Friday, November 5, 2010

Fo(u)R Delight!

My recollections of the Annual AFA Science Picnic to Abbey Marine Fish Aquarium, Goa Chitra Museum, Panjim Doordarshan and All India Radio on 3rd November, 2010.

Seeing the strength in the numbers of members, a score strong, one would have wondered if the same group had been on a trek to Keri just three days back. For one reason or the other, this Science Picnic underwent change in schedules and venues, but as it was an annual feature, it was to be. Turning through the corner to Junta House and seeing almost nobody (applies for animals, too), my fear of it not happening gave me goosebumps, for I had missed school. It was later when I saw 'the' group of senior members that i was assured of a FunDay. Ok, Let's get it straight out. I want this to be a concise report. Back to the picnic.

Well, the 'undisclosed' suspense of venues was 'disclosed' after Sir stepped in. He took names of 4 places - Abbey Marine Fish Aquarium, Goa Chitra Museum, Doordarshan and All India Radio. While I had an idea of the latter two, I was in no clue about the former. After discovering that two students had just 'popped in' AFA, sir decided it was best to take them with us! We fitted in snugly into the small bus, ironically named 'Omkar Travels', for Omkar was not there, for reasons alike. The prospect of discussing some Quantum Mechanics with my seniors had excited me, and in no way could I let go of this discussion. The 'Square One' which i had brought amazed a few, while others got pakofied over it.

Talks lapse time. That's just what happened. After devouring Patties and talk, talk, talk we finally reached Stop No. 1 - Abbey Marine Fish Aquarium, a place I had never heard of. Photographers wanted some 'Fishy' snaps, while others were content to touching and seeing fish in the aquarium, which was the size of your average museum. They contained all types of fish with a mix of lobsters, turtles and eels. The tour was rounded up in an hour, and after a brief photo session with two inanimate statues, we hopped back in the bus, this time around instead of Quantum Mechanics, the discussions split in various subjects.

Ok, with 3 more stops to go, we headed on to Goa Chitra Museum, founded by artist and curator Victor-Hugo Gomes, which has a large collection of over 4000 artifacts focusing on Traditional Goa's agrarian technology and lifestyle. Finding the museum was a 'discovery' in itself, and after a bit of asking, retracing, searching and retracing... we reached the place. Among the long list of its benefactors we found the name of Sir Percival Noronha - AFA's founding father! The place had stringent and wacky rules and a complex list of aims and objectives. Though a little crammed up (for 20 people), the still-expanding project had a wonderful location and an even vast collection of traditional Goan items. After a guided tour to the museum, we had a little pep-talk and meet with Victor-Hugo Gomes, the man behind the project. The larger than life dog(s) there too caught our eye, and as we were prohibited from clicking photos inside the place, members were content with the pics of the dogs.

With the places in South Goa done with, we had a short stop at the Mahalasa Temple, Mardol. It was a wonderful complex, with an ancient stone statue and a modern temple. Satish Sir told us a brief history of the first cross in Goa, which was the very foundation of Christianity in Goa. On the way, the heavens broke up, and by the time we reached Hotel Vihar (our lunch adda), it was raining cats and dogs. These very cats and dogs somewhat left us in a circumplex mode, for Doordarshan had planned a sweet little question - answer session on very basic astronomy - which was deemed cancelled as it was outdoors.

We reached stop no. 3 - Doordarshan. It was quite familiar being on my daily Schoolbus route, and our member Pratham's father was ever-glad to show us around. First on, we went to the transmission room, which dealt with the transmission of DD 1 and DD 2 through consoles which received the signals of the grand antennas. To demonstrate a console control, Mr. Hirave (our guide for that room) dimmed and brightened Doordarshan for a few seconds! We were showed the 1 and 10 kilowatt transmitters, after which we went to the studio and the master control room. The respective programmes are pre-recorded in the studio, monitored and edited in the control room and then broadcasted on the desired day. We saw the programme 'Natya Sangeet' being recorded with the leading singer singing 'Daamru Daamru Omkar Nath...' (again, Omkar was not there!). With our recording being cancelled, we headed on to Stop. No. 4 All India Radio, just a few blocks away.

All India Radio, also owned by Prasar Bharati is famous for 'Aakashwani', 105.4 FM and 1287 AM. We were lead in the transmission room, which contained 2 consoles, similar to the ones found in Doordarshan earlier. After a brief question answer session on the working and clearing whatever concepts were to be cleared, we were lead into the Tape Library room. A surprise followed. We saw shelves and shelves of CDs, Cassettes, Records and ancient albums! We were even more surprised on learning that the public had access to these! We then had a minute 'recording' done in the Announcer room, with me and Raj speaking gibberish, from mimicking Stephen Hawking to shouting orders about Waving Hands! With that done, and after a group photograph, we new that we had neared the end of this short adventure.

What a hell of a day it was! Around Goa in 8 hours, literally! That was it and That was all, we reached our second home, and dispersed like Nothing had Happened at All!!!

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