Friday, December 21, 2012

Annual Day Meet for Ex-Students & their families at Monte de Guirim

Annual Day Meet for Ex-Students & their families at Monte de Guirim


Yesterday evening, December 19, 2012 an Annual Day for Monte de Guirim ex-students and their families was organized by Monte de Guirim Past Pupils’ Association at Monte de Guirim. My wife and I attended the function. It was quite grand.

Although I keep visiting Monte de Guirim whenever I get a chance, I make it a point to visit the school every time a book of mine is published so I can pass on a copy of the book to the library, but it was the first time that I attended an ex-students’ function. It was a good opportunity to visit my alma mater, where I met a few old timers – most of the attendees were 1968 batch onwards.

One Senior Friar, Fr. Dinesh (earlier John) Mendonça was felicitated for his long service. Ex-teacher, Joy, was also felicitated, and so were one Sports Person and one S.S.C. Topper.

Student activist-turned politician and ex-MLA of Dabolim constituency, Herculano Dourado, who passed out from Monte de Guirim the same year as I did (1965-1966), was felicitated for Life Time Achievement.
Herculano was one of the all-rounder students of Monte de Guirim. He was a studious boy, a footballer, an athlete, a gymnast, Assembly leader, a monitor, an orator – you name it. Herculano recalled some of the old teachers - Fr. Pacificus, Fr. Ephrem, Fr. Diogo who were instrumental in instilling academic, moral and spiritual values in us, which helped him build his career. He also recalled that unlike today, it was a boys’ school. As such, girls were a taboo, but we got a chance to look at girls from convents once a year when they attended our annual concert. Referring to the Liberation Day, Herculano told everyone present that though the Portuguese had long gone, some foreign items were still available for sale at the school’s store then.

It was great to meet and interact with Herculano and renew old friendship. I also met old-timers Francis aka Fanchu Silveira, Alban Fernandes, Gilman Fernandes, Jose Luis (my classmate in Special Class), Albert Goveia, retired Sr. Scientist at the NIO and many others. We sipped drinks, talked about good old days, inquired about our present lives and successes.

There was singing and dancing to the music of “Lui Solo n Live”. Food was catered by the ‘Merces Caterers’. Each entrant was charged a fee of Rs.350; snacks, soft and hard drinks were provided at an extra charge. Many prizes were given away for different activities. I was one of the winners of a prize – ‘person with most white hair and beard’!

The MC made an announcement and informed everyone that I authored three books - ‘Domnic’s Goa’ (2007) – a book on Goa’s customs and traditions; ‘Dispott’ttem Chintop’ (2009) – a Konkani book in Roman script on Goan sayings, and ‘Mapusa, Yesterday and Today’ (October this year) – a book on Mapusa half a century ago.

Domnic Fernandes
Anjuna, Goa
Mob: 8805237604/9420979201

[as forwarded to gaspar almeida, on 19th December 2012]
[Pictures added by].

Other links to Monte de Guirim


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

‘Splashdown Water Park’ in Anjuna, Goa

It’s been a roller coaster ride .....

                                - Christine Machado (


The following article appeared in yesterday’s (17/12/2012) Herald Heartbeat section:

Almost everyone loves splashing around in water, and ‘Splashdown Water Park’ in Anjuna, created by marine engineers Melroy Pinto and Levancio D’Souza, has given Goans of every age the opportunity to have some fun in the water. A year after it was inaugurated, this water park is a favourite hangout spot with both, Goans and foreigners.
“The response has been unexpectedly good,” admits Pinto. “People give many suggestions – we get negative comments, too, and we take them seriously. If the suggestions made are good, we try to rectify them as soon as possible.”

‘Splashdown’ has played host to many school and club picnics, orphanages, and family reunions.

“We have tied up with hotels who want their guests to visit. It has also been used as a location for shooting movies, the latest one being ‘Baga Beach”, revealed Pinto, adding that many people from the south come in groups but those from the north come as nuclear families.

People of different nationalities such as the British, Russians, Afghans and even Iranians and Saudis frequent the park. “The Afghans have their own music, which they request me to play and dance their traditional dances. So do the Iranians. It’s very interesting to watch”, elaborated Pinto who states that Splashdown is a “happy place with no misbehaviour of any sorts owing to its no alcohol policy.”

“One of the foreigners described what he called the magic hour of the place, which begins from 3:00 pm,” informed Pinto and further elaborating that, in the morning everyone is excited to play on the slides but at around 3:00 pm, people settle down and start making friends. “Someone’s wife joined in the Rain dance with some Indian women. There was some Bollywood song playing and the Indians knew the steps to it” discloses Pinto.

Every business flourishes with time and Splashdown is no different. Many improvements have been made over time. “We have tried to make our park 100 percent safe. We have done up the lawns, added new swings and on the whole made it more child friendly,” said Pinto. “Sometimes people lose their valuables, especially gold and purses and leave their numbers with us. If we find it we make it a point to courier it back to them wherever in the world they are.”

However, some problems still persist. “One of the major problems we have had is when grass is cut; it gets carried to the pool with the wind or with people walking. We have built more pathways to avoid this from happening but I don’t want it to be all paved all over. We need the greenery, too,” said Pinto.

When ‘Splashdown’ first began, equipment was manufactured outside Goa and while the required material can now be obtained in Goa, ‘Splashdown’ prefers to remain faithful to the ones who were there for them in the beginning. “Even though we didn’t have much money then and little know-how, they did not take advantage of us. In fact, the man came down especially to Goa to aid us,” added Melroy.

As ‘Splashdown’ completes a year, Melroy has a lot of ideas and additions that he wants to make there. “We opened two restaurants on December 14. One will be open for the public and one for the water park. Also an exciting ride ‘Pendulum’ is on the card. The foundation is already in place”, said Pinto. “We also want to develop the rear part for wedding receptions for holding weddings.”

Splashdown Waterpark
Calangute-Anjuna Main Road, Padre Agnel Vaddo, Gauvaddi, Anjuna, Bardez-Goa 403509
Telephone: +91-9637 424 023/ 024,
+91-832 227 3008,
‘Splashdown Water Park’ is the first major project in Gaumvaddi, Anjuna.
The plot originally belonged to Ven Fr Agnelo’s family, which was sold to Melroy Pinto and Levancio D’Souza. Many of the projects in Goa are owned by outsiders, but this one is solely owned by two Goans. We are proud of Melroy and Levancio.
Another good thing about the Water Park is that right from the beginning Melroy has insisted that his staff should be Goans. As such, majority of his staff, barring a few labourers, are Goans. Melroy means what he preaches!

Domnic Fernandes
Anjuna, Goa
Mob: +91 8805237604/9420979201

[As forwarded by Mr. Domnic Fernandes to gaspar almeida,
on December 18, 2012]

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Betty Ferns – Flashback of yesteryears in Bahrain

Betty Ferns – Flashback of yesteryears in Bahrain

This message is to convey my heartiest belated congratulations to the eleven tiatrists who were recognized and awarded lifetime achievement awards by the Tiatr Academy Goa (TAG) on last Saturday, December 14, 2012.

Nowadays, I don’t travel long distances because of vision problem – underwent laser surgery on my right eye to rectify leakage in the retina; even then I had planned to attend the function in Margao but unforeseen circumstances did not allow me to fulfil that commitment.
This year the Tiatr Academy Goa has conferred lifetime achievement awards on eleven eminent tiatr personalities and they are: C. D'Silva, Jessie Dias, Jr. Rod, Diana Fernandes, Josefina Dias, Betty Ferns, Joe Rose, August De Panchwadi, Manuel Dourado, Roseferns, and Tomazinho Cardozo.

I have known all these actors/writers/ directors/ singers on stage but I would like to make a special mention about Betty Ferns with whom I have acted in Bahrain:
During my tenure as the General Secretary of the Young Goans Sports Club in 1977-78, for the first time ever, we brought five famous Bombay Tiatrists
– C. Alvares, Remie Colaco, Jacinto Vaz, Mary Vaz and Betty Ferns, and staged four tiatrs in Manama, Bahrain. Cyriaco Dias was employed with MENAS (Middle East Navigation Aids Service) in Bahrain. Therefore, though he was an ex-Bombay tiatrist, he was considered a resident actor.

I have acted with Betty Ferns in four tiatrs in Bahrain: Ghorachem Sukh by Remie Colaço; Govachem Ghor by Jacinto Vaz, Farikponn by Cyriaco Dias and Kednam Udetolo to Dis by C. Alvares. I was already an established actor in Bahrain since 1973 but it was a great experience to act with the above-mentioned five professionals, and that too from Bombay. I also acted with the second batch of other Bombay actors in Bahrain the following year; more on that next time. Tiatr were held in Al Nasr Club in Manama.

I enacted main roles in the first three tiatrs and a movali’s (gangster’s) role in Kednam Udetolo to Dis. This role was originally played by the late Young Mendes.

The scene was thus: Betty is a blind girl who crosses road with a kerosene lamp in one hand and an empty glass bottle (to fetch kerosene) in the other. I try to help her cross the road but since she was alone, I look around, take advantage and try to rape her. During my struggle with Betty, suddenly Jacinto Vaz passes by, picks up a fight with me and rescues Betty. Jacinto Vaz punches blows at me and knocks me down. It was pitch dark. At this juncture, dim coloured stage lights flash in all directions. I try to get up and run away. Here a real accident takes place.

When the glass bottle which Betty was carrying fell on the ground it broke into pieces - unfortunately, the floor was bare – it was not covered with carpet or anything else. As I got up and was taking off from the floor, the bottom of broken bottle, which was lying next to my hand, cut a big chunk of flesh from under my left thumb and blood started gushing. As soon as I went inside, everyone was shocked to see me bleeding profusely. As an emergency treatment, the actors brought a Whisky bottle and poured it on my wound sending a burning sensation on it. They also poured Whisky in a glass and made me gulp it – anaesthesia was applied externally and internally!

An announcement was made and public informed that I had received a cut on my hand and was taken to a hospital for treatment, and that tiatr would recommence soon. They rushed me to the Emergency Section of the Mission Hospital, which was just around five hundred meters away. The organizers explained to the doctor the situation and the need for me to be back on stage as soon as possible. He sutured the flesh, bandaged my hand and discharged me. In the meantime, tiatr went on and I was back right in time before the start of the sovo poddo or the sixth drop/part of the tiatr.

In this scene, I am tied to a chair and questioned. Jacinto Vaz, who was a natural actor, keeps slapping me and asking: “Tuka cheddvank rape korunk zai? Atam mar kha”! (Do you want to rape girls? Now take the beating)! – these lines were not in the script; he added them. Actually, I was in pain and this guy, Jacinto, was making me laugh but I had to control myself because it was a serious scene. I recovered from the cut after about three weeks.

In order to make these actors feel at home, we temporarily converted three rooms of the Club into bedrooms and in one of the rooms we set up a kitchen and hired a Goan cook who cooked dishes of their taste. They spent six memorable weeks with us resulting in close relationship. This is when I got to know the five actors intimately. Goans in Bahrain would visit them at the Club premises every evening and many took them out for dinner or lunch on Fridays (holiday in the Gulf).

In 1978, I visited Betty Ferns at her home in Bombay, and the others in Goa. I showed them the scar of the wound, which looks like a question mark, as below that scar there is another scar of a bone grafting, and told them that it was the trade mark of “Kednam Udetolo to Dis”!

Remie Colaco and his family, Jacinto Vaz and his family and my family had a full day picnic at Sanvordem Lake. It was the month of May. We bathed in the lake and drank plenty of Urrak. Remie was a very good yodeller; so, he sang songs and yodelled every now and then and kept entertaining us. Jacinto and Mary Vaz visited me twice at my home in Anjuna for lunch. May their souls rest in peace!

Betty Ferns is the lone surviving actor of the troupe that visited Bahrain in the 1970s. I very much wanted to meet with her but circumstances prevented me from attending the function in Margao. But I will somehow meet her on one of these days.

Domnic Fernandes
Anjuna, Goa
Mob: +91 8805237604/9420979201
[Documented and archived as forwarded by Domnic Fernandes to gaspar almeida, on 15 December 2012]
Coloured Photos courtesy:  ALVARES.JUDE.239
& Tiatr Academy of Goa (TAG)
and (gaspar almeida - B&W photo of Domnic Fernandes while in Bahrain in ) archives.

Julian Glander

Monday, December 3, 2012

CHIC CHOCOLATE - one of Bombay’s best known jazz musicians.


Chic Chocolate (1916 - May 1967), born Antonio Xavier Vaz in Aldona, was a Goan trumpeter who led a Jazz band at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Bombay and was one of Bombay’s best known jazz musicians. He learned music at his local parochial school and, despite the wishes of his mother, who wanted him to earn a “respectable” living as a mechanic; he followed his dreams of a life playing music. He was also a Hindi film music composer and played trumpet in various soundtracks. He was an exceptional Goan Catholic musician. His specialty was western music.

Influenced by Louis Armstrong, Chic styled himself after his great jazz hero—Chocolate's trumpet playing and “scatting” technique were a tribute to Armstrong. His stage presence has been recognized as dramatic, with accounts reporting that the musician would fall on one knee, while raising his instrument to the stars, during the band's crescendo. Chocolate earned the sobriquet, the "Louis Armstrong of India", as he not only played jazz like an African-American but also possessed a similarly dark complexion.

By the mid-1940s, after he had played in Rangoon and Mussourie, Chic had established himself as a popular Bombay jazz musician. He started out with a group called the Spotlights, and by 1945, had formed his own outfit, Chic and the Music Makers, beating out 12 other bands to win a contract at Green's Hotel, which was owned by the Taj Mahal Hotel. A newspaper article from the time described Chic Chocolate’s band as "Bombay’s topflight band". Chic Chocolate occasionally led a two-trumpet barrage at the Green's Hotel with Chris Perry.

Like many Goan musicians of the time, Chic Chocolate played jazz live at the night but his days were spent in the film studios, recording and arranging sound tracks for movies. He had a flourishing career as a music composer in Bollywood movies.

In 1951, he began his career as a music director with the movie Nadaan. Nadaan had a popular track list, including songs like Talat Mahmood’s Aa Teri Tasvir Bana Lu and Lata Mangeshkar’s Sari Duniya Ko Piichhe Chodkar.

Chic Chocolate was an integral part of composer C. Ramchandra's team. Ramachandra is popularly credited with introducing swing into Bollywood with tunes such as Gore Gore O Banke Chore from Samadhi and Shola Jo Bhadke from Albela. However, the credit for these songs is due to Chic Chocolate. Their collaboration in the 1952 film Rangili included the song Koi Dard Hamara Kya Samjhe, sung by Lata Mangeshkar. He worked as an assistant music director to Chitalkar for Sagai. Chic Chocolate also worked as an assistant with Madan Mohan and O. P. Nayyar. Chic was the assistant music director for the film Bhai Bhai. He is remembered for his work with Naasir in the 1956 film Kar Bhala.

Chic’s lives as jazz man and film musician sometimes merged. He had a cameo appearance in the film Albela, along with his band in a song sequence dressing them in frilly Latinesque costumes. Chic capitalized on the film’s success by dressing his band in those costumes in future live performances.

Chic passed away in May 1967 in Mumbai, aged 51; shortly after, Chetan Anand’s Aakhri Khat was released. The bluesy song Rut Jawan Jawan featured several close-ups of the Louis Armstrong of India playing his trumpet solos from the bandstand. Chic had lived with his wife, Martha and his children in an apartment in Colaba.


Domnic Fernandes
Anjuna, Goa
Mob: 8805237604/9420979201


Other links: