Saturday, January 23, 2010
Every evening at 6p.m.-7.45p.m. we 10--15 women meet in our Condominium Complex Compound----just to sit together and chat!!!All of us belong to the same Condominium though some live the in 'A','B' or 'C' buildings and our ages range from 42-70 years.Sudhir is at a loss to understand what that diverse an age group of women can talk about daily?
There are so many common topics---Health and Diet being the main ones.We have all lived together for the past 35 years----with the exception of the various daughters-in-law who married and joined us later most of us are the original owners who moved here in 1975---that makes us comfortable with each other--like a family.We have all grown old together and though some of us moved away most retained their old Apartments here and often drop by for a chat.We take our evening walks together and then sit ourselves down on the chairs arranged for us by the Security guys----every one stops by for a "HI' and a "Hello" and we get all the Condominium News---daily!!!
Often we get some Snacks---these days mainly healthy ones---and enjoy these together much to the chagrin of those who watch us from their windows-----they feel that we're too tight knit as a group to accept new members----in fact we'd like to welcome more women into our group---the more the merrier!!!.
We're an unlikely lot---Kantaben,Kishoriben,Radhaben and Jyoti are total Vegetarians who eat only eggless Cakes while Dolly,Banidi,Fatima,Mitra,Savitri and I are unabashed Non-Vegetarians----we talk about our recipes,various varieties of Snacks or just Food!!!.Sonia and Bhabhiji (her mother-in-law) eat eggs only in cakes-----otherwise they are Vegetarian.We are joined sometimes by Pushpa,Vahini,Shashi Tai and Vahini's daughter-in-law Trupti.The topics of discussion range from Religion,Family,Husbands(their idiosyncrasies),Children and the bygone days that were!!!
The most affected by our presence are the poor children----we've known most of their fathers since their childhood---this makes us their unofficial Grandmas---a privilege we take very seriously!!!Sometimes I feel sorry for these poor things---but one can't ignore certain of their play activities which are sure to give them grief!!!Their mothers appreciate our keeping an eye on these activities---they can safely attend to their household work---cooking the evening meals.We host some parties for these kids sometimes---arranging eats like Pizzas,Samosas and Eggless Cakes because some of these are Vegetarian.The presence of these children------running around calling and screaming as they play----relaxes all of us---their joy is infectious!!!
Each Monday and Friday we attend our Yoga Class with total sincerity---Mitra is a qualified Yoga Teacher.This takes place on the Terrace of our Condominium.This takes us about 1 hour 30 minutes.I love this activity---the clear blue sky---the bird calls---the gentle breezes--the soft nuances of Mitra's relaxing voice----all help to make these classes special!!
This activity helps me to rewind and refresh my soul---daily---and I thank The Almighty every night for providing me with such pure and innocent entertainment!!!
Sunday, January 17, 2010
The Konkan strip is like an after thought on the Western Coast of India and begins in Maharshtra and ends at Kerala passing through Goa and Karnataka on the way.Legend has it that Lord Parshurama had sworn to rid the Earth of the Kshatriyas-- the Warrior race but was prevailed upon by the Gods to relent.He therefore shot an arrow into the Arabian Sea and pulled out the Konkan Region.If one looks at the Map of India---Konkan DOES look like an afterthought----a thin strip running alongside the sheer and steep cliffs of the Western Ghats!!!
Goa is a land of Serendipity---the laid back attitude of the people,fertile soil, Rice plantations,Coconut Palms, Cashews,Areca Nuts,Mangosteen(Kokum) and Mango groves,Manganese and other Mines in plenty----all hint at being blessed by Nature.This tiny strip is watered by two wide fresh Water Rivers---The Zuari and The Mandovi----there is a flush of both Fresh and Salt Water Fish in Goa.The land is so fertile that the people are totally relaxed in their unhurried attitude-----"suseygaad" literally means unhurried---totally laid back!!!
Vasco De Gama laid the seat of Portuguese power here way back in the mid 1400s and Goa became indepedent in !960 and joined the Indian Union.It has an interesting and chequered History but today is known for it's Cuisine,Beaches and Feni---a potent Liquor made from Cashews.Like Vodka colourless AND like Vodka packs a kick.There is a flush of beautiful beaches,thick green foliage,old Portuguese ruins of Churches and Forts as well as the Old Goa complex and the Sea Port built by the Portuguese and still going strong.There are loads of Flowers with brilliant hues and fascinating scents and the whole ambience is like being in another world!!!
It is really heartening to see how both Hinduism and Catholicism co-exist peacefully here.North Goa houses the relics of St. Francis in the Bom Jesus church at Old Goa while the Hindu Temples of Mangueshi,Mhalsa and Shanta Durga to name a few ,are situated in the Southern part.
The architecture of Goa too has Portuguese overtones and the Cuisine is a mix of both cultures and extremely spicy and pungent enough to induce tears in the eyes and a runny nose---but extremely tasty and very satisfying.It has a wealth of Legends,stories and of course Ghosts who are supposed to manifest themselves in the old ruins---of which there are plenty!!!
Our Family Diety is at Ponda--Shri Shanta Durga while the Diety of my paternal family is Lord Mangesh.The Temple of Shri Mhalsa at Mhardol is one of the oldest Temples in the region.It was said that anyone who lied after placing a hand on the old Temple Bell would instantly struck down and so powerful was this belief that even the Portuguese rulers used this method to get to the bare facts in complicated cases!!!
The Goans are a very loving,friendly hospitable and out going people who love to pass the day with their friends.Blessed as they are they have managed to capitalise on the resources gifted to them by Nature and are progressing fast----without losing touch with their past and their traditions!!!!
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