A KONKANI WINS A JUNO!! Ravi Naimpally now has a Juno

At this year’s 51st Annual Juno Awards Ceremony, Toronto-based world-jazz ensemble Avataar won the award for vocal jazz album of the year (group) for their album WORLDVIEW. Led by Sundar Viswanathan a multiple-JUNO nominated jazz saxophonist, vocalist and composer, the sextet features vocalist Felicity Williams, guitarist Michael Occhipinti, bassist Justin Gray, tabla player Ravi Naimpally and drummer Max Senitt. The record also has contributions from Aaron Lightstone on oud and Todd Pentney on keys.

Ravi Naimpally and his parents Sudha and Late Somashekhar Naimpally have been long standing members of OKA. Most of us know the Naimpally family very well.

Born in Kanpur, Uttarpradesh, Ravi Naimapally lived in Thunder Bay and Ottawa before settling in Toronto.  He completed his High School in Thunder Bay, got his B.A. from Carleton University, Ottawa, and Master’s degree from York University, Toronto.

His father Late Somashekhar Naimpally was a mathematician and his mother was an occupational therapist and both were music aficionados. They moved to Canada in the 1970s, at which point his parents started organizing concerts of Hindustani classical music. His brother Shiv is also a learned tabla player and works as a patent lawyer, his sister Anuradha is a professional Bharatnatyam dancer. 

Ravi gives full credit to his parents for his interest and involvement in music. In his own words “…. music was being played in our house from morning to night every day. His parents would also arrange concerts in Kanpur and then in Thunder Bay, thus Ravi was able to listen to and meet masters like Bismillah Khan, Begum Akhtar, Amjad Ali Khan, Jnan Prakash Ghosh, Buddaditya Mukherjee, Ashwini Bhide and many more.”

Ravi’s main Gurus were Pandit Nikhil Ghosh and Pandit Anindo Chatterjee. He has also learned a lot from Pandit Sadanand Nayampalli and Pandit Sushil Kumar Jain. 

Avataar is a world-jazz group based in Toronto. Their album Worldview was released in October 2021 “which was inspired by the deep musical traditions of India, Africa, and Brazil, rooted within the framework of modern jazz. In an innovative marriage of ancient and modern, driving grooves intersect with cinematic atmospheres and soaring melodies, creating a fresh, emotive sonic experience. Bandmembers share an eclectic range of musical expertise – hardbop, pop, rock, electronica, free improvisation, world, and R&B/Soul filter into the interpretations of the tunes.”

“While Avataar’s debut album, Petal, explored the evanescence of human life and was a call for a return to spiritual connectedness, Worldview attempts to also present a musical commentary on the state of our world, on the pandemic, and on the inability of our leaders to lead with integrity, honesty, and compassion. While the actions of our leaders affected so many, some of the songs started as gut responses to the treatment of children, our most valuable and vulnerable citizens, and act as vehicles of catharsis for the composer.”

The ensemble is a recipient of the 2016 Toronto Jazz Festival Special Projects Initiative award, The group has appeared at the Markham Jazz Festival, Small World Festival, the Sudbury Jazz Festival, and the Brampton Global Jazz Festival as well as at the Lula Lounge, known for playing international salsa, jazz, and world music.

To my question What are your goals? Ravi simply responded, “my goals are to keep learning and getting better and bringing joy to listeners”. Wishing Ravi all the very best in his musical journey.

Compiled by Sadanand Mankikar

Source: Personal communication with Ravi Naimpally and Avaatar website.

Learning Avenues


ABBOTT FREESTYLE LIBRE VIRTUAL CLINIC: Abbott Laboratories Diabetes Care in collaboration OKA and SVBF will be holding this virtual clinic on Sunday, June 26, 2022 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 Noon (EST). All the registrants for this clinic, upon request, will receive a complimentary sample of this continuous glucose monitor. Details to follow.


OKA EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS PROGRAM: Estate, Will and Power of Attorney, and End of Life Planning are two major elements of this OKA Seniors Forum Program.

For preparing Wills and Powers of Attorney you may contact Marvin Talksy (905) 405-0199 ext.  257 or Mary Bojkovski (905) 405-0199 ext. 276 of Nanda & Associate Lawyers. For additional information or assistance, you may also contact Raghunath Kamath or Ashok Bhatt.

For End of Life Planning one may contact Harjinder Bilku of Chapel Ridge Funeral Home at (905) 305-8128 or (647) 966-0093.

Additional information about OKA Seniors’ Forum is posted on www.ontario-konkanis.com


ONTARIO GUIDE TO PROGRAMS AND SERVICES FOR SENIORS: Please click on the following link for the latest upgraded guide.A guide to programs and services for seniors.

SENIORS HOUSING AND HOME CARE DIRECTORY: Help for Mom has developed this very helpful publication which is about 130 pages, softcover and Readers Digest size.  To get a copy send an email to helpformom.com or call Mary (647) 967-9821.

The following organizations disseminate very useful information either through regular news release and/or seminars, webinars, and workshops:

Canada India Foundation www.canadaindiafoundation.com

C.A.R.P. Canadian Association of Retired People) www.carp.ca

Diabetes Canada www.diabetes.ca

Indus Community Services www.induscs.ca

UHNF (University Network Foundation) www.uhnfoumdatiom.ca

(Articles by and for seniors under this section are always welcome)

Karkal Teru

Normally I would have provided a brief prelude to our Sri Venkataraman Devasthan – Karkala before writing about the auspicious Theru that starts May 1st-May 5th, 2022. That said keeping in mind how big this write-up would be, I decided to first talk about the Theru.

Did you know the Karkala Theru may have started 295 years ago in the year 1827. This is an annual festival that happens during April – May in the Honour of our Lord Srinivasa. It lasts for 6 days with different rituals on each day.

Day 1

The day starts with Vishnu Sahasranamam chanted by the priests followed by Dhwajarohana. Dhwajarohana includes a silver flag that has the Lord’s face on it that is hoisted on the Dhwajasthambha. This marks the start of Theru. This is followed by Suthubali which includes the procession of the idol around the temple. This starts in the evening. The day ends with dinner provided to the whole town after giving offerings to the Lord.

Day 2

Day 2 consists of the same thing except Dhwajarohana. There is Suthubali, Samradhane (the feast to town people) and evening prayers.

Day 3

The day has Suthubali after which the Lord is taken to every house near the temple and placed in front of the Tulsi plant. This is known as Katte pooja. The Lord is brought back to the Temple. The day ends with Samradhane again. These dinners are sponsored by some or the other family every year

Day 4

This day includes Suthubali again. Suthubali happens all the 5 days in the evening. This is followed by Sanmana javan, which translates to honouring the guests. The feast of this day includes special dishes. Every married woman is given Turmeric and Sindoor. Warm sandalwood paste is put on men and kids. While feasting, the people are also fanned with a huge hand fan. This is followed by Mriga bete. Mriga bete translates to deer hunting. People go to Ramasamudra and a man (belonging to the family that has been doing this ritual for years) holds the bow and arrow and hits a wick.(earlier it was supposed to be a deer but now they just hit a wick). After this, before bringing the idol back to the temple, it is placed in Padmavati Temple for sometime. Later after reaching the temple, small chariot (ratha) is pulled for procession with the lord’s idol in it. This day is called “Sanu Theru” or small Theru.

Day 5

This is the most critical day of Theru, hence called the “Hodu” or big theru. After Suthubali, the idol is brought out and is again revolved around the Brahma ratha (the main ratha). The idol is put on the chariot and flowers of gold, silver and bronze are thrown to the crowd gathered near the ratha. The procession starts from the temple and continues only for a few steps. This is followed by the Samradhane. Stalls of food, toys and accessories are put across the streets. Everything from earrings to ice cream is sold at this fair. At midnight, the ratha is pulled by all the people (mostly men) till Gopura and is brought back after Pooja.

Day 6

The most fun of all the 6 days is the last day where people play Okulu. Before this, the Silver flag is brought down from the Dhwajastambha marking the end of Theru. Okulu is the same as Holi. People throw turmeric water on each other and also bathe the idol in it. After playing, everyone goes to Ramasamudra and takes a bath in the water there.

Ref: https://www.svtkarkala.com/

Ancient India’s Contributions to Math

The Indian civilization, one of the oldest civilizations in the world, has a strong tradition of math, science and technology. In ancient times, India was a place of great mathematicians. According to research, India was actively contributing to the field of math centuries before, teaching the world how to count. Many of the old Indian thoughts and methodologies have shaped and strengthened the foundations of mathematical calculations.

The Fibonacci sequence is a set of numbers in which each consecutive number is the sum of the two preceding numbers. Pingala mentions these Fibonacci numbers in relation with the Sanskrit tradition of prosody, and it first appears in Indian mathematics as mātrāmeru. Mathematicians Virahanka, Gopala, and Hemacandra later gave ways for producing these numbers, long before the Italian mathematician Fibonacci brought the interesting sequence to Western European mathematics.

Some of India’s mega-epics, such as the Mahabharata and Ramayana, as well as philosophical works like the Bhagavad Gita, were all poetry. In fact, the Mahabharata has around 1 lakh shlokas in its original poetry form.

As we can see, Pingala 2500 years ago described the Fibonacci Series and its extension, Pascal’s Triangle, as part of Chandas Shastra, with reference to Matra-Meru, and the concept has been utilized by Sanskrit poets for more than 2000 years.

Sanskrit poets, as well as Indian classical musicians (including Hindustani and Carnatic genres), have contributed to this tradition. For example, here’s an intriguing presentation (video embedded below this paragraph) of rhythms in Konnakol form, which is a type of Carnatic music, and you can see how it aligns with Pingala’s Chandas Shastra, which we now refer to as the Fibonacci Series.

Another important mathematical finding was The Chakravala method of Algorithms. The chakravala technique is a cyclic algorithm that can be used to solve indeterminate quadratic equations, such as Pell’s equation. It is usually assigned to Bhāskara II (c. 1114–1185 CE), however some say it was created by Jayadeva (c. 950–1000 CE). Jayadeva noted that Brahmagupta’s method for solving these types of equations could be generalized, and he went on to describe this general method, which was later developed by Bhāskara II in his Bijaganita treatise. The Chakravala technique was named after the Sanskrit word chakra, which means “wheel” and refers to the algorithm’s circular nature. No European performance at the time of Bhāskara , or much later, exceeded its amazing height of mathematical intricacy, according to C.-O. Selenius.

Many mathematical discoveries were made in India, some of which you may know about, while others not so much, these discoveries include; the Binary numbers, ruler measurements, the decimal system, numerical notations, the concept of zero, and much more. These are just a few that I loved researching about. It’s incredible to think that without modern technology, these mathematicians and scientists could achieve such heights that their discoveries are still known and are used today.

This article is part of a series titled “The Ancient Mysteries”

Feature image source


Food is music to the heart

“Food is music to the body; music is food to the heart”

 It was a huge pleasure meeting Konkani Bandhawas at the Ugadhi function. There was new found energy and happy faces. “Long time no see” and “coming out of hibernation” were the mantras. There were warm hugs, entertainment and tempting food with Konkani written all over it. Speaking of food, the music group “Culture Criminals” with their soulful renditions of songs from the “good old times Bollywood” enhanced the flavour of the food without even taking a step into the kitchen. That is the beauty of music. Thank you “Culture Criminals”.

Sounds can make eating food pleasant, enjoyable and even change the perception of flavour. I have walked into a low-end pizza place with loud music blaring and compared it to an upscale pizza place with the soft music of Luciano Pavarotti playing. Those notes take you to the heart of Italy and gently guide your senses to a more authentic taste of pizza.

At home, the sound of boiling water and pouring it over tea creates a feeling of anticipation. For Konkani’s it is the sound of the sea, bringing to mind seafood.  And by association, seafood and breaking of the sea surf. For a trial listen to this in the background when you are eating your next meal of fish:

 Mi Dolkara Daryacha Raja With Lyrics | मी डोलकर डोलकर डोलकर दर्याचा राजा | Lata Mangeshkar – YouTube,

At home, we rely on certain sounds that can act as a cue during cooking and give an indication of how to proceed. When preparing the tadka, the crackling sound that arises when mustard seeds splutter in the pan of the hot oil indicates that the oil is hot enough to draw the flavour from the food and it is time to reduce the heat. The popping sound of corn kernels exploding in the presence of heat is a gauge to determine the cooking time of popcorn when preparing a big bowl of popcorn for movie night. 

Is there a connection between that crackling sound you hear and the rating you give to that movie? Of course, sound and aroma go hand in hand with acting and script!

We pick up sound through auditory receptors, tiny hair cells inside the inner ear organ called the cochlea. The hair cells contain stereocilia, a bundle of hairlike processes that can pick up sound. Sound waves enter through the outer ear and travel through the ear canal to the eardrum where the drum begins to vibrate. The intensity of the vibrations depends on the intensity of the sound. The brain in turn processes this information to tell us about the source and quality of the sound and we react accordingly. Importantly, our ear canals are connected to our nose and olfactory pathways.

Sometimes the start of the meal is marked by saying grace or the ringing of a musical instrument, such as a bell. The purpose is to create ambience in which the food is eaten and often sound is a way to make guests conscious of the story behind the meal.

Research has been conducted to determine whether air pressure changes or cabin noise are responsible for airline passengers’ preference for beverages and meals in flight. The studies simulated the air pressure and/or sounds experienced in a commercial airplane cabin at cruising altitudes. In one study people were asked to taste combinations of the five basic tastes – sour, salty, sweet, bitter, and savory. Their responses were recorded in the presence or absence of loud sounds that stimulated airline cabin noise. Out of the five basic tastes, only sweet and savoury were significantly affected. In particular, the perception of savory increased in the presence of loud noise, while the perception of sweetness started to decrease. So sound and its intensity do in fact influence the perception of taste.

The right sound can positively influence your meal, just as the wrong one can have a negative impact. Loud sounds can be distracting and make it hard to concentrate. Not a great way to consume any meal. Next time try for yourself loud blaring music drums versus the soft beat of Santoor on your next dining experience.

Pandit Shivkumar Sharma (Santoor) – Raga Yaman – YouTube

Music has a way of reaching deep inside to wake up your taste buds. It can make you smile; it can make you weep; it can make you hungry. An invitation is hereby extended to share your feast of your ears, great songs that fire your taste buds. As for our household, the go to music is always a version of:

 LEGACY: Asha Bhosle & Ustad Ali Akbar Khan – Pure Indian Classical – YouTube

So, the next time you are eating or cooking, pay attention to the sounds around you and the sounds the ingredients or food make. These sounds may not only amplify the sensation and bring out the best from your taste buds.

 Is it too much to ask for a glimpse of “culture criminals” at all the OKA functions?

About the author…
Madhav Shanbhag moved to GTA in 2017, after spending more than 40 years in Fredericton, New Brunswick. In retirement, Madhav enjoys the luxury of few hours of leisure and nature time

Hon. Harold D’Souza – A human trafficking crusader

On January 19, 2022, the world woke up to the news of the horrible death of Jagdish Patel, his wife Vaishali, their daughter Vihangi and son Dharmik. Residents of Dingucha, a village in Gujarat were found frozen to death in Manitoba on the Canada-US border. They were on their way to the US without valid documents. They had moved to Canada from Gujarat on a valid tourist visa in late December 2021. Like other 24.9 million people worldwide, the Patel family were victims of Human Trafficking.

Hon. Harold D’Souza and his family too were victims of Human Trafficking. On March 13,2022 at the webinar “Human Trafficking: In Conversation with Hon. Harold D’Souza”organized by the Ontario Konkani Association, in collaboration with the Canada India Foundation, Indus Community Services, North American Konkani Association, Chitrapur Heritage Foundation, Saraswat Foundation, U.S.A. and Konkani Association of California, Harold spoke about the difficulties faced and overcome by him and his family. The family’s story is one of survival, resilience and finally triumph.

Hon. Harold D’Souza, native of Bajpe, Mangalore was born in Vadodara, Gujarat. His father Henry D’Souza had moved to Dabhoi, Gujarat with a job at Western Railway.  Bajpe runs in Harold’s blood. He credits Bajpe for his respect for value, character, education, faith, love and humility.

A friend who was living in the United States who owned a restaurant in Ohio, lured him with a better life. In 2003, at 37, with master’s degree in Marketing Management and a postgraduate diploma in Human Resource Development, Harold resigned from a senior management position to follow the American Dream. Once he and his wife Dancy, also from Mangalore, and two sons – Rohan then 4 years old and Bradly 7 years old were in the US, their perpetrator took their documentation, wiped their bank account and put them in a one-room apartment. He threatened to have them deported unless they worked in his restaurant. Harold and Dancy, toiled 24/7, 16 hours a day without pay. Harold puts it “but my American dream transformed into hell. I lost my freedom and struggled to keep those I loved safe”. They too had become Human Trafficking victims.

After 19 months of servitude, at last Dancy confronted the restaurant owner and demanded their back wages. He repeated his threat to have them deported. The restaurant’s chef overheard the conversation and connected the D’Souzas with the US Department of Labor.  His exploiter sent a hit man to have him killed. While in the hospital bed, he vouched to live for his children and wife. With the help from Trafficking Assistance Programs, their church and community, they escaped their imprisonment.

According to the International Labour Organization, there are over 24.9 million people in forced labor worldwide. But reliable statistics on human trafficking are hard to come by as victims often do not know they are being victimized. Victims of human trafficking are held captive by debt bondage, violence, and other forms of manipulation, and their servitude goes unnoticed in their communities, and unassisted.

Traffickers use coercion and deception to exploit their victims and compel them to labor or commercial sex. Would be victims may pay between Rs 50 lakh to Rs one crore or more per person to their human traffickers. The victims often borrow money for passports, visas or travel expenses with the promise of a job or romantic relationship, only to be forced into servitude. Often victims are reluctant to report to the authorities as they are threatened if they come forward, they’re going to be deported or prosecuted.

Trafficking is estimated to be a $150 billion industry, the second most profitable illegal business after the drug trade. Victims are often lured by someone they know, commonly, friends or family members. Recruiters may be acting independently, or connected to organized criminal networks or terrorist groups.

Combating the crime requires worldwide collaboration. The Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the US Department of State works with foreign governments and supports antitrafficking organizations in nearly 100 countries. In collaboration with international organizations like the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the International Organization for Migration, they assist foreign governments in establishing comprehensive victim assistance services, and develop training programs on investigating and prosecuting trafficking crimes. It also facilitates the US Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, composed of survivors who are working to end trafficking on a global scale.

Life has come full circle for Hon. Harold D’Souza snd family. From being near slave, to the ‘Voice for the Voiceless Victims’. D’Souzas are an inspiration for those caught in the clutches of human trafficking. Harold was appointed to the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking first by President Barak Obama in 2015 and then by President Donald Trump in 2018. He and Dancy are the Co-Founders of Eyes Open International and are inspirational survivor advocates of international reputation. 

Already, two different films are in production telling his story – “To be free” and a biopic by International Film Producers & Directors

(Victims of Human Trafficking, may call 1-888-373-7888 in the US or 1-833-900-1010 in Canada)

Just can’t find the right word? “Memory Clutter” rather than cognitive decline

If you sometimes have difficulty trying to find the right word or remembering an event or conversation, researchers say there’s probably nothing wrong with your brain or memory. And, more importantly, It’s not necessarily a symptom of cognitive decline. Rather, it’s more likely a symptom of how well your brain has been working over the years, absorbing, retaining and storing information. And it’s a normal cognitive situation that develops with healthy aging. Beginning in middle age and onward, retrieving a word or a memory, especially under pressure or in the moment, can be challenging simply because the brain has accumulated so much data.

Reassuring Findings

That’s the reassuring finding of a study by the Rotman Research Institute of Baycrest Health Sciences published recently in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences.  “Older people do worry about these memory lapses because they might be indicative of a more serious problem,” acknowledges study co-author Dr. Lynn Hasher, senior scientist at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute and professor emerita of psychology at the University of Toronto.  She explains that with normal cognitive aging, “One of the problems in getting the word you want is that you know it, but other words closely related to it, sometimes phonetically, sometimes in meaning, get in the way.” 

The research suggests it’s “clutter” that’s built up in the brain that gets in the way of extracting target information it’s needed immediately. “Older adults’ memories contain more non-target features and, thus, are cluttered with excessive information,” according to the published paper. This clutter includes “recently activated but no-longer-relevant information, prior knowledge cued by the ongoing situation, as well as irrelevant information in the current environment.” In other words, says Hasher, “We’ve just got too much stuff in our heads as we age.” As well, says Dr. Tarek Amer, a co-author of the paper and post-doctoral fellow at Columbia and Harvard University, “Certain flashbacks or mind wandering — not necessarily related to current tasks — stem from this reduced selective attention.”

One example: cooking in the kitchen and forgetting to add the salt because the smell of an ingredient conjures up the memory a restaurant meal you once had in your foreign travels and your mind wanders to that experience. “Cues can trigger a memory that you’re not actually aware of,” explains Hasher. “A lot of memory happens incidentally.”

The Upside to Memory Clutter

The good news is that there is a significant upside to this clutter of information and experience, suggests psychologist Amer. “There are advantages in other contexts, in tasks involving decision-making and creativity,” he explains, “for example, coming up with novel solutions to open-ended tasks.”

Older people can call upon more information and experience to support that decision-making or novel solution even though they may have trouble finding a target word or remembering a movie title in the instant it’s needed.

“As we age, we rely more on knowledge accumulated over a lifetime rather than building on that knowledge as younger people do,” suggests Amer. “Cluttered memories might contribute to this wisdom, because we do accumulate a lot of knowledge over a lifetime.” This store of knowledge, memories and experience, though it may come with glitches like forgetting names, serves us well. 

“Older adults, past 60 or older, are very valuable contributors to society,”  Amer says, “and they are often in positions of power making important decisions.”

A specific example Hasher offers: older adults are better at keeping meetings and discussions on track and focused. “At a committee meeting, Person A says something, Person B says something else, Person C says something else. The older person is likely to return to the topic (initiated by Person A). That’s because older people hold on to the recent past even while they consider new information. Younger people go with the new information.”  She adds, “That may be irritating to younger people and may contribute to the prejudice against older people.”

Hasher says that may explain why it’s often the case that older people’s comments are dismissed by younger colleagues who are impatient with their elders.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: From “Everything Zoomer Wellness Edition” April 11, 2022

Feature Image source

Learning Avenues

DIABETES – INFORMATION SESSION WITH THE EXPERTS OKA and SVBF in collaboration with the South Asian Diabetes Chapter and Konkani Association of California, U.S.A. will be holding this information session on Sunday, May 29, 2022 from 11 AM to 1:00 PM (EST). The topics covered will include the effects of exercise, diet, medication, and Lifestyle Changes.  Reputed diabetes experts Dr. Ally Prebtani and Dr. Tayyab Khan will debate on whether Lifestyle Changes is better or Diabetes Medication is better for the management of diabetes. You would not want to miss this unique event. For the details, please see the attached flyer.

ABBOTT FREESTYLE LIBRE VIRTUAL CLINIC: Abbott Laboratories Diabetes Cre in collaboration OKA and SVBF will be holding this virtual clinic on Sunday, June 26, 2022 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 Noon (EST). All the registrants for this clinic, upon request, will receive a complimentary sample of this continuous glucose monitor. Details to follow.


OKA EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS PROGRAM: Estate, Will and Power of Attorney and End of Life Planning are two major elements of this OKA Seniors Forum Program.

For preparing Wills and Powers of Attorney you may contact Marvin Talksy (905) 405-0199 ext.  257 or Mary Bojkovski (905) 405-0199 ext. 276 of Nanda & Associate Lawyers. For additional information or assistance, you may also contact Raghunath Kamath or Ashok Bhatt.

For End of Life Planning one may contact Harjinder Bilku of Chapel Ridge Funeral Home at (905) 305-8128 or (647) 966-0093.

Additional information about OKA Seniors’ Forum is posted on www.ontario-konkanis.com


ONTARIO GUIDE TO PROGRAMS AND SERVICES FOR SENIORS: Please click on the following link for the latest upgraded guide.A guide to programs and services for seniors.

SENIORS HOUSING AND HOME CARE DIRECTORY: Help for Mom has developed this very helpful publication which is about 130 pages, softcover and Readers Digest size.  To get a copy send an email to helpformom.com or call Mary (647) 967-9821.

The following organizations disseminate very useful information either through regular news release and/or seminars, webinars and workshops:

Canada India Foundation www.canadaindiafoundation.com

C.A.R.P. Canadian Association of Retired People) www.carp.ca

Diabetes Canada www.diabetes.ca

Indus Community Services www.induscs.ca

UHNF (University Network Foundation) www.uhnfoumdatiom.ca

(Articles by and for seniors under this section are always welcome)

Gen Alphas – Vindhya and Vinamya Pai

This month’s Gen Alphas are ‘Vindhya and Vinamya Pai’

Vindhya wants to say Hi to our OKA readers and introduce her little sister Vinamya!

They are the beautiful daughters of Shwetha Pai and Vandan Pai.

Hello Everyone,

I am Vindhya Pai. I am 10 years old and currently studying in Grade 5.

My interests are arts, crafts, singing, gymnastics, and yoga.

I have passed my OLSAT-Gifted Examination in Ontario and my parents are super proud!

My first stage singing performance was at the OKA Ugadi event!

Before the event, I was a bit nervous and scared, but after participating at this event I have gained more confidence!!

(Vindhya- That is an impressive bio! Keep up the great work! And thank you for participating in the Ugadi event- your singing is lovely and we hope to hear you more often!)

My favorite foods are Pyaj, Devasthana saaru, and pizza 😊

In my free time- aside from watching TV, I love to draw and do a lot of crafts.

I don’t let my parents throw away any recyclable materials. I love to reuse them and make crafts.

My latest craft which I am very proud of- is making Squishies! I first draw, then I make a pocket and stuff it with plastic bags or cotton or any soft materials and seal it with duct tape.

(Vindhya- you are a Picasso in the making!! Who could say this art was from a 10 year old? And using recyclable materials- that’s creative and smart! Kudos to you!)

This is my little sister Vinamya. She is 4 years old and in junior kindergarten!

She loves to color, draw and imitate me in everything!

Her favorite foods are- Pyaj, Sevai and Vada!

She loves her Donald Duck- calls him Tittu. She also loves solving puzzles and reading books!

We both are very scared of spiders and butterflies!!

Our favourite places are Disneyworld, Florida, and India.

(Vinamya- You are only 4 and already so good with your art! We can’t wait for you to join your sister and shine at our OKA events !!)

Thank you, Vindhya and Vinamya for being such little role models for the rest of our little Gen Alphas! We would love to see more of both of you and we wish you the very best with everything that you pursue!

Goem Bab Waman Varde Valaulikar

Before I let you know why I am writing about Waman Varde Valaulikar let me first tell you who he is, where did he live and what did he do.

Waman Shenoi was born on 23 June 1877 at Bicholim, Goa. He attended primary school in Marathi till 6th standard and then joined a Portuguese primary school, where he completed Fourth Standard. After discontinuing studies due to financial constraints, he taught himself Sanskrit and English at home. He went to Mumbai in 1893 and continued with his studies there, completing High School in 1898. He was married to Shantabai in Mumbai and had two sons and two daughters.

It is believed that he earned the nickname “Goembab” when he was going along with his uncle Chintamanrao to Mumbai aboard a steamer. A friend on board the ship remarked to his uncle “I hear you are taking this Goembab (Gentleman from Goa) with you to Mumbai.” The young and idealistic Waman later used “Shennoi Goembab” as his penname.

Waman Varde had started writing in Konkani at the time he was working in Mumbai. His wife was illiterate but had a very good knowledge of Konkani language and folklore. He made her recite the tales and proverbs and put them in writing which were published later. “Goenkaaranchi Goianbhaili Vosnook” (Goan migrants outside Goa) was a series of history lectures given by Shenoi Goembab at the Saraswat Brahman Samaj, Mumbai, in 1927. Another historical book he wrote was “Albuquerquan Goen Koshem Jiklem” (How Albuquerque Won Goa).

“Mhoji Baa Khuin Gelli?” is regarded as the first modern Konkani short story. It was published in “Gomantopnishat”,   which is a two-volume collection of fiction and non-fiction. The second volume contained “Sonvsar Budti” (The drowning of the world). It used the story of the Great Flood to discuss various philosophies and includes parts from various religious works.

According to him the only way Konkani language can be popularized is, if it is brought about by its youth. This was revealed in his essays “Amrutacho Pavs” (The Rain of Nectar) and “Konkani Vidyarthiank” (For Konkani Students) Infact one of his major contributions was towards children’s literature. “Bhurgianche Vyakran” (Children’s Grammar) was written in a series of question-answers that he used to teach his son and “Bhurgianlo Ishtt” was a collection of short stories.

He also translated many works into Konkani the chief among them being Molière‘s Le Médecin malgré lui, which he translated as “Mogachen Logn” (Love Marriage) and Shakespeare‘s OthelloHamlet and King Lear.  He is most remembered for his translation of the Bhagavad Gita into Konkani: “Bhagwantalem Geet“.

In an autobiographical reference, Goembab credits the Barão de Cumbarjua (Baron of Cumbarjua), Tomás Morão, with opening his eyes to the fact that it was Konkani, and not Marathi, which was the mother-tongue of Goans. In anecdote he recounts in Konkani Bhashechem Zoit, Goembab indicates that in about 1899, he had written a book “O Mestre Portugués” for use in the Marathi-Portuguese schools that had been established by the Estado da Índia in Goa since 1871. In that book, Goembab indicates that he had introduced lessons covering grammatical rules, meanings of words and sentences for teaching the art of translation.

He had observed how Konkani had diminished in status among Goans and Marathi and Portuguese had taken the place of respect among the educated, upper class Hindus and Christians respectively. Konkani was used only to communicate with their employees, the poor and downtrodden castes.

He believed that no matter how many languages a person could communicate in to earn a living, he was lost if he could not communicate in his mother tongue, the “language of your soul” as he called it.[1] “We have been shining under others’ lamps”, observed Shenoi Goembab. He began telling Konkanis about the sweetness of their mother tongue and of its rich past. He started writing books to propagate his views. Not only did he see the Konkani language as an inseparable part of every Goan’s and Konkani’s identity. He also saw it as a movement against Portuguese rule in Goa. Shenoi Goembab wrote 7 books in the Roman script and 22 in Devanagari. This included short stories, dramas novels, poetry, essays, linguistics, philosophy history.

Konkani language was in decline, due to the use of Portuguese as the official and social language among the Christians, the predominance of Marathi over Konkani among Hindus, and the Konkani Christian-Hindu divide. Seeing this, Vaman Raghunath Varde Valaulikar set about on a mission to unite all Konkanis, Hindus as well as Christians, regardless of caste or religion. He saw this movement as a nationalistic movement against Portuguese rule. Almost single-handedly he crusaded, writing a number of works in Konkani. He is regarded as the pioneer of modern Konkani literature.

Some of his notable works are as under:

  1. Goenkaaranchi Goianbhaili Vosnook (Goan migrants outside Goa)
  2. Albuquerquan Goen Koshem Jiklem
  3. Mhoji Baa Khuin Gelli?
  4. Sonvsar Budti
  5. Amrutacho Pavs (The Rain of Nectar)
  6. Konkani Vidyarthiank (For Konkani Students)
  7. Bhurgianche Vyakran (Children’s Grammar)
  8. Bhurgianlo Ishtt was a collection of short stories.
  9. Mogachen Logn (Love Marriage) and 
  10. Shakespeare‘s Othello Hamlet and King Lear.  
  11. Bhagwantalem Geet (Bhagwat Geeta in Konkani

Shenoi Goembab was ahead of his time and often stressed on the need to eliminate caste barriers and get the lower castes educated. He said, “let’s make Pandits (scholars) out of Gawdes (farmers)”. In a short span of about 69 years Waman Shenoi did so much for Konkani’s. No other Amchigello has ever achieved so much for Konkani’s as him. Kudos to his dedication and a spark of activism that stayed on during his entire life.

Despite all the financial hurdles he faced, his efforts for the language of Konkani are why we all are still speaking this beautiful language. It has also been the precursor for being recognised as the State language in Gomantak or Goa today. One can also say that all this and more resulted in Konkani being recognized as one of the 29 official languages of India.

His death anniversary, 9 April, is celebrated as World Konkani Day (Vishwa Konkani Divas. So this April 9th don’t forget to cherish these memories.

Shenoi Goembab was posthumously awarded the Konkani Person of the Millennium award by Mandd Sobhann (a Mangalore based Konkani organisation), on his 54th death anniversary.

Proud to be a Konkani

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