Coincidences

By Radharao Gracias
10 October 2012 22:27 IST

The year; 1993.

The venue; Institute Menezes Braganza. The occasion; public hearings of the Ozha Commission on the realignment of the Konkan Railway. The hall is packed with people demanding realignment.

The KRC has brought retired Chief Engineer of Indian Railways Manuel Menezes, as their star witness. He steps into the witness box, and states his case. Time, for cross examination. The largely Goan audience, cannot digest the fact, that a fellow Goan is the chief witness for the KRC. I intend to capitalise on the feeling. My cross examination goes something like this.

Radharao: Mr.Menezes, I am sure you must be familiar with Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Mr.Menezes: Yes, yes. Mr. Brunel was a pioneer in railway constructions...................

Radharao: I am sure you must also be aware who Judas Iscariot was.

Mr.Menezes: (completely ruffled as expected, and shouting at the top of his voice) I have not received thirty pieces of silver. Blah, blah, blah.................

Justice Ozha: (intervening) The witness must not shout but answer to the point. Yes. Yes. What is your question?

Radharao: Are you aware of Judas Iscariot?

Mr.Menezes: (still ruffled and shouting) I have worked honestly all my life and I am no traitor...............

The audience bursts into peals of satisfied, but derisive laughter. Having made my point, I proceed with my cross examination.

Several years later, late Peter Colaco, the well known Civil Contractor from Nuvem, walks into my office, accompanied by an elderly lady introduced as, Mrs.Nina de Gama from whom he wishes to purchase a property. I go through the title documents. And realise she is the widow of Manuel Menezes. I congratulate her, as her son Victor had just then been appointed chairman of Citicorp, New York.

I then tell her that, I had met her husband in the course of his appearance before the Ozha Commission. Her response was “Yes, he appeared before the Commission. And he was very bitter about a lawyer who called him Judas Iscariot”. I explain myself. She takes it sportingly and smiles.

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Dec.28, 2010.

My colleague, (and regular columnist) Cleofato Almeida Coutinho and his wife Dr.Sushila (yes, recently a doctorate has been conferred on her for her thesis on Dr.Luis Menezes de Braganza) go on a trip to Bangalore. The next morning, they are going through a copy of the Deccan Chronicle, provided by the hotel. In the column ‘50 Years Ago’, a news item about Goa draws their attention. It reads:

“50 years ago. Bombay, Dec.27: Louis Mendes, member of the Goa political convention delegation which recently called on Prime Minister Nehru, said that Mr.Nehru had informed the delegation that the government would take “appropriate action” at the “proper time” in connection with the liberation of Goa and other Portuguese possessions. The Prime Minister at the same time emphasised the importance of preparing world opinion and the Goan people before the liberation of Goa. Mr.Louis Mendes said a special Goa freedom convention would be held in Delhi towards the end of March next year.”

Louis Mendes is a well known freedom fighter who later was Public Prosecutor in Goa. And Sushila is his daughter.

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August 29, 2012.

I am proceeding home from Margao with my wife and daughter. There is a banner proclaiming exhibition and sale of books, along Abade Faria Road. I have seen the banner many times but the premises are invariably locked. I do not stop. As I proceed further, near the Court, I see, Ana Rebello, who I recall, had topped the BA exams from Chowgule College, the year I had passed out. The premises where the banner is displayed is owned by her family.

I, then tell my daughter that she had a brother who had got a scholarship to study in Europe, in the 1960’s. Unfortunately, the plane in which he was travelling, crashed and everyone died and that, included Homi Bhaba.

I reach home and I proceed to browse the internet for news. The headline reads:

“Diplomatic post bag from 1966 Indian plane crash found on Mont Blanc:

A bag of Indian diplomatic mail is set to be delivered more than 46 years late after it was found on Mont Blanc in the French Alps, close to where an Air India plane crashed in January 1966…………

The Kanchenjunga, a Boeing 707 flying from Mumbai to New York, crashed on the southwest face of Mont Blanc, Western Europe's highest mountain, on January 24, 1966 as it descended towards a scheduled stopover in Geneva, Switzerland. All 117 people on board died.”

It was the same flight on which Carmo Rebello one of the Goa’s earliest scholars had the misfortune to fly and die. The Air India plane was named Kanchenjunga, the highest peak in India and it crashed into the highest peak in the Western Europe.

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Radharao Gracias

Radharao F.Gracias is a senior Trial Court lawyer and ex President of the South Goa Advocates Association. He is also former independent MLA of Goa. He has been an activist on issues related to Goa for more than three decades.

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Previous Comments

Good to read some 'coincidences' from Radha, but whether those should be published on the Goa News is highly debatable. Radha should publish a book on such musings in the court. Would be a best seller!!!Include some incidents where he has baffled the normal Goan through his politcs. No offense though to his profession. All said and done one of the most prominent entertaining figures in modern day Goa and its uncertainties.

Keep writing Radha

- Jaret Chandrapurkar, Chandor, Goa | 11 th October 2012 22:57

 

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