Konkani is a language spoken by people from many religions and cultures but when Konkanis unite on one platform, it becomes ?Konkani Culture?.
Efforts have been on to keep Konkani culture alive through various Konkani associations the world over. There are also many Konkani based websites and social networking groups within ORKUT and Facebook.
Perhaps no other Konkani networking group has achieved the popularity and variety over a short span of time like Broad Minded Konkanis (BMK) and Konkani Amchi Food (KAF) on Facebook. These groups are bustling with activities almost 24x7x365. People from different time zones keep these groups alive with their posts, pictures, recipes, quiz and exchange of ideas.
BMK Home Page on Facebook
Broad Minded Konkanis (BMK) was the brainchild of Kudpi Raj a Multimedia Professional and was motivated by S Mukund Kamath, Managing Director of Ideal Ice Creams. Earlier, they were active together in a group called Amchigele Bindaas Community (ABC) within ORKUT started by Kudpi Raj which is still active. Mukund Kamath wanted a similar group in Facebook but Kudpi Raj went a step ahead and started BMK to unite all Konkani speaking people. BMK has members from Saraswat, Catholic Christian, Bunt, Navayat Muslim, Jain and other communities who speak Konkani. They share their knowledge, creativity, experiences and project them through pictures within the group. 474 member strong BMK group is restricted as far as membership is concerned, and all the 5 administrators ensure that members are accepted by virtue of their background and references. Those below 18 years of age are not allowed to join unless their parents/guardians approve. There is neither scope for fundamentalist views nor ground for advertising or use of abusive language. BMK is intended to have clean fun and to promote creativity.
Admins of BMK Group
Today, Mukund Kamath, Shyamala Kini, Narayan Kamath and Seema Bhandarkar have been supportive to Kudpi Raj as admins in maintaining the decorum within BMK group.
BMK Duet Challenge Certificates
BMK has various activities ranging from chatting to singing and dialogue competitions. There are spicy topics like Antakshari and Nickname for the members. There are poets with an Urdu poem or a sonnet here and there, some philosopher with thought for the day, someone with a forwarded or self narrated joke, or even a painter, candle designer, embroider or Mehndi artist exhibiting their works. They are all found here in BMK. Some senior citizens young at heart mingle with all age groups and share their knowledge and humour with others. Much emphasis has been given to learn Konkani language and colloquial usages within. Senior member s like Konchady Vasanth Pai and Anuradha Mudlagiri Kamath have been guiding the members with their knowledge and experience. People help each other when visiting places with proper guidance or personal assistance.
Periodically, Duet Challenge, a singing competition is held for which, Mukund Kamath has initiated and sponsored the prizes and certificates. Dialogue Challenge is a concept started by Kudpi Raj. A short video clip from any popular film is linked on BMK wall. Members have to write the script in Konkani and record the dialogues so as to match the mood of the characters and synchronise well with the lip movement of the actors in the video clip. So far, three Duet Challenge and two Dialogue Challenge competitions have been conducted by BMK. Kudpi Raj has promoted Dialogue Challenge by editing the tracks and dubbing them with the video. Final results are announced after consulting experts in the field of singing and recording to judge the abilities of the competitors.
BMK Dialogue Challenge Results
Mukund Kamath?s passion for singing and acting has made him a fine artist today. His record breaking song ?Why This Thingalavre Bi? sung in Konkani to the tune of ?Kolaveri Di? by Dhanush in Tamil has been a super hit and has crossed 6500 hits within 18 hours of uploading the song in Lafango.com. Mukund Kamath attributes his singing to BMK group which inspired him to revive his passion in singing that he had lost touch with, since many years.
Here?s the link to that song –
Mukund Kamath in News with his Konkani song
Mukund Kamath loves singing Kishore Kumar songs and has learnt Hindustani Classical singing as well. He has released a Konkani devotional songs CD produced by Swarashree Kala Vedike Trust under the guidance of his Guru Vasanthi R Nayak.
Mukund Kamath recording his Konkani Devotional song
Some of the members settled abroad have found an escape from ennui after joining BMK. They too contribute significantly in terms of jokes anecdotes and pictures, and have posed many quiz subjects over the last few months of their active involvement. Many talented female singers have participated in singing competitions and have won prizes. Few others have highlighted their talents by singing solo and translated Konkani songs.
Bhavya Prabhu, a young woman serving to teach slum kids in Pune was identified by Kudpi Raj when she joined BMK. Her activities have already been highlighted in mangalorean.com –
Konkani Amchi Food (KAF): Raj (Rajesh) Nayak is a Techie from Udupi working in Washington DC. He and his wife Shilpa Nayak are ardent lovers of Konkani food and culture. Being a software engineer himself, Raj came out with the idea of opening a group in Facebook called Konkani Amchi Food (KAF) to showcase Konkani recipes and pictures. For a start, few of his friends in Facebook joined and uploaded their recipes and pics. They also opened a few discussion topics related to Konkani culture within the group. Within days and months, the group expanded and after almost two years of its inception, today KAF has over 7200 members with more than 6000 pictures on food uploaded by the members and thousands of traditional GSB and Catholic Konkani recipes apart from global cuisines highlighted by enthusiastic male and female members settled all over the world, thus coming together on one platform to share their cooking expertise!
KAF Home Page on Facebook
Some of the recipes are time tested and quite a few food bloggers have emerged from KAF or have landed in KAF to exhibit their talents and a few others post mouthwatering recipes in KAF. Popular recipes by Kudpi Raj such as Chicken Kubera, Vegetable Cutlets and Prawn Ghee Roast have found space in diaries of hundreds of kitchens through KAF. Some of the regulars like Seema D Shenoy, Vinoda Nayak and Shwetha Prabhu have appeared in TV cookery shows.
There are regular contributors of recipes in KAF apart from hundreds of others partaking in discussion, and their number is increasing by the day! Those settled abroad have a taste of Indian treats while those in home land get a chance to see the exotic fare of western and oriental cuisine and also come across ingredients not much known to home makers living in semi urban and rural India. Mangalorean delicacies like Daalithove, Pathrode, Buns, Rotti, Pundi, Sannas, Sorpotel, Fish masala fried, Biryani, Kebab, Puli Munchi, Appams, Semige, Ade, Khottige and many more dishes are presented apart from Qasedilla, Pasta, Pizza, Cakes and Pastries, Souffl?, Chowmein, Fried rice, Manchurian, Schezuan and Arabian delicacies. Hundreds of varieties of desserts are displayed with top notch presentation. Experiences are shared and kitchen tips and tricks are discussed. Whenever anyone asks for a recipe or has doubts regarding cooking a particular dish or about a particular ingredient, KAF members follow up immediately and fulfill the demand. It is like a virtual global family sharing a big kitchen!
Typical KAF Profile Pic
Raj Nayak says, he was inspired by homely food that his mother used to cook in traditional way and being a good photographer himself, he started clicking pictures whenever he and Shilpa cooked something or when they were invited for potluck parties at Konkani households in the US. Most of the members started developing interest in taking pictures of their dishes and that gave them a scope for improving their presentation and photographic skills. Professional photographer Rajan Ugrankar from Mumbai has been guiding the members about photographic angles and lighting. Today, Shyamala Kini, an Entrepreneur hailing from Mangalore, settled in Vishakhapatnam is the Administrator who solely manages the group. She has brought innovation such as ?Weekly Theme Cooking? with a variety of themes. Select pictures of recipes submitted by the members during the week are made Profile Picture (PP) of KAF group. She has also promoted food related quiz that has been sensational and highly popular with the members.
Raj and Shilpa Nayak with their Kids
KAF has been inspirational to many housewives and newly married women in achieving finesse in cooking and housekeeping. Members from different castes, creeds and cultures have joined KAF and they share the joy of togetherness, thanks to the tireless efforts of Raj Nayak and Shyamala Kini.
Shyamala Kini shared her experience with Mangalorean.com and said that she was never keen on joining KAF in the beginning. It was Ganesh Kini her husband, who inspired her to join this group where she could feel good with her passion for cooking. There were only 67 members when she joined KAF and she started posting her cookery posts; at the same time she encouraged the members to post their own recipes and pics. Many enthusiastic people came out with lovely recipes. Seeing her active participation and wholehearted contribution, one day Raj and Shilpa Nayak made her the administrator and ever since she never looked back. She had full support from her husband and also from the members in KAF. She started announcing themes for cooking, motivating members and thus had a terrific response. Her passion for cooking made her do wonders here. Initially her husband helped her to click pics of the dishes and post them in the group but now she manages on her own. It?s been a wonderful culinary journey for her and she has made wonderful friends here and also has learnt a lot in life. Now she feels overwhelmed to see KAF flourishing. ?Thanks everyone for their wonderful support?, says Shyamala Kini with a wide grin!
BMK and KAF members meet at various places, may it be California, Singapore, Dubai, Mumbai, Puttur, Bangalore, Mysore or Mangalore. There have been at least a dozen meetings that have brought BMK and KAF members closer and Mukund Kamath is the motivating factor acting as the common denominator to hold such meetings in Mangalore, most of them at Ideal Caf? and a few at other Multi cuisine Restaurants.
Speaking to Mangalorean.com, Mukund Kamath said BMK group has plans to open a Radio Blog soon and promote budding Konkani talents in singing and performing with due reward. Songs using karaoke tracks and radio plays with dialogues will be highlighted on the radio Blog. Popular dramas by eminent Konkani playwrights will be given importance. In the future, as the membership grows, founder of BMK also has plans to open a Charitable Trust to help young talents from poor family background to pursue their training.
Things don?t remain the same for Konkanis. Their creativity has found a new horizon through BMK and KAF. Konkani has thus emerged as one of the most powerful languages for communication, entertainment and to bridge cultural gap today, thanks to social networking groups such as Facebook.
Author: Team Mangalorean