For Saligao, a neat re-done children’s library…

The Saligao Institute [1] is now the properly inaugurated home to the Frank Simoes Children’s Library, that got inaugurated on Feb 24, 2007 at 5 pm sharp, at a function well attended by locals, a number of literary personalities, expat residents of Goa, artistes, and prominent citizens from across the state.

Besides Saligao-based Dayanita Singh [2] photographing the event, the small institute premises was this evening also host to such big literary names as Vikram Seth [3].

[Wikipedia says[3]: “Vikram Seth, born June 20, 1952 is an Indian poet, novelist, travel writer, librettist, children’s writer, biographer and memoirist…. Having lived in London for many years he now maintains residences near Salisbury, England, where he is a notable participant in local literary and cultural events and in 2006 bought and renovated the house of the 17th century Anglican divine and metaphysical poet
George Herbert and in Delhi, where he lives with his parents and keeps his extensive library and papers.”]

Giselle Lobo, a US-returned expat, explained how initiatives had gone to improve the earlier dilapadated reading room. Some Rs 120,000 had been spent on the premises, and the library now has a collection of 1500 books for children, she told SaligaoNet.

Frank Simoes [4] remembered in the Wikipedia as one of India’s “most respected ad men”, was paid tributes on the occasion. His neice Manda Simoes spoke of her uncle as a man of compassion and generosity, deep spirituality and a “love for Goa”. Frank’s widow Geeta made the present possible to the village, where his family roots are traced to.
She recalled Frank’s fond memories of the place when he was alive.

In a brief presentation, children who have been part of the libraryand weekly reading hour explained what they enjoyed and liked aboutthe now-upgraded library, run by a team of volunteers from the areawithout official or government support.

Noted Indian cartoonist Mario Miranda [5], present on the occasion, handed out prizes for the draw-a-story competition which he had earlier judged.Prizes went to Delialah D’Souza (4-6 years), Nina Trivedi (7-10 years), and Preeti Gad (10 and above).

In what was to be a vote-of-thanks, social activist Mario Mascarenhas turned the tables around and made an impassioned plea to villagers to support the initiatives of Giselle Lobo. He stressed the need for broadbasing the volunteer initiative to ensure a firmer base to the ‘reading hour’ held weekly, and kiddies’ library. Four volunteers promptly signed up to do the same.

Mascarenhas also said that few in the village were actually aware of the art talent of senior citizen Isabel “Isa” Vaz, and urged her to extending the reading intiative for children into one for drawing too.

Earlier prominent Saligao-settled photographer Dayanita Singh narrated that Simoes had good-naturedly cautioned her, “If you don’t depict Goa in the way it should be, I’ll make sorpatel (a spicy local pork dish) of you”. Singh’s black-and-white portraits of Saligao have lent grace to the institute set up by village pioneers in the 1920s.

Late Frank’s brother Frederick Simoes, friends and others were present too.

Vikram Seth later presented two of his signed books to the children’s library — “Arion and the Dolphin” and “Beastly Tales From Here and There”.

This library offers children to “read a book, draw a picture, play games, have fun, learn more”. It is open everyday from 5.30 to 6.30 pm, with a special reading hour from 5 to 6 pm on Wednesdays.

Members and non-members of the Saligao Institute are welcome to participate.

* * * * *

SIMOES FROM WIKIPEDIA: [] Frank Simoes (b. 1937) was a Indian writer born in Mumbai. He studied at St. Mary’s School in
Mumbai and began his career as a writer with the Times of India, where his first article was published. After his initial foray into writing, he began to have his articles published fairly regularly.

Simoes was of Goan ancestry and left India at 19 to serve as a deckhand on a Japanese trading ship and travelled to Genoa, and later spent time in Europe doing odd jobs of all kinds. Upon his return to India, he got a job with Ogilvy & Mather as a copy trainee, and stayed with them thirteen years, three as a board director. He then started Frank Simoes Advertising Private Limited in 1970 and ran it for over twenty years.

He then retired from advertising and devoted gis full time to writing. His first book, Sale Forward Voyager, a biography of Goan industrialist Vasudev Salgaocar, was published in 1991 and gained him nation-wide recognition. Simoes was elected to the Hall of Fame at the National Awards for Excellence in Advertising 1991 in Kolkata. His best known work remains Glad Seasons in Goa, a work on Goa.

Simoes died of cardiac arrest on August 26, 2002. He had been suffering from cancer at the time. He is remembered as one of India’s most respected admen.


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