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Stories through songs


At the second day of Goa Arts and Literature Festival (GALF) author, Heta Pandit released her book ‘Grinding stories: songs from Goa’ – an English translation of verses, songs sung by Goan storytellers especially the women of Goa.

Speaking about the book, Heta Pandit said: “The book is a collection of songs sung, written and composed by the women of Goa. The songs which are also known as ‘Oviyos’ in Marathi and Konkani were quite popular and would be sung over the grinding stone, a household chore marking the start of the day for the women.”

She then mentioned about the meaning behind the songs and said that each song tells a tale of the pain, sorrow and happiness the women went through. “A girl in Goa would be married at an early age of 8 and move to a new home where she had no clue about anything going to happen to her. She would miss her maternal home so much but she would rarely get to go back. Only once she delivers a child she would go back as an adult,” she said.

“All these things were quite difficult and saddening for women back then and as an author I felt that it was something that needed to be told and therefore, I decided to translate the women. The songs and the stories tell about the pain, happiness, sadness and all the emotions women went through and the grinding stone in the background would act as a percussionist,” added Heta.

She then said that in such a way she wishes to relate both the troubles of a woman with the grinding stone. “In life we all go through a lot of pain and suffering and the grinding stone performs a similar function wherein the rice is ground until it becomes fine powder and that’s how I have tried to the link the two elements that even women go through the same pain and suffering,” she said.

In the book there are various areas where one can find glimpses of Kaavi art. Stating that this form of art is dying in Goa, Heta who is also an independent researcher and worked on highly endangered Kaavi murals found in Goa said: “It is sad that this art form is dying and most of the patterns which we have captured have been from Karnataka and it was very hard to Photoshop and work to get the original work from Goa.”

In the book one can find stories of brother and sister as Heta has intentionally tried highlighting the bond siblings shared back then.

It was not very easy for Heta and team to gather information but once they built a rapport they managed to build a connection and that’s how the women narrated their life stories and incidences to them.



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