Stray Mango Branches – Fatima Naronha

Fatima Noronha

Are you careful when you light candles in prayer? Who is most at risk when branches of a man go tree trespass into the neighbour’s balcony? Were people less selfish when Padre Tio was young? Is it permissible to reveal the eighteenth ingredient in Tia Cassy’s Christmas cake? Can the word ‘donkey’ be a term of endearment? Fatima M Noronha asks these and other questions in the stories in this book.

The stories in the first part of this collection are meant to be fiction and those in the second part are meant to be memoir, but the author confesses she was not raised in a distinct genre.

Family yarns take on a new twist in every telling, while who can stop real-life teacher Flavia, grave-digger Namdev and milkman Uday from wandering into fictional stories? Meet Goans in and away from Goa, meet people who are Irish or Nepali and Goan too. And if you meet a certain gorgeous acacia, his name is Shirish, he likes to be talked to.

Fatima has been writing for a long time. This book is a collation of her stories which were primarily written for the youngsters of her family to pass on the record of their ancestors and preserve traditions.
Ms. Fatima recounts “Our parents told us many stories at family reunions. But our generation is not passing on these stories to the younger generation. Families should find ways to continue this tradition. The narration of these stories could be videotaped and posted on YouTube so that all family members in any part of the world could access it.”
She also observes that even in this age of SMS, Email and Facebook, there are many youngsters who want to read books. Fatima feels we need stories to understand ourselves and our perception of our position in the larger scheme of life.
She exhorts households to switch off their T.V. sets. Fatima is sure that this will trigger more productive creative pursuits.