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
"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
"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