Watermelon Diplomacy….for growth and progress

 

Having finished with the day’s work in the fields I drove back home  with my 40 year  old but faithful fiat.  Actually speaking in the true sense of the word it can be termed as ‘Neighbour’s envy owner’s pride’.  Parking the old dame in the garage I called out to my better half ‘Darling I have a surprise for you. Would you mind coming down and having a look ?’ I screamed out loud  like an eighteen year old.  ‘Your surprises don’t surprise me anymore.  I have lots to do and I don’t have any time for your surprises’ she    retorted from top.

But never the one to give up, I somehow coaxed her again and my better half walked down to the garage. ‘So where’s the surprise?’ She asked looking directly at me.  Hold your breath and shut your eyes for a moment.  I moved her towards the car dickey and like a Magician in a flourish I opened the old dame’s back side to reveal the surprise I had for her. 

‘What is all this ?’ she asked with a even bigger surprise  in her voice and anger on her cute nose.  ‘Watermelons! Watermelons from our fields’ I replied with a sense of pride. ‘I know they are watermelons, I can’t be so blind as to think that they are cannons. But why so many ? You could have brought home just two for the family to relish. Selling them all would have  fetched you more income.’2014_Hot_sale_seedless_font_b_watermelon_v1.jpg_200x200

‘Go to hell with the  income, I am not doing this for income or earning a fortune as much as I am doing it for pleasure and to keep the  good old village tradition alive. These are twenty watermelons’ I said admiring my fruit of labour  filling   the car dickey. 

‘And why so many, may I ask?’

-‘You are now coming to the point. You see, I thought I would offer two of these to my next door neighbor Magdalien, in return for all those lovely luscious papayas she sends me every papaya season.  I intend to offer two to Franskin.  She never forgets to compliment us with those lovely juicy Mankcurada mangoes ever summer season.

 ‘Are there any men folk on your offer list’ she retorted with a mischievous smile. 

-‘Wait a minute…I am still not done with. I am going to send two watermelons to   Pandurang our Panch. Remember he helped me with de-silting the nullah next to  our fields. If not for him, our fields would have got inundated with all the filth flowing down the same.’

-‘How can I forget my local MLA ?  The last time he helped me to get subsidy to buy the water pump and a small gen-set. I am sending him 4 watermelons with the hope that he will help me market my products next year directly to the horticulture outlets. Then I can call myself a progressive farmer. ’

-‘not a bad idea  after all ’ .

‘Wait don’t interrupt, I may forget the most important person  on my  list of beneficiaries.  And this will come as a still bigger surprise for you……I am going to send 10 watermelons to our  beloved Chief Minister ’ I said with a chuckle in my voice.

– ‘Oh good Lord !  Mia Culpa…..Mia Culpa. What are you up to? Are you thinking of joining politics after your retirement?’

-‘You won’t understand my strategy. This is what I call the ‘Watermelon Diplomacy’ for growth and progress. All that I want from the Chief Minister is to make a financial provision in the next State budget proposals to give a boost to watermelon farming. We have to protect this ancestral traditional occupation of watermelon harvesting handed down to us from generations. It needs good financial support. Unless the Government is supportive and floats schemes and offers subsidies, nothing will happen. He will be surprised to know that I am holding the original seeds of the best know variety of watermelons in Goa handed down to me by my great grandfather. The genealogy has to be protected and preserved and passed down to the next generation.   We can then export our Goan watermelons to China just like the way we import their toys and apples from them’.

-My better half was not much amused with my lecture. Lecturers usually don’t appreciate being lectured by others, least of all their spouse.  I could hear her mutter ‘Watermelon Diplomacy’……..my foot. You are wasting my time and your energy’ as she walked up the wooden staircase leading upstairs. 

‘Just then my winged Nepalee pet ‘Jango’ screamed from the balcony window with a screech in his voice ‘Wake up boss…….its morning. Good  morning……..boss.’

I blinked my eyes and looked out of the blanket. It was bright in the room. I could see Jango outside spreading his wings and stretching his leg. The electronic clock on the wall struck 7 O’Clock. ‘Oh no….its Monday again. Cursing Jango below my breath I jumped out of the comfort of my bed to begin yet another long week ahead’.  

 Daniel F. de Souza

Like father, like son…Football World Cup musings.

 

Never had my Lipid profile readings shown such alarming levels anytime in the past.  I could not believe what I was reading.  Just to make sure that I was not hallucinating, I took the laboratory report and was reading it all over again. Suddenly my better half barged into the bedroom and looked at me questioningly. She sometimes shows the sixth sense traits.What are you reading? Looks like you are going through examination report card.’ 

-‘yes of’course it’s a report, but not an examination report. It’s more serious then what you imagine’ I said not taking my eyes away from the paper.

– ‘so what report is it? I did not attempt to reply, I was shell shocked with the readings.

‘Show let me have an look’ she said and snatched away the test report from my shivering hands.

– ‘Good Lord! So this is it? And you were putting up a pretense as though everything was fine’ she said looking at me with questioning  eyes.

– ‘Are you happy with this report ?’ She asked me rather bluntly.                                  worldcup worldcup1 worldcup2

No not at all.

‘Have you seen your Cholesterol & Triglycerides levels shooting through the sky and your good cholesterol below normal’ ?

‘Yes. Sure I did. So what can I do about it ?’

‘What can I do, you can do many things. Watch more live football matches  and keep hogging all the while.

‘What do you mean?’ I asked very innocently

‘Now don’t pretend, as though you are a Saint’ she said with concern  in her voice.

‘What have I hogged & when did I sit before the idiot box?’

‘Oh….you are looking more saintly then all the heavenly Saints put together’ she said.

‘Have you forgotten the late nights you are keeping on account of the football world cup matches?’ she asked looking into my eyes.

 ‘No, of’ course not.  That’s a once in a four year affair’. I said rather sheepishly.

‘The football world cup late night matches is the culprit for this high levels of cholesterol & triglycerides.  Have you ever realized it? ‘

 ‘No not exactly’ I said very innocently.

‘I have been  telling you since day one, it’s okay if you watch late night football matches but control your temptation to feast on those  chocolates, cheese sandwiches,  double roasted  Caju nuts,  pistachio, chicken nuggets, to keep you up through the 90 minute match. You never listened to me’ my better half began lecturing.

‘But what’s wrong in eating whilst watching an exciting world cup match? It’s all part of the game.’

‘What’s wrong? You need to check what you are eating. Remember you are not getting younger. The Chocolates, Caju nuts, pistachio are the reasons for your lipid profile readings showing alarming levels’ she replied .

‘Never mind, world cup football comes once in four years. It’s okay if I indulge in my passion once in a while. Take it sportingly’ I countered.

‘I am afraid your passion may invite you a life time health problem’.   

‘You won’t understand the kind of excitement that builds up during a knockout round of the world cup fixtures. You have got to watch it to experience it. The adrenaline rushes up …heart starts beating faster, you will never understand how passionate men are about football and  their love for chocolates too’ I retorted trying to justify my eating spree.

‘Yes, I don’t know about other men, but I surely know your passion for football is nowhere as compared to your weakness for chocolates, pistachio and nuts. That’s the reason why I find chocolate wrappers and pistachio shells even under your pillow……sometimes you really drive me nuts….’ .she said with an air of disgust.

I felt the heat and I knew I was on a sticky wicket. I was caught in an off side position. Neither could I attempt a back tackle for fear of being shown the card. To my good luck just then my little brat Benjamin walked in….’Mama what’s all this talk about nuts…..and chocolates…..who is eating them, Papa ?  Give me some, I also want to eat some nuts and chocolates…….Oh I love them so much’ he said with all the innocence of a five year old kid.

My better half looked at me with a mischievous smile….that almost melted my stress about the lipid profile levels. It was like the bright coloured rainbow on a rainy day. I knew she had given up on convincing me. When it comes to chocolates & nuts nobody can.

‘Do you think he will be any different….from you ?’ She asked looking at Benjamin.

‘If that were to happen it would defeat the age old saying…Like father, like son’ I said with a chuckle.

Just then my mobile by the bedside table began to chime at full volume…..Instantly I jumped out of bed in one swift move and headed straight to the washroom.   It was 01.00 a.m. time to watch Samba kings Brazil take on mighty Germany in the first Semi-finals of World Cup 2014.  I reached for the TV remote. It was a long night ahead.

Daniel F de Souza

 

 

 

Meeta-ing her destiny

Starting off with one act plays in her village, Meeta’s first full length tiatr says it all. Called ‘Mhojem Noxib Tem’ (meaning, ‘It’s my destiny’) in 1990, she went on to do exceptional work, earning herself respect and a senior position in the fraternity

Maria Ana Afonso from Chinchinim is that smiley-faced female artiste who has been serving the tiatr stage for the last 24 years. Her pet-name, ‘Meeta’ given to her by her parents, is her stage name too. She is media shy and keeps a rather low profile. But her contribution to the tiatr stage has been significant and her directors will definitely vouch for this.

Beginning her tryst with the Konkani stage at a very young age in a village one act play staged by Seby Afonso of Assolna, who is her husband today, Meeta today occupies a respectable position amongst senior tiatrist of the Konkani stage. “After Mhojem Noxib Tem’, I continued acting for Joaquim Faleiro for two more tiatr – ‘Tumi Sudronk Zai’ and ‘Tumi Oxe Cholat’,” says Meeta adding that these first three tiatr were path breaking for her, since she was immediately picked up by senior tiatrist C. D’Silva to play a lead role in his tiatr ‘Ganzil’ and later ‘Tujer Yetoch’.

“Overnight, I had become a stage artiste,’  recalls Meeta whose big break came when renowned playwright John D’Silva offered her a major role in his hit non-stop show ‘Vell’ in 1996, with whom she continued for a few seasons more, before joining Pascoal Rodrigues.

With every assignment, Meeta only got better and better. And playwrights of repute began offering her major roles too. “When late Rosario Rodrigues recognized my talent and cast me in his non-stop shows ‘Anik ek Mhoino’, ‘Kudd’, ‘Ashram’ and ‘Tum Khoim Ravta’, I was elated,” she says. For the last 11 years, Meeta has been the main stay artiste of playwright John D’Silva’s troupe. “My director knows my capabilities and gives me appropriate roles. It’s been a satisfying experience. John is a caring and straight-forward person and I am very happy to be a part of his troupe,” she adds.

While all this was happening, Meeta also made time to undergo a beautician’s course and set up a ladies beauty parlour in Margao, which she runs even today. “None of this would have been possible had it not been for the unstinted support of my husband Seby and my ever-supportive mother-in-law,” says a grateful Meeta. 

Watch her play an absorbing role of a caring and loving wife in John D’silva’s latest –‘Devosponn’ where she also renders a melodious solo and a thought provoking duet with Socorro de St. Cruz. 

Career Highlights:

  • Acted for playwrights like Joaquim Faleiro, C. D’Silva, Pascoal Rodrigues, Rosario Rodrigues, Maxcy Pereira, John D’Silva, Ives Tavares, Lawry Travasso, Jack Rodson, Ignatius de Xelvonn, Anthony Fernandes, Kenny Ferns, etc
  • Produced one VCD film ‘ Avoiche Koxtt’ and one audio music album ‘Don Thikam’ 

Daniel F de Souza

 

 

The ‘Model’ actor – Sonia Diniz

She has been a part of the tiatr stage for just over three years now, yet Sonia Diniz from Navelim already has a much coveted spot in Prince Jacob’s tiatr troupe

 She had already established herself as a fashion model with Green Harper in Cochin, Kerala from 2008 to 2010 when she came back home for a short vacation. On a friend’s recommendation, Sonia Diniz from Navelim was offered a role in Kisan de Chinchinim’s tiatr ‘JivitEkJugar’ (Life is a gamble). “Besides doing the main role which required me to portray three different negative and aggressive characters, I was also given the responsibility of doing the opening solo,” recounts Diniz for whom it was just a one-time thing.

“I had never thought of taking up tiatr as a profession and I was quite eager to get back to my modeling,” she says, adding that destiny, on the other hand, had something else in store. Diniz was spotted by Prince Jacob who offered her an opening in his troupe. “Getting an offer to act for Prince Jacob was the most exciting thing. I was so happy. My parents, too, supported and encouraged me to take it up,” says Diniz who gambled her modeling career for a career in acting as this would allow her to be in Goa without having to move out of the state.

Three years later, she has no regrets. Her position in Prince Jacob’s troupe adds a lot of popularity and reputation to her name. And those who saw the newcomer’s acting in Prince Jacob’s ‘Uleak Zap Di’ in 2011 will vouch for the fact that she made quite an impressive debut. “In Uleak Zap Di, I played the role of a television journalist,” says Diniz adding that although she had just a few lines to utter, her training and stint as a fashion model helped her project herself well on stage.
Later in 2012, Prince Jacob utilized Diniz’s acting talents in a much serious and major role of a cancer stricken youngster in the tiatr ‘DusmanakPasunNirminaka’. “On reading the script of ‘DusmanakPasunNirminaka’ and the demands of the role, I was a little hesitant. However, my director was confident that I would do justice to the role. He trained me on how to bring out the emotions and the pain that a cancer patient goes through,” says Diniz who was once again called upon to play the challenging role of a specially-abled child in ‘Pap TujemPrachitMhojem’. Playing the role to perfection, Diniz won the hearts of the audience and the confidence of the director with this tiatr.

Diniz aims to continue on the tiatr stage as a professional actor. “My parents are happy with this decision too. However, if I am an actor today, it is all because of my director Prince Jacob. It’s his guidance and training that has brought me here and I have very high regard for him,” says Diniz, adding that in the latest tiatr ‘AmchemKonnChint’ta’, Prince Jacob has once again cast her in a totally different role– a comedian’s one–opposite more established and senior comedians like his brother Humberto and himself.

Still in the learning phase and polishing her skills with every performance, Diniz has already acted in six of Prince Jacob’s tiatr in her little over three-year stint on the stage. With Prince Jacob grooming and exploring her acting potential to the full, she is all set the tiatr stage alight.

Daniel F de Souza

St. Cruz’s tiatr legend – Peter Barbosa

Chatting with him was like catching up with an old friend – his voice was laced with warmth, his manner modest and low profile. This despite the fact that Peter Barbosa from St Cruz has scripted and produced over 50 tiatr in his tiatr career spanning over five decades.

Dressed as an angel, wings and all, nine-year-old Peter Ciriaco Barbosa crooned the verses of the hymn ‘Gloria in Excelsis’ in his angelic little child-like voice. This was his first tryst with the tiatr stage. “It was Horacio Rodrigues’ tiatr ‘Sorvonddar’ staged in Agassaim during the Christmas of 1950,” says Barbosa who was approached yet again some seven years later when the same director scripted yet another tiatr called ‘Kortub Mauxechem’. Barbosa was called upon to play the role of a ‘gouyo put’ (insane son) and he did complete justice to the role. 

This also gave him the confidence he needed to stage his own tiatr. “I scripted and staged my first tiatr – ‘Rogtache Bhav’ – when I was just 17,” says Barbosa for whom this was just the beginning.

Attracting a lot of attention from senior tiatrists on account of being so young, Barbosa was then roped in by the then popular Vasco-based dramatic group, ‘Young Stars of Goa’ as an official prompter through the goodwill of M. Dod de Verna. “During those years, a tiatr prompter occupied an important and respectable position in tiatr troupes and was an inseparable part of the tiatr fraternity, although the position has today been rendered redundant,” enlightens Barbosa who also doubled as a soloist and actor in cameo roles until he took up a job in the Government Printing Press of Goa.

While this prevented him from continuing with the Young Stars of Goa dramatic group, it did not, however, deter him from scripting and directing tiatr in his village of St Cruz. His brief but adventurous brush with professional artistes helped him include the topmost of professional artistes in his tiatr over the years, winning him accolades from the audience.

A respectable name in his village, he now trains youngsters in the art of scripting and directing, besides staging tiatr in the village on feasts and Kala Academy’s tiatr competitions. His daughter Carmen Barbosa e Sequeira is also a professional Konkani stage artiste, and quite popular in her own right.

At 73, Peter Barbosa is as passionate about tiatr and acting as he was when he first stepped on to the tiatr stage at the age of nine. Having recently rendered a trio ‘Adle tiatrist’ with two other companions in Domnic Bothelo’s tiatr ‘Gorabeachem Sukh, Barbosa has now buckled down to write his own tiatr, ‘Mhozo Tiatr Somplo’, to be staged across the state during the upcoming Easter season. 

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

Composed the lyrics of nearly 300 odd songs. Also acts a ghost composer for others

Acted with his daughter Carmen in Tomazinho Cardozo’s tiatr staged at the KA tiatr competitions for six years now and has won awards as well
Acted in the VCD films of Mathew Araujo, Elvis Sequeira and Socorro de St. Cruz
Cultural president of the Social Welfare Association, St. Cruz 
Assisted in the scriptwriting process, lyrics and direction of three passion plays in his village 
His most popular tiatr are: Resperadis, Vot ani Savlli, Ek Jevonn, Asro, Rupkar, Tiklem, Kaidea Virud, etc

Daniel F de Souza

Tiatr’s mother hen – Jessie Dias

Jessie Dias of Anjuna is known as the ‘Mother of the Konkani stage’ not just for the ‘motherly’ roles she plays, but also for the care and concern she displays towards her peers

In the mid-fifties, when tiatr was a flourishing industry in Mumbai and all the big names in the tiatr 

field were regular visitors to the house of Jose Manuel Cardozo, at whose house tiatr rehearsals would take place, nine year old Maria Conceicao Cardozo showed an extraordinary interest in the performing art. Then when her younger brother Lucas Cardozo scripted ‘Eksuro’, Maria Conceicao was offered the role of a child artist, which she performed admirably well.

Then when she was 10, veteran tiatrist Francis de Parra asked her to step in and play the heroine’s role in his tiatr ‘Lagmoddi Sun’, as the designated artist got struck with typhoid. A short and puny little girl opposite a towering hero Francis de Parra, she was forced to wear really high-heeled shoes to match his height and adult gowns to hide her child-like body.

Her mother Robertina encouraged her to act in tiatr. And her real big break came in 1963 when she was again called upon to replace another heroine who did not turn up at the very last moment in Alfred Rose’s show ‘Dotor Advogad’ and ‘Director Saib’ scheduled for a run in Goa. “I had to rush to Goa on short notice and it was here that I had the opportunity to showcase my potential,” she says adding that this gave her the required exposure amongst senior tiatrists.

The rest as they say is history and the young girl who later came to be known in tiatr circles as Jessie Dias, now acquiring the sobriquet ‘Mother of the Konkani stage’ has been adorning the tiatr stage ever since. Acting in Alfred Rose’s tiatr and being a good singer, Dias had the opportunity to sing duets 
with Alfred Rose until he married Rita Rose. Besides Alfred Rose, she also paired with C. Alvares, Young Mendes, Lawrence de Tiracol, Francis de Parra and Vincent to sing memorable duets.

Having played several character roles as well, Dias remembers, “I remember playing the role of a tragic old lady in the tiatr ‘Emkondd’ directed by Prem Kumar. I also occasionally replaced senior artiste Ophelia D’Souza in C. Alvares’ hit tiatrs ‘Atancheo Suno’ and ‘Kedna Udetolo to 
Dis’ whenever she was unavailable.”

At the tender age of 18, Dias was again called upon to play the role of a mother. Some of her most memorable roles as a mother have been in C. Alvares’s tiatr– ‘Honrad Goykar, Gharache Vantte, Axea, Dr. Simon’, etc. Jessie’s versatility as an artist was again tested when she was cast in a pure comedy role by C. Alvares in his tiatrs ‘Mazor zalem cat’ and ‘Mhojem Rogot’ in the eighties.

And it isn’t just her motherly roles that gained her the nickname, Mother of the Konkani stage. It is her loving and ever caring nature, and a motherly concern that transcends the stage and touches others in their day to day lives that resulted in the name – she takes it upon herself to see to the comforts of her colleagues including the band members and all their requirements. She is even the first person to visit any sick artiste or attend the final rites of a departed colleague no matter which part of Goa they may be in. All this had garnered her exceptional respect and admiration amongst her fraternity.

Today as she looks back on her glorifying acting career of more than fifty years, she seems content and says, “There is no role that I have not played. I couldn’t ask for anything more. The stage has given me immense satisfaction, fame and respect from my fraternity.

Career Highlights: 

Acted in tiatr of all seniors directors besides the non-stop khell tiatr of Ligorio Ferandes, A.M. Pacheco, Rosario Rodrigues, Jose Rod, Anthony San, Rose Ferns, Patrick Dourado, Pascoal Rodrigues, etc
Sung trios in the company of Souza Ferrao, Greg, Star of Arrossim, etc
Sung in audio albums of Bab Peter and Lawrence de Tiracol as well as on L.P. records of senior artistes. 
Acted in movies; ‘Girestkai, Zababdari, Mariola, Vadoll, Utta to Budd’tta, Amchi Chukh
Recipient of the Goa State Cultural Award, the Dalgado Konknni Akademi Cultural Award, TAG Lifetime contribution to Tiatr award, Dr. Jack de Sequeira Award, Cine Times Award for best actress in the tiatr ‘Gharachem Sukh’

Daniel  de Souza

Cajetan de Singer – Cajetan de Curtorim

Even though he was forced to seek employment when he was just 10, this was where Cajetan de Curtorim discovered his talent for singing and turned it into a successful career

Born Pedro Caetano Fernandes in the village of Curtorim, Cajetan had a difficult childhood. And while his family worked very hard to make ends meet, little Cajetan also had to take up odd jobs to supplement the family income. Then when he was 10, Cajetan was sent to work with the Longuinho family in Margao where he was exposed to Konkani songs of the legendary M Boyer. “The lady of the house repeatedly played a live audio recording of late M Boyer’s hit solo ‘Chandragupta’ on her cassette player,” Cajetan recalls, adding that he in turn ended up memorizing the song and sang it at a singing competition in his village. “I won the first prize, which at the time was a ‘shining’ steel glass. But it was still a great feeling,” adds Cajetan, who was beginning to get noticed for his singing.

In 1986, 16-year-old Cajetan de Curtorim got his first taste of zomnivelle khell under the guidance of Jack de Silva from Curtorim. “It was Jack de Silva who guided me in the art of composing lyrics for songs,” says Cajetan, who continued to be a part of the khells for two more carnival seasons, before joining the Raia-based George Coelho’s drama troupe in his on stop show ‘Fulam’.

Cajetan de Curtorim has come a long way since then. Having joined Prince Jacob’s troupe in the year 2009 with the show ‘Zaiyeat Zage’, Cajetan is now a permanent member of this troupe. He has played multiple character roles and is also seen sharing the same stage with Prince Jacob and his brother Humbert for a comic duo or trio. A gifted composer, Cajetal also contributes one or two of his own compositions (a solo, duet or a duo), in Prince Jacob’s tiatr, besides singing other songs assigned by the director. Always wearing a broad smile, Cajetan is known for his thought-provoking solos, and has a steady fan following. His solo, ‘Motorcycle Accident’ (in Prince Jacob’s tiatr ‘Zaiyeat Zage’) even won the best lyrics award at TAG’s first ever Popular Tiatr Festival.

A seasoned lyricists and soloist (he has penned over 500 songs in a tiatr career spanning around 27 years), Cajetan de Curtorim always makes it a point to memorize not just his songs, but also his dialogues. Manfa Music’s Fabian G da Costa was the first Konkani music promoter and producer who gave Cajetan de Curtorim an opportunity to sing a solo in Agnelo D’Costa’s audio album ‘Lindarifa’, following which he recorded at least a dozen more. He is now busy finishing up on his next two albums scheduled to be released soon.

 

Career Highlights: 

Composed more than 500 songs for tiatr and audio albums 

Produced 12 audio albums of his own, the latest ‘Sobau’ was released recently

Acted for Tony Park, Pascoal Rodrigues, Maxcy Pereira, Menino de Bandar, Patrick Dourado, Constantino Crasto, Comedian Selvy, etc

Staged his own tiatr ‘Lok Kitem Mhonntolo?’ in the major towns of Goa

Daniel F de Souza