Bandra Fair. It’s Always The Same Thing

1

It’s always the same thing. Year after year. That is, if you’re Catholic. More if you’re Goan. Even more if you’re a Goan living in Bandra. Or Orlem. Or IC. You get the point.

It’s always the same thing. First you check the Mass timings on Sunday. These days I get it as a forward on WhatsApp. Better if it’s the high mass. The long one. That’s the one by the Bishop. So yeah.

2

It’s always the same thing. You take a rick to Bandstand. I used to drive, but too many parking issues. This year I’ll probably Ola or Uber. Depends on who doesn’t have surge. You get off next to SRK’s house. We’ve been coming here before it was SRK’s house. A steep walk up to the Mount. I noticed it takes dad longer to climb every year. I’m wondering how much of an effort it will be for him this year. And whether or not he will choose to show it.

It’s always the same thing. We walk past the ‘kaadio boodiyo’ and ‘black chanaa’ stalls. Past the ‘tattoo artists’. Artists who tattoo the Cross or the Cross with bleeding heart on newly minted first holy communicants. Like me, some 100 years ago.

3

It’s always the same thing. Buy a few candles; or when I had an infected ear, ‘a ear’. Or maybe a ‘brain’ — just once we did that I think. And then the jostle to get into the quadrangle. Through aunties and uncles and kids and nanas. All smelling of perfume and sweat. One Mass ending, another beginning.

4

It’s always the same thing. Hoping you caught the beginning of Mass not the middle. Because then you would have to go through one and a half Mass. The singing is rousing, the televisions screens bigger. Sometimes the sermons are mechanical, sometimes interesting.

It’s always the same thing. Stand in the long queue to make your offering and kiss Our Lady’s feet. To make our intentions. In silence. To talk to Our Lady and ask her to give me 75% in Xth. Let me find love. Get a bigger car. Let me be happy. Help me find peace.
Dad always calls it the Mount. He grew up in the neighbourhood. So maybe it was a run up for him. I don’t know, I never asked.

It’s always the same thing. The elation of having made it through Mass, the long line, the sweat and finally making it to the canteen. We have earned the oily Mutton Pattice. The Pepsi. Now it’s fair time. Time to walk the down the Mount Mary steps. There are 136 steps in all. I counted. No I didn’t. I Googled. More crowds. But I’m not a kid now and nobody needs to hold my hand. I won’t get lost at the Bandra Fair.

It’s always the same thing. Stall to stall. Bargaining and finally buying hot black chanaas. Sweet kadiyo boodiyos. I prefer the brown ones to the white.
And toys. Remote Control helicopter. But mostly bubbles. Now I’ll just walk down stalls watching parents convince their kids that the next shop has better (cheaper) stuff.

5

It’s always the same thing. Walk in to September Garden. What a quaint name. It’s actually just the quadrangle of Mount Carmel’s church. Dad says they don’t have the Whist Drive anymore. It’s a dance. They haven’t had it for the last 30 years.

It’s always the same thing. We have to walk toward Mehboob Studios and hope we get a rick. Dad talks about the house he grew up in. In the lane opposite Mount Carmel. Joseph Cottage.

It’s always the same thing. I ask if we should go see if it’s still there. No he says, maybe next time.

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