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.

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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).

Mumbai’s Ganesh Chathurti

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Rita Rodricks
25th September, 2017

Today in India we celebrate Ganesh Chathurti

It symbolizes the birthday of Lord Ganesha you see

According to the Gregorian calendar the festival occurs in August or September

It is usually ten days of celebration, prayers, rituals, music and food every year

Ganesha is a Hindu God with the head of an elephant and the body of a man

He is the God of Prosperity, fulfiller of all wishes and removes obstacles which he can

The idol is installed either in homes privately or for public viewing in temporary stages called pandals

Devotees who visit these Idols are offered Prasad(sweets) you can help yourself it is for all

Ganesha is worshipped for one and a half day to eleven days depending on tradition

The backdrop and statue is decorated with flowers and lights sometimes there is a theme in addition

There is a tray of twenty-one modaks which is always kept near the idol

Modaks are rice flour dumplings stuffed with palm sugar, coconut and dry fruit made with skill

In Mumbai we have the gigantic Lalbaugcha Raja (King) which is the most famous statue

Devotees come from far and near either to ask for a favor, to thank Ganesha or even just for a view

Offerings are made in the form of cash, vehicles, silver and gold ornaments and fancy rings

The items are then auctioned off and the money utilized for charity and other such things

On the final day the Idol is taken in procession with much merriment, chanting and dancing

It is finally immersed in the sea with much fanfare and a plea that Ganesha returns that is all they are asking!

Happy Birthday Dr. Kevin

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Rita Rodricks
23rd August, 2017

Dr. Kevin Quadros has been my gynecologist for more than twenty five years

After waiting for ten years to have a child I went to him with my fears

He resolved my issues and soon my precious little daughter was born

She arrived unceremoniously on the fifth of August in the morn

The following year within eleven months my son soon joined his sister

I was ecstatic with my two babies; I was a very busy mother

Dr. Kevin has always been very supportive towards me and my family

He is always admonishing me to lose weight and stay healthy

Dr. Kevin and my son both share the same name

Playing Tennis in Bandra Gymkhana is their favorite game

Zita is his very efficient, charming and gracious wife

She has always been a pillar of strength in his life

His eldest son Kenneth who has followed in his footsteps is a Cardiologist

While Keegan his youngest son is a very successful Dentist

Wishing you a very Happy Birthday and thank you for all that you have done

May you always be successful that is a wish from everyone!

Happy Birthday Uncle Desmond

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Rita Rodricks
23rd August, 2017

Uncle Desmond celebrates his 85th Birthday today

I have always admired and respected him in every way

Though he chose Marine Insurance as a career

His passion for teaching Mathematics is what brings him cheer

He has been tutoring students who have excelled in the subject

Thanks to his guidance and his teaching method which is perfect

Being a Compere for weddings, events and church socials was his forte

Raising toasts and mentoring young couples he would advise them in the right way

He has always being very involved in the parish activities

Singing in the church choir and taking on social responsibilities

Jean is his very efficient, stylish and supportive wife

She has been a pillar of strength in his life

His two children Nicky and Darren have made him extremely proud

But it is his granddaughter Rebecca who makes his heart beat out aloud

Thank you Uncle Desmond for being the kind and caring person that you are

Wishing you a very Happy Birthday you are truly our shining golden star!

Bandra’s Fatima Villa

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Rita Rodricks
17th August, 2017

Fatima Villa in Bandra West is where I chose to reside

Close proximity to my children’s school is what made me decide

It is situated on the 29th Road and it is in the heart of Bandra

There are many Sandras in Bandra and even a Diandra

My neighbors are from different and varied communities

We also have tenants who are from other countries

My immediate neighbor is Dr. Reshma and her family

She always attends to us when we are ill, immediately

During Ramadan in the evenings they send us delicious food

On Ramzan Eid we enjoy a bowl of seviyan which is so good

On the ground floor is Darren who has his recording studio

Bollywood Stars and Singers here are always on the go

Next door to him is Dr. Shiv Chadda who is a dentist

Chariot DVD club is where you can rent out the latest movie from a list

For fine dining there is a restaurant called Indigo Deli

But for the best home cooked food visit my neighbor Rufina Kinny

We have attended our neighbors’ weddings and funerals

We take part in the ceremonies without being communal

 Our Society meetings is where we air out our grievances

Votes are then taken to make final decisions

Though I may have travelled and had a roam

To me Fatima Villa will always be my home!

Mumbai’s First Ever East Indian Museum

 

Rita Rodricks
15th August, 2017

The East Indian Museum renamed as Kaka Baptista East Indian Museum is situated in the compound of Theresa Villa (Mobai Bhavan) on the Manori- Gorai road in the gaothan of Manori

After obtaining consent from Theresa Fernandes (Chuim/Manori) to use their space temporarily, it was conceptualized and built by Alphi Dsouza and his hard working team of the MGP

The MGP is awaiting government land for the Museum which it is relentlessly pursuing

Hence two huts were built in the compound of Theresa Villa in the year 2010 and a museum was born for viewing

The grand opening of the Museum which was renovated by Clyde Henriques, a boat maker from Gorai was on the 19th of May, 2013

There was a Eucharistic celebration which is celebrated annually since followed by song, dance and traditional cuisine

Its main objective is to preserve the culture and traditions of the East Indian Community

That is fast disappearing under the guise of urbanization and migration into cities

There is a wooden structure which houses artifacts, traditional jewellery and earthenware

Two life sized mannequins pose elegantly draped in the lugra with a distinctive air

Photo frames depict images of the days of yore with titles in both English and Marathi

Documents and religious articles are also displayed for future posterity

There is a statue of St. Gonsolo Garcia the East Indian patron saint which is donated by Ossie Dsouza  from Bangli naka, Vasai

 A fiber made fishing boat has also been donated by Clyde Henriques from Gorai

The vintage wooden altars that have been hand carved so exquisitely it makes you sigh

There are rare and unusual wine glasses also called chavnis which today you cannot buy

Tizar is a big copper vessel which was used for cooking everyday meals

Transport was the Renkla, a bullock cart with big wooden wheels

Parada was a clay drum which was used for storing grain

It kept the grain dry and prevented it from getting spoilt in the rain

The meat safe was a cupboard with mesh which was used to store condiments

Instead of stovetops, chullas or segris were used along with flints

 Bhudda was a half coconut shell with a long wooden handle which was used to draw water from a pot

Baanks were wooden benches where one could relax when the weather got hot

There are bricks made by gaothan brickmakers donated by Corina Misquitta from Vile Parle which are more than a hundred years old, there is proof

They were used to build the old type huge East Indian houses with red tiles on their roof

There are salt making implements which have become obsolete

So too are the farming equipment which standards do not meet

The Ghumat is a traditional musical instrument to the East Indian it belongs

It is a clay drum with skin and it is used to play Marathi traditional songs

Outside there are sheds which have life size models depicting village life

Professions, Occupations and even a man in his kitchen with his wife

A Toddy Tapper can be seen climbing the palm tree

While below a farmer is busy tilling his field you can see

A fisherman wearing a langoti proudly poses in his boat

The salt pan worker seems to be sweating it out make a note

Half of the artifacts have been generously donated by members of the community

You can see their names on the items; most of them now live in the city

After you are done you can relax with an authentic East Indian meal

Savor the atmosphere, the vibrant culture and contented you will feel

Make sure you book in advance to ensure availability it has to be done

For further details on the museum please feel free to call Alphi on 9820087771!

Happy 50th Birthday Cousin Penny!

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Rita Rodricks
13th August, 2017

Dear Penny today you celebrate your 50th Birthday

 It has not been easy but tough along the way

You have achieved your goals and ambitions

By always making the tough but right decisions

In the field of education you have excelled

Integrity and honesty is what you have up held

You always take pride in your appearance

Completing tasks is your perseverance

Baking delicious cakes and sharing it is your passion

Visiting the old and aged is because of your compassion

Mentoring a child who has succeeded has made you proud

You also enjoy music, dancing and singing out aloud

As a child you used to be quiet, timid and shy

But today you can orate on stage without batting an eye

We share great memories while growing up in the summer time

Even now whenever we go out together we always have a fun time

Here is wishing you a very Happy 50th Birthday

May you always be happy and successful in each and every way!