The Moti Talao Festival has grown over the last five years. The festival is held at one end of a huge manmade lake in Sawantwadi, a rainwater harvesting structure that stores water that drains in from the surrounding hills during the monsoons. The concept of the festival has been inspired by the Konkan Fruit Fest (KFF) in which members of Syamantak’s ‘school without walls’ have been participating in for more than a decade. It was a privilege to meet Sachin and Meenal Desai, his father Anand and daughter Mrunal last weekend at the festival this year. We coordinated to avoid a clash of dates but that was really not necessary this year.
Botanical Society of Goa (BSG) has facilitated the Konkan Fruit Fest in Panaji since May 2003. The students of horticulture from the YCMOU – Nashik centre in Mapusa were the backbone of the event in the initial two years. The student volunteers of Government College, Khandola; Carmel HSS, Nuvem and other member institutions have helped inform the visitors about the fruits and plants since 2005. The students of Don Bosco College of Agriculture (DBCA), Sulcorna have made their presence felt since 2016 while RCPR School of Agriculture, Savoi, Verem joined in 2017. With DBCA, Sulcorna as a partner this year, it was anticipated that the KFF would provide a great opportunity for the students to explore and display their talents. It was not to be. Promises and pie-crusts are made to be broken. And the Konkan Fruit Fest has been cancelled this year. The new executive committee of the Botanical Society of Goa simply has to find a more reliable partner and move on.
The members of Swayam-Syamantak are likely to be at the ‘Purumentachem Fest’ at Ravindra Bhavan, Margao, on May 25 and 26 with their speciality ‘Red Hibiscus Cooler’ handmade with organic sugar. It can be mixed with water or soda to make a refreshing drink or added to mocktails and cocktails or simply added to urrak or ice-cream. A new product this year is the ‘Wood Apple Cooler’ made from the bael fruit that belongs to the citrus family and is known to prevent heatstroke. So will some other vendors who had prepared jams, juices, pickles and candies for the Konkan Fruit Fest scheduled for the same dates in Panaji. The display of summer fruits will have to wait for another year, but Mankurad mangoes will be available at Ravindra Bhavan on May 12.
In the meanwhile, the good news is that the Chorao island’s Mankurad mangoes are going places and the Ravimangal Aamrai has begun marketing Ratna and Alphonso mangoes with two options: pick-up from Dona Paula or door delivery. Obviously, there is a price difference for the two options but one can easily gift these close-to-nature mangoes to friends in Mumbai or Bengaluru without struggling with the logistics. I am fussy about the mangoes I eat but when it comes to these mangoes – I cannot stop at eating just one!