I woke up to drink a glass of water last night. I got out of bed and made my way to the kitchen in the dark until I reached for the light switch and was suddenly reminded that if you are lucky enough, the distinction between darkness and the light is nothing but an electric switch.
While some things come easy to us, there are others that we must fight for, or else they will be lost.
Yesterday, was May 20, 2023, the day that we, Goans, went to the beach and held the hands of people we had never seen before, an act of gathering in solidarity to form a human chain along the banks of our beloved river Mandovi to stand with our mother (Mhadei Amchi Mai).
Call it what you may, to some, it was a mere walk on the beach, but to the ones that cared, it was a social responsibility and the simple the sense of being territorial about what they believe is rightfully theirs.
If there is one thing that is certain, it is something that draws people and their community together when something dear to them is at stake, and when there is an external force to defeat.
The community engagement festival called Mhadei Amchi Mai was organised by the Earthvist Collective, in association with the Goa Heritage Action Group (GHAG) and the Save Mhadei Save Goa Front. Everybody attending was requested to wear the colours of the river - blue and white - and the people did so, gladly.
When the clock struck 4 pm, people from all sections of Goan society were seen gathering to witness the events held at the different venues. Making it all things Mhadei, people vibed to the melodious tunes of famed Goan singer, Hemaa Sardesai, and stood awestruck by poetry recitation, Bharatanatyam in the water and theatrical performances, not forgetting the highlight of the evening -- the human chain!
The event saw music, painting, chanting slogans and flashing posters and banners that read several messages in different fonts and languages, all of which had a singular, underlying message – Amchi Mhadei amka zai (We want our Mhadei for us).
Photographers were in their elements, capturing some of the most genuine moments to ever exist. Be it a group of ladies singing Mhadei-themed songs while playing the ukulele, people posing for the camera, holding up their placards as high as they possibly could and being unapologetically themselves.
In the end, yesterday was the day we went to the beach and held the hands of people we had never seen before. But something tells me that we will see each other again, maybe a little bit more tanned, but a whole lot happier than yesterday, no matter how many human chains it takes to #SaveMhadei.