Bring on the Tiatr, say Mumbaikar-Goans

(Please note: This is my weekly column that was first featured in The Goan on Saturday)

Price Jacob Tiatr

On one Tuesday in July, when it was pouring incessantly, I was heading to meet a journalist friend, Joanna Lobo. Joanna and I were planning to meet-up since a couple of weeks and then the best event was here, plus she was also assigned a story on this particular event. So she invited me to join her knowing how much I’d enjoy my evening. So wading through knee-deep flood water, I made my way to Damodar Hall in Parel. Oh, what event you ask? It was a tiatr (Konkani theatre)! And not just any other tiatr, but it was Price Jacob’s Pap Tujem, Prachit Mhoje (Your Sin, My Repentance).

The tiatr was scheduled to begin at 8:15pm. I reached the venue around 8pm, and Joanna was already interviewing Prince Jacob for her story. Till she returned I took a seat in the hall. I waited in the auditorium sitting with fear of whether the show will be cancelled or not considering the persistent rain. Joanna was done in five minutes and we headed to another room to interview some more veterans. As I stepped out, I confirmed if the show was still on. And well, of course it was on! Joanna and I weren’t sure if anyone was going to attend the show or not. But I was taken by surprise when I entered the auditorium that had housed just me and a couple of crew members a little while ago.

At first, I just peeped through the main door and voila! The hall was decently packed. Most of the seats were taken and we couldn’t spot an empty seat under the dim glow. Curtains were already raised and the show was about to begin. Luckily, two seats were reserved for us. But I must confess that I underestimated our Goans. I would never have imagined everyone to brave ceaseless rain and come to watch a tiatr. But that’s the craze about Price Jacob, I believe. Considering that the king of comedy comes with his shows to Mumbai only twice a year, no one wanted to miss it for a thing!

The show began with a couple of songs followed by a family in the middle of a dispute. Everything went hush and all eyes looked in only one direction — the stage. The tiatr was three-hour long, and everyone had already come prepared for the performance. What do I mean? As soon as the curtains dropped at interval, elderly aunties started opening up their bags and pulled out tiffins filled with typical Goan snacks. The faint air in the hall carried the aroma of fish cutlets, chicken sandwiches, sanaas and everything that set my mouth watering. This episode reminded me of my childhood days when I used to accompany my grandmother to tiatr practically every month. She would carry something delicious for me to munch on.

I couldn’t stop laughing every time Price Jacob and his brother hit the stage with their witty songs and dialogues. Nothing could transport me to Goa the way that evening did. And a huge round of applause to the audience. Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine such devoted spectators.

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