THE STATE OF GOA

**************DEVACHEA NAVAN ANI GOEMCARANCHEA MANNANK******************* This blog is an attempt to delve into the traditions, heritage, culture, lore and ambience that spawned an enigma. A state of mind. And to perchance perform a perfunctory probe into the psyche of the Goemcar. ************************************************************************************************* GOEMCAR: Any person anywhere in the world - Goemcar rogtacho!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Moira - The Truth

For years now the ‘niz ganvcars’ of Moira have been compelled to creep where others strode.

While the rest in Goem proudly proclaim their ‘mul ganvs’, Moidecars have had to do with sheepishly acquiescing when confronted with the accusing “Arre tum Moidecho re?” Those amongst Moidecars, not too bothered with the truth, have either stoutly come out with an outright denial, “Konnem sanglan tuca ****** (expletive deleted), or the more honest, side step the issue entirely, “Arre Fernandes-achi bail boreech mirroita mure!” The ensuing debate on Fernandes’ woes, hopefully fending baiters off the scent.

This sorry state of affairs has persisted since, well, any one can remember. All of us, ‘niz Moidecars’, can narrate a thousand tales of providing comedic fodder for assemblies of Goemcars. O the number of anecdotes told and re-told. All with an air of novelty that seems never to stale. Never mind that they are regurgitated ad nauseam.

So much so that one has come to dread the thought of attending festas, funerals and family weddings. The person you see sulking in the lonely corner, trying to blend in the background, is no gate crasher; it’s just some poor Moidecar hoping to be mistaken for someone from some other village.

And what is the reason for this stigma? What horror has the Moidecar perpetrated that permits, nay, compels the rest of Goem to pick on him? Are there some horrible skeletons in the Moira cupboard? Has there been some inexplicable inhumanity committed by Moidecars in the days of yore? Was a major calamity brought about, by an act of the denizens of this lush little village nestling in the bosom of Bardez?

The answer is obviously an emphatic, none of the above. But before I come to the cause of this canker, let me tell you a bit about God’s very own little acre. The village of Moira is famous. I do not believe there are any Goemcars, in Goem or for that matter anywhere in the world, who have not heard of this little beauty.

We are famous for our bananas, or used to be. We have one of Goem’s best churches and biggest of church bells. We are renowned for our horticultural prowess, or were. Our intelligence is unparalleled, unfortunately this is considered peculiar. We have our share of famous, successful people. Apply any criteria and Moira stands far above the average run of the mill Goan village. And this is the reason, I believe, that Moidecars are singled out for, it can only be described thus, abuse.

The tales told of eccentricity, nay outright idiocy, apparently exercised by Moidecars, are legendary. How they chuckle. O did you hear the latest? And out will come another story, allegedly recent, but in fact one of the trusty ancient corkers which go toward smiting the last ounce of gravitas out of any Moidecar within hearing distance. Take for instance the one about the ‘sarrem’ that is said to have been used to erect the grand edifice that is the church of Moira.

All Goemcars have heard this little anecdote. It goes thus. The villagers of Moira overcome, with religious fervour or maybe feelings fuelled by inter village rivalry, decide to build a church that would stand out as an exemplar. Nothing not impressive would do. They were and wanted the best. This erection of sacred masonry, a visible symbol of the villagers faith, was meant to make the world of Goemcars aware that Moidecars had arrived.

So commenced the gargantuan task of building, for the glory of God and Moidecars. Work moved apace, all appeared hunky-dory. That is till the monsoons failed. Moira being an agrarian village, the rains were vital for its wellbeing. The mainstay of the villagers, their fields, suffered. A version of the credit crunch ensued. There was not enough wealth generated to enable the Moidecars to continue with their inspiring project. Following the dismal showing by the weather gods, work on the church ground to a halt.

The next year all that changed. The monsoons poured forth. The fields revived. All was once again, well. However, a year had been wasted. The work on the church needed to be attacked with not only renewed but increased fervour. The Communidade de Moira decided to double their efforts and catch up with lost time. Additional funding was needed for this extra effort.

How could the villagers get the extra financial support?

So began a mighty push to increase the produce of their fields. The mainstay of Moira’s fame and farming was their famous ‘kellem’. This renowned fruit was to be made the saviour of the church. The way to increase its yield was simply ‘sarrem’.

Deals were struck with suppliers far and wide to procure fish manure; ‘sarrem’. This was delivered by ‘patmaris’ that sailed down the river all the way from distant fishing villages. The traffic was impressive. On any given day the river winding along the village was lined by these ‘patmaris’ delivering good old ‘sarrem’ by the ‘khanddi’and ‘kumb’. Day and night they toiled.

Their travails were blessed. The harvest of Moidechim kellim was abundant. That year and the next and the next. Enough wealth was generated. The Moidecars built their lovely impressive ‘igorz’. And there it stands today. A fitting memorial to the graft and genius of the Moidecar. An edifice of eminence and eloquence and excellence.

When the rest of Goem saw the endless armadas of ‘patmaris’ sailing up the river to Moira, and enquired about their raison d’etre, Moidecars told them, “Arre tem sarrem igorzec re”. Goemcars have since believed or have chosen to believe, that Moidecars were literally sprinkling the foundations of their church with manure. My ancestors did not bother correcting this view, just had a good giggle over it.


And so my fellow Goemcars that is the genesis of the canard about the church of Moira and ‘sarrem’.


A little aside to the above. It was a well known fact that Moidecars always returned home to answer the call of nature. This stems from those turbulent times. Every little bit helped. So at the express urgings of the then Padr Vigar and the Regedor; Moidecars used to suffer in silence, holding back for dear life, and only relieve themselves when they were back home. In a utensil called, if I remember right, the ‘vunnell’, or something that sounded like that. This ‘vunnell’ was then carried, laden with the goodies, in the early hours of the morn, ‘fanttiar, combo rodchea adhim’, to the fields and poured with precision and love on to what ever was required to sprout or blossom. The results, always outstanding.

That brings me to the next church related tall tale.

Soon after the erection of this excellent etc. etc. edifice, jealously as is its wont, reared its ugly head. The green eyed monster roamed rampant. Denizens of neighbouring villages unable to digest this achievement set about with a vengeance to find fault. And they came up with one. The church, they remonstrated, was not properly aligned. Don’t ask me what or how. Just go along with this for now. Anyway, not aligned was the grouse.

Senhors Frederico Fortas Fernao and Augustinho Arsole Azavedo make an entrance. These two characters spearheaded the diss the Moira church movement. Both came from prominent villages of Goem. If I mistake not, Saligao and Sangolda. I may be wrong. Arsole for instance may have been from Guirim. Not that that matters. Just bear in mind that envy was all enveloping.

Fortas and Arsole missed no opportunity to highlight the mis-alignment of the church. This soon got under the otherwise tough skins of the Moidecars. A ‘sabha’ of the ‘ganvcars’ soon assembled and came up with a fitting, clever nay cunning riposte.

A ‘pergaum’ was sent to all the neighbouring villages. The best ‘kampincar’, bell ringer, was dispatched. Soon all knew that on such and such a day, the villagers of Moira were going to try to re-align their crooked church. Assistance was sought from all men of good will. And would all attending please come along with their best ‘kamlins’; the traditional knee length woollen hoods, used for centuries to fend off the rain and cold. These ‘kamlins’ were to facilitate the movement of the church.

Fortas and Arsole imploded. How they cracked up. Was nothing too stupid for these Moidecars? The two made sure that all their friends and family, with their best ‘kamlins’ were present on the appointed day.

Come the hour, all assembled were made to spread out their ‘kamlins’ on the east side of the church. This was neatly done. Hundreds of hoods. The Padr Vigar then instructed all the assembled to move over to the far western side. All did.

The Regedor announced, that in order to give the helpers an added boost, free fenim was being dispersed. Womenfolk went round with ‘battli’ and ‘copp’. The libation was liberally lavished.

At long last the order was given. All hands on the church. At the count of three, all would give a mighty heave and push the church athwart the east. This ought to force it into the correct alignment.

It was done. And then all rushed to the eastern face.

Lo and behold. The church had moved. Or so it seemed. It certainly had covered all the neatly laid out hoods. Not a single one was visible. All presumably buried under, when the church lurched over them.

A shout of elation went up from the Moidecars. “The church”, they cried, “has moved and covered all the ‘kamlins’ ”. A groan from the visitors. All their ‘kamlins’ had disappeared.

They received much commiseration from the Moidecars. That did not bring their expensive hoods back. But they could do nothing about it. At least they could all leave with the warm feeling of having helped their neighbours right the alignment of their church.

To this day, all of Goem thinks that Moidecars moved their church using muscle and hoods.

Moidecars did not get wet or cold that monsoon, thanks to the excellent ‘kamlins’, courtesy of their helpful neighbours.

Of course Fortas and Arsole were not happy. They knew they had been had. They just could not do anything about it. They carried this resentment to their graves. And this legacy of abhorrence for Moidecars and all things from Moira has been passed on through their generations.

Even today there are families in Saligao and Sangolda that bear a grudge and will do anything to demean and demonise Moira and Moidecars. And if I mistake not, some Sangodcars have even moved into Moira to carry on this centuries old vendetta.

This feud has come to be known as ‘enganando os idiotas’, tricking the idiots, or something like that.

And so my fellow Goemcars, when you next come across any such insinuations about Moidecars, think carefully before you guffaw.

It could well be that the Moidecars are ‘enganando os idiotas’.

Sincerely

Xanno Moidecar









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