2009-01-28 12:41:30 UTC
By Wendell Rodricks
BRING IN WISDOM THIS 2009
Almost everyone laughs at the fact that I maintain a Filofax. It is a
repository and an agenda of sorts. People, places, events and the odd
telephone number. Atop each date are names of friends; reminders of
their birthdays and anniversaries. A list of telephone addresses, book
lists and recipes fill the end pages.
Each year I close the dairy reviewing the past. What a strange month
December has been. It began with a serious bout of depression over the
Mumbai events. I retreated to Panjim while our Colvale home was
photographed for a book, a magazine and a television channel. By the
end of week one, I flew to Mumbai to shoot a jewellery advertisement
(which was postponed due to the chaos in Mumbai a week earlier).
Bombay will forever be scarred as it limps back to a semblance of
normalcy. People are edgy, nervous, unsmiling and look around
suspiciously. What a dramatic change.
Week Two began again with sad news that demanded a reaction. Off we
marched to the Ambedkar Park, the Police Head Quarters and the Chief
Secretary's office to protest the aggressive police stance backed by
bad politicians and a miner against ordinary people in Colamb village.
I have always looked at mining in Goa with a very practical mind. The
industry has provided many Goans with jobs. One of my friend's father
is a barge captain. Well aware that iron ore has provided livelihood
for the classes and wealth for the rich, I turned a Nelsons eye to the
But when I heard about the arrest of an 85 year old lady and other
atrocities like the destruction of a water source (How can anyone
destroy what God has given), I realized that, like in all professions,
miners come in all avatars. Some are good, legal and conscientious.
Others are greedy, illegal and uncaring for the future of Goa. At the
Press Conference, sensationalism edited the venting of my ire. I did
say that it was unfair to ask miners to shut down (Unreported). That
there should be a gradual phase out period and licenses should not be
issued en masse (Unreported). I also said that there are certain
politicians who are detrimental to Goa and the Goan people and I would
boycott them as well as the bad industrialists who have the Chief
Minister in their pockets (Reported with selective edit). It now
appears to sounds like all miners, politicians and industrialists
should be boycotted. Unfair to a good politician like Mathany and
other miners/industrialists who have the culture and future of Goa
very firmly in place. After all, Goans should be indebted that some
mining families have given back to Goa schools, colleges, hospitals,
research centers, scholarships, art and culture patronage. To their
credit Gomantak Times did carry an interview that cleared the air.
That weekend I flew to Jaipur to attend and address a symposium on
Mantles of Myth ? The Narrative in Indian Textiles. Scholars from
around the world (it was UNESCO supported) were presenting papers on
textiles and garments of India. I was invited to speak on the Pano
Bhaju from Goa. Somehow the week earlier I found a morning free
(Bakri-Id) for the super talented, young Mark Sequeira to photograph
Thelma Gracias in her Pano Bhaju at Margao.
Though I was grateful that glamorous danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was
chosen to introduce and moderate my session, I was a fine bundle of
nerves. Looking at the front row gave me the shivers. Rosemary Crill
from the Victoria and Albert Museum, Jasleen Dhamija, Goswami, William
Darylrymple, Jaya Jaitley??..
I should not have suffered the nerves in retrospect. They loved the
presentation and crowed about it over the three days. I got signed on
with a literary agent. All things to smile about after a fortnight of
At the symposium, I met a person who quite simply became a soul mate
instantly. Dr. Devdutt Patnaik is a mythologist. What? Exactly my
reaction! An expert on mythology and it's relation to our modern
lives, Devdutt is on the payroll of every major multinationals to
address and solve human relation problems. Interacting with Patnaik
made me reason myth with circumstance regarding Colamb. We need to
pray that the Goddess Saraswati flows in minds and gives the wisdom to
see right and wrong. Then involve Lord Ganesha's blessing to remove
Let me end with a story which thrilled Patnaik to bits.
You know the Narkasurs we burn the night before Diwali? I don't know
why no one ever figured this out before ??. The Old Man we burn at the
end of each year is a custom followed only by Christians on the Konkan
Coast. The West has it Guy Fawkes day; but that is a historical event
far removed from New Years Eve. Despite the unholy Inquisition, our
Portuguese colonizers did not figure out that we were reverting to the
old Hindu custom of burning the Narkasurs before the New Year.
It is now time for Laxmi to enter our homes and lives, enlighten us
with prosperity and wisdom this 2009.
A Happy, peaceful, wise and eco-friendly year ahead for Goa and all Goans!
The column above appeared in the January 2009 issue of Goa Today magazine