Sunday, March 23, 2008

Teaching Konkani - The Baga Beach

Cecil & Beatrice Pinto explore Goa with, and teach Konkani to, a young couple from the Isle of Wight in UK - Andrew and Justine.

Beatrice: How nice to be going to Baga beach. I'm coming here after nearly ten years.

Justine: Is that so? We were here yesterday and on Monday and on…

Cecil: You are tourists. You come for the sun and the sand. We have a different relationship with the beach or vell. It is more than just recreational.

Beatrice: Yes. Our elderly people used to come here to the beach, veller, and have saltwater baths every morning. To bathe is nhavpak. It was supposed to be a cure for arthritis, rheumatism and similar diseases. They would not have a fresh water bath for the entire duration of their stay here. They would park themselves in a rented room nearby…

Cecil: Talking of parking, our picnic spot seems to be invaded by parked cars. There's no place to sit. Bospak na zago! Bos is sit and zago is place.

Beatrice: My goodness! This is shocking. This area in front of Hotel Baia do Sol has always been a picnic spot for us locals. A nice airy shady area with a direct view of the sea, doria. Now the view is blocked by these huge shacks and we have to face their toilets, or kapus!

Andrew: What's the problem? Let's just sit in a shack and enjoy the vell.

Cecil: Goroz shi na! There is no need! I don't want to sit in these shacks. Their prices and attitudes are directed towards the big-spending tourists, specially the Europeans. I have carried my own snacks and refreshments. Why can't I have a clean convenient picnic area like before? Why is everything targeted at tourists? Don't we, locals and taxpayers, matter anymore?

Beatrice: Keep the politics for another day. Let's go to St. Anthony's. Is that ok with you?

Cecil: Ok! At least I know those guys cater for the locals and we won't be surrounded by arrogant overweight Brits. And we can see the sand, renv, and the sea, doria, from where we sit at our table, mez, on our chairs, kodeli.

Andrew: Let's take a walk on Baga beach first, if you don't mind.

Cecil: Sure. I remember foreigners, bhaile as we called them then, roaming completely naked, nagdde, on this beach when I was very young. Now the term bhaile applies to Indian migrant labourers. Actually bhailo just means outsider with bhair being out. Technically speaking we are still in Calangute as Baga actually is the other side of the creek. The ugly bridge, pul, connecting is so despised that you will see people, lok, risking their lives crossing the creek through the water, udok, rather than go through to that monstrosity. The hillock, dongor, you see across separates this beach stretch from the Anjuna stretch.

Justine: Aha! So nice to see miles of lovely beach right up till Sinquerim.

Beatrice: What beach? What I can see are miles of beach-beds? When did this happen? Ten years back there were a few beach-beds outside every shack. Now they stretch in multiple tiers endlessly. I'm reminded of the lines from Wordsworth's Daffodils, “Continuous as the stars that shine, And twinkle on the Milky Way, They stretch'd in never-ending line, Along the margin of a bay:, Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.”

Cecil: I'm reminded of what came next, “A poet could not but be gay, In such a jocund company!”. What daffodils? See those pansies there hugging each other in the water. In our time the beach was full of sexy naked women. Now we see gays, “fluttering and dancing in the breeze!”

Justine: You got something against gays?

Cecil: Naaah! Just that I prefer naked women!

Beatrice: Stop behaving like a pervert, pozdo.

Cecil: Aha! Today, aiz, I'm a pozdo. Yesterday, kal, I was a baizuan, lecher. Just my ponvot, bad luck, I presume to be gifted with an eye, dollo, to appreciate the female body, kudd. Wonder what I will be called tomorrow, faleam, and day after, porvam.

Andrew: I thought you said kudd was a sort of residential club each village had in Mumbai?

Beatrice: Yes that too. Spelt the same way. Speaking of kudd let's run through some body parts quickly. Head is tokli, forehead is kopol, nose is nak, ear is kan, eye is dollo, lips are vontt, chin is khaddki, cheeks are pole, neck is man, shoulder is khand, hand is hath, finger is bott, stomach is pott, back is fatt, chest is xati, legs are paim, toe is akhonno. Have I missed anything?

Cecil: Sure! Buttocks are kule, thighs are zangllam, breasts are mome, the entire male genital region is called… Whaaaaa! Did you see that?

Andrew: What?

Cecil: See that huge woman swimming there. Just one of her kule could feed a family for a month!

Justine: That wasn't a very nice thing to say.

Cecil: I was just kidding. What does physical appearance matter? As long as one has one's heart, kaliz, and soul, otmo, in the right place.


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