It was hard to shake off the feeling on being “fenced-in”, when we visited this slick new avatar of the Garcia da Orta garden in Panjim a few days ago.

In my childhood, in the ’70s, we could run free in this lovely open space. There was no watchman to police our playful frolic. One could cut right across the garden, without having to walk around it. It was a welcome breather, a green pit-stop respite for Panjimites along their way. No gates and fences, no opening and closing times.





To me, these barriers are a metaphor for the curbs that have gradually, increasingly been imposed on us, stifling our freedom: of movement, of being able to congregate and relax in our own public spaces.  

Perhaps it is a sign of the times, and perhaps we should just accept this as a given. But we have lost some of our innocence along the way, and our future generations will have lost it most.

I can always visit the garden of my memories……. This shiny new fenced, gated space will be the garden of THEIR memories.


(Photo credits: Oswaldo “Bibló” Velho for the black and white pictures; Luis Dias & Chryselle D’Silva Dias for the recent ones)


(An edited version of this post first appeared in