Sunday, 17 May 2015

Stayin’ Alive

-Brian Mendonça

The last time I was in the Nuvem church, it was for the month’s mind of a young girl from Nuvem who we lost because of a case of undetected diabetes. There were also hushed whispers of dixtt playing a part. I am still unnerved by the eerie stillness in broad daylight in the village when we went to pay a condolence visit.

We dropped by for the Nuvem parish festival in the second week of May. The attractive ads announcing the events for 3 consecutive days over the weekend made it impossible to ignore. The total absence of the mention of a very prominent MLA in the ad -- who usually graced all occasions (and ads) -- was a reminder of how an oft-feted person can become a fugitive overnight. I also wanted to see the way local communities generate funds for social events.
Since the stated time for kick-off every day was 7 p.m. I was wondering if there was any sense setting off from Vasco at 9 on a Saturday. We had just checked out the Consumer Expo at Chicalim and baba refused to come away before a ride on the gleaming motor-car merry-go-round.

NPF (Nuvem Parish Festival) 2015 reminded me of NCF 2005 (National Curriculum Framework). Both NPF and NCF were branding exercises. NPF even had bright yellow unisex t-shirts sported gaily by volunteers. The tees which surged through the crowd gave a sense of the bonhomie of Brazil – yellow being Brazil’s national colour. It also proclaimed that all the parishioners were pitching in to make this a success. At the far end of the Nuvem church grounds where it was all happening I spied the tees mounted on a backdrop on sale. The entire open-air festival venue was enclosed with a single-entry system for close monitoring. Entry was a nominal Rs. 30 per head. Kids free. Table Rs. 100.

Feasting over a plate of chicken grill (Rs. 150), we enjoyed the acts. The extremely talented 4-some Jukebox with Tanya and Andre Souza was by far the best. They ripped out some classic covers and almost had us on our feet with ‘Stayin Alive’ (1977) by the Bee Gees, which went back to my school days! Andre did a Spanish number too which had soul, and the elderly gent Francis D’Costa, from Bollywood Bombay, regaled us with his virtuoso violin. The kid played a mean guitar. Tanya gave it tone ending with Lorna’s sobering morality tale ‘Bebdo’ with the foot-stomping refrain ‘Yeo baile yeo.’

The local musicians and comedians showcased homegrown talent. One had to guess the correct number of bananas on a stalk. The correct number  was 240. The lucky couple to guess it right were invited on stage to take the bananas home! There was Housie at 11. An over head projector flashed ads for a price.

On the way back at the Verna roundabout we saw the mangled relic of the trailer truck which lost control and claimed the Mergulhao’s from Majorda. This May stay safe. Stay alive.

Published in Gomantak Times Weekender, St. Inez, Goa on Sunday 17 May 2015. Pix courtesy paxonbothhouses.blogspot(dot)com

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