Friday, August 12, 2011

If by Caju Feni...

If by Caju Feni...

Cecil Pinto has decided to stand for election to the Goa Vidhyan Sabha in 2012. Besides other things Cecil is a well known Caju Feni enthusiast. At a Press Conference announcing his candidature Cecil was asked whether he as in support of prohibition of alcohol, particularly Caju Feni.

This was his reply.


My friends, I had not intended to discuss this controversial subject at this particular time. However, I want you to know that unlike Digambar Kamat I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be. You have asked me how I feel about Caju Feni.
All right, here is how I feel about Caju Feni:

If when you say Caju Feni you mean the devil's brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster, that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean the evil drink that topples the Goan man and woman from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, and despair, and shame and helplessness, and hopelessness, and makes him behave like a cheap tourist who does not know how to drink with grace, then certainly I am against it.

But, if when you say Caju Feni you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean festive cheer; the chanting of mandos and dulpodds, a prelude to great dancing, dining and flirting, if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old uncle's step on a rainy, monsoon morning and makes him an expert on all matters; if you mean the drink which enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life's great tragedies, and heartaches, and sorrows, and how his beloved Goa is being raped in a frenzied hurry by the mining firms aided by the ruling politicians; if you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold crores of rupees, which are used to provide tender care for our little differently abled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm; to build highways and hospitals and schools, then certainly I am for it.

This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise.


With due apologies to Noah S. "Soggy" Sweat, Jr. who wrote the original


Saturday, June 5, 2010

COLUMN: Learning to ride a motorcycle

COLUMN: Learning to ride a motorcycle

Jun 5 2010

Learning to ride a motorcycleGears, two wheelers, and the Xavier’s slope

By Cecil Pinto

In 1982 I was in Std XI and of the correct age, sixteen, to learn riding a geared motorcycle. Up until this point the only motorized vehicle I had rode myself was a moped. Mo-ped, because in addition to a motor it had pedals to help in taking off and climbing steep slopes. Popular moped models in Goa were the Kinetic Luna and the TVS 50. I’m not quite sure if it was legal or not to ride mopeds without a license, but we did ride them a lot. A single visit to the city to fill up the tank would ensure days of hassle free riding in the village, where no traffic cops ever ventured.

Now here I was of proper dating age, also sixteen, at the St. Xavier’s College Annual Fete with an eye on this lovely creature from the Commerce section. The Science girls didn’t even look at us Arts guys. Well this pretty girl, let’s call her Angela, seemed to be reciprocating. In the sense she didn’t outright refuse my offer to drop her home to Gaunsavaddo.

Now that was one problem solved; getting a girl to agree to be reached home at night. The second much easier task was to now procure a motorcycle. There were no mopeds in Xavier’s college. You can’t climb that slope with a 50cc engine. Period.Very few of my friends had scooters or motorcycles but even they were aware that I didn’t know how to ride a geared bike. Well I had a plan. 1) I didn’t intend asking them 2) I didn’t intend starting the bike.

Here’s how it works. First I surveyed which bikes were not locked. Only two fulfilled that criteria. Olav’s Vijai Super scooter and Terence’s modified Yezdi motorcycle. The more macho Yezdi won. I wheeled the bike to near where Cruz’s canteen used to be and put it on its stand. No danger of Terence turning up as I had someone on the job of keeping him occupied at the Killing the Rat stall by giving him prizes even when he didn’t hit the table tennis ball.

Angela was waiting where I had told her to, but alas, she had a girlfriend in tow. Somewhere in the few minutes that elapsed she had rethought her willingness to be with me alone and had chickened out.

Story of my life!Anyway now I had to drop them both home to, fortunately, Gaunsavado. I got onto the bike. Angela hopped on behind me and her friend sat at the back - side saddle. The Yezdi had a pretty generous seat. Without starting the bike we took off down the slope gliding silently and swiftly. First the very steep section, then right past the Muslim Cemetery and the Mapusa Industrial Estate followed by a sharp right turn at the St. Mary’s Junction. All this using just gravity and brakes. The way Angela held me tight told me I was gaining lost ground.

A sharp left soon after El Capitan took us down the steep slope that straightens near Ribeiro’s Hospital and then curves past Cine Alankar.

Now this Z-turn was crucial. If I braked I would lose momentum. If I didn’t brake I might crash into the food stalls. Taking a very calculated risk and with much body angling to maintain balance I managed to go careening past the Z-turn rapidly without touching the brakes. The girls were screaming by now. Which was all very well. Angel was holding me very tight, but I didn’t know whether it was passion, or fear of death, or Fear of Flying!The momentum thus gained carried us right past the Remanco Hospital, the Asilo, the Cemetery and miraculously right up to the side entrance of St. Jerome’s Church. If you re-read that last sentence, and the sequence of landmarks, there is a philosophy of life, living and religion in there somewhere.

Allowing the bike to glide to a halt I first asked Angela’s friend, but not Angela who was still unnecessarily holding on for dear life, to get off while I made few feeble phony attempts at kick starting the bike.

Then, putting the bike on its stand, I made a big sham of trying to locate the problem and muttered something about a spark plug. Neither of the girls noticed that what I was actually examining at the time was the carburetor. But then considering they had not even noticed that there was no key in the ignition, I knew I was on solid grounds. Parking the bike at the side of the road I walked them both to Angela’s house a stone throw away. I then walked all the way back uphill to rejoin the College Fete. For many weeks Terence was unaware how his missing bike was found, totally unharmed and unused, near the church next morning.

A week later my good friend and classmate Olav offered to teach me to ride on his Vijay Super, a small but powerful scooter which was basically an Indian remake of the powerhouse Innocenti Lambretta GP150.

We started off on the straight road near the Xavier’s football ground.

Olav sat pillion and reaching past me from both sides eased the bike into 2nd gear and allowed me to just cruise along with just the accelerator to get the feel of the bike. I managed pretty well and soon we went down the gentler slope to the T-junction near the Muslim Cemetery – all in 2nd gear. Olav again reached over, maneuvered a U-turn and urged me to try going back to college, this time taking the steep slope. Midway up the slope the scooter started struggling. Olav was shouting in my ear, “Topan ghall!”, which is Konkani for “Put it in top gear!”I engaged the clutch and looked down at the markings. There was a 1st and a 3rd gear adjacent to the 2nd. Whish was Top? 1st or 3rd?Olav kept yelling, “Topan ghall! Topan ghall!” Assuming ‘top’ meant 1st, I was about to gently ease into that gear when suddenly the blue Xavier’s College Bus appeared over the crest. I panicked and let go off the clutch abruptly. The scooter shot forward like a powerful rocket with me hanging on to the handlebars. Olav was jettisoned backward off the bike onto the road and landed on his derriere on the tarmac. I think it was his ego that was more bruised. Neither the scooter nor me were harmed.

Olav didn’t speak to me for many months.

First published in Gomantak Times, Goa - April 8, 2010

Friday, December 19, 2008

Where are Goans headed?

Where are Goans headed?
Directionless at the mukhar crossroads

By Cecil Pinto

Sossegado is a word that non-Goans will never truly comprehend or
appreciate. Simlarly there is a Konkani word 'mukhar', used largely in
South Goa, the nuances of which North Goans have difficulty in fully

Let me explain. My wife Beatrice runs a Goa-only flower delivery
service and I help out in confirming e-mail orders, and occasionally
even delivering flowers myself on busy days. Our clients are mostly
overseas Goans who are an eclectic lot as far as giving directions are

Some of them are totally advanced and send a Google Map image which
makes locating an address so very easy. Some give a postal address
which isn't always a great help because other than the postman nobody
really knows House Numbers. Many people in Goa don't know their own
house numbers.

But the classic Goan direction is Ask Anyone. "Ask anyone for Filsu's
house". Let's pause and analyse the situation. Here I am in my
delivery van in Almeida Vaddo, Parra, looking out for the elusive
'anyone'. I pass a bus-stop where a few people are standing. All
migrant labourers. No point even pausing. I spot a young man walking
at the side of the road. He's not from the area, and yes, doesn't
speak Konkani or English. I stop at a bar where the barman directs me
to the local provision store which seems the right place to ask. I
learn there are three Filsu's in the vaddo of which two have sons in
Dubai. Ok, at least that narrows things down a bit. The point I am
trying to make is not everybody has heard of you or your family
members. Learn to accept that!

And by chance if Filsu's family is not on talking terms with the next
door neighbors then we've had it. The neighbours will steadfastly
refuse to acknowledge the existence of a Filsu, although every
instinct tells me that it is the house next door.

Of course us Goans being the way we are, after my departure there will
be a discussion at the bar whether or not it is true that Filsu's
eldest son migrated to Canada after selling off communidade property
illegally, and also whether or not it is true that the other Filsu's
youngest son has a Fillipino girlfriend.
"Martha Teacher's son-in-law told me".

Then there's the problem of vaddos within vaddos (and not waddas as
the non-Goans pronounce it). There's a Grande Coimavaddo and a Pequin
Coimavaddo in Aldona which are also called Sokoilo and Voilo
Coimavaddo respectively. With loaded words like this - loosely
transalated as big, small, upper and lower - there's bound to be
inter-vaddo rivalry and hence lack of proper directions.
Both these vaddos incidentally are saturated with Lobos and common
enough names like Anthony, Francis, Thomas and Mary. Try finding
Thomas Lobo, Coimavaddo, Aldona. "Ask anyone for Martha Teacher's

Near the … is another common address. Near the School, Near the
Church, Near the Market. I am standing here 'near' Holy Cross School
There are three clumps of six to seven houses each and one apartment
building, all equidistant from the school. Where do I begin? And a
kilometer back I had passed a large Government balwadi school. Was
that the one? Whatever happened to opposite, behind, in front of,
south of etc.

Of course some courteous clients do give phone numbers so that we can
call and ask for directions. This is a nominal advantage though.

"Hello ma'am, I'm calling on behalf of EXPRESSIONS. We have a flower
delivery for you. Can you give me directions to your house in Arpora?"


"Hanv Konkani uloum?"

"Naka! I am understanding English! You come straight…"

"Ma'am, don't you want to know where I am? Currently I am at the
Calangute Market T-junction."

"You come straight."

"Ma'am. I am facing a signboard saying Anand Restaurant, Meals is
Ready. If I come straight I will bang the board. I presume you mean I
should turn left."

"Yes. You come straight to Arpora Church and then ask anyone for…"
Of course we eventually find the place but a lot of petrol and phone
calls would have been saved with specific directions. And if you think
this is a Goan/Indian thing, think again. Foreigners particularly
can't differentiate between a Church and a Chapel. "Turn right at the
Sangloda Church", "But ma'am Sangolda does not have a church.", "Of
course it does!" And for sure they can't distinguish between a banyan
tree and a peepul tree. So much for landmarks.

The situation gets compounded when asking for directions in South Goa
where we have to deal with the omni-present, omni-directional 'mukhar'.

Basically speaking 'mukhar' means in front of, facing, or forward. But
depending on the context, and accompanying facial expression and
gestures, it could be construed as well - almost anywhere.

A prime example is in a public bus. A Salcete 'cleander' will tell the
standing passengers "Mukhar ye" and "Mukhar voch" (depending on the
hand indication only, will you understand which way to move in the
passage) while in North Goa the 'cleander' will say "Fudddem ye" or
"Fatim voch".

In North Goa we have specific words in Konkani for in front of,
before, under, over, after, behind, opposite, this side, that side etc
etc. Fuddlean, fatlean, samkara, ikdem, tikdem, ponnack, voilean.
Ask a South Goan for directions, "Hello! Where is St. Thomas Church?"
He will wave in the general direction of Constantinople and say
'Mukhar asa". Ask him, "And where is Baretto Garage?" He will reply
"Churchi mukhar" which when translated could variously mean - near the
Church, or behind the Church, or in the Church, or in the general
vicinity of the Church, or in the same Parish or in the same Taluka!
To add to all this we now have a large influx of non-Goans and
foreigners residing here. Imagine the consequences for direction
seekers. "Near the Kekdevelim Chapel ask anyone for the tall white
woman with the short Kashmiri husband and then go straight past the
peepul tree to the Keralite's STD booth from where you can phone

We Goans truly need some direction.

The column above appeared in Gomantak Times dated 25th September 2008.

I heart Aparanta

I heart Aparanta
Been there, bought the Goan T-shirt

By Cecil Pinto

Once again I met up with my entrepreneur friend Michael D'Costa who
insisted that I accompany him to his workshop and warehouse in Moira.
The signboard said - APARANTA T-SHIRTS. The slogan below read 'For
Goans, with love'

"You see Cecil I looked around and saw only two types of T-shirts.
One is the type sold to tourists, which basically says 'I love Goa'.
The other has the name of some sports team or maybe something cryptic
like 'Just do it' or 'Kerosene' or…

"Michael, surely you mean 'Diesel'?

"Whatever, my point being that why should we Goans be doing free
advertising for some alien brand or even celebrating somebody like Che
Guevara? We have our own Goan heroes and slogans and art and folklore.
Why don't we celebrate ourselves?"

By this time we were inside Michael's gigantic warehouse which had row
after row of racks with folded t-shirts. Through a glass partition we
could see the workshop where uniformed women were busy manually screen
printing T-shirts. Beyond that were closeted cubicles with lots of
energetic smart people huddled around computer screens.

"Basically", explained Michael, "all orders are received online
through our website. Our Chintop Department creates images and slogans
for our T-shirts."

"Wow! You have the silhouette of the Abbe Faria statue on these T-shirts!"

"Yes. That's our very popular Hip-No-Tic range, with kaleidoscopic
backgrounds. In the Amcho Munis range we have caricatures of T B
Cunha, Jack Sequeira, Bandodkar, Kosambi, Loyola, Gaitonde, De Mello

"Don't you have any contemporary politicians featured on T-shirts?"

"Come Cecil, we celebrate greatness – not greed. But we do have a 'On
what grounds?' slogan printed on a backdrop of the Fatorda Stadium
with a church on a hill in the background."

Walking down another well stocked passage Micheal gestures, "Our
extensive Kala Sutra range of T-shirts has works by, and line drawing
of, Mario Miranda, Fonseca, Souza, Pai, Theodore Mesquita, Kambli,
Qureozito & Liesl, Rajan, Nirupa, Sonia, Chaitali, Morajkar, Antonio,
Usapkar, Yolanda, Subodh, Harshada, Viraj, Alexyz… just everyone who
matters in Goan art – even Vivek Menezes."

"In the Konn-Temporary range we have living legends like Mashelkar,
Oscar Rebello, Isabel Vas, Nandakumar, Tomazinho, Teotonio, Percival,

"Who is this spectacled guy with a large beard checking his mail on a
Blackberry while riding his motorcycle?

"That's Frederick Noronha, the Che Guevara of the Goan Internet
generation. Speaking of which we have cryptic bi-lingual slogans for
the younger generation."


"Like take this one, 'Voir Tujem!' which translates as 'Up yours!'.
Only Goans get it. We also have 'Ton munshya, kitem ek jodd dekhavo!'
which is 'Hay man, what a heavy scene!' Here's the latest one, 'Tond
Pustok Fator!'"


"Facebook rocks! Ha! Our E-Sport range celebrates Goans like Leander
Paes, Ivana Furtado, Brahmanand, Bruno etc. For some reason the
T-shirt with Climax Lawrence's name printed bold is very popular among

"Give me two, small size, of Ivana for my sons. Hope she inspires them
to greatness."

"And for you, Cecil? We have the Boroi-Now range featuring caricatures
of Maria Aurora, Margaret, Damodar Mauzo, Lambert, Uday Bhembre,
Victor Rangel, Pundalik Naik, Peter Nazareth…"

"Naaah! Those people write literature. I identify with entertainers.
Don't you have a tiatrists range?"

"Of course we do!", says Michael as he leads me down yet another
passage. "In fact one of our t-shirts has 'Hanv Goenkar' in the front
and 'Tu Konn?' at the back and is popular for all the wrong reasons.
It was actually from our Ti-Artiste range that celebrated popular
tiartists and tiatr lore. Another popular one had Prince Jacob's face
with 'Padre mia!' below it. Here's a selection which just has classic
tiatr posters printed on T-shirts. This particular one 'Cun Head' is
also very popular with foreigners for some reason. Look at this!"

I instantly fell in love with and bought the T-shirt with a line
drawing of Charlie Chaplin with my hero Jacinto Vaz's face
superimposed. Michel tells me that M Boyer, Chris Perry, Lata, Alfred
Rose, August Braganza, Roberto Alvares etc will feature in the
'entertainment' section which is still being developed.

"The T-shirts in this section have slogans that were initially printed
with overseas Goans in mind. Take this one for example. Imagine
walking down a busy street in Toronto with 'Paad Poddom!' on your
t-shirt. Only a fellow Goenkar would understand and acknowledge your
presence. Here we have 'Dukra, mhojea bhava', 'Dukni, mhoje bhoine',
'Kitem poitai, modem?'… We also printed some in Devnagri script hoping
to get some Government grants but nobody is buying those T-shirts."

"The funny thing is now Goans in Goa are buying these same T-shirts to
identify each other from the influx of non-Goans. Isn't it curious
that you will find migrant labourers wearing T-shirts saying 'Babush'
or 'Narvekar', and Goans wear T-shirts saying Dubai and USA?"

"Aha! This is my favorite section where we experiment with culture.
See this T-shirt with 'Kshatriya!' printed bold? It's a top seller.
Even Brahmins buy it. We tried printing 'Brahmin', 'Chardo', 'Kunbi',
'Bahujan Samaj'… nothing sold. But 'Kshatriya!' is flying off the

"Maybe because it has a macho militant feel to it?"

"Maybe. But most of the buyers are young females."

"Speaking of which, do you have sizing problems?"

"Since I am catering primarily to Goans, as an ethnic group, sizes are
pretty standard. Only I notice that the Goan females born and bred
abroad seem to have bigger breasts, or at least bigger bustlines"

"Maybe that is a sign of prosperity? Like a paunch for an Indian man?"

"Maybe. Here's another hit slogan. 'Tu Konnalo?' Top seller among
aristocratic Goans in Salcete. Other best selling slogans are 'I'm a
Bhatkar. This is a very old T-shirt', 'Patrao', 'As seen in tiatr' and
'I'm with ghoyo!'. The most popular back of T-shirt slogan is 'Stop
staring at my Feni!'.

"Speaking of which Micheal, how come you set up base in Moira?"

"Moira inspires me. In addition to the Charles Correa T-shirts we have
quite a few others specially designed for Moidekars by our resident
creative consultant Augusto Pinto. Here check, 'We put the Banana in
Republic', 'Length matters, choose Moira', 'Moidekars have the
biggest…', 'Moidekars don't suffer from insanity, they enjoy it!', and
this classic, 'We don't get mad; we are mad!'

1) The column above appeared in Gomantak Times dated 9th October 2008.

2) If you wish to share your T-shirt ideas please write in to

Mamma Mia, here I go again

Mamma Mia, here I go again
Politicians, activists and the language of song

By Cecil Pinto

"Bamboos, bamboos, bamboos!", sings Irene at one end of the stage
while at the other end Tomazinho translates into Roman Konkani,
"Maani, maani, maani!". With a crash of cymbals Prince Jacob emerges
from the smoke, mike in hand crooning, "Money, money, money. Must be
funny, in a rich man's world!". I'm hallucinating!

It's the sequence of events that did it. Monday is not my favourite
day of the week but going for the morning show of the movie "Mamma
Mia" did help me forget the hangover. A fun-filled romantic story
interspersed with popular ABBA songs. Sitting next to me was a lively
woman who seemed to know all the lyrics and was belting them out
enthusiastically. If she wasn't already my wife I would have asked her
to marry me!

'Try once more like you did before
Sing a new song, Chiquitita'

Well just four hours later I find myself in a packed auditorium
awaiting the commencement of a debate on whether Goans have really
become eco-sensitive or whether we are just anti-development. I found
a seat next to Public Relations professional Skitter Faia, who knows
everyone that matters, and everything there is to know about hair

A lovely audience of concerned Goans complemented by a well chosen
panel of intelligent articulate Goans – Prof. Nandakumar, Fr.
Maverick, CM Kamat, Parrikar, Dr. Oscar and another 'undaised' panel
of Nitin Industry Kuncolienkar, Nilesh Builder Salkar, Subodh
Installation Kerkar, Ramesh Anti-Mine Gawas and Patricia Environment

'Where is the spring and the summer
That once was yours and mine?'

The moderator was Sandesh Prabhudesai - as always eloquent,
provocative, fair handed, firm and prudent. While they spent
absolutely ages adjusting the mikes it was but natural that my mind
wandered. To the morning's movie…and back to the present.

ABBA was famous for outlandish glitzy costumes. Nandakumar and Oscar
had on folded long sleeve shirts. Sandesh and Maverick were in ethnic
kurtas, while Parrikar had his trademark short sleeve shirt. Kamat was
looking uncomfortable with long shirt sleeves fully buttoned.

I couldn't see the 'undaised' panel, as they were sitting in the front
row with their back to the audience, but I noticed Nitin was wearing
his patented 1970 polyester styled fine checked suit jacket. Somebody
should give him and our CM, both wearing the same style spectacle
frames, a fashion makeover.

'People everywhere
A sense of expectation hanging in the air…
Voulez-vous (ah-ha)'

The language used in the mega-debate was an eclectic mix of Konkani,
English and propaganda. Sandesh loudly shouted a theatrical
introduction to each segment. This shouting must be a technical thing
to do with checking sound.

Parrikar said Goans have always been eco-sensitive and would make good
diary farmers and security guards. Maverick said locals wanted
participation in governance to improve the quality of their lives, and
not have misleading first-names. Oscar quoted, "The arrogance of the
rich will be met by a low intensity civil war in Turkey", or something
to that effect.

'Waterloo - I was defeated, you won the war
Waterloo - promise to love you for ever more'

Nandakumar insisted that Government policy has to address the poorest
of the poor who had no e-mail address. Kamat said his Government was
open to consensus as long as it was top to bottom, and not bottom to
top as Oscar insisted.

'Knowing me, knowing you (ah-haa)
It's the best I can do'

In the second round of the debate the undaised panelists joined in.
Nitin claimed that an Agitation Industry has replaced the Agriculture
Industry, which everyone agreed had to be revived. Nilesh showed the
connection between housing and infrastructure, "If there were no
roads, why would we build houses?", or maybe he said that the
Government must provide roads for builders.

'Don't go sharing your devotion
Lay all your love on me'

Ramesh said, "Fail to prepare, prepare to fail – or join a student
union and ask for re-evaluation". Patricia said everyone was
rubbishing the garbage problem, as did Subodh, with a Biblical quote,
"Let he who throws plastic in the harvest cast the first stone."

'What about Livingstone?
What about Livingstone?'

Kamat said he threw out SEZ because it was all about land. Despite not
having a copy of the Regional Plan Parrikar said, and everyone
naturally agreed, that we should encourage industries that employed
Goans and froze the non-Goan population. Maverick refuted Subodh's
remark at the Church's involvement by saying that Goan Catholics had
agitated for Ramponkars, Konkani, Statehood and against Du Pont, Meta
Strips, mega–projects and the Konkan Railway.

'Just another town, another train
Nothing lost and nothing gained'

Conflicting statistics were used by all concerned, including an
audience member, to make their point. 800 engineers pass out every
year and 73% of them have to move out of state for jobs as there are
none here. Yet 56% of job vacancies here are filled by non-Goans. 60%
of Goa's rainfall is in Sanguem. Environmental damage from mining was
99% ignored in the discussion.

A suggestion was made that all luxury mega–projects should compulsory
have an affordable housing project side by side. This met with
uproarious agreement from the Goan audience, and will certainly
feature as a populist election promise soon. Speaking of which one
very vocal gentleman from the audience thought he was at a Panchayat
Gram Sabha and kept interrupting with slogans. Fortunately he was

At one point Oscar asked CM Kamat for a public guarantee that he would
step down if Amendment 16 of RPG 21 was misused. Kamat instantly
agreed, "Yes, yes, I will step down!" His body language seemed to
suggest, "What am I doing here defending my corrupt colleagues when I
could make much more money in my building business?" Parrikar's body
language changed in the course of the debate, from merely confident to
commanding and dominative.

'I can't conceal it, don't you see, can't you feel it? Don't you too?
I do, I do, I do, I do, I do'

Watch the telecast at 7 pm on 2nd October. To Prudent Media and
Sandesh I say Thank you for the Music - and the lively debate.

'Darling, our love for Goa's much too strong to die,
We'll find a way to face a new tomorrow.
Hasta Manana till we meet again.
Hasta Manana until then!'

The column above appeared in Gomantak Times dated 2nd October 2008

We shall overcome

We shall overcome
Beyond T-shirts, celebrating real-life heroes

By Cecil Pinto

My friend Michael D'Costa continues showing me around his T-shirt
printing unit. We move from the warehouse section to the Chintop
Department where the creative ideas are generated, and designs drawn
up using sophisticated graphic software.

"After the Moira T-shirts became so popular we decided to have village
and town specific images and slogans. I have hired Alister Miranda and
Joel D'Souza to generate these. Let's see what we have here. 'In
Aldona they do it with chillies!' Hmmm. Rather risqué, Alister. Retain
the chillies but tone it down. What's this? 'Tuzoch Tambdo!' with a
fat chilly in the background. Well done Joel! Try 'Tuzoch Moto' also!
And speed up that foxy series for Saligao. Try and integrate some
watermelon graphics so we can sell it to the Parra people too. 'Thank
God it's Sunkrar!' for Mapusa. Nice! Put a cup measure holding some
baked grams in the background."

"Here's Anil Rodrigues, a man of many talents whose forte is bilingual
wordplay. What do you have for us Anil? 'Paicho Fath!' Brilliant!
Reduce the font size to very small and promote it to be worn under a
suit jacket. Aha! 'Akhano voir!' Cool! And that thumbs up graphic is
just the trick. Use a red, blue and white combination."

"Tell me Michael, how come you have ignored some major artistes in
your entertainment section?"

"Like who?"

"Well Remo and Lorna for example."

"Remo has his own line of branded T-shirts so we decided it would not
be ethical on our part. As for Lorna we have an entire section devoted
to her. Check this out. 'Bebdo', 'Pisso', 'Heaven in Your Eyes?', 'Why
you making fuss?"


"Sorg Tujea Dolleanim and Kiteak Kortai Nokre!"

"Hold on Micheal. Kiteak Kortai Nokre was in the film Bhuyarantlo
Munis and definitely not sung by Lorna!"

"Oops! Anyway Cecil, we've also started this T-Ornato section
celebrating the new generation of Goans who are working for heritage
and environment with a passion. Look here we have Prajal Sakhardande,
Jason Fernandes, Clinton Vaz, Praveen Sabnis, Nirmal Kulkarni, Jolene

"Well done Michael. These young people will keep the Goan flag flying high."

"Well Goa doesn't have a flag but we do have these series of T-shirts
with the Goa State Animal, the gaur, and the State Bird, the ruby
throated yellow bulbul. Unfortunately most Goans don't know that the
State Tree is the asna, or terminalia elliptica, and so T-shirts with
coconut trees are more popular."

"Here's where we experiment with basic background colours and patterns
for our T-shirts. We tried the classic kashti checks in red and white.
Total flop. As was this striped brown material we named 'bebinca'.
This yellow and black celebrating Goa's unique motorcycle pilots sells
well, as does the indigo blue associated with whitewash borders. Goan
red mud is also popular as a background colour. Surprisingly when we
printed 'Tambdi Matti' on them they did not sell. Wonder why?"

"Micheal, I'm Louvta Jomnir Hasun."


"I'm Rolling on the Floor with Laughter. But let it be…"

"This commercial section translates popular slogans of famous brands.
Fortunato Pinto from Aldona heads this section. For example here we
have the swoosh logo and 'Beshtemch kor!'"

"Ok - Just do it! Let me see how many more I can identify. It's too
easy with the logo. Just read out each slogan to me."

"Dubav koslo naka, Haig zai mhaka"

"Don't be vague, ask for Haig?"

"Burkacho pippirmit!"

"The mint with the hole?"

"Borench pois ailaim, Bai!"

"You've Come a Long Way, Baby?"

"Shezariachem dukh, dhonyachem sukh'

"Neighbour's envy, owner's pride?"

"Bhuk laglya?"

"Hungry kya?"

"Aiz khuim vochia?"

"No I can't get that."

"Where do you want to go today? It's Microsoft's slogan."

"Oh! The old one."

"This piece here is targeted at the non-Goan settled in Goa who can
laugh at himself. It has 'Voilo' and 'Sokoilo' printed with one arrow
pointing up and another pointing down. Then here we have 'Fuloi!
Fuloi!', 'Sheboy!' etc. Just generic exclamations and..."

"Hold on Micheal. My phone is ringing. It's my wife, Beatrice. Hello?
Yes darling. Here, in Moira. Michael's showing me his T-shirt designs.
What am I doing regarding the attack on Aires and Prajal? What you
want me to do? We went for the candle light vigil in Taleigao no?
Isn't that enough? Sure! I will go for any meetings and morchas that
are organised. What more can I do? But? What you mean I'm not a man?
Sure I agree that Prajal and Aires are very brave men. Darpok? Did you
just call me a darpok? You watch it Bitu! Enough is enough. So? What
you want me to do? Make a noise? How? Ok! Ok! I will send out SMS
when I get home, and e-mails too. Now what? Write about it in my
column? Tell people to come at 4 p.m. at Azad Maidan for the 'We
Shall Overcome!' rally organised by concerned NGOs on 16th. Ok! I will
do just that. What? Show Aires and Prajal they are not alone. Sure!
Their pain was not in vain? Sure! They have our support? Sure! We are
not afraid. Sure! Anything else? Bring friends? Sure! Families?
Children? Are you sure Beatrice? Sure we will take our children, but
some people might not want to. Heroes? Sure Aires and Prajal are true
heroes. So? Mmmm? Yes, you have a point. True. Yes! We have to show
our children that we celebrate our heroes. That we stand by our
heroes. Yes indeed. Our children should know who are heroes, and who
are the cowards, and who are the crooks. Sure! What? Tell Michael to
what? Hold on I will ask him. Michael…"

"Hold on Cecil, I'm on the phone with my wife. Yes.Yes, dear. I
understand. What?! You want me to close my workshop half-day and tell
my employees to go to Panjim today for the rally? Are you out of your
mind sweetie? You know how much money I will lose in half a day's
production? Miser? Me? You are calling me a miser? Bamto? What? Take
the kids for the rally? Why on earth? Heroes? Sure, but they got
tuitions and music classes no? I know they won't die without one day
of tuitions and music but… Sure honey! Aha! Now that's a good
incentive. Oooohhh!! Yes, just the way I like it. Tonight? Oooh! I'm
excited already. Done! We're all going for the rally today! We shall
overcuuuuuuuuum! We shall overcuuuuuuuuuum!"

The column above appeared in Gomantak Times dated 16th October 2008

Name dropping for beginners

Name dropping for beginners
In accepting this non-award I would like to mention…

By Cecil Pinto

This week marks three years of writing this column. Of course I did
take a three month break earlier this year, but then who's really
bothered. There was no drop in circulation, nor letters to the editor
insisting I come back. Bah! As I pass this milestone with no award,
or raise, in sight I might as well use this opportunity to introduce
you, dear dedicated readers, to my team.

"Team?", you ask. "What team? I thought you wrote this column alone."
Fat chance! Google, Wikipaedia and can give you only that
amount of information. When you need specialized knowledge and
insightful opinions on call, specially when you don't have access to
the Net, you need to cultivate a team. That's exactly what I've done.
Here they are in no particular order.

Frankie Alvares, Aldona - "Remember in school we ate ice-cruts? What
did we call the white milky ones which were more expensive?" Isabel
Vas, Dona Paula - "Who said, 'I may not agree with you but will defend
your right to speak…' or something like that?" Apurva Kulkarni, Vasco
- "You know this illustration of an old woman's face which can also be
seen as a young woman looking away – who drew it?" Eric D'Souza,
Aldona, "How much was a Maruti 800 priced at when it was first
launched in the 1980s?"

Jose Lourenco, Margao, "Give me two more names of Goans of the caliber
of DD Kossambi and Charles Correa." Alisha Colaco, Dona Paula, "Is it
considered bad form to drop a 'friend' you have never met from
Facebook because she keeps inviting you to join weird groups?" Vinayak
Naik, Taleigao - "How many women MLAs has Goa had?" Alito Sequeira,
Dona Paula - "Would it be incorrect to say that what is happening at
Gram Sabhas is a sign of civil society breaking up?" Edwin D'Souza,
Aldona - "Other than Solan No.1 were there any IMFL single malt
whiskeys in the 1980s?"

Fatima Gracias, Altinho - "What was there before in the place where
the Mermaid Garden now is?" Joel D'Souza, Assagao - "What would be the
Konkani equivalent of village-idiot?" Alex Braganza, Panjim - "Did
Symphony and Sky ever jam up for a show?" Wendell Rodricks, Colvale -
"If colour from a new garment runs into another garment in the washing
machine, how come it doesn't run away from that other garment too?"
Alister Miranda, Siolim - "When was the Boat Festival re-introduced in
Siolim, and by who?"

Prajal Sankhwalkar, Caranzalem - "Were there Portuguese torture houses
in Sanquelim?" Gordon Lobo, Aldona - "What was Inspector Bahadur's
dogs name in the Indrajal Comics?" Agnelo De Sa, Panjim - "Are there
USB hubs available with their own power supply inbuilt?" Augusto
Pinto, Moira - "Into how many languages have Manoharrai Sardessai's
poems been translated?" Miguel Braganza, "Which tree most closely
resembles the banyan tree, and what is its exact botanical name?"
Edson Dias, Panjim - "Do you know anyone personally who makes a living
from Google AdWords only?"

Frederick Noronha, Saligao - "Is there a reason why there are so many
non-Goan editors for local English dailies?" Sachin Chatte, Porvorim -
"Is Gabbar Singh's father's name mentioned in Sholay?" Tony DeSa,
Moira - "Are there any compulsory hours of teaching that a school
principal has to put in?" Victor Rangel Ribeiro, "Does Goa really have
a Symphonic Orchestra, and how does it differ from a normal

Frankie D'Cruz, Borda, "What's the best place in Margao for a mutton
biryani?" Gene Lobo, Aldona - "Any disadvantages in using cloning
software to transfer an operating system?" Vivek Menezes, Miramar -
"Is it true that the Cricket Club of India was co-founded by a Goan?"
John Raj, Aldona - "Does the wind at night blow from sea to land or
vice versa?" Willy Goes, Taleigao, "What is the thumb rule for depth
of field in relation to aperture and focal length?" Tony Fernandes,
Aldona - "What is the life expectancy of an RCC structure?"

Helene Menezes, Saligao - "What specific advantages does a co-ed
schooling system have?" Shelton Afonso, Caranzalem - "Other than Assis
who does lighting for major stage shows?" Skitter Fia, Vasco - "Who
are the major sponsors of the Sunburn Music Festival this year?"
Heston Sequeira, Aldona - "How much would it cost, and does it make
sense, to put in an auto-start system for a 1984 Enfield Bullet?

Rahul Srivastava, Ribandar - "Give me a male North Indian first name
with no caste connotations." Monica Mendes, Aldona - "What sort of
bank employees benefit the most from VRS offers?" Patricia Alvares,
Panjim - "How many kilometers from Amboli to Kholapur?" Sucheta
Potnis, Calangute - "Is it really cheaper to fly from Goa to Singapore
than to Delhi?" Noel D'Cruz, Margao - "Can a Person of Indian Origin
by marriage be the 'local' partner in a company owned by foreigners?"

Saba Sayed, Vasco - "During which years did Subodh Kerkar draw
cartoons regularly?" Sandesh Prabhudesai, Panjim - "What is the
percentage increase in Goa's migrant labour population since 1988?"
Savio Figueiredo, Aldona - "Do the Indian equivalents of Viagra have
the same chemical composition or are they based on ayurvedic

Sylvester D'Souza, Dona Paula - "Can an urban area marked of as
'green' in the ODP be privately owned by an individual – and walled
off?" Tomazinho Cardozo, Candolim - "Was there ever an audience
restricted adult Konkani tiatr?" Nandita de Souza, Porvorim, "Is
Aspergers a subset of Autism or a completely different disability?"

What you mean I'm running out of space. It's my 3rd Anniversary for
heaven's sake. Surely I can go beyond 1000 words? I've not finished
with my on-call team, after which I've got to start on my e-mail
consultants and my friends at Goa Writers and then…

Hello? No? Not even an extra 300 words? What a bloody spoilsport! Ok!
Ok! As they say in cheap speeches 'last but not least' I have to
mention my family. Fortunato Pinto, Aldona - "Daddy, what was the
church seating arrangement like for the Latin mass?" Lira Pinto,
Aldona - "Mummy, since which year have we been subscribing to Reader's

What? Already crossed 1000 words? Ok! Hold on! Beatrice Pinto, Miramar
- "Bitu darling, could you read this through and see who I can

The column above appeared in Gomantak Times dated 6th November 2008