I was always intrigued by his name Victor Hugo. The visions that his parents must have envisioned to christen him after the renowned French author, poet, and playwright Victor Hugo of the 19th century! I am positive they must’ve prayed that some of the Frenchman’s brilliance would rub on their new born.
And so it did…but in a novel way. Benaulim’s Victor Hugo didn’t wander anywhere close to his namesake in France. However, our Goenkar Victor Hugo over the years has been profusely written about, spoken about by authors, by the media and aficionados of ethnography. Of how our Victor Hugo single handedly (the other hand holding the hand of his life line and spouse Aldina) created and brought to life what the Archaeological Survey of India proudly proclaimed as one of the topmost Contemporary Museum in India. Ladies and Gentlemen…the Goa Chitra Museum of Benaulim, Goa.
So how did I, who was born a couple decades before him, come across this passionate young man with a magnificent obsession which showcased his love for music…his other avatar. Mine too.
So my first exciting encounter was when he had brought together Goa’s first musical extravaganza under the roof of the Kala Academy in Panjim. His show inspired me to conceptualize a tabloid size page titled ‘Alexyz Xacuti’ of caricatures of all his foot tapping musical maestros including Victor Hugo himself….which appeared in the Weekender of Gomantak Times of Goa.
But my most memorable meeting with Victor was my visit to Goa Chitra some years later with my late friend and photo journalist Joel D’Souza. It was truly an out-of-this-world experience to view his Himalayan collection of artifacts. I simply stood in awe. The impact of which has not been erased…as the stories above and below will testify.
Alezyz is a cartoonist, haing previously worked for newspapers like O Heraldo, Navhind Times, Gomantak Times, and currently creates daily cartoons for Times of India. He has exhibited his works at exhibitions across India and abroad, and has been the recipient the Vincent Xavier Verodiana award. Having relocated to Goa in the mid-70s, he has worked closely with the Dhagar community, founded the Eco Treks organization, and been an integral part of the Sao Jao Tradtional Boat Festival revival. He has also authored two books, ‘Sportoons’ and ‘Howzzatt’.