DR JAGDEEP CHHOKAR of Association for Democratic Reforms at `The Blue Brick Wall Café & Beer Bar on February 19, 2024…throwing light on the reasons behind the legislation and Supreme Court’s recent verdict against electoral bonds. An evening well-spent!

WHAT better way to inaugurate a come-lately avante garde café (and beer bar) called “The Blue Brick Wall”! Its owner Kishore Thukral, digital influencer from all accounts, decided to invite the distinguished Dr Jagdeep Chhokar of the Association for Democratic Reforms, lead petitioner in the Electoral Bond case in the Supreme Court to talk to Goa’s media people; plus keen followers of today’s mindboggling roller coaster political happenings. Actually, who was passing by could drop in.
It was my friend Bharati Pawaskar who drew my attention to what sounded like an interesting talk to listen in to. She said I live close by in Caranzalem in Panaji, go!
Who is not impressed by the SC striking down the Electoral Bond Scheme of 2017 as unconstitutional? We don’t know if the SBI will disclose the names of the corporates concerned in bankrolling these bonds for reasons one may well imagine, but the small mercy is that it is good news, gives a smidgeon of hope given today’s dismal blues on the subject of how much governance has degenerated in recent years.
So there was witty and learned Dr Jagdeep holding court and a whole crowd of Goenkars hanging on to his putdowners and asking questions later. Electrol bonds destroy the level playing field in business deals. He said India is just a nascent democracy if not an outright hollow one. If corporations take over and run the government it will be the end because we won’t even know who controls Indian politics! We will back in square, so called governance will be more opaque than ever before. But let’s see if by March 15 we will know who’s bought the government’s electoral bonds. Even find out who controls Indian politics. Coffee was on the house but the beer drinkers ordered beer. A lot of seniors were present and I recognised one time AAP politician Glen Ticlo and old friend Avertano Miranda, Prakash Kamat of course.
A frequent visitor to Goa was Hindi films screenwriter-director Saeed Mirza (“Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho” and “Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyoon Aata Hai”, also popular TV serial Nukkad-Street Corner). Anyway the general consensus was that the SC’s judgement should have come much earlier, but better late than never, and Dr Chhokar who can now and again recite a ghazal or two, opined that life is almost over for the oldies, but the young generation need to wake up to where this country is headed! It is their wellbeing which is at stake.
There’s no more job more important than being real citizens, Goa has grassroots politics, can Goans swing a change in governance which is not corrupt, “The idea is to make political parties internally democratic.”
Well, we do know that today’s politicians and governments have little to recommend them, they’re just sneaky wheeler dealers with theatrical grandstanding (if I may say so). Do we want a democratic India or a one-party totalitarian dictatorship as in Russia and China?
Smoke on all this my friends and I think I shall go back to The Blue Brick Wall Café & Beer Bar – they make some very nice cheese balls! I wanted to check out the coffee but did not.
TO move on to another exciting subject! Have you ever heard of PechaKucha, it’s a Japanese word for “chit-chat.” Actually, there’s a Goa edition of this international club of speakers from all walks of life and Ravi Kambhoj has been enacting a north Goa and south Goa edition regularly.
If you have a story to tell you can go and tell it at the PechaKucha platform briefly and as spiritedly as you wish, accompanied with a slide show of images. I’m told you tell your story to 20-second images…seeing this is February, the month for love, mental health, eat, the theme is Love Unplugged. Alas, although my friend Satya of Sourdough bread fame wanted me to list me at their February 22 PechaKucha evening for a presentation on the subject of love good, bad or ugly…alas, I was not able to make it.
These PechaKucha evenings once or twice a month are quite interesting in that they connect you with people who may be people after your mind and body, heart and soul. You end up with a set of friends you may need or want in your life to cheer up or to want to do business with. Everything in life is about connecting up…or you shrivel up and die alone in a garret, or something like that. See what’s happening to me, although I’m not yet in a garret, just at the bottom of the barrel!
You learn a lot with these PechaKucha folk. Go find out more about them and connect with them, you have nothing to lose but your loneliness in the rat race of time.
ON that note, it’s avjo, selamat datang, poite verem, au revoir, hasta la vista and vachun yeta here for now.

—Mme Butterfly


MEET my friend Manuela Machut, a German senior settled in Panaji and Goa who is a dog lover and carer par excellence. For some time now I’ve been listening to her woes and I am sure this story will touch the cockles of your heart as it has mine.
Manuela’s heart just beats for animals of the four-legged kind and especially stray dogs. For some time now Manuela has been studying stray dogs and feeding some of them near her home at Horizen Shelters. Let’s say Manuela’s heart beats for one particular dog she has been feeding and has named “Caroline,” a wounded stray dog near her residence for whom she has been fighting high and low to be “caught” and delivered to her home for care-taking of the tender loving kind. Who has she not approached from CCP commissioner Clen Madeira of Taleigao sarpanch Janu Rozario and just everybody in NGO and dog organisations who she thinks can help her if they wish…but they won’t for reasons best known to them! Why?
Here is Manuela’s Open Letter to Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant and I hope he will find time to look into this matter and redress stray dog narratives in Goa. Something needs to be done, perhaps on the lines of the very efficient dog program run in Mumbai – where the problem of stray dogs does not exist anymore or so we hear!
The stray dogs population in Goa and Panaji is growing and they are everywhere for good, bad or ugly incidents. Not that we don’t have respect and love for dogs’ rights, but when one woman wants to adopt a stray dog, what is the problem in aiding her?
But I will let the Manuela Machut’s heart-wrenching letter speak for itself:


High respected Chief Minister,

My name is Manuela Machut and I am a known animal lover, settled down in Goa in 1960. I was working lifetime for the German government as a pharmacist and am retired now because of physical handicapped status. I loved Goa and the atmosphere including the English language. For Konkani I was too old.
My whole life I loved animals and that never stopped and I was running a farm in Nachinola with cows, bulls, goats, cats, tamed falcons and dogs. They all enjoyed my care but I had to sell the farm in 1999 because of increasing prices. I am living with 3 cats and 2 dogs + on e parrot since 1919 in the Taleigao Road closed to Goa University and adopted immediately one nice stray dog, which I called later Caroline. She got also attached to me and the owner of the property where I am staying allowed me after some time to keep her in the property, but not in my house and leave dirt somewhere.
We had a nice time and Caroline loved to be petted and became a house dog. Since one year the houses got finished and with lot of new people — and in India there are always a big number of people scared of dogs.
It happen here also and I started to get my Caroline to my flat, what also was suggested by the owner Mahesh Adwalpalkar. My German shepherd passed away in the age of 11 years and I was very upset, but only my little stray Amit (3 legs and blind) was left and Caroline and he became good friends.
I asked several time to find me a dog catcher for Caroline and bring her into my flat, but Shweta Sardessai diagnosed my darling Caroline always as a stray dog, what she not is anymore. So ever since I have been trying to get some help from dog organisations to bring Caroline inside to me at home as I want to take care of her. PAWS doesn’t want to help me and also the SPCA North with Kabir Rane Roy who didn’t allow — because of whatever permission is required to get in their eyes to adopt a stray dogs in a flat. The truth, Caroline is no stray dog anymore and I love her with all her injuries done by other people, but I cannot catch her, because I am physical handicapped and suffer a lot because of two hip replacements. I have a helper who helps me feeding stray dogs and also Caroline, and another helper too who helps me. To feed my dog at home as well as those outside three times daily.
A vet too visits for deworming animals with me properly. Dear Mr Chief Minister I beg you to help me get this stray Caroline to my home for she has been with me for the last seven years. I am 81 years old and to I want to enjoy the evening of my life with Caroline with me.
So far, as I heard this is common in Mumbai, why not in Goa??? Please help me and do the needless about those who want to adopt a stray dog and give them a home. You must keep an open mind about this in Goa.

—Manuela Machut, Horizon Shelters, near GMC, Bambolim, Goa

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