From Joel D’Souza’s news clips:
From Joel D’Souza’s news clips:
By J P Pereira
‘Natt’yangan’ is a collection of humorous one-act plays in Konkani, written by Brenda Menezes and published by Cindy Publications, Quepem through the sponsorship of Goa Konknni Academy. The book comprises of five plays, written in a simple yet delightful language that is normally used everyday.
The first play titled ‘Eka Lognak Sotra Vidhna,’ narrates the tale of an elderly spinster who refuses all proposals and when she finally accepts one, other hurdles crop up. ‘Aai Bhandavelean Dhanvli,’ is about a mother, her naughty kids and a ‘good for nothing’ husband. Frustrated at not being able to control the misdeeds of her family, she contemplates suicide…
In ‘Hantrun Polleun Paim Soddunk Zai,’ a poor peon, in an office, is under tension. His sister-in-law is getting married, his children want new clothes, and his wife wants to buy an expensive gift and he has no money! ‘Eleisanv’ tells about corrupt politicians and the new candidates who also will become corrupt while the last play, ‘Aplem Thoddem Chintchem Papia,’ warns a retiring employee to save the terminal benefits or face the consequences.
Written in Devanagri script by a lady who was weaned in Konkani from her childhood by her parents and uncles, especially a maternal uncle who won laurels for his poetry, the five plays make for great reading. Besides the humor that is present, there is also a message in each play. The book would be a great buy for individuals and schools, which could perform the
beautiful plays for variety entertainment programmes and annual days.
With great support and encouragement from her husband, Walter Menezes, who is also a writer, Brenda will continue writing more plays. Maybe someday, the will write a full-fledged Konkani drama. All the best to Brenda, keep on writing.
More details of the book from Walter Menezes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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Book Review of “Rendermam Ani Tachem Jivit”
Author and Publisher: Fr. Ave Maria Afonso
By: Walter Menezes
I met Fr. Ave Maria Afonso at Thomas Stephens Konknni Kendr, Alto Porvorim on a day when Fr. Mathew Almeida, SJ was celebrating his birthday. The book release ceremony of Fr. Almeida’s Romi Lipient Konknni Kurs was over and we were helping ourselves to a piece of cake and a cup of tea when Fr. Ave Maria presented me with a copy of his book, Rendermam’ ani Tachem Jivit.
This book was released in Margao a couple of days earlier at a function organized to celebrate the first anniversary of the Konknni magazine, Jivit, and although I was present for the same, I had to leave the function half-way through, without buying a copy of the book, whose seeds were sown when Fr. Ave Maria was pursuing his post-graduate studies at TSKK, Alto Porvorim.
I finished reading Rendermam’ on a relaxed Sunday when the nation was celebrating the triumph of good over evil and realized how little I knew about the toddy-tapper who, like the poder and the pagi, (baker and traditional fisherman) has been an essential part of every Goan household. For who can imagine a life without our daily bread, our fish-curry and a peg of feni? Or our feasts without sannas and our mouth-watering dishes like sorpotel, sausages, vindaloo, fish parro and mol without vinegar?
My father-in-law had a bar in Kepem and, on days when he was indisposed, I was the one who was summoned to help him out on such occasions. We normally catered to the aam admi who would flock to the bar in the afternoons and the evenings and help themselves to their favourite drink. I had the opportunity to interact with some of the rendermams, and in one case the wife of a rendermam’, who would come from as far as Sanguem with their kollxo (earthern pot) of feni and deliver the same to Ruzar-irmao, as my father-in-law was respectfully called. He would then measure the grau of the feni by dipping the alcohometer in the bottle, nod his head when it showed 18 degrees, and then make the payment.
A kopin of feni is what I normally had in the night just before supper was served. And on days when I was too tired after a hard day’s work, my wife would not mind at all if I had some ‘extra’ ones! What she never knew was that sometimes I would join my friend at a village bar, where dukhsiri, a strange combination of feni and medicinal roots, was a great hit at that time. Meant for those who labour and sweat it out in the fields, dukhsiri is a soothing drink and like vodka, there is not a trace of smell at all. But just to be on the safer side, once the bill was settled, my friend would remove a couple of cloves from some secret chamber of his trousers and off we would go, munching them merrily on our way home. We were happy and so were our better halves!
Fr. Ave Maria’s book is a treasure of information. The tools that the rendermam’ uses, the sign of the cross that he makes on his forehead before the risky climb to the coconut tree-top and the process of distilling feni, these and other details make the book interesting. It is a male-dominated world, but, strange as it may sound, Fr. Ave Maria reports of the only lady-render from Verna who once did the job. With a colourful ‘dose’ of photographs by Egidio Fernandes and a cover designed by Willy Goes, Rendermam’ ani Tachem Jivit is a great offering in Romi Konknni.
There is one chapter dedicated entirely to Rendrachim Gitam-Kantaram. The toddy-tapper leads a lonely life, hopping from one coconut tree to another, three times a day. Seated on one of the palm fronds high above the ground, sharp-edged kati, dudinem to collect the sap and the clay pot, damonnem, firmly in place, the poet in the rendermam’ awakens and he
Yes! Life is a hard grind for the rendermam’. And very risky too. Fr. Ave Maria informs that the All Goa Toddy-Tappers’ Association, headquarted in Margao and established in 1961,
has been in the forefront to protect the interests of the render community. A few welfare measures are in operation and a “Pension Scheme” formed by the Goa Government for
toddy-tappers above 60 years of age, awaits implementation.
The rendermam’ is a fascinating person and Fr. Ave Maria has observed him from close quarters. Even going to the extent of spending a night and a day with his family. The rendermam’ is a god-fearing man. There is rosary in his house every day and once a year, villagers gather at his residence for the ladin (litany) in honour of the patron saint. On the last
Sunday of February every year, he attends, along with his entire community, the Thanksgiving Mass at the Basilica of Bom Jesus.
Like any niz Goenkar, he loves football, khell-tiatrs and tiatrs. His breakfast consists of pez with kalchi koddi and kharem nustem and his house is full of Konknni cassettes. He gambles a lot, plays the moddko and has, on many occasions, squandered his hard-earned money on such vices.
Arthur Hailey, best-selling author of such ‘subject-specific’ novels like Airport, Hotel, Wheels, Overload and Final Diagnosis, who used factual research to his advantage, once said, “I don’t think I really invented anybody. I have drawn on real life!” Perhaps Fr. Ave Maria’s next ‘stop’ should be a novel, with characters drawn from real life.
Prof. Jose Salvador Fernandes, in his foreword, shares his own experience of maddar choddpachem when he used to assist his father in ‘toddy-tapping’ whenever the manaim-render (helper) used to be absent. Both, Prof. Jose’s father and the rendermam’ where Fr. Ave Maria spent a night, felt that this is not only a tough job but one where there is no respect at all. “Ami tras-koxtt kaddtat te puro. Amchea bhurgeank tem naka”, they said, expressing in a way, the sentiments of the entire community.
Such a view may just be the reason why the population of toddy-tappers has reduced drastically from a strong force of around 22,000 in 1964 to only around 1100 in 2006. The death-knell has already sounded for many such ancient traditional occupations, Prof. Jose laments in his foreword. In the distant future, books like Rendermam’ ani Tachem Jivit will become a rich repository of information and a window to our fascinating past.
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The Porvorim-based Thomas Stevens Konknni Kendra keeps on quietly and actively publishing. Recently, one came across two, slim inexpensive publications from there.
‘Dor Mhoineachi Rotti’ is a decades-old monthly (once even published from Karachi, Pakistan) in Konkani that focuses on religious and social issues. It is now out in a new format, and priced at Rs 10 for a single issue. Details from email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Hansat Gayat Nachat: Bhurgeanchim Gitam’ (Pratap Naik sj, pp 52, Rs 20) is a tiny, pocketbook-sized compilation of poems in Konkani in the Roman script.
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Dev b^ro dis di~v. Tu~ k^so asay? Ha~v b^ro asa~. Tuje~ na~v kite~? Mh^je~ na~v Pedru. Tu~ kh^~y ravtay? Ha~v Go~ya~ ravta~. Ko~knni Go~ychi razbhas. Tuzo bapuy kite~ k^rta? Mh^zo bapuy xeta~t kam k^rta. Tu~ mhaka ek narl ani pa~ch a~be dixi? Falya~ tuka haddun dita~. Ha~v p^rva~ tanger vet^lo~. Ami tumger az yeta~v. Tumi godd khayat ani ud^k piyeyat. Ambo godd asa. Ti kh^`y veta? Ti ig^rjek veta….
It’s no computer-generated gibberish. It’s the new form of writing Roman script Konkani, being proposed and propagated by the Jesuit-run Thomas Stephens Konknni Kendr of Porvorim. If you haven’t seen it so far, grab a copy of the 2005 published 52-page book titled ‘TSKK Romi Lipi: Ko-knni b^ro~vchi rit)’.
After many years of supporting Devanagiri Konkani, the TSKK has recently and rather drastically come out strongly in favour of the Roman (Romi) script. But a modified Romi script it is. The ^s and the ~s are supposed to help you to get closer to the actual Konkani pronounciation. Even while making it easy to reproduce on a computer! Continue reading