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Highlighting the Goan diaspora in Kuwait

NT BUZZ

The Panaji-based ‘Out of Context – The Book Club’ will meet on June 22, 5 p.m. to discuss ‘Karmelin’ by Goan author Damodar Mauzo at Alliance Francaise, Altinho, Panaji. Mauzo himself will be present and will speak about the book.

‘Karmelin’ which won Mauzo the Sahitya Academi Award in 1983, follows the fortunes of its eponymous protagonist Karmelin from the verdant villages of Goa to the sprawling metropolis of Kuwait. Karmelin is orphaned in childhood and is raised by relatives, falls in love and is betrayed, drifts into a loveless marriage to a wastrel and is reduced to abject poverty. But Karmelin will do anything for her daughter; even risk her reputation by working as a maid in Kuwait where she is sexually exploited. Karmelin bears everything with fortitude, desperate to leave her daughter untainted.
The novel also showcases the Goan diaspora in Kuwait, their trials and tribulations while trying to make a living with dignity.

Mauzo says the seeds of inspiration for this novel were sown in the late 70’s. “An innocent girl in her mid teens was a regular at my shop in Majorda. I found her different from other girls in respect of her rich attire, new BSA bicycle and liberal pocket money. She would often come with other girls in toe and offer them soft drinks or share her chocolate slab with them. People called her ‘Kuvetkarnigelem chedum’. Obviously, her mother was working in Kuwait. But the stigma attached to the term Kuvetkarn was noticeable,” he recalls. It was this that made him think and probe further into the predicament of the women going to gulf countries. ‘Karmelim’ was the outcome of this exercise.

The event is free and open to all.

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