By Joseph Dias
When Victor introduced me to the Goa Chitra Blog, I was immediately compelled to write to readers about my experiences which are closely entwined with Goa Chitra and the man behind the collection.
I first knew Victor in my Alma Mater, Loyola High School in Margao. He was fondly known by all as ‘Pisso Bhatkar’ (Mad Landlord) and went about school life fearlessly, always challenging the norms and his peers with passionate guile and exuberance. Whilst I was studying for an architectural degree, Victor was pursuing an art education in the Goa College of Art and we met rather infrequently. I remember one of such times was during an art exhibition he and some colleagues of his, put up in Margao, called ‘Synchronicity’. Being known to some of the artists associated with Victor, I volunteered to help them out and I hung out with the group: eating, drinking and sleeping with a bunch of mad artists who saw colourful dreams and listened to Zappa tracks when I didn’t even know that kind of music existed! It was a crazy and memorable time.
After graduation however, Victor went completely off my radar, only to reappear just a few years ago on my Facebook page – Jodi’s art. He had been secretly admiring my cartoons and illustrations on Goa until one fine day he decided to comment … and we reconnected! Previously, on vacation in Goa, I visited Goa Chitra unbeknownst to the fact that it was Victor’s passionate project. I was taken through the museum, which consisted of several ‘houses’ within a large gated compound, marveling at the collection and wishing for it to rise to the renown of European Museums I had visited before. It was only during my third visit to Goa and to the museum, that Victor and I were able to spend productive time together. We discussed varied subjects related to Goa and the projects (both Architectural and ethnographic) we could undertake together. To broaden my understanding of the kind of work he engaged with, Victor took me to some of the Portuguese mansions he had restored himself. I was stupefied at what he was able to accomplish with the old houses as well as new houses built for foreigners in the Goan architectural vocabulary. We visited other prospective projects and shared views on areas that catered to our mutual interest and desire for collaboration.
Victor is crazily in love with Goa and all things Goan. He works hard throughout the day to improve the museum with whatever funds he can gather, both personal as well as from the small fee he collects from visitors at the museum. Personally, I have great respect for Victor and his endeavours and I look forward to helping him in whatever way I can although, the distance and my sporadic trips to Goa make it a little difficult to keep my involvement consistent. I wish Victor all the very best on his inspiring journey.
Joseph Canisius Dias is an Architect by profession who has worked on several iconic projects in Dubai like the Emirates Towers, National Bank of Dubai and Shangri La Hotel. He is also a writer (“Dona Paula”, “The Magical Bone Flute”), musician (Flute, Sax), Cartoonist/Illustrator, and a storyteller. His Facebook page, ‘Jodi’s Art’ is well-known among Goans all over the world for its funny and informative posts. He partners a publishing firm and bookstore (Word Ventures, Margao) with his brother. Jodi’s Comic Art Gallery in Margao is his latest venture with a few more in the pipeline.