Happy Birthday Candy!

20171015_165423-1Rita Rodricks
17th October, 2017

Candy, my youngest sister celebrates her birthday today

She is the youngest of us nine siblings who came unexpectedly our way

She was born at 12 midnight so we had to choose a date

We opted for the 17th of October after having much of a debate

My father’s choice was to name her Victoria to honor his cousin

But I insisted on ‘Candida’ which was the name of a song that was very much in

So we compromised and used both names adding Martha which was her godmother’s name

Now she finally needs two lines just to write out her full name and fit it in a frame

She is ambidextrous but prefers to use her left hand

She would always multi-task and finish her work as planned

Her artistic talent was always apparent she would sketch on any available surface

Her career choice in fashion and designing is what keeps her in a happy place

She has an eye for unusual and aesthetically designed jewellery

But it is doing arts and crafts with her daughter Victoria which brings her much glee

The children in our family all adore her I can guarantee

She is their favorite aunt for sure we can all see!

Editor’s note : I love all of my mom’s sisters dearly for each of the qualities that each one of them represent, but Aunty Candy has and will always be my favorite aunty.

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The Youngest Aunt

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Rita Rodricks
13th June, 2017

Aunty Virgin was my mother’s youngest sister and my favorite Aunt. Her name was Virginia but only her husband Percy called her by that name. Before she got married she was living in the family house at Bandra so whenever I was there she would fuss over me. She always dressed in the latest fashion and still does. On Sunday mornings she would take me to St. Peter’s for mass after which the two of would go for breakfast to MacRonells which was across the road. MacRonells was a cake and snacks shop with the most mouth-watering goodies. People from far off would come here especially for their cakes. Every child yearned for a birthday cake from MacRonells. They would make cakes with different shapes and sizes on order. I would feel very important and grown up sitting there having my snacks. It was our special time together. Aunty Virgin married Uncle Percy who was my eldest aunt’s neighbor in Amboli. Apparently when Aunty Virgin used to visit her eldest sister, who had moved there after her marriage Uncle Percy fell in love with her. I was the youngest flower-girl at her wedding. There were ten of us bridesmaids and flower-girls, wearing dresses of three pastel colors-lemon yellow, sky blue and light pink. All the tailoring was done by my eldest Aunt. I had a dress of all three colors put together. We all had pointy white shoes which was the fashion then. It was the first and only time that I was a flower-girl. At the wedding reception I went on the stage and gave my first and only solo performance singing a hit song of that time- ‘Corinna’. Aunty Virgin’s favorite song was ‘Pretty Little Baby’. She is an amazing cook and now lives in Canada. She always remembers to wish me on my birthday. I wish her all the very best and thank her for all the good times we shared.

Happy 53rd Birthday Michael!

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Rita Rodricks

29th September, 2017

My youngest brother-in-law, Michael celebrated his 53rd Birthday on Sunday

We are all invited for a barbeque lunch at their Vasai farm house which is on the highway

Due to the monsoons the weather was pleasant with an abundance of greenery around

 The branches of the trees swaying gently in the wind was the only sound

We made ourselves comfortable in the garden along with snacks and a drink

Evelyn had arrived with tasty samosas and chutney which we relished in a blink

The barbeque pit was lit and the tantalizing aroma soon filled the air

 Pork ribs, mutton chops, chicken, mushrooms, tomatoes and capsicum was the fare

The men were seated together planning a fishing trip with tales to share

While we women moved to our gossip corner where we discussed the latest family affairs

It was unanimously agreed that Jimmy’s family was the most scandalous of the lot

Carol suggested that we all put in an effort to usurp Jimmy from the top spot

Lunch was a spicy chicken curry, salads and vegetable pullav

Michael had cooked up a meat dish which earned him a wow

Ice-cream and cake was the dessert of the day

We all had a good time and went on our way!

Dussehra in India

Rita Rodricks 

 30th September, 2017

On the 30th of September in India we celebrate ‘Dussehra’ which means the tenth day

It is a Hindu festival which has a religious and cultural significance either way

It is observed on a full moon day in the month of Ashvin according to the Hindu calendar

 It falls during the month of September or October in the Gregorian calendar

A clay statue of Goddess Durga is installed in make shift stages in public spaces

Community prayers, religious and devotional hymns are sung at various places

Marigold flowers and mango leaf garlands are hung on vehicles and doorposts

To welcome the Goddess Durga into their homes as they are the hosts

Goddess Durga in one of her forms is a warrior goddess who slew Mahishasura a buffalo demon

She is depicted riding a tiger or lion and having many arms each holding a different weapon

Dassehra is the culmination of Navratri, nine days of rituals, fasting and feasting

‘Garba’ is a special dance where people wear colorful traditional clothes while dancing

The dance is also called ‘Dandiya Ras’ because a pair of decorated sticks is used to keep the beat

Revelers dance in a circle anti clockwise tapping their neighbor’s sticks while moving their feet

For each of the nine days people wear clothes of a particular color to signify the nine avatars of the Goddess Durga

They believe it will bring them good luck and prosperity because they can feel the aura

There is dance, drama and plays called Ramlila enacted based on the Ramayana

It is the story of God Ram who killed the evil ten headed demon Ravana

The Effigy of Ravan is burnt at night along with a dazzling display of fireworks

Traditional food and sweets are distributed which is one of the many perks

On the tenth day the statue of the Goddess Durga is immersed in the sea

Accompanied by merriment, music, dancing and much glee

Dassehra is a festival which is the celebration of the triumph of good over evil

It is also known as Vijayadasami, Dasara, Navratri call it what you will!

East Indians Revive Memories

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‘Mot Mauli Purcessao’

Rita Rodricks

16th September, 2017

Today the Mobai Gaothan Panchayat along with St. Peter’s Confraternity revived a 250 year old memory of a procession

It was in 1761 when the Mount Mary statue was first carried from Mahim Church to Bandra by the natives who made it their mission

It was also celebrated as East Indian Community Traditional Day

People were encouraged to turn up in lugras and surkas any which way

 The statue arrived at St. Peter’s Church from Mahim, thanks to Father Simon Borges, at 8.15am accompanied by motorbikes and cars

There was a well decorated rekla (horse carriage) with pink and white balloons which could be seen from afar

There were three East Indian brass bands, Velankanni Band Pond, Valentine Music Makers-Kirol and St. Blaise Band Parle that played their instruments in perfect harmony

In their color coordinated outfits they were a grand spectacle for all to see

The procession began with Father Andrew Rodrigues reciting the prayers in Marathi which is the East Indian dialect

Sybil Rodrigues gave the vote of thanks to all the members who had worked hard to ensure that it was perfect

Major Leon Fonseca released his booklet which is a quick guideline to obtain the OBC certificate

The first copy was presented to Alphi Dsouza who is the head sarpanch of the MGP which was aptly fit

Neville Gomes inaugurated an essay competition for sixty schools based on his book “Viva Queimada’

This book is a tribute to the East Indians who have contributed to the community so far

The procession was led by the Irmous and Confraternity members of various parishes in their uniform

The statue was carried by a woman who was well attired as per the norm

There were women dressed in the traditional lugra(sari) while the men wore T-shirts that stated ‘Mee East Indian’

My old neighbor Bernadette who is affectionately called Queen wore a pink smock fashioned out of the lugra fabric she looked fashionably in

Everything went smoothly thanks to Inspector Sunil Bhonsle of Bandra Police Station

Suzie Napier did an excellent job of coordination

The procession of people reached the Mount Mary Basilica for the 9.30 am mass

After which we all dispersed to enjoy the Bandra Fair which will end this Sunday alas!

Bandra Fair

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Rita Rodricks   8th September, 2017

 Bandra Feast or Bandra Fair is on the 8th of September every year

It is celebrated on the following Sunday for a week with great revere

Legend has it that a fisherman found a statue of Mother Mary that was floating in the Arabian Sea

It was installed in the Basilica of Mount Mary where it attracts devotees who have a plea

There are stalls selling wax images of people, animals, money and things

Pilgrims offer these in the church either as a request or in thanksgiving

As you descend from the Mount there are stalls selling roasted black gram and traditional sweets

Favorites are Kadio Bodio from Goa which is flour sticks dipped in sugar syrup which you must eat

Religious items, sweet meats, savory snacks, guava cheese and toys all attract attention

While the stall owners shout out loudly proclaiming their wares creating a distraction

Our favorite toy used to be a small colorful boat made out of tin

You had to put it in a basin of water, light a candle in it and watch it spin

The amusement rides like the Ferris wheel, Carousel and Bumping cars draw children and adults alike

But it is the aroma of kebabs being grilled and the cold sugarcane juice that you will definitely like

The September Garden in Mount Carmel’s church used to be a favorite with the young crowd

The Jam sessions that were held there were a great hit with the retro music being loud

The Well of Death has a motor cyclist riding his bike in circles at top speed

While the funny mirrors reflect your grotesque image and make you laugh indeed

The photo studio had us posing in front of cardboard props

We would hold our breath until we were told to stop

During the fair the Bandra people would always have open house

With relatives and friends dropping by they had no grouse

When I was young along with my siblings we used to start collecting our pocket money for the fair

We used to look forward to having a fun time with our cousins and friends without a care!

Editor’s note : This is my mom’s 100th post on her blog.

Teacher’s Day in India

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Rita Rodricks

5th September, 2017

Today in India in schools and colleges everywhere we celebrate Teacher’s day

It is the birth anniversary of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan who has since passed away

Dr. Radhakrishnan was an Indian Philosopher and Statesman in attendance

He was India’s first Vice-President and the second President since Independence

Classrooms in India are filled up with greeting cards, flowers and gifts for their teachers

To show their appreciation students put up dance performances and a skit must always feature

Teachers have always been mentors and guides to many students

They have encouraged them to do well along with their parents

It is my English teacher in school Mrs. Jean Gonsalves to whom a tribute I must pay

She was the first person who encouraged me to write beginning with essays

She would put up my essays on the class board for all to read

Now it is my daughter who has pushed me into writing with speed

Happy Teacher’s Day and thanks to all the teachers who have been there in my life

They have been exceptional role models after whom we must strive!

Editor’s note : A teacher is not a person who teaches in the classroom but the person who guides us and advises us.I’ve been fortunate enough to know some amazing teachers who have always encouraged me throughout my school years.

Happy 14th Birthday Ellie

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Rita Rodricks

4th September, 2017

Today my niece Ellie (Elizabeth) celebrates her 14th Birthday

She is super smart and organized for her there is no other way

Lettuce she dislikes but is open to all kinds of different food

Blue Slushie is her favorite drink which puts her in a good mood

Saxophone is her choice of musical instrument which she plays

Every summer she goes off for a week to band camp where she stays

She is very sociable and loves hanging out with friends at the mall

Sleepovers are spent telling funny jokes and stories to one and all

When she goes out with her sister Bruna she safely holds the keys and the money

She takes good care of her younger twin brothers, Dominic and Sebastain who call her ‘ee-ee’

Wearing sneakers and quirky bags is her choice of fashion

But reading a good book is definitely her passion

She is up to date with the latest political news and global views

Her choice of career to be a lawyer will help her put this knowledge to good use

Black is her favorite color, she loves to be trendy

Whenever a job has to be done she is always handy

Ellie starts High School next week in Michigan

We wish her all the best as she begins

Happy Birthday Ellie may all your dreams come true

You are going to be successful in whatever you choose to do!

 

 

 

Bakri-id in Mumbai

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Rita Rodricks

2nd September, 2017

Today my Muslim neighbors celebrate a festival call Bakri-id

It is also called Sacrifice Feast because it involves a sacrificial deed

The festival falls on the tenth day in the month of Dhu al-Hijjan of the Islamic lunar calendar

It varies from year to year drifting approximately eleven days earlier in the Gregorian calendar

Men, Women and children wear new clothes and begin the day with prayer

They pray for peace and prosperity usually in the open air

People meet and greet each other exchanging gifts

Everybody is in a festive and happy mood you get the drift

God had commanded Ibrahim to sacrifice his son which he set out to do without a qualm

But on seeing Ibrahim’s act of obedience God sent his angel to replace his son with a ram

In commemoration of this an animal is slaughtered which in Mumbai is usually a goat

The meat is divided into three parts so that it can be distributed please take note

 One part is retained by the family the second is shared with relatives, neighbors and friends while the third is given to the poor and needy

Family and Friends feast together after all the delicious food like Biryani, Kebabs and Kheer is ready

Eid Mubarak to all my Muslim neighbors and friends

This year for Eid I am going to be having a wonderful weekend!

Onam’ Celebrations

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Charlotte in the Kerala sari

 

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Rita Rodricks     

29th August, 2017

My daughter Charlotte is celebrating her first Onam festival in Thrissur, Kerala this year

It is a traditional annual ten day harvest festival that also signifies the Malayalam New Year

It signifies the home coming of the mythical King Mahabali under whose reign the state prospered

Onam is the official state festival which is their way of paying homage to the King who is still revered

The festival is celebrated in the first month of Chingam according to the Malayalam Calendar

It occurs in August-September according to the Gregorian Calendar

They begin with ‘Pookalam” which is an arrangement of flowers in a beautiful pattern on the ground

It is truly spectacular at night when it is done in public places because it is huge with lamps lit around

The women wear the traditional cotton ‘Kasavu’ sari which is cream in colour with a gold border

While the men wear a ‘Mundu’ which is like a sarong of the same fabric without much demure

Lunch is ‘Sadya’ which is a nine course vegetarian meal served on a banana leaf

There are about twenty-six food items both savory and sweet the taste of which will leave you in disbelief

The festival comprises of cultural drama, music, games, martial arts, fireworks and dance performances

There are decorated elephant parades, floats on the street and even snake boat races

On the final day is ‘Pulikali’ a tiger dance which showcases performers, from all over they come

They are painted like tigers in bright yellow, red and black who dance to the beat of the drum

Onam is a festival which embodies cultural unity and heritage

‘Onashamsakal’ is Happy Onam to everyone that is my message!

Editor’s note : All pictures were clicked by Danny Simon and used with his permission.Also thanks for the jasmine flowers (Mullapoove).