There is no doubt that Mario De Miranda’s cartoon on this topic is way better than mine! But then he was a maestro at observation, emphasis and exaggeration!

I remember when I was a young boy, whenever we went to Utorda during vacations, my father would drag me along to the Cansaulim ‘Tinto’ (Market Square) to buy provisions for a Sunday fest at home. We would leave early in the morning so that we could catch the best ‘Potantulem’ (Pork inards – Liver, Heart, ears, cheeks …. hmmm ugh right?) before it could get swiped out! If any of you don’t know, your favourite ‘sorpotel’ is made from these spare-parts!).

Then there was loads of fish to bargain for, under the covered shed, which somehow rightly or wrongly carries the name ‘Tinto’ although the who marketplace is really a ‘tinto’! Fruits and vegetables would be brought in fresh from Belgaum via train (The Cansaulim station is right next to the marketplace!). The good thing about accompanying my father to the market was that he was extremely impatient but knew exactly what to buy and our shopping was done in a jiffy! The bad thing was that he hated to carry anything in his hands and so his ‘martial artist’ son had to exercise his muscles a bit!

What i loved (and still love) about the ‘Tinto’ (Any Tinto that is!), is the happy animation that unfolds before your eyes – Cows, dogs, cats, pigs, rats, crows, sparrows and even human beings are seen sauntering lazily around the marketplace. Sounds of, “Bai tuka mhunn ditam huh?” (I am only giving it to you at this price ok?), and sometimes even, ” Bonkam Chincharo!” ( Tamarind seed in the bum! … meaning, miser), are heard over the cacophony of voices. Little kids selling thin plastic bags press through the crowds, coaxing you to buy one for a meager sum just as you are closing a deal. Then there are the lottery sellers who raise the hopes of everyone by saying, “Aiz abertur, Bab tuka lagtolich!” (Results today! You are sure to win!). Then there are beggars who bless and others who go straight to the bar with your ‘izmol’ (Mite) for a ‘cop’ (a shot of licquor)! And of course, ladies have to watch out for the ‘compradores’ (Elbow specialists) who will take great pleasure in jabbing your softies with their elbows! The good thing about the marketplace is that almost everything needed for your survival in a village will be available there. For electronic items, hardware and building materials (other than small appliances and tools), one would have to go to the town of Margao. Even doctors’ ‘consultorios'(Clinics)  would be located close to the market place.

Once all the shopping was done, men and women alike would hire a motorcycle ‘pilot’ to take you home (I have covered the ‘Pilots’ in a separate post!). They would take my father and me ‘doubleseat’! (It was quite common to do this in those days).

I hope you have time to stand and gaze at a ‘Tinto’ the next time you go to one. I am sure you will find many ‘Taitr’ (Plays) announcements stuck onto the pillars. Do go for one and support our dear ‘Tiatrists’ (Local Actors).


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