Let’s Celebrate …Two Women of Strength
By :Patsy Lobo, Mangaluru
Mangaluru : In most countries, Mother’s Day is celebrated every year on the second Sunday of May, among them are USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India, China, Japan, Philippines, and South Africa. This year, Mother’s Day was observed on 12th May in most of the countries. In Arab countries, Mother’s Day is celebrated on 21st March, while in East European Countries, it is observed on March 8th. In the United Kingdom & Ireland, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday in Lent, which is the annual period of Christian observance that precedes Easter. This day is celebrated to honor motherhood, acknowledge the efforts of mothers and their role in the upliftment of the society.
No matter what day is Mother’s Day celebrated in each country, but at Cask ( Catholic Association of South Kanara) we wanted to feature Rosy Rasquinha and Ramola Pereira, Mothers of CASK Governing Council Members, who enjoy life, beauty and Hope. They deserve all our praise and recognition. Rosy Rasquinha is the Mother of Gulobi Fernandes and Ullas Rasquinha; and Romola Juliana Pereira, is the Mother of Dr Anand Pereira.
Rosy Rasquinha aged 92:
Rosy Rasquinha, a women of Great Faith and Determination inspired me during the one hour I spent with her at “Lanphool Bidar” (Little Flower Home) in Angelore. Frail at age-92 but with a sweet smile she chatted and shared her days gone by with glee and a sparkle in the eye. Christ was revealed in different ways through her experience and responses.
Raised in a staunch Catholic family, Rosy developed a strong relationship with the Lord as a young girl. As a child she has fond memories of drawing water from the well for the vegetable garden ‘lattichen Udaak’ – ‘laat’ was the contraption by which a drum in cylindrical shape known as ‘kalmen’ made of wood and connected with ropes over a cross bar above the well. The guy would dip the ‘kalmen’ into the well and when filled, would signal the person across to bring it up with the help of attached ropes by jumping from level ground into a ditch so the vessel with the water would come up. The water would then be poured into the ‘thode’ and flow smoothly towards the vegetable field (gaadho). She walked every morning carrying milk to the convent of the Sisters of Charity congregation.
She was the first batch to pass out with flying colours from the Capitaneo English Medium School and was recently honoured for the same. Married at the age of 19, to John B.Rasquinha, Rosy’s match was made by Rosie-Bai a good friend and neighbor. She got married in the post World War-2 days in May 1946, when there were some restrictions. And she recalls with a broad smile that her parents could have a Roce because they had paddy fields and had rice in plenty what others did not have. In those days, every one walked around Bare feet and Rosy cheerfully recalls that she walked to church for her nuptials bare feet but with a colorful Umbrella over her head. There were not many cars and buses then. She wore a long skirt and blouse with her shoulders and head covered.
From the Angelore church, the couple walked to her house which was a very short distance away. After the wedding celebration Rosy with ‘sado’ along with the bridegroom and family went in a procession to the sound and march of the ‘band’ to the groom’s house where the ceremony of ‘opsun dinvchen’ took place. Rosy’s Mother who was also the ‘maal dedi stayed overnight at the groom’s house as per tradition. Rosy and John (popularly JB) had seven girls followed by their one and only boy – Ulhas. The girls were given beautiful names of flowers – Gulobi, Lily, Goretti, Jacintha, Aboline, Sugandi and Daisy and the boy was appropriately named Ullhas (Joy).
Rosy smiled and told me that when our son Ullas was born, ladoos were bought in plenty and distributed all around. Strangely Ullas’s wife Shanthi a soft spoken gem of the family was the only sister to 7 brothers. When asked what message she had for all of us around and her 8 children and 17 Grand Children in particular she spoke up loud and clear….“Pray let Jesus be your guide. Always expect God to Triumph gloriously in whatever you do. He can bring your soul to blossom”
Ramola Juliana Pereira, aged 83:
It is hard to define this woman who has been my role model from the time I knew her and visited her many times at Joe’s Eco Friendly Coffee Plantation situated at Kirehally Village, 10 km from Sakleshpur – A woman of character, intelligence, strength and style. Born on April 5, 1936 in Mangalore, Romala had a happy childhood with family and cousins. She studied in Lady Hill School-Urwa and spent most of the holidays in her father’s estate. She got married at age-17 to Joe Pereira who owned an estate in the neighborhood and had a grand reception in “Chikkowde” her Dad’s estate, 14 Km from Sakleshpur town.
Ramola and Joe were blessed with three boys and two girls. Romola always stayed in the Estate with her husband and sent the children for their studies to Mangalore. When I asked “were you ever bored out there?” she strongly said ‘No never. Not then and not now”. I cook, love Reading, Praying, doing patch work embroidery, pottering in my vegetable garden, entertaining, attending Social clubs where I always contributed my best even as a member of the Rotary Inner Wheel Club. There were no phones in those days but we were happy and always welcomed guests and cousins who visited us round the year. More than anything she said “I love nature. I stand out in the drying yard many times a day, take a deep breath, center my thoughts, relax, hum a tune, look up above to the heavens and Thank God for every day that He has given me and whisper a prayer for my loving family of 5 children and 11 Grand-children. I feel it is important to just enjoy the beauty of nature and I was indeed blessed that I was given to a family in the estates.
Her fond memories were a tour to the USA with husband Joe in 1970. With Joe even in the darkest moments, the best remains and the very best is yet to be. I love life and always tell everyone – live every day as it comes and live life to the fullest. Make the most of the time we have here on earth for we never know when the call will come. Once again her life revolved around her strong Faith. When their first son was born, the couple started a church in Sundhekere as there was no church in that area. Whatever the weather, Romola dresses up every Sunday and jumps into the jeep to attend mass at this church.
Her message in her own words : Try to achieve higher goals in life. If life gives you a lemon, make lemon juice and enjoy…Never give up. This was indeed a unique message. Periodically, I receive a WhatsApp message form Aunt Romola and when I send her one, I get an instant reply full of cheer. I should add that her son Anand dotes on her and her daughter-in-law Geeta speaks very highly and fondly of her.
I drove out of Joe’s Eco Friendly Coffee Plantations with a tune in my heart that sang ‘He said love… as I have loved you’. And I could hear Aunt Romola sing out in a chorus “Patsy we cannot love too much. Love is never wasted; come again and spend more time here”. To me she is a Woman of positive influence and a woman of meaning. Holley Gerth said “All women are Mothers because all women bring life to the world in someone way”. Rosy Rasquibha and Ramola Pereira abundantly prove this.
Note : Ms Patsy Lobo
The above article was published in “MANGALORE” (May 2019 issue) a monthly organ/magazine of CASK, with Patricia “Patsy” Lobo, the Vice President of CASK and Editor of ‘MANGALORE’ and with permission it is incorporated in Mangalorean.com Ms Patsy is the wife of Dr Derick Lobo, the former member of the South-East Regional Programme Review Group (RPRG) for elimination of filariasis; and former board member of World Health Organization (WHO)