FROM the looks of it nobody was really was in the mood for carnaval or carnival this year in Panaji. True, many Ponjekars and a scattering of tourists turned up and lined the main thoroughfare of the Campal promenade from 3pm onwards to catch whatever excitement they could! Official exhortations to wear masks and main physical distance went for a toss with few observing the Covid-19 SOPs. Some cared enough to put on their masks, many didn’t care a damn.
Also, what was the point in half-heartedly banning children and seniors? They were all there with the kids pining to own one of the wild animal or glitzy carnaval masks costing at the very minimum Rs100. The afternoon was hot and ice-cream vendors did brisk business. Waiting for the floats to come took a long, long time and many gave up the patient wait and after cheering a few floats called it a day, before it got too dark.
Groups of cops with long danda in hand were everywhere to keep any unruly behavior breaking barricades and to keep an eye on carnaval revelers high on beer. The much loved main float had King Momo and his consort the queen gloriously smiling, waving and throwing colored paper confetti perched high up on their decorated vehicles…a couple of crazy car makeovers followed, a silver painted farmer with silver coconuts, agricultural motifs predominated, and there was a Narendra Modi run-on video waxing lyrical and wishing everyone to pay heed to Covid-19 messages of playing it safe so that there are no regrets later!
Viva la carnaval! On to Sambar Square where Rs50 was being collected from anyone wanting to imbibe and feast themselves silly in the spirit of hedonism and cheers for soon it would be Lent when it would be a case of fasting and abstinence. Better make merry for tomorrow the merriment will be contained! Put on your masks and dance the blues away, it is carnaval time whatever its limitations.
A photo essay with text and pics by
Tara Narayan:

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