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A Baker from Goa Summary
By– Lucia Rodrigues
In this extract, the author remembers his old days in Goa when the village baker occupied an important place in life. Although, with the passage of time, people do not eat so much bread, yet the village bakers are still there. The Portuguese were famous for preparing the loaves of bread. They left Goa long ago. But the traditional work of the bakers can still be seen in Goa. The furnaces in which the bread was baked still exist there. The sound of the traditional baker’s bamboo can still be heard. Someone in the baker’s family still carries on the business and the tradition. These bakers are known as Pader in Goa even today.
The author recalls that a baker used to visit the village twice a day. He used to be the author’s friend and guide. He used to carry a bamboo stick. The sound of this stick used to wake up the authors and others from sleep. The servants from the different houses bought loaves. But the author ran to the baker for buying bread-bangles.
The baker’s bamboo stick was a special one. He made the sound ‘jhang, jhang’ by banging his bamboo on the ground. With one hand the baker supported the basket of bread on his head and with the other, he struck the ground with the bamboo. Whenever someone came to him buy bread, he placed the basket on the bamboo. The author and the others looked into his basket. In those times, it was a fashion to eat bread with hot tea. The author was so fond of bread that he would not even brush his teeth before eating it.
The village baker was especially important for all occasions. The villagers were much fond of the sweet bread known as ‘Bol’. Marriage gifts were meaningless without these sweetbreads. Sandwiches, cakes and bolinhas were a must for Christmas as well as other festivals. These were made with the bread. Thus the presence of a baker’s furnace was very essential in each village. On all occasions, the villagers needed one or another type of cake which could be baked in the furnace.
The baker or the bread-seller wore a special, peculiar dress. It was known as the ‘kabai’. It was a single-piece long frock. It reached down to his knees. During the narrator’s childhood, Bakers wore trousers which were shorter than full-length and longer than half pants. Even today if someone wears a half pant, he is said to be dressed like a paper.
The baker usually collected his bills at the end of the month. In the household. the baker’s monthly accounts used to be recorded on some wall in pencil. Baking was a profitable business in those days. ‘The bakers used to be well off. Their families never starved. Their plump bodies showed that they were
DETAILED SUMMARY (2) :
1.Elders Nostalgic About Portuguese Bread: Elders in Goa still think fondly about those good old Portuguese days and their famous loaves of bread. The eaters of loaves might have died but the makers are still there. The fire in the furnaces that make these bread has not yet been extinguished. At least, the thud and jingle of the baker’s bamboo still herald his arrival in the morning.
2. Baker’s Arrival: The narrator recalls his childhood in Goa. The baker used to be their friend, companion and guide. He used to come at least twice a day. The children ran to meet the baker the moment they heard the jingling thud of his bamboo. He would greet the lady of the house. The elders enjoyed the typical fragrance of those loaves and the kids, the music of the bamboo.
3. Baker’s Importance on Christmas and Other Festivals: Marriage gifts in Goa are meaningless with the sweet bread or the bol. Any party or feast is incomplete without bread. The baker is very important for the village. On the occasion of her daughter’s engage segment, the lady of the house must prepare sandwiches. Cakes and `bolinhas’ are a must for Christmas and other festivals.
4, Baker’s Dress: In good old days, the baker or bread seller had a peculiar dress. It was called the labia. It was a single piece frock reaching down to the knees. Even today anyone who wears a shirt and trousers shorter than full-lengths then he is said to is dressed like a paper.
5. Baking, a Profitable Profession: Baking was really a profitable profession in those days. The bakers and their families were quite prosperous and happy. Their plumpy bodies were an open testimony to their prosperity.