Comprehension Exercise – 28

Comprehension Exercise – 28

Creative Writing – 83

Comprehension Exercise for school students [CBSE, BSE, ICSE)


Walking in one of Panaji’s local markets one warm afternoon earlier this year, I found the shops shuttered all along the street. I was in search of a new pair of shoes to replace the ones that had just given up after years of walks in markets and towns such as this one in Goa. “You’ll have to wait until evening now,” said my friend when I called to ask about opening hours. It turned out that nothing in Goa is open between 13:00 and 17:00: this seaside state in western India heaves a collective sigh of ‘susegad’ around lunchtime and switches off from the heat outside.

Susegad – which comes from the Portuguese word ‘sossegado’ for ‘quiet’ – refers to the laidback attitude of Goans, who seem to live in a perennial state of contentment. Perry Goes, a Goan living in Bengaluru in India’s southern Karnataka state, told me, “Like siesta itself, susegad is born of an innate realisation that you cannot and should not fight the small things of life. Like on a hot, sultry, soporific summer afternoon, it is best to shut down and spend time in the shade. Otherwise, you won’t be able to enjoy the balmy summer evening that comes later.” Like other Goans, Goes uses the Spanish word siesta rather than the Portuguese sesta.

Yet, Susegad is much more than just taking a nap in the afternoons. “It is about living life at a slow pace, taking your ‘own sweet time’ about everything,” as Shekhar Vaidya, a marketing executive who was born and lived most of his adult life in Goa, explained. “After all, where is the hurry?” he added.

Journalist Joanna Lobo, who grew up in north Goa and now lives in Mumbai, reminisced about susegad from her childhood. “It’s a Sunday spent with the family, relaxing after a filling lunch of rice, fish and vegetables, just gossiping about the village or playing card games. It’s that feeling of relaxation, of feeling content with life, of being loved.”

Contentment, physical silence and mental peace were themes that came up again and again as I spoke to people from Goa – both those who live there and those who have moved away. Where other Indian towns are defined by the sounds of vehicular and human traffic in the form of incessant honking and heated arguments, in the towns and villages of Goa, it is the chiming of church bells and the gentle tinkle of bicycle bells that mark time.

Susegad does not mean laziness or lack of interest in work, though, as Lobo was quick to point out. “As an outsider Goan or Bomoicar [as Bombay Goans are referred to], my biggest gripe is with how the word has been twisted and misconstrued to mean that Goans are lazy and laidback. That’s just not true. We work hard but also want to enjoy life,” she declared firmly. Goes had a similar reaction describing a family situation where he felt helpless. “Sometimes, the only thing to do good for my soul is to have a chilled beer and a good siesta. It is not sloth or laziness. It is deciding on what to fight for and what to give up on, and having the sense to decide between the two.”

Stereotypes about various regions and communities flourish in India, each viewed with a modicum of suspicion and oodles of superiority by everyone else – from the loud and boisterous Punjabi to the cerebral and rabblerousing Bengali. But Goa, it is acknowledged, marches to the beat of its own drum. This state, which has one of the smallest populations in India (just more than 1.5 million), revels in a uniquely happy syncretism between Indian Hindu and Portuguese Catholic influences.

The Portuguese first arrived in Goa in 1510. They came for many reasons, most significantly to take back valuable spices like black pepper and green cardamom and to spread the word about Christianity. What they found in Goa delighted them: virgin beaches and lush forests, not to mention a handy port that eased trade within the region. And so, the Portuguese stayed on.


1. Tick the most correct option.

A. The author  found the shops closed, because
1. It was a rainy day.
2. It was a day of general strike.
3. All shops remain closed till 5pm.

B. The word susegad is
1. of Goan origin
2. of Portugese origin.
3. of Sanskrit origin

C. The word susegad means
1. siesta
2. sleep
3. quiet

2. Goans like to sleep in the afternoon, because
1. they can escape the heat
2. they have nothing else to do
3. they can enjoy the balmy evening that follows

3. According to Shekar Vaidya, susegad
1. is a Goan way of living life
2. implies a relaxed attitude towards life
3. is a lazy habit that came from the Portuguese

4.  How the native Goans spend their Sunday afternoons, as described by Joanna Lobo? What does it speak about their idea of happy living?
5. In what way a native Goan different from a Punjabi or a Bengali?
6. Why and when did the Portuguese come to Goa?


1. A -3,    B-2,     C-3

2. 2

3. 2

4. Native Goans prefer to have a sumptuous lunch consisting of rice, fish, and vegetables at a friend’s place. During and after the lunch, they like to talk liesurely about village matters, friends etc,.

5.  Punjabis are noisy and flamboyant, Bengalis are argumentative and somewhat acerbic, where as a Goan keeps it to himself. He is friendly, non-interfering, and does not like to offend others.

6. The Portuguese set foot on India in 1510 AD. They came to buy spice from India for selling it to European consumers.

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