96 floats sashayed the five Carnival routes of Goa. Margao, Panjim, Vasco, Ponda and Mapusa. As mentioned in Part 1, the floats compete for prize money. There are five categories the floats compete under-Traditional, Club/Institution, Funk Junk, Clown/Jokers and Sponsored Floats. Each float with their own dancers, sound system/live band.
We conversed with the people behind three interesting floats. And interviewed the Float King and King Momo himself.
The Thought Behind: Caitano Novaes, from Velha district, (the brain behind this float), remains indebted to the Carnival. “As a child, whatever I earned from creating floats got my not-so-well-to-do family, a better life. I am so grateful that I take a 20-day leave from my work in the Gulf to prepare a float.”
The Float: This tiny float simply stood out. The Ant was of supari nuts! Painted in a combination of brown, yellow and orange hues to get that slight fiery effect. Novaes procured the nuts from a few contacts in the Gulf and worked with a friend in perfecting the interior steel mechanism for the ant’s body. The dancers in orange and black wore ant-shaped gloves which were originally scorpions, but Novaes extended their rear end so they’d resemble an ant. “These tiny creatures have so much character. They always work in a team, store food for the winters and live in unity in large colonies. That’s how a family should aim to be.”
The Float: 22 boys from Sebastion Vaddo, Mapusa, built this float to glorify education. They magnified stationary items to a height of 4ft and beyond. The array included pencils, ball pen, ink pen, eraser, sharpener, paint bottles, compass, ruler and a paint brush. PUC pipes and plaster of Paris, oil paint, thermacol and a bit of glitter did the deed.
The Thought Behind: “Education says it all! While researching online we came across a similar float in Norway. The images were powerful and inspired us to think on these lines. To add the Indian element, what better than Mahatma Phule’s powerful quote, ‘Each One Teach One. Knowledge is Power,’ reveals Jacinto Fernandes, a civil engineer and the leader of this group.
GOENCHO TINTO (GOAN MARKETPLACE)
The Thought Behind: Brothers Adrian (Chiquitto) and Allenson Baretto from Loutulim, Salcette, tried to replicate the traditional Goan market of the yesteryears. “The marketplace functioned on barter system. Nothing came in tetra packs or contained artificial flavours. People would milk their cows right here and sell the milk! The moment the bread was out of the oven, the baker would cycle all the way here with it, twice a day. Now that’s fresh stock!” narrates Adrian.
The Float: Like the traditional Tinto, this one had a makeshift roof, held together by six pillars to symbolise the market’s working days. 23 giant figures (market vendors) displayed sausages, chillies, fish and coconuts. Including a cow (yes a fake one) placed on wheels! The vendors were made of iron, coated in paper mache and covered with fine wool. Sponge is then made to fit and spray painted on. “This was my attempt to recreate the cartoons of Mario Miranda (my immediate neighbour) in 3D.” It took more than a month and around Rs 1, 28, 000 to put the float together. That’s a big hole in the pocket. “We’ve been creating carnival floats for the last 20 years so we won’t give up on it so easily! As we won a prize at every parade, most expenses were covered. But I wish the government hadn’t reduced the prize money from last year’s Rs 50, 000 to Rs 30, 000. They should encourage arts not dampen spirits.”
ONE KING DESIGNS FOR THE OTHER
There can’t be a carnival without Francisco Martins. Known as the ‘Float King,’ Martins participated in crib-making competitions as a child where his talent was tapped. His first float in 1974, called Slavery in Rome, won him first place.
Not just at the Carnival, but also multiple times at the Republic Day parades where his floats represented Goa. He has travelled with the Goa Tourism Board to London, Brazil, Spain, Russia, New York… (phew!) to popularise Goa’s carnival. Former President of the Panjim Carnival Committee, he is now on the advisory board.
What was King Momo’s float about?This fibre glass float had King Neptune (Greek God of Water) as the face of the float. Corals and seashells surrounded him. The rest of float was shaped like fish, inclusive of scales, fins and tail. My crew and I took barely 10 days to complete it. The total cost came to Ra 4, 00, 000, borne by the Government.
There are complaints that the preparations are always last minute I am off the same view. In fact, I plan to hold a meeting the next month to start planning right away for 2012. I want the work to begin nine months in advance. I am looking at not just the parade routes, but prominent landmarks all over Goa to have some traces of the Carnival. Like brass bands at gardens, painted shop windows and decorated streets.
What do you remember of your early Carnival days?Back then, it was never about the money. It was just pure labour and love. Each float came with 75-100 dancers who practiced months in advance. Their parents and the crowds would shower confetti on them while they performed. People would voluntarily show up. Today we have to approach people. And no one works for free.
Ceaser D’Mello wore the King Momo crown this year. A tiatrist, dancer, singer, producer of 200 plus plays on All India Radio and even a choreographer, D’Mello continues to rock the Goa’s art scene till date. Ornella D’Souza talks to the ‘jolly king.’
Didn’t you melt in the heat? I did! It was so hot! I was just waiting to get out of the costume! I kept applying sunscreen and drank so much water but the heat was killing!
How did it feel to be crowned King? I’ve been contesting for to be king since three years! So yes I was very pleased to bag it this year. So this time instead of walking the streets as a Carnival committee member, I literally floated ;)
There is a contest to be king? Yes. You are judged if you fit King Momo’s character. Are you plump enough? You have the right paunch? Look jolly enough? And then it always helps if you are famous. On the jury you have members from all the Carnival committees- Ponda, Mapusa, Vasco, Margoa. This time all of them voted for me.
So what were your duties besides the ‘wave and smile’ routine? Well my float had to be present on all the Carnival routes and always the first to open the parade. Then I had to pronounce the decree to my subjects (the crowds) to go forth and make merry. Doing my own bit, I also kept announcing for a ‘clean and green’ Goa. And then I had to take care of the all beautiful girls on the float (chuckles).
Ooo so who were they? Among princesses was my daughter Karen, Joleen Fernandes from Ponda and Joanna D’cuhna from Porvorim. My son, Kevin, was the prince. The king gets to choose who will accompany him on the float.
You are also part of Arts & Culture dept for Goa. Are there any changes you’d like to see in the Carnival preparations? I wish the committee began preparations at least six months in advance rather than just 2-3 months. Everything gets so last minute then. People need time to create good quality floats. And yes we need sponsors.
Here are some more pictures to give you a feel of the Carnival
We hope you enjoyed this piece and got a glimpse of what that Goa Viva Carnival 2011 was like. We’d love to hear what you have to say.