A/N: This will be a 2 part story based on the Goan legend of Dona Paula (Google it).
Donzella Fernandes AKA Dona woke up early and dressed for work. She wrote for a magazine called Goa’s Quill. She loved her job and was always busy writing articles and interviewing famous personalities. She hardly had time for love or her family. Her concerned family wanted to get her married off and decided to search for a suitable groom for her. Search parties consisting of close relatives were formed and the search began! Finally, they found one. He was a handsome man named Donald who worked aboard a cruise ship- according to the info collected by Aunt Marisa. “I don’t know why I’ve to get married so soon. I’m still young, mummy! ” Dona (the only child) hesitated, as her doting mother combed her hair. She was being prepared for her engagement party. “Yes, you are young….But, I am old & want to be around to see my grandkids.” Mrs. Fernandes explained. “Now,get dressed.” she ordered, handing over a floral dress to Dona, who groaned at the idea of marriage! So, against her wishes, Dona was married off to Donald who left for sea a few weeks later, leaving his young bride at home by herself. But, Dona was happy to be alone again! She could now focus more on her job & less on chores. She was even more happy when she got the opportunity to interview the well-respected social worker/environmentalist, Paul Anderson. Born in a rich family, he’d given up his rich lifestyle to fight against greedy, land-grabbing builders (including his own father!), fought for justice for the displaced Goan tribals and donated to charity.
“I was just leaving for lunch. Would you care to join me, Mrs. Fernandes? ” he asked, as she entered his humble office situated on the island village where he resided. “Sure. Please call me Dona, Mr. Anderson.” she replied, instantly taking a liking to him. “You can call me Paul.” he suggested, smiling and showing off his dimples. He let her choose the restaurant & acted like a gentleman throughout lunch, answering all her questions with wit and intelligence and also asked some questions of his own. He informed her that he was fan of her writings and was intrigued to know more about his interviewer. She realized that she had more in common with him, than with her husband & was charmed by Paul’s polite attitude. “I am so intrigued by your activism work, that I’d like to help you out.” she offered. “We could use all the help we can get.” he exclaimed, smiling at her offer. As they walked back to his office, Paul was greeted by many passersby. They addressed him as Paulo bab & he enjoyed the attention. The villagers considered him as a hero who’d saved their paddy fields & houses from greedy builders, corrupt politicians and mining companies. “You know, I did want someone to write slogans for my Conserve Goa’s beauty campaign. You’d be perfect! ” he suggested, accepting her offer. They finally reached his office, where she decided to take her leave. He accompanied her to the jetty where she caught a ferry home. Back at his office, Paul found his stern-looking father waiting for him. “Heard you’ve been planning another protest and have hired that girl to write slogans for you and your band of hooligans? ” Anderson Sr enquired with anger in his eyes. “Wow! News travels fast around here! Have you hired one of your hooligans to follow me around?” Paul asked, in a mocking tone. “They’re not hooligans, dad. They’re youth who work for the betterment of Goa, ok? ” the young activist corrected, arranging the scattered documents on his desk. “You are driving me mad with these campaigns & driving my company into the ground! I’ll have to file for bankruptcy, you traitor! I’m warning you to back off! ” a fuming Anderson Sr threatened. “You can’t scare me with your threats and name-calling! ” Paul retorted, as his father left, ignoring him. “All these mining activities, sand extraction and land-grabbing will be the death of our beautiful state! ” a fed up Paul muttered under his breath, before locking up for the day.
*To be continued*