BJP CELEBRATED `100TH MANN KI BAAT’…. Along with `Gujarat Sthapana Diwas’!

IT was a Sunday and I thought I’d go say hello to my fellow Gujarati people settled in Goa at the brand new Hotel Z Square’s largest banquet hall on the third floor down town Panaji – apart from being Gujarat Day (Gujarat and Maharashtra celebrate their 63rd Foundation day on May 1 with some passion), it was also the BJP’s celebration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “100th Mann Ki Baat.”
I dare say Gujarat and its people must be perennially on a high because of Narendra Modi and in fact songs are being composed on the greatness of the Gujarati manus and are circulating on social media! Few can beat Gujaratis for paisa dekho tamasha dekho events…but they’re also savyy, love mod con living and many with their migration to the USA have become more American than the Americans!
The hall was packed for the three-hour long program which according to a Gujarati friend of mine (was it Lataben Parekh?) was put together in great haste and at very short notice — because Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant was coming along to say hello to the Gujarati community (he must have attended a Mann Ki Baat elsewhere for it was being telecast in several places in Goa on May Day, Gujarat & Maharashtra Day and now presumably it will also become Mann Ki Baat. This was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 100th talk show being telecast the country over and hence the celebration in combo with other celebrations, grapevine has it that this Mann Ki Baat is the largest talk program of its kind with the largest reach…an exercise in communication like no other. Nobody knows how much the PM’s Mann Ki Baat costs the country though, it’s top secret. For a that matter who know how much the prime minister costs the country’s public exchequer in toto?
It was a semi-political event and after the introductions and telecast of Matt Ki Baat, there were a few cultural performances of the Goan and Gujarati kind, followed by a grand Gujarati bhojan for which I forgot to stay! The audience was largely of Goa’s Gujarati community, an estimated 400 of them from Panaji and elsewhere in Goa. Goa has a 15,000 strong Gujarati community according to one in-the-air estimate…there are several Gujarati families who are very old residents and going into third and fourth generation in Goa, they maintain ties with Gujarat but are rooted in Goa with many of them married into niz Goenkar Hindu and Catholic families.
Who was there? State BJP president Sadanand Tanawade was there as well as the Zantye family, namely Umesh and Suresh Zantye and younger generation Pravin Zantye, for whom it was a red letter day with the inauguration of his hotel (remember the Zantye family is the best known cashew nut business in Goa) and now presumably they’re doing hospitality too. Deputy Mayor Sanjeev Naik was there and CM came in much later (I had left by then). The Gujarati Samaj mahila mandal women were there in large number and I recognized some of them…the current president is Kajal Shah.
In his 100th Mann Ki Baat the prime minister confessed that when he shifted from Gujarat to Delhi it was a moment of feeling lost for a while and later he came upon the idea of doing his monthly Mann Ki Baat to keep in touch with the people of the country; during his travelling in the country he met some amazing people with success stories deserving better notice, and he was happy to feature these in his talk so that other people may be inspired.
I MUST say I was intrigued by the Girish Kala Kendra troupe performance. They performed a Dhangar Nrutya or dance to do with trials and tribulations of milkmen during Portuguese times who delivered milk to places like the Altinho in Panaji, where the Portuguese consul-general and family lived along with other Portuguese government folk who required dairy milk! The performers were of the Dhangar community who’re mostly OBC but have not been recognised by the government for benefits. They were attired like the milkman of old and to a query Ramesh Sawant and Sadanand Khandekar from Curchorem referred me to look up one Dr Sarvanand Tukaram Sawant Desai (PhD) if I wanted more information about their sanskruti performances. I’m sorry I had to leave, should have stayed on for lunch, after all I’m born Gujarati of Gujarati parents from Gujarat!

ON to something else. How to beat the current steaming heat! My friend Reshma Melwani sends me these tips worth taking note:
Recipes to counter severe heat…

  1. Jaggery water: Soak 2 tsp natural jaggery in a glass of water overnight, filter in morning and sip.
  2. Lemon jaggery juice: Add fresh lemon juice in above jaggery water, sip.
  3. Khajur manth: Soak two dates in a glass of water overnight, crush in the morning, add pinch of cardamom powder and sip.
  4. Gulkand coconut milkshake with soaked sabja seeds.
  5. Raisin crush for constipation: Soak 40 dry black raisins in a glass of water for five hours, crush and remove seeds, drink.
  6. Coconut water, coconut water, coconut water.
  7. Kurmura water for nausea: Soak a cup of plain kurmura and a piece of khadi shakkar in a glass of water for half-an-hour, crush kurmura and filter that water to sip on.
  8. Dhana hima for burning in urine: Soak 1 tbs dhana or coriander seeds in a cup of water overnight, filter and drink.
  9. Jeera water for acidity: Soak 1 tsp whole jeera in a cup of water or any amount in that proportion for 5-6 hours, filter and drink in place of normal water.
  10. Kokum sharbat: Drink traditional kokum sharbat. For cooling during hot days.
  11. Aam panna: Traditional raw mango drink for protection from heat.
  12. Variyali/saunf water: Soak 1 tsp saunf in a glass of water for 3 hours. Crush and add khadi shakaar and pinch of white pepper power. Sip.
    Finally, stay swastha, swadesi apnaao, desh bachao! Thank you for the tips, Reshma!
    Postscript: These days I am looking lemon soda and kokum soda on the rocks – to cool down. The first is easy to find, the second is not (except in my own home when I’m not too lazy to fix it)! I mean it’s just squeezing out juice of a lemon in a glass, pinch of salt, tsp of honey, top with soda water, stir, drink. (For enchantment add in a bunch of crushed fresh mint leaves!) Or pour tablespoon of kokum-jeera sharbat concentrate in glass, top with soda water, stir, pour on the rocks and sit down somewhere where there’s a cool green view and sip, calm down perfectly. I always use celtic salt (or grey sea salt) or Himalayan pink salt, they’re supposed to be more wholesome natural salts.
    ON that note it’s avjo, poiteverem, selamat datang, au revoir, arrivedecci, hasta la vista and vachun yeta here for now.
    —Mme Butterfly

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