To Aka with love….
25 years have gone by since Rukmini Balkrishna Borkar passed away. It was on August 13, 1993 that the wife of Goa’s illustrious Poet Balkrishna Bhagwant Borkar, popularly known as Bakibab, breathed her last at her residence in Porvorim. I have fond and cherished memories of her. She was my mother’s mom and my grand mom. We used to affectionately call her “Aka” and our granddad was fondly called “Aba”.
In those days, my grandparents and two of my aunts, Mukta and Lata along with their families lived in Porvorim, close to the Defence colony near Goa’s famous restaurant, “O Coqueiro’. We (me, my brother Samir and mom Bharati) would visit them once in a while, or rather once every two months during Sundays or holidays. A trip to Porvorim meant catching two buses, a bus near Kala Academy, Campal a few paces away from where we lived and the next one from the Panjim bus stand to a Porvorim stop which is famously known as “Gulyakaden”.
Back then, the roads were literally empty, there used to be very little traffic and our bus trips would be extremely comfortable and relaxed. The journey would give us serene and breath-taking views of Mandovi, the beautiful trees and a green and clean environment. It was Goa at its best and during monsoons it would get even better. So much so that the visits were something which we would look forward to. Me and my brother playing with our cousins Manisha, “Buku” alias Monica, Dnyanesh and Mahesh. Occasionally, my other aunts and cousins would all be there to make it a whole family union at Aka’s place.
In those times, Porvorim was vastly different and not the same as it is now. It used to be an extremely quiet and barren place with a lot of trees, shrubs and bushes around. During our visits, our favourite games with cousins used to be Hide and Seek, Catching the cook, Lagori, Koyando Bal and of course, picking out the berries from the shrubs or bushes (who can forget that). Those were the days. Then, have sumptuous lunch at Aka’s place cooked by Aka herself or by my other aunts.
Aka had an extremely calm and composed temperament, and a friendly and loving nature, which meant that everybody was extremely fond of her. Travelling down the memory lane, I can after all the years still remember all the good times the family have shared together. Last time when I was in Delhi, my cousin Shirish mentioned to me how he misses Aka’s “Tikshew Fow”. I told him, I feel exactly the same. Every time we used to make a trip to Porvorim, Aka would treat us to some delightfully prepared dishes, among which were the “Tikshey Fow” and “Khatkhate”. Now, these are easily available in the market today but those days were something else altogether. The charm of eating those homemade dishes prepared so painstakingly with a lot of love and affection will be a memory which can never leave our minds.
Aka was very special in every sense. A devoted wife, a loving mother and a wonderful grandmother who brightened up our childhoods. Her docile and charming nature inspired Aba to write many a poems on her, the two that I can fondly recollect are “Majhya gharachi tu rasanay” and “Tu gelyawar”. The latter one showing how much Aba loved and missed her when Aka had gone for a holiday for few days to Bori. The poet in aba so beautifully expressing the lonely feeling he must have felt during those few days.
Aka was perfect in many ways to each of us, a family woman with great spirit and strength, a teacher and mentor who many-a-times gave us valuable lessons in philosophy and life, a perfect grandmother who showered us with so much love and affection. We will fondly remember and miss all the lovely times we shared together. If I were to be born again, then I hope I would once again have the fortune of playing in the arms of “Aka”. I feel delighted to recall a few moments from my memory. Those were indeed the days!