[Update: Motilal Parrikar passed away on July 10, 2013. Dr. Vamona Sinari passed away on October 10, 2013.]
This evening I had the rare fortune of photographing not one but two nonagenarians, both of them in my immediate family: my father Motilal Parrikar and maternal uncle Dr. Vamona Sinari. We went up the hill in Panjim to the old Liceu (Lyceum) buildings where my uncle did his pre-medical schooling. The complex today serves as the High Court.
Dr. Vamona Sinari took his undergraduate medical degree at Escola Médico-Cirúrgica de Goa (Goa Medical College) in Panjim. Established by the Portuguese in 1842, the institution is said to be the oldest medical school in Asia. He left for Lisboa in 1947 to pursue graduate studies and settled there after completion of his degree. In 1961 he returned to Escola Médico-Cirúrgica de Goa as a professor but his tenure was cut short. Following Indian military action in December 1961, he packed his bags and reverted to Lisboa.
Doutor Sinari along with Xencora (Priti) Camotim are the oldest living Goans in Portugal, and a link to Goa‘s 20th C history. They embody a type that is sadly extinct today – a quaint synthesis of the Goan temperament and the European manner. A brief account of the pre-1961 times in Lisboa has been put down in a recent book, Short Takes, Long Memories by Prabhakar Kamat.
Doutor Sinari and his (Portuguese) wife Violante have been coming to Goa virtually every year for decades now. For Goa, and Goa alone, is home. It is a feeling every Goan can relate to.