Sweeping For Her God

Early morning drives through rural Goa are among life’s great pleasures.  Goan villages have a unique physical and aesthetic appeal.  The template is more or less the same:  life is anchored around the local temple or the church, a key village institution for matters spiritual as well as social.  Then there is the village ‘tinto’ – a hive of activity dotted with a tavern, cafe, barber shop, store, and local gossips.  This languid, bucolic world is now fast fading in the face of ‘development’ and out-of-control influx invasion from the rest of India.

At the end of a crepuscular photo excursion earlier this year, I stopped by the old temple of Ravalnath in the village of Mulgaon (Moolgaon). A lone figure in the courtyard greeted me, an elderly widow named Jayashree Gaonkar, as it turned out. When I inquired after her, she replied that hers’ had been a hard life but that she is now glad to have the opportunity to “sweep the courtyard for my God every morning.” We had a good conversation. When I asked if I could take some portraits, she was overcome by shyness. After some cajoling she acceded.

Jayashree Gaonkar at Ravalnath temple in Moolgaon

Jayashree Gaonkar of Mulgaon, Goa
5D, 85L II

Jayashree Gaonkar in the courtyard of the temple 5D, 24-105L

Jayashree Gaonkar in the courtyard of the temple
5D, 24-105L

Ancient idol of Ravalnath at Mulgaon<br>5D, 85L II

Ancient idol of Ravalnath at Mulgaon
5D, 85L II

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