Fr Carlos Luis
If you are a Konkani-lover, who is always on the lookout for literature in the language, the offerings of Dr Tanvi Kamat Bambolkar might pique your curiosity, with her offerings of poetry, plays, short stories and more.
Hailing from Bandora, Ponda, Dr Bambolkar, recently published four Konkani books namely Paavli (a poetry collection), Shots (a short story collection), Logout and Anwani (plays) which touch upon relationship, gender roles and the plight of migrants.
The books in Konkani address various issues and problems that people go through in their daily life.
Dr Bambolkar holds a PhD in folk theatre and is currently a lecturer at the Government College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Quepem. She has worked as a newsreader and translator at All India Radio, Panaji, for a few years and also experimented with anchoring.
Apart from that, she has been involved with theatre since childhood, thanks to her father, Shridhar Bambolkar, a well-known theatre personality from Goa. Her play Logout won her the first place in scriptwriting at the Kala Academy Drama Competition in 2022.
Here are some excerpts from an interview:
Who has been your inspiration to write?
My father has been the first inspiration and motivation to do all sorts of creative arts that I indulge in. My whole family has been a huge support in the whole process. I seek my inspiration also from people around me, describing myself as “people person”. This makes me a better writer. My friends, my bus journeys and the rains have also been my huge inspiration.
Your poetry collection Paavli, short story collection Shots and two-act play Logout contain facets of relationships – traditional and modern. What according to you is the essence of a relationship given the modern times?
I think relationships today have changed drastically as compared to what they used to be in the olden times. Today, people are clear about what they want in their partners, yet somehow they are caught in the dilemma of whether to adopt new strategies or stick to traditional forms of relationships. Probably that’s what makes a lot of relationships “complicated”.
You also speak about marriage and sexual abuse in your short story collection, Shots. What do you think has happened to the natural institution of marriage?
Marriage is changing its facets. Today, it is not anymore just an arrangement between two families, but the people getting into this contract communicate much more than what they used to before. The gender roles have also changed. Or rather they need to be changed, since many women are handling house-hold chores and their careers. It is high time men realise that home and career are for both genders. Marriage without shared responsibilities is exploitative in a way, according to me.
According to Yaa Gyasi, the author of Homegoing, “Home can never really be a place. It is this thing that you carry inside of you.” You speak of a migrant couple taking a journey to go to a place that they call their “home”. What according to you is “home”, and what aspect of a home did you explore in this story?
I think that’s a difficult question to answer, especially for women, who mostly have two “homes” in their lives – the kulaar and the sasuraal! What I explore in Anwani is the need that often occurs due to the feeling of lack of belongingness. Humans have always wanted to belong somewhere, a place they usually call “home”. Migrants often “migrate” to make their lives better, they create new “homes”, yet there are times where those homes no more feel like the “home” where they belong. So to answer your question, I think home is where you feel you belong!
Did you face any difficulty while writing these books?
Writing the second play, Anwani, was difficult as it was not personal like the other works. I had to research the migrant exodus and had to empathise with their lives. Writing about something that you haven’t experienced is the most difficult thing for a writer.
What’s next in the pipeline?
Drama is my favourite of all, and currently I am carrying out research for a drama that I would like to write next. I feel there is a dearth of women playwrights in Goa, especially in Konkani. I would like to fill up that void, breaking out of the male-dominated structure of writing drama and creating a space of my own.