Mario Miranda’s 90th birth anniversary celebrations in Goa

Mario Miranda's 90th birth anniversary celebrations in Goa

The iconic Mario Miranda’s another famous Goan son of the soil touched generations with his humor. Mario featured Goan parents and grandparents in his works and so their children were more curious to see them in his cartoons.

Mario’s well loved characters,Ms.Fonseca the underdog,Godbole the Boss, Bundalbass the politician and the beggar are interesting characters forming part of the urban post independence era.

From the age of 10, he maintained 3 visual diaries of life around him on Goa’s socio-cultural environment from 1949, 1950 and 1951 which developed along with his draftmanship and style.Mario’s importance is that he saw the humorous side of life and issues in a world filled with discontent and violence.

I myself am very fond of Mario’s humor and have put up many of his paintings and picturesque tiles in my Mitaroy Goa hotel,Fontainhas,which I find very interesting and amusing, typifying the funnier side of Goan life.

A long time friend of Mario, Architect Gerard da Cunh has used the opportunity to release an illustrated diary of the 22 year old Mario while he was a student of St. Xavier’s Bombay.”Mario’s work on Goa is very powerful and mesmerizing which adds to the feeling of a fairyland” says Gerard.

The Mitaroy Goa Guide, edited annually by me, is proudly displayed and sold at Gerard’s Houses of Goa Museum, an Indo-Portuguese ship shaped architectural museum!

Last but not least, Happy Birthday Mario ūüôā

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Gandhi Jayanti Goa Package

Gandhi Jayanti Goa Package

Gandhi Jayanti is a national holiday celebrated in India to mark the occasion of the birthday of Mohandas Karamchand “Mahatma”¬†(or Great Spirit)¬†Gandhi, the “Father of the Nation”.

Known in Europe and the West as “Ghandi”, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi or Bapu¬†seems to have gone out of fashion with the younger Indian generation who only come across him in history books or his portrait that hangs on the walls in¬†Government offices. We,¬†at the¬†Mitaroy Goa Hotel, however¬†strongly believe that it is important to remember and honor the personality who was largely responsible for our freedom.

This year October 2nd falls on a Friday, thereby giving holiday goers an extended 3 day holiday. Accordingly we have planned a special Gandhi Jayanthi package for our guests at special rates.

Follow Gandhiji’s austere choices, with unlimited fruit juices, soft beverages and non-alcoholic drinks,

For breakfast, at any time of your choice, we will serve a delicious local vegetarian breakfast spread of freshly-baked pavs, alu bhaji, chole bhaji, masala dosa/idli, butter and jam, fruit & fruit-juice. No tea coffee or eggs will be served in according with Gandhiji’s ideals.

We will serve you a special Gujarati dinner meal with Gandhiji’s preferences of rice,dal, chapatis buttermilk and vegetables at our cabana in the rear of the villa in total privacy.

No alcohol will be served in keeping with Gandhiji’s abhorence for such intoxicating drinks and in accordance with the dry day. We request you make a special effort to honour the Father-of-the-Nation and stay alcohol-free for just a day !

Book early to avoid disappointment as we are a small,boutique property and get booked out pretty fast.

So hurry, pack your bags and come to spend this Gandhi Jayanti in a truly unique manner at the Mitaroy Goa Hotel on 2nd Oct 2015.

The Mitaroy Goa Hotel¬†“Gandhi Jayanti Goa Package” is a 4 Day, 3 Night Package at a special all inclusive rate of only 15 K.

Traditional vs Modern Building Materials in Goa

Traditional vs Modern Building Materials

The replacement of traditional Goan construction materials with more modern, often imported materials from either the rest of India or even abroad, is not only problematic from an aesthetic point of view, but also compromises the durability and functionality of the old Goan buildings and ultimately their authenticity. For example, the use of cement instead of traditional Goan lime-based plaster has a number of consequences. Unlike plaster, cement does not allow evaporation of moisture and will not allow the walls to breathe properly. This can lead to rising damp as ground moisture seeps up the walls, causing plaster to flake off and mould to grow. This is a huge problem in many old Goan houses. Furthermore, frescoes and decorative artwork on the buildings’ interior walls deteriorate and are often destroyed. Furthermore, when moisture is trapped in the building it often moves up to the roof beams where it contributes to decaying the timber.

When modern paint is applied to the external plaster or cement of the building, the porosity of the walls is further decreased. Traditional Goan lime-wash, on the other hand, unlike most modern paints, allows evaporation of moisture.

Another modern item often used in construction is corrugated iron sheeting (tin roofs as they are popularly known in Goa), but the use of this metal as roofing material, instead of the traditional locally made Goan /Mangalore tiles, causes buildings to heat up much more than they normally would and this warmth accelerates the rising damp and deterioration process, with disastrous effects for older buildinngs.

Traditional local Goan building materials, unlike their modern counterparts, have been chosen and developed with local Goan climatic conditions in mind. Furthermore, the techniques for the use of these traditional Goan materials have been refined over many generations. Buildings made with traditional Goan materials, being better suited to the hot and humid Goan climate are, contrary to popular assumption, cooler than those built with concrete.

In addition to the adverse aesthetic effect and their impact on the durability of Goan heritage buildings, the use of modern materials unfortunately leads to the loss of local Goan knowledge and traditional Goan construction methods, with adverse consequences for local skills development and cultural pride of both artisans and local Goan citizens.

My Mitaroy Goa Hotel, itself a 400 year old Portuguese Heritage Bungalow, is a prime example of a successful building restoration project in Goa. The restoration project demonstrates that there is a viable alternative to demolition of old Goan houses. Guests at my Mitaroy Goa Hotel can see how modern comforts can be accommodated into traditional Goan houses without detracting from its historic fabric and how restoration can be accomplished using traditional Goan materials and techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation of Goan artisans and craftsmen.

Miramar Beach and the environment

Photo Courtesy: ruggedanay.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/miramar-beach-goa
Photo Courtesy: ruggedanay.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/miramar-beach-goa

On the occasion of World Environment Day,one should look with the concern at the fragile ecosystem of Goa,which is not meant only to support Tourism¬† but as a means of livelihood for Goan fishermen.Goa’s marine life is under constant threat from human intervention.

Miramar beach is an estuary with different ecological and evolutionary history. Located just 3km from my Mitaory Goa hotel, it has always been recommended by me as a truly relaxing beach for the family to enjoy without any eve teasing/overflowing tourists This is because it did not have the usual Goa shacks or water sport activities.All this is going to change with the recent introduction of boat rides at the impromptu jetty for pleasure boats at one end of the beach.This has attracted huge crowds of tourists making it a public bus-stand like place with open air toilet,strewn garbage  and severe degradation of whatever green cover exists.The loud music played by the boats  adds to the noise pollution. The congestion in the strip shows the complete unawareness of the powers that be,of the importance of beachfronts in natural and man-made coastal disaster managements.Already the existing sand dunes have been damaged and the traditional fisherman have  stopped fishing since they could only catch garbage in their fishing nets.

Every citizen has a duty to protect the environment.I take this responsibility very seriously which is why my cleaning staff are made to clean not only my Mitaroy Goa hotel but the front,back and side access roads ,cutting weeds and tall grass.I have repeatedly petitioned the corporation to not only get rid of unwanted waste, but to make surrounding landowners level and clean unoccupied properties and urged my neighbors to keep the heritage zone of Fontainhas clean and noise free.

R.I.P Charles Correa (1930 ‚Äď 2015)

Photo Courtesy: https://durly.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/chistbal-manuel.jpg
Photo Courtesy: durly.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/chistbal-manuel

Charles Correa, Goa’s son of the soil and much loved icon passed away on 16th June. He was one of India’s greatest architects and urban planners designing various landmarks all over India and abroad. He was awarded the Padma Shri,the Padma Vibushan and the Royal Gold Medal for architecture by the Royal Institute of British Architects.

I have had an opportunity to visit the government office in his uniquely designed Visveswaraya Towers in my Bangalore hometown and the Mahatma Gandhi memorial at Sabarmati Ashram.I have seen how his affordable housing has changed the face of the Dharavi slum. I¬† have attended the theatre and art exhibitions in Goa’s Kala Academy,which is ample evidence of his love of open spaces full of light and air.It was here that my father had an opportunity to meet him on the eve of the Golden Jubilee of the Liberation of Goa,,when Charles Correa was bestowed with Goa’s highest civilian honour, the Gomant Vibhushan.

I have benefited indirectly from his architectural genius.His protegee, Edgar D’melho probably acquired his love of¬† open spaces while working with him on his Bima Nagar Township in Bangalore.Edgar has been the architect of not only my Bangalore house so filled with light and air(we never need fans and hardly had to use lights till really dark)and the accoustics were wonderful. It also helped Edgar convert my heritage “cow shed “property in Goa into the beautiful open Mitaroy Goa Hotel with its high ceiling,allowing lots of light and air.Charles swore to never design a glass building and so did Edgar.

When my mother visited Toronto she made sure to visit one of Charles’ latest projects,¬† the Ismaili Centre and also was able to appreciate his McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT,Boston when she visited there.I can claim to be his neighbour in Goa,since he built his office in Fontainhas, quite close to my Mitaroy and next to the 400 year old St Sebastian Chapel.We have seen him there many times discussing projects with his staff.I have often admired his work at the Madgaon station when I land there to begin my Goan sojourn.

My parents remember fondly their close interaction with Charles and his lovely wife over cake and coffee after the Christmas. midnight mass in the St Sebastian Chapel 2 years back,discussing the beauty and uniqueness of the UNESCO heritage zone of Fontainhas of which we both are a part.Exactly a week back, while driving past Charles’ waterfront cottages at Verem,my father was thinking of offering my Mitaory Goa place to Charles in exchange for a cottage there watching the Mandovi meander amidst the hustle and bustle.But unfortunately this was not to be.

But I will always be thankful to Charles for the legacy he has left behind and for indirectly influencing the architecture of my Bangalore home and my heritage Mitaroy Goa Hotel.