“Kongotcars” Whoop It Up In Canada
By Armand Rodrigues
There was a time when Goan village socials were all the rage in Toronto. Over the years various factors have come into play in the dwindling interest in this ritual. One of the few villages that has kept the home fires burning is the village of Calangute. John Lobo was the first President at its inception in 1992, with a term in office running for two years. Successive committees have played a pivotal role in ensuring continuity. Antonio Mascarenhas stands out as being at the helm for a total of ten years out of the twenty-eight that the association has been in existence.
Fast-forward to September 8th, 2019 and a celebration at the Europa Convention Centre on the outskirts of Toronto. Three hundred and sixty villagers and guests crammed the hall. Steeped in the religion of their forefathers holy mass preceded the revelry and was celebrated by the well-known Fr. Martin Pereira. Invocations were to St. Alex, the patron saint of the village. The Konkanim hymns of “Conceicao Saibini” and “Jesu Mojea Deva” embellished the offerings.
Music was provided by the “Amigos” band, and a D.J. supplemented their output. The acoustics seemed somewhat overwhelming for the size of the hall. However, folks of all sizes and shapes were seen cavorting on the dance floor and making the most of the nostalgic music. For some it may have been reminiscent of the days of their youth when they danced bare-footed on the shores of Calangute. The music appealed to a large segment of the gathering as was evidenced by the congestion on the somewhat limited dancing space. This may have hampered some from displaying their best gyrations. And, it may have posed a problem in selecting the “Best Couple” on the floor.
Edgar Dias, the President, welcomed all in his opening speech, introduced his committee, recognized past-Presidents, and thanked all and sundry for their invaluable help. Of particular significance was the commemorative plaque presented to centenarian Leonard D’Souza on attaining the remarkable age of 102 ! Yes, this is the Lenny of field-hockey fame who played for the Lusitanians and Tatas in Bombay in days of yore. Formal cutting of the anniversary cake was a given that followed.
Worth noting was the sumptuous sit-down lunch of soup, roast beef, chicken and all the trimmings among other things, that all enjoyed. So also, was the floor-show put on by the President’s wife in the form of a troupe that livened things up with a Portuguese dance. And, winners of the numerous raffle prizes were noticed toting large packages wrapped in cellophane, of assorted prizes with intriguing contents. To their credit, the association published an account summary for the preceding year in the interest of transparency and accountability, in its brochure.
When all is said and done, special recognition goes to Milena Marques who emceed the function with vivacious aplomb in a full slate replete with activities.
A good time was had by all.