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Author Archives: Salil Konkar

Delayed by six months, but here at last, is the second collection of the Mapusa Market Repair and Recycle stories, belonging to a series of videos that Prashant and I have been making to highlight the repair points in Mapusa Market, where people fix your stuff to make it last longer. In this edition, we get to meet Nivrutti Palyekar, who can alter and fix your clothes for you, Pravin Narvekar, who runs the only shop in Mapusa where you can get your analog speedometer fixed, Ramu Bhomkar the raffu specialist who can darn a gaping hole in your garment to make it completely invisble, and Valenino Britto, the electrical repair man who fixes mixers, blenders and other kitchen appliances with the skill of an expert surgeon.

The videos have been collected into a playlist that plays them one after the other. Remember to switch on ‘Captions’ if you can’t see the English subtitles that are provided. (To play only a specific video, click on the Playlist button at the bottom of the player, and select the video you want from the list that will appear).

 

One of the highlights of the exhibition that we had at the end of the second Mapping Mapusa Market workshop in December 2013 was the mural that Meghana and Jessica made. These two students of the Sociology Department of Goa University decided to focus on the Goan bread (the pao) and all its aspects, from manufacture to delivery. Their mural was a part of their ‘project work’, which also included a video and plenty of sketches. The mural (which still remains on the wall of the entrance of the Mapusa market, thanks to some hair spray) depicts the traditional Goan bread-seller, the ‘poder‘, and his evolution over the years – from the days when he used to come walking with a basket and a bamboo staff, to current day when (in some areas at least) he comes on a scooter.

In my area (Caranzalem), the poder hasn’t switched over to motorised vehicles yet and he still comes on a bicycle with a basket and hand-blow horn, but in some places in Goa they even use cars and vans to deliver the Paos!

I believe much of the bread in the traditional bakeries is still made in wood fired ovens (bhattis) though other aspects of the process may have got mechanised along the way (like the dough, which may be made in an electric mixer).

Here’s the video of the making of the mural. If you’re in Goa, go see it live at Mapusa Market before the hair spray wears out!

Prashant, Anita and I initially wanted to work with people who use machines that are soon going to die out, like the hand-cranked ice cream machine, or the ‘goti-soda’ apparatus that traps the soda in a bottle by plugging its open end with a marble (or goti). But one recce in the market told us that neither of these machines are used anywhere in the Mapusa Market any more, both were already dead in that sense.

With Anita lost to lands far away, Prashant and I quickly switched tracks to something different, but similar – repairmen who are as unique as the machines we had earlier wanted to target – those who repair kerosene stoves, cigarette lighters, umbrellas and one who has made a niche for himself repairing zippers (only bags, not apparel).

What came out of this was 8 short videos, ranging from 45 seconds to 2 minutes, that capture the essence of the work that these people do, and (briefly) the lives that they lead. The videos have been collected into a playlist that plays them one after the other. Remember to switch on ‘Captions’ if you want the English subtitles that are provided. (To play only a specific video, click on the Playlist button at the bottom of the player, and select the video you want from the list).

We’ve been visiting the Mapusa Market every other day, and I find myself drawn to certain lanes and sellers more than others – those selling avocado, breads, brown rice – all the good stuff that I like to have but avoid buying out of sheer laziness from having to go all the way to the market. The local grocers and vegetable vendors in my area don’t always keep this stuff, and even if they do, there’s not enough of it to give you the pleasure of sifting through a whole lot before finalising on which one to buy.

Avocado

Avocado

The avocados come from Bangalore, I’m told. Which probably means the areas around the city; I don’t think Bangalore has enough green spaces left for growing avocados, though I’ll be happy to be proved wrong. I bought an avocado during the 100-rupee-dash game that we played in the market last week, but that obviously didn’t whet my appetite for guacamole, so I found myself prowling around the avocado stalls once again a few days ago.. And bought one. A second time.

Sweet Poyee

Sweet Poyee

When guacamole is around, can bread be far behind? A walk past the bread shops brought to my notice a new kind of bread, which my local bakeries don’t bake – ‘sweet poyee‘. Not one with a sweet tooth, I was apprehensive about buying this at first, but decided to try some out anyway. It’s not really sweet, just not as wheaty and coarse as the regular poyee. It has a smooth surface and is made primarily from maida (all-purpose flour). Went well with the guacamole though.

Past the bakery, I moved on to the pottery shed. Terracotta work is always interesting, and having tried my hand at terracotta work myself, I know the amount of effort that goes into making something from scratch, right from making the clay to baking the item in a kiln and getting it ready. Some years ago, while working on a similar project at Siolim market, I had bought an earthen jug from a woman potter from Anjuna. It was a nice piece of work – hand patted and shaped brilliantly – snout, handle, lid and all. Over the years, minus a lid and with some cracks having developed on its side, the jug was ready to be replaced. I managed to find this in Mapusa Market – an almost identical piece, but probably not made by the same woman. The seller at the stall told me that it came from Bicholim, and couldn’t confirm whether it was hand-patted or made on a wheel. The similarity is striking, as you can see from the photos.

Finally, there was the brown rice. Bought from the woman we interviewed on Friday – she comes from Moira, and sits with a sackful of brown rice near the vegetable sellers (though when I bought it the second time, she was beyond the fruit sellers’ lane). I also learnt that the handmade ‘cup’ that they use for measuring the rice (no balance, no metric system here) is made of wood from the jackfruit tree.

On Friday, when we set about documenting the Friday-specific sellers at Mapusa Market, Joel and I got into a conversation with Sunanda Parsekar, who sells a variety of local bananas in her stall at the end of the fruit lane, and has been doing this since her childhood days.

Sunanda is not a Friday-only seller, she is in the market everyday. Extremely pleasant and very well informed, Sunanda spoke to us on video about the local varieties of bananas, including the famed Moira banana.

(English subtitles provided – turn on ‘Captions’ in the player)