Picturesque Goa

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

First Portable Reel to Reel Tape Recorder at Cumbiem Morod.

First Portable Reel to Reel
Tape Recorder at Cumbiem Morod

              The first portable reel-to-reel tape recorder ever to make an appearance in our village of Cumbiem Morod during the early 1960's in Guirim, Bardez, Goa, happened to be in our humble abode - a house built by my father Diniz Fernandes. But how could a humble abode afford a reel-to-reel tape-recorder?

              During that era, this awesome invention was far ahead of its time to match our humble home. However, poor as we were though, my older brother had the good fortune to work in Beirut, Lebanon, in the early 1960's. On his first annual home leave, he had brought a Philips portable transistor radio, and on his second, a Philips portable tape-recorder - a replica of the one in the picture above. 

               This machine was very simple to operate. It had an external microphone for recording, playback, fast-forward and rewind buttons, recording meter, and volume control. It was powered by standard size 'D' batteries. As time went by, I put aside some coins in my piggy bank to save money towards buying batteries that did not come cheap.

               The first person ever to have her voice recorded on this wonderful and incredible gadget was young Martha Fernandes (wife of Joseph Fernandes). Her voice was recorded when she sang 'Whispering Hope' and also 'How much is that doggie in the window'. Martha well deserved to have her voice recorded - because, not only did she have a nice voice, but she also knew all the lyrics to the songs as well.

              We had a lot of fun with this great machine in the village, recording and playing back songs that we sang. However, we were allowed to do that only during school holidays. The recorder was kept under lock and key at other times - in the big wooden double-door 'almirah with a mirror'. The following were my folks' strict instructions to me at the time: "Study first, then record and play". As they would say in Konkani: 'Poilo iskolak voch, lissaum kor ani maguir taping kor.' 

              The advantage with this splendid invention was that it could be taken anywhere. Once I had recorded 'Laudainha' being sung by our folks in our village chapel. But we could record only a small portion of it to be replayed later - after the full Litany had ended. The length of the tape was far too short to survive the entire length of our long Laudainh! I had only 2 tapes, each with half an hour of play-time on each side. Hence I couldn't record much. Unfortunately, sometimes we had to erase previous tapings by recording over old tracks. I had once surprised a roving group of youngsters - door-to-door singers during the pre-Lent 3-day Carnival time in front of our 'balcão' - by playing back instantly what they had sung just a few minutes before.

              Many years later, however, another invention called the cassette tape-recorder appeared everywhere on the scene, long after I boarded the famous B.I. Steamship 'Sirdhana' on a 5-day journey to work in Dubai - a decision that changed my life.

'Memories are Made of This'

Friday, March 28, 2014



Sometimes small things
Trouble us more than large ones
We sometimes tend to take out
on anyone in the vicinity
in the work place or at home.

Not a good day to start I think
When I realize how a perfect day
Ahead of us is ruined in its infancy.

So now and then when this happens to me
I try to forget the trivia
And try hard to throw small troubles away
So that I may fully have a happy day.

Some simply call it anger, 
other cite it as short temper,
But sometimes when temper is lost
You may also lose a friend forever.

So I try to strive to live a happy day,
The best I make of the rest that's left,
For a better tomorrow I hope,
And forget all bad that's happened today

Monday, March 24, 2014

Goan Proverbs & Sayings

Chorak dubau chandneacho.

Lit. trans: The thief doubts the moon.

Meaning: This can be applied in the sense that when there is doubt or suppostion, one tends to doubt anything that is obvious, although that particular thing may not be the original cause or source of blame.

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day

"If I have accomplished or demonstrated
and small thing according to
Gods good pleasure,
it must be most truly believed
that it was 'the gift of God."

Sunday, March 16, 2014


When is Holi Festival?
Holi festival date is based on the Hindu lunar calendar. It is annually celebrated at end of winter, starting on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna. Holi Day usually falls in February or March.
What is Shigmo?
In Goa, the Holi festival is called Shigmo. Both of the above-mentioned festivals are based on the lunar calendar just like Easter. This is the reason why Shigmo always falls in the Christian Season of Lent - due to the fact that Easter is established on the lunar calendar cycle too.
What is Holy Lent?
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent in the Western Christian calendar, directly following Shrove Tuesday. Occurring 46 days before Easter, it is a moveable feast that can fall as early as February 4 and as late as March 10.
What is Happy Easter?
The date of Easter is the first Sunday after the full moon (the Paschal Full Moon) following the March equinox. The Holy Season of Lent starts forty days preceding Easter excluding Sundays. We wish each other Happy Easter on Easter Sunday because Christians celebrate the resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ. The Easter Sunday service of the year for Christian churches is the most well-attended.. 
In Other Words
some attributes that these events have in common is that they are both moveable - Shigmo is a moveable festival while Easter is a moveable feast - both being celebrated as an observance according to the lunar calendar, but on different dates in different years.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Happy Birthday Ari

You may be just 24 months old,
but you have given us
 the happiness of a lifetime.

to our adorable Grandson
 Ari Lukasz

13th March 2014

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Aarddamo - The Sentry of the Night.

The 'Aarddamo'
The Sentry of the Night

Most of the old houses of the middle class folks in the villages in Goa were installed with the time-proven giant wooden latch - a locking system for doors and windows, known colloquially in the Konkani language as the 'aarddamo'.

This rather unique and strong system provided a great sense of security and reliability when people retired for the night. This device was the sentry - the sentinel of the night - like a tenacious, silent and immovable guard holding the fort.

Basically, the 'aarddamo' consists of a square wooden beam provided with a knob for pulling as it is drawn across a pair of folding (double-hinged) or two single leaf wooden doors or windows by sliding it from a boxed frame pre-installed and concealed into the wall in its own dedicated casing at the time of construction of a house.

It has long been generally accepted and much spoken about as a strong means of locking or securing doors in a shut position. These have posed a real challenge - dilemma for thieves in the past to be opened from the outside.

Its appearance from the inside somehow reminded me of almost like the gates of river locks (Konk: mannos), including the wooden blocks across the doors that resembled the horizontal retaining slats holding the vertical pieces of the 'mannos'.

The installation of this type of locking system has to be thought and planned about much in advance and built in-situ at the time of construction at a height of one-third of the height of the door or window from the floor.

This system can be built only into the walls of mud-cast homes.The box for the main sliding square wooden slat is approx. 6in x 6in. x 5 ft. long. The block itself is approx 3.5 x 3.5 inches. The box enclosure for the beam is incorporated into either the left or the right side of the door or window. A square receptacle of a depth of about 6 inches for the sliders at the opposite end is also considered at the time of raising the walls.

In addition to this, metal latches are also fitted on almost all other doors and windows of houses providing light security during the day when it may be necessary to shut the doors or windows for a short period of time. With the doors and windows in the open position this old invention is completely invisible - as it remains totally recessed and concealed after it has been pushed in its own long cubicle - out of sight.

Before going to bed, it is not uncommon to hear one family member asking another whether the 'aarddamo' of the front or back door has been drawn.

"Bai, pattlo aarddamo voddlai mungo?" (Konk.) Have you drawn the block across the back-door?

I remember the time when as a young lad I stood as high as the 'aarddamo'.
Our doors and windows remained open way past the 8 o'clock church bell - call for the faithful to prayer for the souls in Purgatory, or a reminder for the tipsy one at the local taverna to return home.

Then it was time for the recitation of the family daily Rosary after which the doors and windows would be shut.  I tried to help my Mum and Dad in trying to pull out the 'aarddamo' from its casing after shutting the doors, but I could hardly pull it because it was heavy. Sometimes seasonal changes affected the sliding factor of the 'aarddamo' because of expansion and contraction. Over the years, as I grew up I found it less difficult. The ease with which I could draw out the 'aarddamo' seemed to have been directly proportional to my strength as I grew into a teenager and finally into an adult.

With the advent of modern homes built with reinforced concrete beams, columns and laterite stone walls, windows secured with iron grills and metal latches, the ancient 'aarddamo' has gradually disappeared from the scene.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Goan Proverbs & Sayings

Saying: Khankek assa cheddo, sodhta soglo vaddo.

Lit.trans: One has the child on one's hip, but searching the entire village.

This can be used to imply when stressing a point when people go to extreme lengths to search for something when it is available close at hand or somewhere in the vicinity.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Goan Proverbs & Sayings

Mezailem kellem kaddun saguadh zoddli.

Lit. trans: A guest took credit by serving a banana from the dining table.

This saying can be appreciated in an instance when credit is taken by someone who in reality has not contributed by working for it. In the saying above, a person, who is a guest himself, serves another guest a banana from the fruit basket on the dining table.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Goan Proverbs & Sayings

Dusreanche dolleant kuskuttam assam tim disti poddtat, punn apneachea dolleant vanxe assat te disti podddonant.

Lit. trans: We can see the tiny specks in another person's eyes but yet we cannot see the huge rafters in our own.


a)    We cannot find an fault with our own selves, but we can quickly         accuse others of wrongdoing.

b)    We pass judgment on other without truly knowing our very own faults or wrongdoing.

c)     We cannot admit our own sins, but can easily find faults or sins in others.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Goan Proverbs & Sayings

'Undrachea ragan gharak uzo lailear zata?"

Lit. trans: Can we set fire to the house because we are angry with the rat?

Meaning: Sometimes in life we vent out or express our anger on the the nearest person or thing that is visible in the vicinity on the spur of the moment, at times on an innocent bystander or insignificant thing which in fact has not been the initial cause or reason of trouble or responsible for the misfortune or outcome in any way. 

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Sunday, March 02, 2014



During the pre-Lent celebration of CARNAVAL, three days beginning on Sunday before Ash Wednesday it was fun and frolic at Cumbiem Morod. Young boys and girls clad in various costumes and garbs of every style and colour, roamed the village from house to house showing off their fancy attire. Sometimes they could be your next-door neighbours masked in a costume one would probably not have believed or recognized. But guessing who might the reveller be was part of the fun.

The most common themes bordered on comedy and farce, and the preferred costumes were out of the ordinary - men in ladies skirts or saris; clowns - young boys dressed in over-sized old shirts, trousers, coats, shoes and hats. A common practice by these merrymakers was unexpected sprinkling of white chalk powder on people.

On the first day of this exuberant festival, as noon almost drew near, and the midday sun blazed over, the first ‘moenkar’ would appear at the door in a clown’s or some other funny character's costume. As was expected of this first masked adventurer, the first thing that he or she would do in the front of our ‘balcao’ was sing a song – a popular Konkani, English or Portuguese hit song of the time.  My mother’s reward for his genuine efforts would be a meager 25 paise.

Then for another two consecutive days, the typical ‘moenkar’ would roam the village, from house to house singing songs, or display some comedy act, some of them perhaps wearing different masks or attires. Others would come in groups singing Konkani comedy songs. Some groups of 3 or 4 would improvise an impromptu one-act comedy.

On the last day of the carnival, as the evening slowly turned to dusk and the bell rang for Angelus, my mother or my aunt would remind us that the next day was Ash Wednesday. Then suddenly in the twilight far away on the winding path into our village from Sorvem, we could hear the jingling sound of the bells that were tied to the waists of a gang of hooded men, clad fully in black, that were called as “devchar” (devils). As they approached near, they did strike some fear into the kids who searched for a place to hide around the house, or in the storeroom (Konkani: kudd) or in the thatched shed (Konk: khomp) at the rear. 

But my grandma was brave, as she had handled many a “devchar” and “moenkar” in her lifetime. She daringly held her ground standing in the doorway. She had probably guessed right who the lads were, but was polite enough in not having them embarrassed by mentioning the names of the faces hiding behind the masquerade. The lads did not utter a single word in fear of blowing their cover. But grandma instead said: “Up there from Vancio Vaddo, I am pretty sure from where you are. So, take this four “annas” young lads, and on your way you better be” she said sternly, adding with a warning, “I hope you know that Lent starts tomorrow, so I hope to see you all you on time in church, and in the first row for sure”.