A highly subjective “Best Of” list of culture in Goa over the past month:
Another hot day in November – Friday was the second hottest day of the year as the temperature touched 37 degrees Celsius. Thank heavens – I thought I was being a wuss and imagining the discomfort was all in my head…
“Tall You” – according to its ad in the Nahvind Times, this product “makes you proud to have good height. Apply TALL YOU once a day to sole for 3 to 6 months. A natural based cosmetic from USA [as if that’s a good thing – UR]. No side effects. No rigorous exercises.” What a relief – I’d been doing “tall” exercises all month, hoping to better impress a potential mate with my tallness in the Matrimonials page. On tallness, Aloysius explained that it’s considered an attractive attribute because women who are short may have been malnourished growing up. Tallness is equated with health. No crazier than blondeness being equated with sexiness, I say.
Defeat Elephant Leg – November 15 was National Lymphatic Filariasis Awareness Day, and to celebrate, government-sponsored volunteers visited house-to-house to give us free, unprescribed tablets of Diethycarbamazine citrate (DEC)! Also known as “Elephant Leg Disease,” LF is a mosquito-borne, thread-like worm that invades the lymphatic system and swells your leg like – well – an elephant’s! Naturally I popped the pills; and it’s only after they started burning in my belly that I thought – hmm – maybe that wasn’t such a good idea…
I’m iffy about IFFI – Goa’s capital city Panjim has been aflutter with the 39th International Film Festival of India, but I challenge you to find out what’s playing, where, and for how much. Website address? Missing in action. Programs? They were finally printed two days AFTER the 10-day festival had started. Description of the films? Nope. Taxi availability after the last show? Minimal. Pardon me if I avoid major events and crowds like this while Mumbai burns… [Late note: they cancelled IFFI’s outdoor events due to the Mumbai events. – UR]
“Disco train to chug into Goa in January” – (Times of India, November 12 2008) Goa Tourism has joined with Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) and i-nova to disco the rails from Kolkata to Goa starting January 2009. The 16-coach train will carry 700 vacationers on ten days’ worth of fun with onboard services including “…food, hospitality, housekeeping, a public address system and security.” Oh yeah, and “…an entire coach will be converted into a discotheque. Folk songs will also be performed on board.” What price, disco? Only Rs 35,000 (875 CAD).
Semana de Cultura Portuguesa – speaking of ancient culture, Goa celebrated its colonial past November 7 to 15 with a week of Portugese song, dance, food and Scrabble. Aloysius and I dropped by the Food Festival and found the snacks lacking, but a bottle of good red wine cheered us up so much that even the wrinkled folk dancers’s incomprehensible stick dance looked good. I treated him to a FADO concert (featuring youngsters Miguel Capucho and Maria Ana Bobone) later in the week but we passed on the Scrabble competition.
“Get up to 2 tones fairer in just 7 days!” – Unlike the tiny “Tall You” ad, this scam comes to you from internationally-known Garnier via a full-colour, 2-page spread ad in a women’s magazine. The ad doesn’t actually tell you HOW the product lightens the colour of your skin, but it does go on about how it comes with a “Fairness Scale” so you can measure and see.
Indo-Jazz Fusion – The best performance of the month was the free “Indo-Jazz Fusion” show at the KALA ACADEMY. Imagine a balmy, open air, semi-circle stage with perfect lighting and acoustics. Add a western drum kit, saxophone, bass guitar and jazz singer; then a tabla drum, sitar, and dancer. Names to look out for are Ravi Chary (sitar), Saryajit Talwalkar (tabla), Sheldon D’Silva (bass) and vocalist Vivienne Pocha. The Kala Academy is a beautiful venue in a wooded park where the Mandovi River meets the Arabian Sea. Very elegant and – it appears – a reliable source of excellent entertainment.
Car Perfume Thief Strikes Again – (Times of India, November 25 2008) The next time someone shows you a briefcase of auto-perfume as you idle in your taxi, just say no. While taxi driver Mahanand Nagvenkar purveyed an assortment of upholstry scents, an accomplice of the perfume-seller grabbed a customer’s laptop that was sitting in the back seat. Police fear this may be the newest modus operandi of the “dreaded 10-rupee note gang.”
100 Years of Advertising in Goa
– Forget the beaches! The Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry celebrated its anniversary with an exhibition and book release titled “Lifestyle in Goa (1908 – 1961)”) November 6 to 10. Curated by the Institute Menezes Braganza by librarian/writer Maria de Lourdes Bravo da Costa Rodrigues, the show was a fascinating display of newspaper print advertising. As a graphic designer I was struck by how clean, elegant and humourous the ads were. But Rodrigues explained that – bearing in mind that the exhibition celebrated the Chamber of Commerice – she selected the print ads to demonstrate which products were available over that time and the family-run stores that sold them. I was particularly interested in the bicycle ads (of course).