Op-Ed: Missing coffee at Goa’s Marliz in Margao city Special

Posted Jul 24, 2009 by Armstrong Vaz
The closed shutters of Marliz restaurant, once Margao’s much-sought after eating hole and a meeting point for Satiskars (resident so Salcete taluka in Indian state of Goa) points out to yet another grim story.
A sad tale of yet another Goan enterprise crashing to the vagaries of time. A place which had become synonymous with the high and the mighty of Salcete as they discussed the day’s hot stories over coffee while enjoying the fragrance and greenery of the Margao Municipal garden.
If miles away Mumbai’s once famous and now closed Bastani restaurant was a perfect place for Goans to start their day, back home Satiskars craved for more and more for Marliz’s coffee. If Basanti’s meat mince was once item Goans eat till the last bit of it, here in Margao it was coffee which ruled the roost at Marliz.
There are many stories of marriage, business deals, jobs, career options and land deals interwoven around Marliz. But the name Marliz, has a story of its own. Like the Taj Mahal, here was a man inspired by his love for his wife to name his business venture combining the names of his wife Maria and Luiza, and too not after she had died but during her life time.
For many Salcete residents it was not just a point to have their first morning coffee while reading the newspapers, it went much beyond that. Its ideal location, a few meters away from the old Margao Bus Station, meant that it drew its customers from varied fields. It served as link to many professionals, teachers and government servants. It was virtually a place and a whirlpool where the creamy layer of Salcete met over a cup of coffee.
Having your morning coffee at Marliz was just a excuse for the gossip happy Goans to make their way to the restaurant. There were many items on the menu you could pick up for your breakfast but there were are others which were not served by the Marliz staff, but they came as side “assortments”.
The morning newspapers had all the news that the Satiskars asked for. But some craved for news which did not go into print – the untold stories of affairs, bribery scandals, and more hot news.
The client based it drew came from far from different villages, Cavelossim to Cansaulim, Curtorim to Cuncolim, Quepem to Raia.
Ask Assolna-based Panchayat Secretary Theophilo Almeida or his Politician-cum-businessman friend John Baretto from Benaulim and they will have numerous stories to tell, related as they were to Marliz.
It was here that land deals, engagement proposals, career options, job opportunities and business options were discussed and fine tuned with success.
If you wanted to bribe some government official then there were people to guide you to that effect. The collector’s building a stone throw away from Marliz. The high and the mighty from the collector’s building came to Marliz to have coffee. They needed the caffeine dose to give them the adrenalin rush for their routine work.
As college students, we sometimes ran into our professors here. In the college canteens we did not had a chance to share the same table with our teachers and have coffee. Here at Marliz we did.
If the high and mighty strengthen their professional, social and business links with their association with Marliz, there is another untold story about Stanley Coutinho, a newspaper vendor , who did business from his counter outside the restaurant , until the High Court decision to clear all building passages led to his doom.
He was evicted from the place like many others during the last 90’s in a drive enforced by the Margao Municipality in conformity with the High Court orders. Others who were evicted slowly returned to the place but Coutinho had lost many a time in his fight for survival. The high and mighty who were once so good to him, failed to bail him out of the situation, thus Coutinho shut the business forever.
His place has now being taken over by a Non-Goan newspaper vendor who sells newspapers from the footh path a few meters away from Marliz. Yet another non-Goan doing business at the expense of a Goan.
But the story of Marliz has not being entirely wiped away from the Goan radar, another sister concern stills operates in the same building of Margao’s Grace church, selling Cakes and Goan sweets. Hope is round the corner and not everything is lost, are you listening, Arwin Mesquita, a Goan based in UAE concerned about protecting Goan identity. It’s time Mesquita and his like-minded Goans put principles into practice, to protect and safeguard the business interests of the Goans.
Viva Goa! Viva Goenkarponn! Viva Marliz!