Chapter 7: Glimpses of India
The lesson begins with how the narrator’s elders often remembered the time when Goa was under Portuguese. They talked about the importance of bakers which was still maintained in their villages even after the Portuguese have left. They told that they were known as ‘Paders’ in Goa.
The mixers, moulders and their time-tested furnaces continued to serve the people of Goa with their well known bread loaves. There are chances that the unique ones did not exist, but their profession is being sustained by their sons. The knock of their bamboo stick could still be heard in some parts of the village. The same jingling knock used to wake up the narrator and his friends during their childhood days who would go run to him with out even brushing or washing their mouth properly.
It was the maid-servant of the house who used to collect the loaves while children sorted the bread bangles for themselves. Bakery products had an important place in the culture and traditions of Goa. Boor sweet bread is a part of marriage gifts, cakes and Bolinhas or coconut cookies are eaten at the time of festivals and the lady of the house prepared sandwiches during her daughter’s engagement.
Earlier bakers used to wear an exclusive frock which was of knee-length and was known as ‘kabai’ but during the narrator’s childhood, they wore a shirt and trousers which had a length somewhat shorter than the usual ones. They normally collected thei r bills at the end of every month. Bakery was a money-making profession, managing to keep their families blissful and affluent.
Chapter 7: Poem: The Trees
“The Trees,” is a voice with a body busy in activities and sensing intrusions that are not organic to the conventions of a nature poem. This is an (un) natural poem that narrates the fight of a population of trees to flee the confines of a greenhouse. The poem demonstrates the inappropria teness of language itself as a greenhouse or container of nature.
The speaker is a spectator to the trees’ migration, but keeps a distance from participating in the making of something out of the sight. Although the speaker addresses the audience, her own “head is full of whispers” she’s herself an audience. The speaker reaches across the barricade between poem and audience. Adrienne Rich articulates her alertness of the many levels of inner and outer and the blurring of the boundaries between them.
The trees, “long-cramped … under the roof ‘ are trying to get out while the speaker remains in the space the trees want to escape. An open door makes the “night” and the “whole moon” and the “sky” available to the speaker; at the same time. The speaker’s “head” is another centre, completely entered by “whispers.” The poetess is especially intrigued by her image of the trees “like newly discharged patien ts who are half-dazed”.