27 October, 2020

Caste The First Stone

Caste The First Stone
GROWING up as I have in the polyglot embrace of Bombay's nether regions where Muslim, Hindu, Jew, Parsi, Catholic, even—hand on my heart!—Jehovah's witnesses all lived cheek by affectionate jowl, I had always believed that my secular credentials were beyond reproach, despite a stubbornly unresolved ancestral conundrum: I was a Gaud Saraswat Brahmin Roman Catholic Goan. I decided to unravel this contradiction in terms in my book, Glad Seasons In Goa, where I devoted a chapter, Radhika's Genealogy Class, to a gently satirical spoof of the auld family tree, with my daughter an intrigued if sceptical audience of one. Imagine my surprise then, when a reviewer in a national magazine rapped me over the knuckles: "Simoes reminds us ad nauseam that he is a Catholic descended from Gaud Saraswat Brahmins." While another in Madras, singed to inflammatory reaction by such grave offence to his secular credentials, strongly advised prospective readers to tear the chapter out of the book and cast it to the flames. And there I was, blameless as the driven snow, straining every sinew in the...


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