2008-08-13 09:09:45 UTC
Revisiting classic children's fables
By Cecil Pinto
The Aesop's fable concerns a grasshopper who spent the warm months
singing away while the ant worked to store up food for winter. When
winter arrives, the grasshopper finds itself dying of hunger, and upon
asking the ant for food is only rebuked for its idleness.
This story has been retold and interpreted by many including La
Fontaine, James Joyce, Somerset Maugham, Toni Morrison and Serial
E-mail Forwarders. Why not then a Modern Goan Version?
The Ant works hard all year as an Upper Division Clerk in the Ponda
Municipality. Evenings she takes tuitions and pushes Life Insurance
policies to supplement her secure income. She has purchased her own
two bedroom apartment and Maruti 800 car, has a lot of money
accumulated in her Public Provident Fund account, and remains
unmarried by choice.
The Grasshopper is quite a good singer and runs his One-Man-Band that
entertains tourists at beach shacks and restaurants. He lives life
abundantly and enjoys entertaining others. Forget savings or
investments ? he doesn't even have any Mutual Funds. Come 'off-season'
the Grasshopper asks the Ant for an unsecured short-term loan to tide
him over till mid-October. The Ant tells him, "Go dance!"
The Grasshopper sets up his sound equipment outside the Ant's
apartment complex and starts singing derogatory songs about her, in
the style of William de Curtorim. Goa 365, Goa Plus, HCN and Prudent
Media TV channels cover the event. Unlike the other channels which
have English and Konkani news anchors, HCN has accented and
non-accented English news readers.
The print media is quick to respond and next day the Times of India
has a report with graphs and statistics tables showing various aspects
of the matter ? and a timeline. Herald has an interview with the
Grasshopper's uncle who sold the ancestral house from under his feet.
Gomantak Times has a front page report with a convoluted headline,
"Ant-i climax for muse-cal Grasshopper". The Navhind Times, thinking
this might be related to mining, puts the story as a single small
paragraph on Page 8; their front page headline is about the Tamil Nadu
Association of Betim-Brittona. The Goan Observer uncharacteristically
decides to be prudent and thus provident.
A debate begins online on GoaNet which rapidly sinks into a discussion
on caste, and non-Goans spoiling Goa. Apparently the Ant is a Saraswat
Brahmin. The Ultimate Overseas Goan Association Ever (UOGAE) decides
that this is proof enough that "Goa is going to the dogs!" and all
Goans should migrate. In total opposition to conventional wisdom they
decide to have a Convention in Swindon to discuss how Goans in Goa
should respond to the issue. The Gulf Goans respond by having a May
Ball in August, and Rene Baretto claims it is a Goa Day function.
Letters to the Editor start appearing from Brits living in Goa about
how they will go back home if such incidents keep happening. Brits
holidaying in Goa try contacting the Brits living in Goa to sell them
their houses before leaving.
The Save Grasshopper Association claims that the Ant resides in a
gated community and a mega-project. The Builders Association of Goa
proves on their website that the apartment complex does not have a
swimming pool, though it does admit to some anthill cutting.
The police threaten to confiscate the Grasshopper's musical equipment
under the Madhya Pradesh Sound Act. "Bloody outsiders!" is how the
Grasshopper responds. The Association of Goan Entertainers condemns
the police action claiming it is their right to play loud music. Hema
Sardesai threatens another fast unto death. Lots of snide remarks
follow. The Entertainment Society of Goa washes its hands off the
matter and says it is only involved in Film Festivals.
Parrikar demands that Digambar Kamat resign on moral grounds. Kamat
responds saying, "I am confident that my government is a stable. Hence
there will be no horse trading." Ritu Prasad and Dean D'Cruz have a
presentation with large maps and videos explaining the labyrinth
connections between the Task Force members and the GBA members.
Everyone on Miguel Braganza's mailing list gets seventeen copies of
the same report about the presentation.
Dr. Willy claims that he had suggested a law making Off Season
Entertainment Loans mandatory in 1984. Remo claims he had predicted
this would happen in 1982. Mathany Saldanha says that the modern
one-man bands are taking away jobs from traditional five-man bands.
Tomazinho Cardozo argues that all negotiations should be in Roman
Konkani. Jason Fernandes says pretty much the same thing but draws up
a complex paradoxical post-colonial subaltern argument. Chandrakant
Keni writes another column asking if this is "What Goa wants". Vinayak
Naik memorises the entire Goa Telephone Directory
Roseferns writes a new tiatr "Nach Goenkara Nach" (Dance Goan Dance),
which runs houseful at every show for two years. Alexyz draws a
cartoon lambasting all politicians, underlined by his trademark
satirical verse, "Art and Song we must encourage, even when money is
scant. If music be the food of love, dead ant dead ant dead ant!"
The Ant sends an SMS to all her silent friends that says, "With
friends like you who needs enemas. Forward this to 10 people and you
will get two passes for the IFFI Opening Ceremony". All her friends
blindly forward the SMS.
Radharao Gracias calls a press conference to state that all insects
are welcome to Goa but they have to become Goan if they want to
integrate. Churchill uses the same platform to announce his anti-Mopa,
anti-Highway stance. "I am committed to building bridges", he
thunders. Joaquim Alemao tried to use the same platform to explain how
garbage is contracted and compacted. There was not enough space left
on the platform for him.
The Bailancho Saad spokeswoman accuses the Grasshopper of
'eve-teasing' the ant. "I'm serenading her, you goat!", is how the
Grasshopper responds. Wendell Rodricks announces that his latest
collection will celebrate all insects living in harmony. Eduardo
Faleiro refuses to respond, except by e-mail.
The Goa Government Employees union has a massive morcha, led by
Christopher Fonseca, demanding increase in HRA for all Municipal
Floriano Lobo is the MC for the Grasshopper tamasha event. Pravin
Sabnis proposes a vote of thanks - and hence has the last word.
The column above appeared in Gomantak Times dated 7th August 2008