Saturday, November 18, 2006

Balcao gossip and the need for more people to join in

Why are neighbours so curious?

I have no idea why they are so interested in what's going on in their neighbour, Mr/Ms ABC's life. ABC does not even bother to glance in their direction if he/she were to pass them by, but their interest in ABC never diminishes. If they had to put their curiosity and interest in the right place and in the right things, perhaps, they would have helped the cause of science with some pathbreaking discovery or invention. They would have ranked up there with Einstein and Newton and Edison. But alas! while Einstein focussed on relativity and Newton on gravity, their focus is gibberish. Anyways, much to the chagrin of ABC, and probably loss to science and mankind, their specialised area of interest and study is ABC's life and works. Dont lose heart, you can be the topic of their interest too. You only have to live in their neighbourhood! Thats all it takes to arouse their attention.

Would any of you be interested in sharing the responsibilities of neighbours ? Read on for more details


Goa has a tradition of 'Balcao' gossipping. The Balcao is the front porch in most Goan houses with cemented seats where neighbours congregate in the evening to discuss news and views and reviews on whats happening in the 'vaddo'(ward or street) and world. Conversation varies from Saddam Hussein to the present government and Salazar to the antics of the neighbouring wench who has been inviting the 'poder' (the man who sells bread house to house on his cycle) over for a cup of tea every morning as soon as he finishes with his rounds and hubby dearest has left for work and so on. Local affairs are discussed in more detail. World and national and state issues rank a very poor second when compared to local chinwag.

Speculations are rife, and rumours abound everywhere. Hearsay attains a lot of prominence. No one sees anything wrong in propagating a complete falsehood just for the sake of extra spice. Stories have all the elements, emotions and twists of TV soap operas. When the church bells toll at 7 in the evening, all move to their homes for Angelus, so the session is abandoned for the day to be resumed tomorrow, but not with everyone going home entertained, wisened and happy.

In recent times, Balcao gabfests do not occur with the same frequency and enthusiasm as maybe 10 years earlier. Not because of disinterest, but more because of lack of time. Most people have jobs to attend to, and children to look after. Those lucky enough, and devoid of other chores, happily engage and practice their story telling and listening skills. On the panel of these rather comprehensive discussion board (gossip balcao) are some distinguished and elderly ladies, and a few younger ones being groomed to take on the mantle of head panelists once the older ones fade away.

To keep up the tradition there is a need of young people (ideally female) to carry on the responsibities of balcao gossipping.


You need to have the following

1) Time - Lots of it. More than that, you should not have hobbies or interests that you can devote your extra time too. This way, the gossipping balcao group will not feel threatened that you may want to jump to something else sometime later as attrition sets in.

2) Curiosity - You must be born with it. Importantly, you must be curious about people, relationships, work and issues relevant to the topics of discussion, and strive to keep topics hotter and in vogue. Each time you unearth something, it will be your responsibility to organise a gabfest.

3) Garrulous - You must be blessed with the gift of the gab, demonstrating both flattery to induce people to part with their secrets and a scheming and conniving mind. It is tricky, but whoever said practice makes a man/woman perfect, was right and practice is what will help you get it right.

4) Imaginative - A fertile mind, exploring always the possibility of adding spice to make a hot topic even hotter and lip-smacking. Your ingenuity must be top notch if you aspire to become a head panelist someday.

Any takers?


Sundancer said...

I think I have this - 'A fertile mind, exploring always the possibility of adding spice to make a hot topic even hotter and lip-smacking.' :-)
Can I pass if I have a LOT of just that?

Jason said...

Send in your resume.. :)
I'll forward it to the HR Dept

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