By Bismarck Dias
The Goa Chitra logo has been conceptualized and designed by Bismarck Dias. Private Museum as it may be on paper, Victor Hugo holds on steadfastly to the belief that Goa Chitra is a people’s project. It is through the coming together of individual contributions that it has today become a product of collective effort. Bismarck Dias’s decision to contribute to the project in the way best known to him is just one of many such exemplary initiatives.
“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do” – Steve Jobs
Victor Hugo Gomes is one of them.
Nine years back I remember a friend telling me “Victor wants you to come and see his project. He seriously wants your opinion. If you are doing nothing lets go now.” And we did. We drove down the winding roads of Benaulim into what looked like a vegetation farm. The place was peaceful and quite. We knew each other by name but had never met before. Victor was standing there at the gate to welcome us. On the first glance itself, he looked intense and crazy and I knew it wouldn’t be a waste time. There is always something to learn from crazy people, you can see sincerity in their eyes. Poker face Victor got straight to the point with a lot of intensity. He took us around while he explained every bit with a lot of passion. He was the Google of Goan history and culture. I felt like a Lilliput listening to Gulliver. He had no commercial interest. It was for the love of Goa’s lost heritage and culture. In a world of manipulators it was refreshing to meet a real person.
Everything I touched and felt in Goa Chitra took me back in time. It was a flashback to my childhood, with my grandparents and the farmers I interacted with then. It was so beautiful, organic and pure. As he spoke he looked helpless and isolated. Knowing the shallow political hurdles one has to face, I gathered. I remember saying to him, “You took me by surprise. This is insane… I want to be part of this.”
He said he had no support to take this forward as he drained out all the cash and nobody was getting the point of what he was trying to do. I told him he needed good marketing if he wants the world to take this project seriously. I decided to take the responsibility of marketing Goa Chitra. “Send me everything I need to know about this place and I will work on it from scratch from wherever I am in the world,” I said. Thanks to the internet. He had tears rolling down his eyes. And that’s when our friendship and journey to take Goa Chitra forward began.
Initially I remember I would speak about Victor’s project to friends and they would laugh and say “Don’t take him seriously, he is crazy”. Truth is I take only crazy people seriously. When Goa Chitra was launched he called me up excitedly, like a child and told me how things are falling in place. Every artifact housed in Goa Chitra has a history as well as a story of how he restored them and gave them life. Today, Goa Chitra has educated the new generation about the past and the old generation came alive with stories from the Goa we lost. When a man transforms into a child with his passion, that’s the time you know he is going to change the world.
Victor, thank you for changing our world.
Bismarck Dias is a lover of art, architecture, music, and movies. He graduated from Goa College of Art in1983, and has since been associated with agencies including Trikaya Grey, Lintas, O&M in Mumbai, and Montage TV, FortunePromo Seven, and Bates in Dubai. He has done editorial illustrations for Debonair Magazine, and bagged awards for his work in the advertising industry. He currently resides in Dubai, but is a nature lover and misses the quiet village life in Goa.