Anna D’cruz & Frenny Fernandes
Photographs by Paul Colaco
Friday, February 5:
Temperatures were dropping down, weather was cloudy, cool & pleasant wind blowing with a threat of rain, yet Almighty God and Mother Mary did not let down the preparations SMKC Dubai had in place for all the picnickers of Year 2010.
Though the prediction of thunderstorm and rain was announced, the picnickers were there on time flocking the Zabeel Park, from 9.00 AM itself and by mid afternoon a gathering of 700 + along with children, along with mat and bat, cap and chairs, who lined up to enjoy the cool breezy Friday as ONE FAMILY- ONE COMMUNIY to enjoy the UNIQUE SMKC DUBAI PICNIC 2010.
The committee members began the day with a prayer after the set up of 500+ give away goodies and gifts galore. The crowd was welcomed by Jennifer Mascarenhas, the MAIN COORDINATOR of SMKC DUBAI. Nourishing breakfast of Idli-Vada Sambar and tea was provided at the start and the excitement began soon at around 10.30 AM with “Grouping by Places”. The warm up games identified KONKAN people belonging to various states along the coastal belt right up to other states such as Orissa and to other countries as Pakistan & Zimbabwe in the crowd.
This was followed by “Personality Game” and “Tossing of Balloons’ by people in pairs. As children trickled in after catechism classes at 11.30 AM, the second session for various age groups began. There were games that started from the tiny tots all the way to the Senior Citizens. In keeping with the local laws, the quiet period during the prayer time, was fruitfully utilized by our very own magician Antony Mascarenhas and his family, who enthralled the crowd by putting up an exciting show. This was followed by traditional lunch, and the most finger smacking “Voorn” that was relished by all .
After lunch, the crowd was regaled with the SMKC committee members, who dressed in the traditional costumes of the Konkan region. Be it the Padri with his hat or the Vaado Gurkaar , the Goan couple or even the laborer from the field, they were all there – walking to the music of Harry’s brass band that was so nostalgic of Mangalorean – Konkan culture.
SMKC picnickers had the privilege of sharing few moments with a distinguished guest – His Excellency Bishop Paul from Uganda along with one of our Sponsor, Mr. Walter Pereira.
The after noon session commenced with the Team games that grouped all the picnickers randomly into six teams based on the colored ribbons distributed among the crowd. This ensured that people split from their usual social circles and had a chance to mingle with new people forming new bonds. They had to select a team name and appoint their team captains. Every team performed brilliantly and creatively in the various chalked competition that finally contributed towards the championship. At the start they had to form SMKC in human form, test of Konkani fluency in kitchen items, mad-ad creative performance on the spot and different dance styles to a CD track.
The winning team, people with GREEN band followed by blue and then Red bands walked away with gifts from our sponsors, SAPIL & Al Sharq Al Aqsa Products such as Luna milk, juices and assorted biscuits. There were even spot prizes for various unusual turn ups such as pregnant lady, youngest baby, oldest participant, singing kids, catwalk of oldies and youngsters, belly dancing men, etc. The much awaited bingo created more excitement to the test of luck to win fabulous prizes such as huge Spinney’s and Woolworth’s Hampers. Thanks to our Main Sponsors - Merit Freight Systems Co. LLC & Integrated Freight & Logistics LLC.
The program was hosted by Jennifer and Norbert who personified the SMKC mission “Wipe a tear, bring a smile” now and then and kept the audience rapt with attention and gave an opportunity for all to win gifts at various intervals.
The Vote of thanks was rendered by Vincent Pereira, the Vice-Coordinator of SMKC - Dubai.
As a grand finale, DJ Wendell spinned some pulsating Baila & Punjabi music that brought the young and old alike onto the GRASS floor, with their latest hip hop and moves & shakes that attracted half the park and then some more spectators even joined in the fun.
That’s how SMKC works – welcoming one and all and trying to bring those smiles on faces not only on downtrodden but fostering good relationship among people !