Facebook language and dictionary’.

Facebook was never the problem to be honest, it was and is our lack of respecting words and languages which has led to its death. I was part of the ‘u cnt reli write dis prply’ age till a friend told me that it hurt the eyes to read such text. Not to forget unnecessary over-emphasis – “Wht??? Rlly?? I cn write prply alryt!!!!” on words.

I may come across as an English snob in a land where English is not known by many people and I do not have any problem with that but digitally illegible English is written by the learned and the privileged masses in society and that is where my problem lies.

It has been three years since I stopped writing in a language which I do not consider English any more. I can now easily say that it feels better taking that extra second writing you rather than u.

It isn’t difficult to write full words and sentences because nobody is ever in a hurry and neither is one considered cool by writing in degraded English. It is rather an attempt to write in well-crafted sentences that is quite impressive to me and is certainly the need of the hour. If this isn’t a valid point, then I honestly do not understand much of many words my friends speak because I wasn’t there at the time when the word was invented.

It is only after I realised how difficult it was to understand what I wrote in my so called ‘Facebook language and dictionary’ that I decided I had to write properly enough for people to understand.

The most famous example has to be of this story that is all over the internet. A woman once sent a message to a family member of a dead person that read ‘LOL Katie’ at the end of the message. Earlier, the woman listening to her daughter use the word LOL often, thought it meant lots of love and so sent the message to the child of the deceased who was confused when she received the message who thought why was the woman laughing when somebody had died.

Hope I’ve awakened a few out there without trying to be a snob.