When people want a break from their hectic schedules, they often visit a tourist destination, focus on having a good time, and return home relaxed. They only think about the location when they see photographs, or when someone mentions it.
The same is true about Goa; it has turned into a party destination for the rest of India and the world. As Goa has become synonymous with tourism over the years, it is difficult to visualise this coastal state in any other context.
BITTEN BY THE GREEN BUG
While many remain unaware of the hidden potential that exists within Goa, its citizens work tirelessly to contribute to society in different ways. Cosmas Salu D’Souza, who hails from Tivim, is a man of many talents. Despite being an engineer by profession, he has been passionate about horticulture from the young age of 5 or 6.
He draws inspiration from his late mother, Emilia, who used to plant cucumbers and other vegetables at the beginning of monsoons, in the month of June – watering the plants was not necessary during this season as the rainwater took care of that! Seeing her example, Cosmas also enjoyed sowing seeds of various beans, watching them germinate and develop into plants.
Just as people become experts in their respective fields through trial and error, so too was the case with a young Cosmas. Even as a child, Cosmas loved to be in the presence of plants and help his mother with her kitchen garden.
Being around plants, helping his mother with her little garden, and experimenting with various plants, helped Cosmas refine his horticultural skills. Despite being passionate about his farming prowess, Cosmas pursued a course in Engineering due to various factors such as lack of career guidance, non-existence of agricultural colleges in Goa and reluctance of his parents.
It wasn’t his mother alone who expanded Cosmas’ knowledge of agriculture. Since his family had acres of land in which they cultivated paddy, Cosmas would deliver kanji (rice gruel) and food to family members and labourers in the field. Although trips to the fields were not an easy task, Cosmas enjoyed them. Growing, both, Rabi and Kharif crops in the field, sowing seeds and drawing water from the well were some of the activities associated with the field.
GETTING INTO GRAFTING
Grafting is a method used in the world of horticulture, and as a child, Cosmas was aware that his grandfather used to practice this technique, thanks to the tales narrated to him by his mother. Cosmas eventually mastered it, too, through trial and error as certain procedures of grafting weren’t easy.
Grafting should ideally be conducted in a laboratory environment, such as greenhouses, where bacteria and fungus can be avoided, and humidity can be controlled.
This process can take different forms such as bark grafting and stone grafting. The traditional bark grafting method can yield different varieties of mangoes from a single mango tree. However, certain rules have to be followed for this type of grafting. It can be grown on old trees too, giving them new life. Cosmas is one of the few practitioners of this method, which is fading away in Goa as it involves tedious work, which is not very appealing to most people.
Cosmas is a multi-faceted personality who acquired a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Goa Engineering College, worked for SESA Goa Ltd, was associated with shipbuilding and the iron industry. He is also a musician, and former sportsman who represented Goa, and currently restores automobiles. He was recently felicitated by the villagers of Tivim on August, 2022.
Cosmas’ fresh produce is available via his facebook page, called ‘Organic Fruits’. For details about his grafting technique and more, he can be contacted on 07507488484