A Daughter Speaks – Nayantara Lima Leitao
My father was unable to attend his own father’s funeral as he would have been arrested. Freedom for Goa was paramount for my father.
The 99 year old illustrious son of the soil, Shri Lambert Mascarenhas, was conferred the Gomant Vibhushan, the highest civilian award of the State Of Goa on 29th May 2014.
Nayantara Lima Leitao is a well known personality of our neighbourhood. She is the eldest of four children of Shri Lambert Mascarenhas and his wife Dr. Jolly.
Nayantara spoke to the VW team and recounted her experiences growing up as a daughter of this remarkable individual.
“Dad was an early riser. He would be up by 5 a.m. and out for a walk with the dogs and a jog. Our love for sports and fitness was inculcated in us at a very early age.
My father did his studies at Mumbai and entered the journalistic field. He worked in several prominent newspapers and magazines.
While at the Goan Tribune, he wrote several articles against the Portuguese rule in Goa that caught the attention of both the Indian leaders as well as the Portuguese authorities. On a visit to Goa, he was arrested and jailed by the Portuguese for his scathing articles . He was released on bail and expelled from Goa.
The year was 1948- My grandfather passed away and my father was unable to attend his own father’s funeral as he would have been arrested. Freedom for Goa was paramount for my father. He even took a vow that he would marry only after Goa was liberated.
Dec 29 1961, exactly ten days after Goa’s Liberation, my father married Dr. Jolly, a doctor from Mumbai’s prestigious Nair Hospital. My mother is 20 years younger than my father.
My father’s world view was in simple black and white. There was no space for shades of grey. His writing reflected this philosophy where he would, without fear or favour castigate any wrong doing by the State’s political class and authorities. He firmly believed that the pen was mightier than the sword.
He has been very magnanimous even though a man of very modest means.
A strict disciplinarian, we kids had to follow the rules of the house without any compromise.
He ensured our childhood was filled with rich experiences. Our regular trips in our old Standard car to Belgaum, Dandeli and other places is still a vivid memory. The minute we landed in Belgaum, he would hire cycles for us to explore and pedal through the town.
Reading classics and writing book reviews were our staple diet every afternoon.
Playtime ended with a strict 7pm deadline.
Music was instilled in us at a very early age.
My father was the first to move into the La Marvel colony in Dona Paula, an area that was then just an overgrown jungle. People thought it was a crazy move but their opinions did not deter him.
My mother is a wonderful partner, a balancing factor complementing my dad’s personality.
My father has shaped us into what we are today- our values, spiritual beliefs, strength of character and love for books and music and family togetherness.
Shri Lambert Mascarenhas, the ninety-nine year old jewel of the State of Goa will celebrate his centenary birthday this September. It will truly be the crowning moment for this remarkable personality.
He never ever took a second helping at the table said Nayantara. But ordinary mortals like us would do well to take several helpings of his philosophy, courage of conviction, wisdom and humility.