Books

Coconut Dreams

Coconut Dreams is a short story collection by Derek Mascarenhas.

Derek Mascarenhas

Coconut Dreams explores the lives of the Pinto family through 17 linked short stories. Starting with a ghost story set in Goa, India in the 1950s, the collection weaves through various timelines and perspectives to focus on two children, Aiden and Ally Pinto. These siblings tackle their adventures in a predominantly white suburb with innocence, intelligence and a timid foot in two distinct cultures.

Derek Mascarenhas takes a fresh look at the world of the new immigrant and the South Asian experience in Canada. In these stories, a daughter questions her father's love at an IKEA grand opening; an aunt remembers a safari-gone-wrong in Kenya; an uncle's unrequited love is confronted at a Goan Association picnic; a boy tests his faith amidst a school-yard brawl; and a childhood love letter is exchanged during the building of a backyard deck. Singularly and collectively, these stories will move the reader with their engaging narratives and authentic voices. (From Book*hug)

From the book

Four days in Goa nearly killed me. It started the morning my bus arrived in Mapusa and I didn't see my uncle Quinton waiting for me. A swarm of rickshaw drivers had crowded the bus doors when I got off. I shook my head at them, and tried to push through to get my bag from the cavity of the bus. "My uncle is picking me up," I repeated, and heaved a backpack onto my shoulders. Less than a week before Christmas, the heat of the morning sun felt strange to me as I pulled my cell phone from my pocket and found my uncle's number.

"Hello…hello?" There was a dog barking in the background on the line and I almost didn't hear my uncle.

"Uncle?" I asked.

"Aiden. Where are you?" Uncle Quinton's voice was soft, and it reminded me of the voice of his daughter, Maria, the cousin I'd just left in Mumbai the night before.

"I've reached Maupsa."

"You reached! So early?"

"The bus was early."

"Where are you?"

"I'm…next to the road, in front of a market."

"Stay there. I'll come."

I put my cell back in my pocket and looked towards the market. There were bright oranges, yellows and pinks, amongst dust. Women in saris sat on straw mats piled with fruit: bananas, guavas, pomegranates, and papayas as big as watermelons. One very old woman squatted beside a woven basket full of fish that looked like the minnows we used to catch in our creek back home. They were the same size and shape, but the morning sun caught the shine of their skin like silver coins. The fish glistened despite the flies – they flew and landed in between strokes of a wrinkled hand that waved and shooed. Stalls of bangles, electronics, and clothing were touched by a light breeze that mixed sweet and sour scents.


From Coconut Dreams by Derek Mascarenhas  ©2019. Published by Book*Hug.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now