a book club at panji

For years we have been told that Goa has no literati, and that goans cannot  think beyond their fenny.

When I came down to goa my friends sent me sympathy cards, telling me I was going to back of beyond.  It was impossible to find roots in goa.

Sing song dance and fashion seem to be fine.If at all any intelligentsia the Marathi literati hijack it.

So when I was invited to a goan book release I was quite taken aback. The event was hosted by the largest book store in town that is the Broadway Book house, the man is actually in love with books the variety he has is amazing I actually went to see what it was all about. Believe me it was a pleasant surprise. However much I hate to say this I had to eat the humble pie. There were so many published authors none of them blowing their trumpet. They were people with conviction and a voice.

In a way it brought me face to face with my own arrogance, when it comes to English reading we are so obsessed with the colonial writers i.e. the British writing his point of view.  Reading a Sam Bourne or Dan Brown is great but reading Sonia, who wrote about the bar dance girls are a no- no.

During the meet I realized that finding roots was not about finding relatives, it was about identifying with the culture.

Since I work with Sanskrit theatre I never bothered with Konkani until recently but if I had bothered with it like the way I read Kannada folklore then I would have learnt to appreciate the nuances of goan psyche.

The subtle layering of north verse south or the juxta position of Hindu and christen society. Practises that are so uniquely goan which I have learnt to accept over the 20yrs do not exist out of goa.

To repent for my arrogance I vow to take my daughter to these meet, so she will imbibe the heritage that has nourished her. I would like to think we have a global citizen who is secure in her identity, the Kannada birth mother, and Konkani nurturing mother


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