Mobai Gaothan Panchayat’s 5th East Indian Conclave 2017

 

 

Rita Rodricks

25th November, 2017

MGP had their 5th East Indian Conclave on the 25th of November, 2017

Thirty Four participants entered with an air of expectation it could be seen

It was held at Avion Hotel through the kind courtesy of the owner Avian Misquitta

Alphi welcomed each invitee with his warmth which is always on his agenda

Tea, Coffee, Biscuits and Vadas were the items on the breakfast menu

Gleason was the host for the event he did a wonderful job of carrying it through

Father Michael from Vasai started the meeting with a Welcome Prayer

The Conclave Theme and Press Coverage were quickly reviewed with no time to spare

A video recording of the East Indian Anthem was played on the screen

After which there was a brief introduction of each participant on the scene

The Year that was and the various Agendas were summarized in a nut shell

Bishop Allwyn D’Silva graced us with his holy presence as well

The first speaker was Dr.Fleur D’souza on ‘How the East Indians got their name’

Roger Pereira spoke about ‘Marketing Strategy ‘and ways to up the game

James Ferreira made a fashion statement about reinventing traditional wear

While Darryl D’monte discussed that Media Connect should be done with flair

There were active group discussions where each group spoke at length

New Initiatives, Commitments and feedback were renewed with strength

The Conclave ended with a Vote of Thanks to all those who were there

Followed by delicious lunch and ice cream this was truly a memorable affair!

 

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Children’s Day Celebration in India

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Rita Rodricks

14th November, 2017

On the 14th 0f November, every year India celebrates Children’s Day

It is to commemorate the anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru’s Birthday

Jawaharlal Nehru was India’s first Prime Minister

He was affectionately called ‘Chacha (Uncle) Nehru’ by the youngsters

His trademark was a Red Rose pinned to the lapel of his coat

‘The children of today will make the India of tomorrow ‘was his quote

The purpose of this day is to increase public awareness towards the rights, care and education of children

His five year plan included free primary education, free meals and milk to children to prevent malnutrition

Schools organize cultural and social activities for students which include singing and dancing

There are competitions, quizzes and Fancy Dress with prizes for participating

Gifts and Candy are distributed to all the children in the school

Have a good time and enjoy yourself that is the only rule!

All Souls Day

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A Tribute to my paternal grandmother and name sake Rita Fernandes

2nd November, 2017

Rita Rodricks

On the 2nd of November according to tradition we used to celebrate ‘All Souls Day’

It was a day set aside to especially honor the dead who have long since passed away

According to old beliefs the deceased family members souls would visit their own

So a feast of dishes would be laid out on the table the previous night to welcome them home

The menu was fixed it never varied along with homemade brew and a packet of beedis(mini cigars)

There was Stuffed Pomfret(Fish) with Hand Breads(flat rice bread)that would surely appease

 Dessert was ‘Atola’ a pudding made with new rice, black eyed peas, palm sugar and coconut milk

Fine Crockery and Cutlery were arranged artistically on a table cloth that was made out of silk

We children were warned not to touch any of the food items

There were dire consequences if we disobeyed we were frightened

The next morning we attended mass followed by a visit to the cemetery

Where we prayed for our ancestors so that their souls would be set free

My Grandmothers were strong independent women

They held the family together through thick and thin!

 

Diwali in India

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Rita Rodricks

19th October, 2017

Diwali or Deepavali is the Hindu festival of Lights

It consists of five days of revelry, cultural and religious rites

It occurs in the Hindu calendar in the month of Kartika on a new moon day

In the Gregorian calendar it falls between October and November mid way

Prior to Diwali homes and work places are thoroughly cleaned and painted

Savory and Sweet food items are prepared for friends and family to be distributed

Colorful lanterns called ‘Kandeels’are hung outside homes which glow

Fairy lights and ‘Diyas’ which are clay lamps are lit in a row

‘Rangoli’ which are colorful floor patterns made with colored powder is an art

They are a sign of welcome from the family to guests, with an open heart

New clothes, gifts, sweets and firecrackers are purchased for the festivities

The stores are all decorated and lit up, the customer they must appease

‘Dhanteras’ is the first day of Diwali on which people shop for gold, silver ornaments and new kitchen utensils

A puja is performed in the evening as an auspicious beginning to ward off all evils

‘Narak Chaturdashi’ is the second day on which the demon Narakasura was killed by Lord Krishna a task he had to fulfill

People wake up before sunrise and apply aromatic oil before bathing to celebrate his victory of good over evil

‘Laxmi Puja ‘is the third day on which Goddess Laxmi who is the goddess of wealth and prosperity is revered

It is also the Hindu New Year when devotees invoke her blessings by having a ‘puja’ for a good year ahead

‘Diwali Padwa’ on the fourth day is to strengthen the mutual bond of love between husband and wife

The wife prays for the well being of her husband while he gives her a gift and thanks her for being in his life

‘Bhai Dhooj’ is the fifth and final day of Diwali which symbolizes the relationship between brother and sister

The sister performs ‘aarti’ and prays for his good health and prosperity in return she gets a gift from her brother

Diwali is a festival, now being celebrated by people globally

Wishing each and everyone a Happy and Prosperous Diwali!

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.

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.