By Maria de Lourdes Bravo da Costa Rodrigues
NoMoZo, that Is No Motor Vehicle Zone is brainchild of Amchi Panaji, an association of Panaji city lovers, to convince people that the solution to traffic congestion lies not in widening roads to accommodate more cars, but to replace every 30 cars with a city bus, dedicated cycle lanes and pedestrians paths.
NoMoZo initiative is a designated length of road where adults, children, senior citizens and differently abled people can freely walk, cycle, jog, roller skate, exercise, play, explore and meet fellow citizens.
Therefore, Amchi Panaji’s long term objective is the notification of a permanent NoMoZo in Panaji city.
The event, conceptualised by 'Aamchi Panaji' to deal with excessive vehicular movement in the capital city, was wholeheartedly backed by the Corporation of the City of Panaji. Its success was largely due to an enthusiastic citizenry who assembled there with all kinds of things - bicycles, tricycles, roller skates, badminton rackets and cricket bats. The first such event took place on May 13 at Campal along the Dayanand Bandodkar Marg, a busy city road.
The second one was organised at the 18thJune road, which I attended, as unfortunately I could not make it to the first one at Campal. The next one will be held again on 18thJune road on Sunday, July 15.
Being a city girl and living off the 18thJune Road brought back memories when every Sunday, the road of my house, the Malacca Road, today’s Pissurlencar Road, was a NoMoZo for us kids and youth of the locality. A broad road with almost very little traffic on a Sunday was an ideal place for us to play football, khoindo bhal, logorio or catching the cook. It was not possible to play with a standard football as there was little money with us kids to buy one. The alternative was to make a cotton ball. An old sock was used to make a ball and it was stuffed with bits and pieces of cloth found at a tailor’s shop. On 18thJune road there was a tailor from where we got the supply for our balls. Later my neighbour let out a part of his shop to a tailor and we could stuff the sock with bits and pieces available at this new shop. In villages the children would use husk powder to make a ball. Some mischievous children would add pebbles in the stuffing to hit hard.
Making a good ball was an art. Remnants were stuffed in the sock and pressed and then hit on the ground till it hardened and then more would be added till no more could be stuffed. Only a quarter of the sock was filled and tied with a string. The remaining sock was turned over the filled area and the edges stitched closely and neatly. The ball was ready to play with.
This ball had multipurpose use. We would play football, sometimes cricket and of course for playing logorio (7 tiles).
I attended the second NoMoZo and was wondering why traditional games were not incorporated in the area by organisers. I had started writing about it soon after, but somehow remained without sending it to the press. However, when I met Daniel de Souza on Sunday, July 8, and he told me that this time organisers have decided to have traditional games for children and teenagers, I decided to finish the article and get it published. This would also be an opportunity to revive many games that are not played or are forgotten.
My suggestions would be to have the game of logorio, which is very lively and challenging for players. Likewise the Khoindo bhal could also be played by teenagers but not children as it could be little dangerous for them. What about a game of marbles for kids, teenagers, and why not the adults? We are at the NoMoZo to enjoy the morning and show solidarity. Just trying to hit a marble or trying to put it in a ‘mil’ (hole) would be entertaining. That may be difficult since the road is tarred and a ‘mil’ cannot be made. Instead, a circle could be drawn and players could be asked to throw from a distance. However, my friend, Marianita came with an idea. If there is a pothole, insert a coconut shell and cover the sides neatly with mud. And lo and behold, you have a decent mil!
Another interesting game would be ‘running across’ or ‘dog and the bone’ and we could end with tug of war.
So here’s to an entertaining day at NoMoZo, reminiscent of the days gone by when we had the time to catch up with friends for a bit of fun on Sundays.