Over the last world struggle, there have been extra spies in tiny Goa than maybe the entire of India. There have been British spies who by no means smiled, German spies who wore leather-based pants and a lone French spook with an eyepatch, who, had he been barely taller, might have handed off as a pirate from the Caribbean. There have been additionally Indian spies – Goa was not part of India then – however they saved to themselves and infrequently combined with the international fraternity.
The spooks referred to as themselves Consuls and had automobiles and flags to match. They gave few events, however appeared pleasant in the direction of younger males like us whom they plied with drinks – the Germans supplied beer, the British whisky and the French eyepatch man gave away small bottles of Cognac. The Indians, from Delhi, Calcutta and Bombay, gave nothing.
There was just one respectable cafe the place all of us gathered eying one another warily, consuming heat beer – as there was no ice – and munching tiny sausages. The Germans had a big inventory of canned cheese and frankfurters which smelled terrible if you opened the tin. However the native Catholics liked them; my mom, nevertheless, wouldn’t have them within the house at any price.
Unknown to us, there have been different issues occurring proper behind our backs, on the excessive seas close to the harbour the place half a dozen German ships had taken shelter to flee British submarines on the prowl. Goa was a impartial territory underneath the Portuguese and the British needed to hold their distance. With their noses underneath water like crocodiles, the submarines saved a watch from a distance, nevertheless it was all very peaceable.
Till, that’s, a few rating of British vacationers descended on the small group and commenced sunning themselves on the seashores. They mentioned that they had come for a vacation from Calcutta the place it was quite chilly and would go away after Xmas. The British consul used to indicate them round and so they usually spent hours watching the ships mendacity peacefully within the harbour.
The sailors within the ships had an association with the native retailers. Since that they had no cash, the sailors would promote them stuff from the ship’s cargo, like tinned foodstuffs, German dyes, automobile elements, textiles, and many others. The retailers, a shrewd lot wherever, would provide them day by day requirements like fish, greens, meat, flour and soups. It was an association that suited each events. Goa was quickly flooded with German goodies, together with Mercedes automobiles, and so they turned so common they (the Germans) nearly ran the place.
One morning as my mates and I had been going to the German consul’s place, we had been flabbergasted to see him being pushed out of his home in his personal Mercedes to the jetty the place a small ferry was ready. The poor fellow couldn’t wave his hand as he was apparently in handcuffs. On both aspect, sat a few these ‘vacationers’, considered one of whom appeared like David Niven with unhealthy tooth. Once we reached the consulate, we discovered the place ransacked. The prepare dinner informed us that each one the Germans had been arrested and would in all probability be shot.
Really, the consul, who was not likely a consul, however a secret service man, was working a transmitter in his workplace and was in fixed contact with the ships within the harbour, a few of which had been truly gunboats with radio connections. The British had already misplaced dozens of ships in and round Goa. The so-called vacationers had been truly a crack regiment from Calcutta commanded by the David Niven look-alike.
I actually do not know what occurred afterwards, however the British had been reportedly in excessive spirits and blew up the ships one after one other till you could possibly see solely their masts. We have no idea what occurred to the Germans, however I need to say I felt sorry for the German consul and likewise for myself. There was no extra cheese and beer and the frankfurters now lay on the backside of the harbour the place the surmai and the katla would have a feast of a lifetime!
(The author is a widely known columnist and economist.)