A Baker from Goa Notes: The author Rodrigues gets the readers to the old Portuguese days and describes several important traditions of the Goan community. He fondly remembers his local childhood baker in the story Glimpses of India – A Baker from Goa. Through the story, Rodrigues hopes to preserve the traditions of Goan history by highlighting how the bakery was an important part of business as well as the diet of the Goan people.
Summary – A Baker from Goa
- The elders of the Goan community fondly remember the Portuguese rulers of Goa and their appetite for bread.
- The author remarks that even though the Portuguese are gone, the ones who knead, shape, and bake the bread, the bakers, are still alive.
- Despite changing times, the baker or pader has remained an essential figure in the Goan community.
The Author’s Childhood Days Memoirs
- The author then proceeds to recount his childhood days. He remembers the jingling thud of the bamboo stick which announced the baker’s arrival.
- He would balance the breadbasket on his head with one hand, while banging the bamboo stick with the other.
- The author and the other children would rush out of the house to greet the baker. They were looking for ‘bread-bangles’, a traditional Goan bread shaped like rings.
- The baker would greet the lady of the house.
- The children would then be pushed aside so that the baker could hand over the loaves to the servant. The children would climb up a bench to peep inside the basket.
- They wouldn’t even brush their teeth before eating the bread. After all, the hot tea they had with the bread would clean everything up nicely.
Bakery Items and their importance in the Goan Celebrations
- From a personal anecdote, the author moves on to the pader’s integral role in the Goan community.
- Marriage gifts in the Goan community are meaningless without the traditional sweet bread known as bol.
- Similarly, mothers are expected to prepare sandwiches for their daughters’ engagement ceremonies.
- Further, cakes and bolinhas, which are coconut cookies, are an absolute must for Christmas and other festivals.
- Thus, the presence of the baker’s furnace in the village is essential.
The Dress of Bakers
- In the old days, bakers wore a special long frock which reached their knees. This dress was known as the kabai.
- The author also remembers the trademark knee-length trousers worn by the bakers of his childhood.
- Even now, if anyone wears knee-length trousers, he invites the comment that he is dressed like a pader.
The Successful Business of Bakers
- The author’s childhood baker would collect his income at the end of the month. These accounts were usually recorded on some wall in pencil.
- In the old days, bakers used to earn well. Their families never went hungry, and they always looked happy and prosperous. Their plump physiques were proof of this.
- The author humorously remarks that even now, anyone with a ‘jackfruit-like’ or healthy appearance is compared to a baker.
Importance of Tradition.
- In the story, Rodrigues explores some traditions that have been part of the Goan culture for a long time.
- For example, he mentions that marriage gifts are still considered meaningless without the sweet bread bol.
- Similarly, like years ago, it is still a mother’s duty to make sandwiches on the occasion of her daughter’s engagement.
- Rodrigues also says that the profession of baking is generational, meaning, it is passed on from parent to offspring.
- In this way, Rodrigues showcases how age-old traditions are still upheld in the Goan community.
The Author Rodrigues
Nostalgic: In the story, the author reminiscences about his childhood baker. He also nostalgically describes the arrival of the baker and recalls the fragrance of the fresh loaves.
Proud: The author describes the customs and traditions of the Goan community with great love and detail. This clearly shows that he is proud of his community.3 of 3
Strong: The author’s childhood baker would singlehandedly balance his breadbasket on his head. He would use his other hand to beat his bamboo stick. So, baking was a physically demanding profession that required strength.
Indispensable: Bread and other baked treats are an important part of many Goan customs and festivals. This makes the baker an essential or indispensable figure in the community.
Well-to-do: In the old days, baking was a profitable profession. Bakers and their families were happy and healthy, and bakers could also afford to keep servants.