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!

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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!

Ode to Varnika Kundu

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Rita Rodricks, Mumbai
10th August, 2017

Varnika you are our ‘Wonder Woman”

You have taken on a Demonic Demon

Your father has stood behind you like a solid rock

The ruling political party is trying to make it a mock

I admire your courage and resilience

Hope it makes all these VVIPS brats wince

You are indeed a woman of substance

I salute you for the stand you have taken since

As you rightly said it is not your fight alone

But a fight for all the women who have faced the same scorn

Here is hoping that the truth will prevail

And that our judiciary system will not fail!

Mumbai’s East Indians

  Like mother ; like daughter

Rita Rodricks
7th August, 2017

I belong to the East Indian Community

My native place is Mumbai City

The women drape a traditional sari called a lugra with a lace shawl

They adorn themselves with jewellery that will leave you enthrall

The men wear a large colorful handkerchief folded into a triangle called a kashti

Their favorite drink is Khimad which is a homemade brew with liquor, spices and tea

The language is Marathi where the dialect varies according to the region

Engagements, Weddings and Funerals follow a certain tradition

Our cuisine is an experience which will take you on a gastronomic trip

The singing, dancing and merry making at the festivities will surely make you flip

Aapas is flat bread made out of rice flour; it is also called hand-bread and can be used as a wrap

Fugias, Orias and Chittaps are also bread which is served at festive occasions which is apt

Khudi, Moile, Fritath and Lonvas made of chicken, duck, meat and fish are our favorite curries

We also like Indal, Sorpotel, Tamrial and Sambarin all pork dishes served at our parties

Our sweets are Lethri, Cordeal, Nankaties, Marzipan, Milk Cream, Boros, Thali sweet, Kulkuls and Neuries

On Christmas day our friends and neighbors look forward to receiving our plate of goodies

Ghumat is our traditional musical instrument which is a small earthen drum

It is played by using your hands on the skin, the beat of which is awesome

The Bottle Masala consisting of around thirty spice ingredients which is hand pounded is our specialty

Add a tablespoon of this spice powder to any dish and it will tickle your taste buds that’s a guarantee

Farming, Fishing, Carpentry and Barber used to be the main occupations depending on your caste

We all had our huge ancestral homes and fields which were sold off in the past

We still come together once a year to celebrate our community with traditional clothes, food, drinks, music and dancing

Awards and felicitations to members of the community are also part of celebrating!

 

 

Raksha Bandhan

Rita Rodricks
7th August, 2017

Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi is an Indian Festival

It symbolizes the brother-sister relationship of goodwill

It falls in the month of Shravana in the Hindu calendar

Or in August according to the Gregorian calendar

 The sister performs aarti(ritual of worship)after which she ties a Rakhi (sacred thread) on the wrist of her brother

The brother promises to protect his sister and gives her a gift which she will cherish forever

The sister feeds her brother sweets and prays for his prosperity and happiness

This festival symbolizes the love and duty between brother and sister that is what it is!

Editor’s note: Everyone should treasure their siblings, irrespective of whether it’s a brother or a sister.In my opinion, it’s a relationship that will last forever.Even after your parents die you will still have each other. Also growing up, it was mostly me protecting my brother but that was a role I was only too happy to carry out.Cherish the moments you spend together.

Charlotte’s Twenty-fifth Birthday

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Rita Rodricks   5th August, 2017

My Dear Charlotte you have grown up so quickly, you are twenty-five years old today

Since the last year you have handled your own responsibilities in a much matured way

Your picture as Wonder Woman in the Kochi and Malabar Times made us proud

You are indeed my Wonder Daughter you stand out in a crowd

In the last two years the house seems empty and nothing can fill that void

You are nearly done with your studies and will soon be employed

When you were little you would confidently tell people that you were going to be a Vet

You are indeed special that you could follow your passion and now you are all set

Here is wishing you a very Happy Birthday we sure miss you

May you always remain happy and successful in the future too!