Yes, this is one of the famous Indian cartoonist, Mario Miranda‘s cartoons and is part of the decor in our home. Miranda was an excellent cartoonist, but he excelled himself when he came to scenes from Goa. Any Goan worth his salt can identify the quintessential characters he created. Either we know them personally or have heard about them at some point in time.
The Goans have been associated with being a laid-back lot of people. They love their food, their drink and their music. But they’re also quite religious. Those of us whose ancestors were ‘forcibly’ converted to Roman Catholicism by the Portuguese colonialists are often more Catholic than the Romans! The scene in the cartoon is part of a larger tableau of a religious procession. The two guys up in front are commonly known as ‘irmãos’ (brothers) who carry candles and standards. It is quite an honor to do that. When José was young, although he lived in Mumbai, his paternal grandfather asked for him to be outfitted in this cape and the young chap was given the honor (or burden) of running around like the little guy in the procession. José was a small irmão! 😉
Miranda’s Goa cartoons also displayed a lot of musicians and musical settings. Music is another thing we Goans do very well. Goa supplied violinists, pianists and a whole other lot of musicians to the Indian film industry for years. Goa too has its own film industry. Two of the well-known and much loved Goan movies were made in the 1950s-60s. They are Amchem Noxib and Nirmon. Although we spoke not a word of our native Konkani, we grew up listening to this song – Molbailo Dou, from the movie Amchem Noxib . To this day, it evokes such a feeling of nostalgia within me.
I will always associate good humour with Goa too. I can still hear the voice of my grandfather telling me stories and funny incidents that took place in our native village, Saligao. This is one story though that my Dad told us. Apparently a group of men would hang around the tinto (market), gossiping about the other villagers and calling out to unsuspecting passers-by to include them in the conversation. The butt of their jokes was Caithanin (Cajetan) who was having problems passing his High School exam. One day they called out to him, and the leader of the lot says: “Hey, Caithanin you failed again right? I’ll make a deal with you that if you pass your exams in the next attempt, I’ll buy you a cycle.” Now the leader’s son Bosthiaon (Sebastian), was apparently having problems completing his Medical course. So Caithanin without batting an eyelid says, “What are you saying? If your Bosthiaon finishes Medicine, I’ll build him a hospital!”
Many characters can be found in the book Ferry Crossing too.
Good food in Goa……..I’ll leave that to José to elaborate on in our upcoming posts.