Love from Stuttgart


By: Bennet Paes


Here is a story that could do any Goan proud. Read on:


It was past 2 afternoon when the train dropped me in the city, from a faraway factory in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany. Pretty pleased with the business meeting, I was now dying for a drink & lunch for celebration. 


Ran down the street only to find one restaurant after another closed for midday break. Fortunately, one was still in the process of folding up the front shade. I approached the man folding it, and asked if I could still make it in. Strangely enough, the guy muttered in what didn’t sound German, leave alone English, and a problem stood between us. But not for long.


A lady at the entrance, apparently the restaurant owner, heard my plea, disengaged the man and politely enquired: “Excuse me, what’s it you are looking for?” The first sign of relief appeared on my face. I explained briefly how I happened to be late, and asked if I could at least have a beer. She obliged instantly and I was now seated inside with a glass of wine instead of beer. Couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the lady so closely sharing the table with me, and also with a glass of wine for company. 


 A conversation followed. It took me only a few seconds to brag about where I was coming from, originally. “Which part, Calangute, Mapusa, Panjim – Margao?” she rattled away so effortlessly. I could have begged for a second round of wine, but instead hurried to say the last named was my nearest. “Where then, Colva?” The lady dazed me beyond redemption. First of all, it was unusual to have me in after closing time, and to have me for company over two glasses of wine! Did she instinctively guess who I could have been?


She then related her own story which took me through a full meal, which she herself volunteered to feast me on. In short, she was an artist, single, and painted Goa to glory for eleven years. The man who was fumbling for words was an Italian who she fell in love with in the “Rome of the East”, and married.

 Lunch over, the lady was so overjoyed meeting a Goan in a long time that she presented me with an oil lamp from a nearby table, and said good-bye with these words: “Some of my paintings keep reminding me of the best years of my life, in Goa. You, Goans are just wonderful people”. The wine and the meal also joined the lamp to prove that her "wiedersehen" (good-bye) truly came from her heart.


Extract from the book “SIMPLY MY WAY” by Bennett Paes, 2011 -