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Stirring up the melting pot

16 Jul 2017 04:52am IST

Report by
Dolcy D’Cruz

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16 Jul 2017 04:52am IST

Report by
Dolcy D’Cruz

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The villages of Moira, Nachinola and Aldona that lie on the other side of the Highway between Panjim and Mapusa are wards of rich cultural history that have been attracting creative minds from across the country. Café finds out what draws these prominent personalities to call these villages home

Driving through the villages of Moira, Nachinola

and Aldona in Bardez taluka can be a mesmerising experience, as the narrow lanes of the villages are punctuated with vast expanses of green fields that especially come alive during the monsoons. If merely driving through can be such a breathtaking experience, it comes as no surprise that, over the last few years, many noted personalities, including artists, designers, photographers, writers and actors, have come to call this place home. Dotted with institutes like One School Goa, Paradise School and the most recent place to put Moira on the cultural map, the Cube Gallery, it goes to show that this collective area is indeed a melting pot of all things creative.

Though originally from Goa, it took noted photographer David de Souza 17 years to zero in on a home in Moira; he is now neighbours with actor Rajeev Khandewal and his wife Manjiri, and actress Celina Jaitely. “I was looking for a house in Goa for 17 years and I went through many places before finding this family home. I never thought I would put a premium on clean air. Goa is great; the people we meet in Goa are fantastic, the food we eat is great and it is a liberal society. One can be creative anywhere in the world, even in a desert because creativity should be inside you. However, the outside environment can influence one and the green pastures should be within you too, metaphorically,” says David.

Interestingly, Moira is also the home of the late Jack de Sequeira, a Goan politician popularly known as the Father of the Opinion Poll. The current Archbishop of Goa and Daman, The Most Reverend Filipe Neri Antonio Sebastiao do Rosario Ferrao was born and baptised Moira.

Dr Cajetan Raposo, Head of Department of Political Science of St Xavier's College, Mapusa, has written a research book on Moira, titled, ‘Moira VS Maharashtra’, which will be released in October this year.

The adjacent village of Nachinola is donning hues of lush green that give visitors nothing back but peaceful thoughts. Drive past St Elizabeth Church in Uccassim and the next huge house that greets you is the One School Goa, a photography and multimedia school founded by noted ad filmmaker and photographer Shantanu Sheorey. The A Grade University certified school has completed four years in Goa and has a three-year degree course (affiliated with Goa University) in photography and multimedia.

“We decided to be on this side of the highway and away from the tourist belt and Nachinola was spot on; it is the perfect home. We have been living and running the school here for the past four years,” says Shantanu Sheorey, Head of One School Goa, who, along with wife, actress Kimi Katkar, and their son, Siddhanth, now call Goa home. “The students who come from out of state or other countries live in the neighbouring villages of Socorro or Mapusa and travel to Nachinola. The view is scenic and the neighbours are very good,” he adds. The school will commence from August 1, 2017 and One School Goa will open its Delhi campus by this September.

Shilpa Mehta, Director of Paradise School in Aldona, instantly fell in love with the 400-year-old Indo-Portuguese house where she resides and runs the school. Paradise School, a secondary school, is a partner in Newcastle University’s dedicated Self Organised Learning Environments (SOLE) research centre and is the first SOLE school ever. “The village of Aldona lacks the commercialisation of most of the villages in Goa and it feels like living in the Goa or yore, before commercialisation. The school is based on the Aldona-Quitla border and it is the most beautiful house I came across, with a huge courtyard and so much history; that makes it apt for a school,” says Shilpa.

It was not an easy find for Shilpa and she is happy that she was warmly accepted by the neighbourhood. “I had been searching for a long time and it was a crazy search. I was driving around different villages on the other side of the highway, like Saligao, Sangolda and Nagao, when a friend told me about this property. I persuaded the owners that I wanted to open a school here. I felt that it was more important to open a school and enrich the area. The local people are very proud of us which goes to show their attitude and sends out a very strong message. The school has a very exquisite and elegant space,” explains Shilpa, who is currently on vacation as the school will reopen in September for the new academic year. She also reveals that the school has achieved their International Cambridge Accreditation and is now an International Cambridge School.

She adds, “I feel that the villages of Moira-Nachinola- Aldona have their goodness and innocence, which is very refreshing and shows the different flavours of Goa.”

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