Restoration of the Mermaid at the Mermaid Garden in Panjim is something I would have never thought would be part of Goa ForGiving’s & Heritage Jazz’s agenda, but when noted cinematographer Shirish Desai spoke to me about it about a month ago, it triggered a sense of urgency in all of us especially since another coat of ugly paint was set to smother her looks, considering she was set for “repainting” due to the then soon to be held IFFI 2012.
What it was what it is
It is amazing that Shirish had this as part of his thought for a few years now, but when the time comes for something to hit centre stage, nothing can really stop that from happening. We then spoke to CCP Commissioner Sanjit Rodrigues & conveyed to him that we believed (I being the most recent convert to this line of thinking) that the sculpture was of marble. Not many people were ready to share this enthusiasm with us, & Sanjit was doubtful too, considering lack of agreement with this thought. However, he backed us, and when we went about taking out each of the 17 layers of paint that have deluged the mermaid over the past few decades, we got down to the core of the sculpture and then realized that it was made of porcelain. You can imagine how ecstatic we were about this great find, & I am personally thankful to Shirish for his deep conviction that it was not of cement but of something far more valuable and unique. Ghaneshyam Chari then joined our team & is still working on the mermaid for now more than 3 weeks, meticulously taking out the paint, repairing a few dents and restoring the mermaid to her former glory.
This find energized the CCP into doing up all the gardens in Panjim, & our beautiful city then witnessed an energy rarely seen, with landscapers and workers working on the gardens with renewed purpose. With Garcia de Orta already the Pride of Panjim, and with the Mermaid Garden now destined for even greater glory, the garden in front of the Collectorate got its due as well. With the F L Gomes Garden in Campal already done considering its proximity to the IFFI headquarters, a complete makeover is on the cards and I truly believe that Panjim should be designated as the Green and Heritage city of India where new Green thought prevails, thus engulfing the exciting energy that is pervading our city. Panjim can be the focal point of great change across our country & this can be triggered by simple things such as the revival of the heritage, the gardens & the waterways of this city. With the Campal Creek also set for complete overhaul, & with our Chief Minister also being the MLA of Panjim, it is quite evident that the new zeal displayed by the people of Goa can grow into something truly gigantic.
We plan for great festivity on Liberation day, the 19th of December later this month, with art, music, camaraderie, friendship and togetherness as part of the celebrations. After all, every city reflects the people of the place, and without doubt, Panjim sits gloriously on the beautiful Mandovi River, with all the glory of fantastic built heritage & natural God given beauty. Without doubt again, Panjim is truly one of the most beautiful cities across our nation, & with the new found energy of its beautiful people along with the strains of music, art and culture, coupled with its abundant natural assets, it is turning out to be one gigantic tsunami of positive thought that has the capacity of energizing our country. After all, there is nothing like a feel good factor, & there is no doubt that the people of Goa are feeling that high like never before.
What the Media had to Say!
The Times of India, 17th November 2012
OHeraldO, 20th November 2012
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