Tuesday, November 3, 2009

'Pao'werful Poder

'Pao'werful Poder

By Nomratha Fernandes

Zooming past on his cycle with a basket laden with bakery bread enters the poder. Early mornings and late evenings in Goan villages will never miss the sound of his horn. It's not just the sound of the horn that gets us up to our feet with some modshe and a bag, it's also the prospect of having in hand crusty, hot and fresh pao, undo, poyi, katre, pokshie and the crisp kakon. It all seems even more appreciated in the rains.

The poder starts out from the bakery with his supplies and moves on to conquer the villager's hearts. He then goes back regularly for refills of goodness, depending on the rounds he makes. The rains don't seem to dampen their spirit, in fact they cover their baskets with blue or yellow plastic and the bread is still as hot as it was from the bakery. The basket that the bread is carried in are all traditional handmade cane baskets and some horns ..are pretty old, being handed over from one poder to another.., says Sushant.

Giselle D'souza, a friend studying in Mumbai said she actually misses the sound of the poders constant horning and when she comes down to Goa she waits near her window for the familiar sound. In villages the poder is somewhat of a necessity, even with the setting up of modern general stores. They have their regular customers. I think its because of the traditionality of it all. Also there is still a demand for Goan bread, says Ms Rodrigues, who faithfully buys bread from her poder everyday.

The village poder hasn't changed much with people buying on a regular basis and from their windows when it rains. The city on the other hand does have a need for the poder too and amidst the traffic he cycles to colonies and buildings where he places the bread in plastic bags that are tied to string and let down to him from a higher story. This is quite amusing to watch. Also poders provide to city shops and general stores, where on can purchase it from if they've missed him.

Many believed that when the Portuguese left the tradition of the poder would leave with them, but surprisingly the tradition stuck and was well accepted in Goa because it was a door-to-door service, also the bakery system and the ovens remained, families were altogether associated with bread making and the tradition continued. For many poor families the pao or undo is the cheapest food available. All these factors secured the poders activities in the villages and they then expanded to the city too. Restaraunts, hotels and eateries also do have a need for poders as many a tourist want to taste authentic goan bread.

It is a known fact that the life of a poder is hard and risky. There are times when demand is less and they have to return to the bakery with some of their produce. There are times when they have chest diseases due to long hours besides the oven. The competition is increasing and getting varied. But the tradition has continued. I sometime feel it is quite hard especially in the rains. But you get used to it after some time, says Sushant, a village poder.

Just like a hundred other goan traditions that are gradually diminishing I think poders should be patronised by the government. A small scale industry should be set up around it whereby losses are covered, equipment is repaired and they are provided with health care and proper leave. Services should not be taken for granted by a people, and more so a service that sustains the health and well-being! They should in fact be revered!


1 comment:

  1. This is the most disgusting article I've read. It is subjective..yuck




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A big e-welcome to you. Tumcam Maie-mogacho ieukar. Enjoy Life - This is not a rehearsal! Konkani uloi, boroi, vach ani samball - sodankal. Hich Goenchi osmitai ani amchem khalxelponn. Goenchi amchi Konkani bhas! Ekvottachem saddon Goenkaranchem. This is Gaspar Almeida from Parra, Bardez, Goa, based in Kuwait and am connected with the www.goa-world.com website created by Ulysses Menezes, and as Moderator of the famous first of its kind Gulf-Goans e-Newsletter (since 1994) and The Goan Forum and several Goan and Indian associations and forums and e-forums in Goa, India, Kuwait, The Middle East and worldwide.