Sunday, December 30, 2007

Pik-Pik Lights

Soco's Dance Floor at Chinchinim is all lit up, as couples twirl on the floor at a wedding. It's festive season and every road in Salcete is lit up by pik-pik lights and stars. In my childhood we just had standard bulbs in the decorative lights, but now you have rice lights, colour changing LEDs and the works. The amber and green glow at the base of Soco's compound wall is actually through embedded empty beer bottles.

A birthday party at Velsao combines Xmas sentiment, a family reunion and New Year enthusiasm. A funky remix of 'Juliana' and 'Farar far zatai ranatu..." punches the air.

A leggy guest croons "I will Survive" at a wedding at Verna, striking up a nice parallel to the long red columns.

Giant ten-feet tall stars stand at Betalbatim and Assolna, with wishes from "Boys of Binvado" and "Bad Boyz Blue". It is quite the thing for young lads from a locality to mark an area as their own turf and to put up a Christmas star or Old Man effigy for the New Year at that spot. Must be an identity thing. The banner near the Seraulim church wishes all employed (empregad) and laidback (susegad) gentry a Merry Christmas.

The evergreen Dr.Francisco Colaco jamming with musicians onstage at Assolna. A week of festivities runs from Christmas right up to the 2nd or 3rd of January, in most villages in Salcete. A stage is put up, the local crowd gather to watch their kids perform, or a band jamming or a tiatro, just good wholehearted fun at the end of the year.

This Christmas tableau stands in Monteirovaddo, Utorda. 'King Herod's castle', as the sign proclaims, has a Moorish influence. The boy standing near the installation informed me that there was an even bigger one at Arossim, where you could walk through the tableau. Maybe in time to come, a whole village will become a tableau.

This one at Tolecanto,Velim was more artistically executed. Piyush Sarkar, the creator of this work, sat nearby puffing on a bidi. He is a carpenter by profession, a Bengali Christian who came to Goa in 1988. "I have been setting this up every year since 1992," he says, "Look at the tree roots I have put over the crib, to make it look real..." A platter of notes and change lies near the Infant Jesus. A couple of tigur (catfish) swim in the shallow pond below the 'waterfall'. Herod's Castle looks more medieval here, with turrets and rusticated walls.
"They call me Pius here" adds the creator of this remarkable scene.

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José Lourenço - Margao,Goa

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