I took up a personal invitation from the Indian High Commissioner to attend a Divali & Eid lunch at the Indian Gymkhana Club on Saturday. The Club’s is one of the largest and longstanding Sports Clubs in the UK – the land was donated in 1916 by the then Prince of Wales to one of the Indian Nawabs studying here in England.  Three of our sportsmen directors, Paul and Fidelis and Richard have played on their beautiful grounds.

The weather was very inclement but the lovely 3-course lunch made up for it.  There were cheerful speeches and an Indian comedian who interspersed his jokes with English and Gujerati! Everyone – predominantly well-heeled and well-off Hindus and Punjabis with me being the only Goan there – was very friendly.  I was introduced to the head of the Gurkhas (now retd) – a very humble man, the President of the National Hindu Students Forum as well as other influential and esteemed people and following our conversations, I feel we as Goans have a lot to learn from them – in that it’s time we shook off our Proud to be Goan mantles and need to integrate and interact with our fellowmen/women from the sub-continent community here who have so much to contribute to us too. Readers’ views to the above would be very welcome.

I also had brief chats with His Exellency the Indian High Commissioner, the Indian Cultural Attaché (who was our esteemed guest at the GOA’s Anniversary/May Ball this year) as well as the First Attache – with whom I have been liaising over the Know Goa Programme.

At the end of the event, I picked up the current edition of Asian Voice, a truly interesting newspaper giving info about all the communities and which has Hon Keith Vaz MP as one of its columnists.  Highly recommended reading or to subscribe for.

The final icing on the cake was a kiss planted on my cheek by the famous Indian actor Saeed Jaffrey who has appeared too in many English films and dramas.  Woo hooo….
Anita Rebello