Nairobi-born author pens tale of women in Goa

Updated: Apr 18, 2011, 09:57 AM IST

Panaji: Mayola is an expatriate who has returned from Africa. Succorina is a village girl. Donna has been brought up in affluence in Britain. The three meet in Nairobi-born Belinda Viegas` new novel, which raises crucial issues that confront today`s Goa in the midst of change.

Set mainly in the verdant, sunshiny land of Goa, "The Cry Of The Kingfisher" is a warm and inspiring tale of hope and courage. It has been published by Goa,1556.

It deals with the inner and outer forces in life that break, and make, three women from diverse strata of Goan life.

Mayola`s sheltered, duty-bound life is ripped apart when her gorgeous, tempestuous older sister Zarella, in whose shadow she has grown up, is mysteriously found drowned. All her training in medicine and psychiatry cannot help her as she grapples with the sudden emptiness of her life. Angry despair spurs her on a quest for meaning which brings her in contact with Donna and Succorina.

Succorina is a village girl, born to superstition, ignorance and the disaster of being the fourth daughter instead of the long awaited son. Her attempts to break out of her poverty-stricken existence takes her as a housemaid to Kuwait, through a distressing abortion and a failed marriage. No longer able to deal with the cruel twists and turns her life has taken, her mind begins to crack.

Donna is the proverbial poor little rich girl, brought up in England, showered with everything except love. She turns punk, sinking deeper into chaos and bewilderment as her hopes of finding love and acceptance start crumbling under an explosion of fears that threaten her very existence.

Yet, when Mayola`s path intersects with these two kindered souls, they embark on a journey of self-realisation, unravelling the painfully tangled strands of fears and dreams waiting to be realised. She watches in admiring delight as they bravely set out to uproot the malediction - and hope gushes out.

Obviously, its psychiatrist-author`s own understanding of the local reality go into crafting her understanding of the pressures facing half and more of Goa today.

Viegas is a practising psychiatrist from Salcete. She recalls a childhood in Kenya filled with picnics, fishing and trips into the wildlife sanctuaries.

Returning to India, she schooled in Belgaum and then did her MBBS at St John`s Medical College in Bangalore, winning two gold medals.

Litterateur and author of the widely-recognised "Goa: A Daughter`s Story", Maria Aurora Couto called the new book, "An honest and courageous exploration of complexities of the human mind using fictional modes...".