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Archibald Furtado with Wife Selma and Children Arnold and Anoosha

'Kolhi Mari’ - as I know him….

Is there anyone who is not great on this mother earth? Everyone is great in his/her own rights. Greatness is relative depending upon the circumstances or situations. It cannot be measured in Rupees or in Kilograms. Greatness is unique.  It speaks for itself. Some are ‘born’ great, some ‘become’ great and some ‘are’ simply great.  Some ‘seek’ greatness, for some ‘greatness’ is thrust upon them, and for some greatness just follows them. I have found a ‘great one’ in my life, just at present, a son of our own soil, who is gifted in every way. (Hope you all will agree with me.) It’s true that no gift (talent) falls from heaven. It’s to be acquired and cultivated by hard work and constant practice. There ought to be a purpose for all these talents. These talents are to be used specifically for the good of others. There are various types of gifts/talents. Some people are good in sports, some are orators, some are preachers, some are musicians, some are writers, and some are team players and some are peace makers.  Not all writers are can put into practice what they write about. This talented man always thinks of others, has a positive approach and attitude to life and living, is a self starter, motivates others, full of gusto, aglow with charity, and above all keeps everyone happy. 

In this fast/busy world of ours, while struggling to earn a decent living, who has any time to spare for others? ‘If you have time, go ahead, but I have no time at all’, isn’t it how we express ourselves? Certainly, I do at times. But to my utter dismay, I have seen a man tireless and sleepless, (though he sleeps soundly!), who makes the wind blow, water to flow and turns oceans into waves, turns the mountains flat, forests into flower gardens, bridges various cultures, grabs down a small thought to magnify for the clear understanding of the readers, who has the eyes of an eagle, conveys an interesting mesmerizing tilt - day out and day in, in our web world! The rising historian, thinker, philosopher, youth master, generation of permanence tiller, west east south north joiner, and a person with spectacles on his romantic nose, hair standing high, a virgin thought creator and thought grower, born in a village, studied in a reputed college, master of masters in his own way – the budding talent, and who has made his shrub into a big banyan tree. Who might this person be? He is none other than our friend Mr. Peter Archibald Furtado, popularly known as Archie, or Kolhi Mari.

I would fall short of words and knowledge to speak or write anything about him. I wanted to write about Archie since a long time.  But, I was nervous to say good things the way they are supposed to be said, to the best. When I see now, now that  I’m pregnant with…. Allow me to deliver the manner and the way I wish. The result will be more tooth picking perhaps. Bear with me.

I can say that I know Archie.  But I know more about him for certain than I really know him.  Hence, I feel confident that I can scribble (literally) a few lines about him without knowing him. I came across this sweet smiling fellow, a thinking jack pot in his own style – though young but with an elderly or mature approach calling every child – mari mari – a kannada expression, which in konkani translates to baba baba/putha putha or petya petya, in English perhaps ‘baby baby’! (I thought in those days ‘when will this fellow speak in a complete sentence, Koli mari _ chicken chick as against mari mari). I never dared to speak to him, ‘cos I was an introvert then and I felt that he is too big and I, a shy pot. However jokingly some called him ‘nai mari’, mostly not in his presence though!  He is a cute but smart puppy though!

I later saw him on the stage acting an elderly man’s role and making every one laugh till their kidneys could be found in their eye sockets.  He could act differently or accordingly with the youth or with children and he was rarely serious. He could get angry when things didn’t turn out his way. He smelt black whenever any opposition crept in against his planning. He was ambitious but slow and steady. His responsibility as the eldest son, he steered the family move with dedication and gusto and style. He made it when he went to Bombay for a job as an office employee in Shivaji College. I had seen him going to Milagres college, Kallianpur. I had seen him working with his parents with joy and enthusiasm. I had seen him as a talent in our younger days and now grown as a big tree where all can shelter in! He spoke about the election in the college and voiced in the meetings about the good things to happen. (Did good things really happen? It is a different story!) He was a good C.Y.M. secretary with no politics attached, but hated the politically inclined ones. I learnt from him, his trade-mark theme, the theme which he chose for my speech to contest on a public speaking competition on independence day in Primary School, ‘a drop of honey draws millions of flies than a barrel of pickle’.  He is the drop of honey today.

I developed a kind of close relationship with him as a person growing in maturity and age. I wasn’t even a drop in his ocean of knowledge and in his interests. I even didn’t follow what he meant. However, as requested by him, I gave him my best prayer support for a long time and later I spotted at a point of time unknown to him. Whatever he asked of me to pray for, he replied in a few days that he has received it. The litany of requests was lengthy but he was sincere and confident in his faith in God.

He invited me for a meeting in our village naming me the founder treasurer ‘Khazandar’ of the new born babe A.Y.A.  I knew very little about the post and how it functioned. In one of the meetings I was asked to sing a song with another Kogul (ippa). We both sang, melodiously ‘Kavlo eun bosla mhojea pakyaari…Ka ka ka karun kantari….’. The first line was just sung over and over again, and all the people were listening to both of us in utter dismay…. Hey, my co singer and I and all the rest sank into a deep laughter. Finally exhausted, their laughter came to an end only after about three minutes when my song got over. I should have shunned my face, but this man got up and said, “It was really appreciable, even though we laughed at the singers. Really it was good and nice”. I pocketed that day that, ‘the song though not nice, but my courage to complete the song was nice’. And that day I felt confident, that I too can face the public. I owe in billions to all those who laughed that day and I owe to Archie for his un-thought but kind words of the hour which helped build stage confidence in me.

He didn’t stop me with the song. He took me to make me the hero of a farce which had a palpitating name – ‘Purin Babu’. For about ten days we had gathered for practice but no real practice took place. All we did was to chat, and return to home in the dark. I was to appear on the newly built stage (Amazingly, it is still there, an apple of our eyes!), for the first time. The previous day of the performance, I was made to practice the act. I neither knew the plot nor any acting. Many directors directed and got tired of making such a mistake in selecting me as the hero. By the time I learnt a line satisfactorily, it was dark enough to go back to our own shelters in the villages. I was the hero but I had no costume. Just then, someone rushed to the Sarabadi Kadu and brought a fine suit which I wore somehow. This coat arrested my breath. I managed to wear it till the drama got over. I also had heard that some Harrys and Vinoos who had dressed like the police for the drama, got into Santhe gudde Bhatta’s hotel, ate as much they could free of charge, pretending to be the real police. I was to appear at the end of the farce and my appearance on the stage was fantastic. People were ready at the back of the stage on march to laugh, if they were to hear or see that the suit had no buttons but pinned with hair pins. Thank God the drama was over without casualties. This was another instance where I succeeded not to show my navel (bombli) to the audience. I also built confidence to take up acting and to dress in breathless or tight clothes while acting.

I have heard Archie speak in public and then sit on a public chair like the guests on the dais. He was intelligent but I couldn’t understand him right most of the time, as my intelligence was of primary grade levels. I saw him mostly with his friend who was half a mile away from my house. I had to proceed with my studies for the cause I was to dedicate, and he got his sixth sacrament professed. Yes, the gap widened of our contact. We met little less than more as the life’s streams paved the way.

Now I met him and meet him practically once at least a week on line reading his articles and his page. I read his comments and he requests me to comment before publishing. Though lazily I send at times my tooth skinned comments, he appreciates with his ocean heart from a ocean distance. I saw the pages of and his interest to keep up the C.Y.M. celebrations, S.P.A. –Mumbai, and his page where he is like a matured historian, head to toe knowledge in short yet in sweet manner with no missing lines. He speaks volumes about the people and persons forgotten with no relics left. He got persons for every week and weekend with every knowledge and research tactics within him. He has the language roller to put it in short and with added flavor to the English reader and the web user. Recently I told Kishoo that “Archie is writing beautifully and consistently”. He said, “He is a genius”. I don’t call Archie genius because I envy him. I feel sick of him for his ventilating caliber of messages, which are mass aching. I feel tired of him who doesn’t even bother to learn how to spell the word ‘T I R E D’.  He has the ability to put his brilliant ideas into proper mellifluous Shakespearean words, but can he put his words into action? This must be your goal and challenge Archie, my friend. Can’t he be helped by us Barkur? And what about you ex-ICYM committee members?  Archie was praising your ICYM achievements at the top of his lungs, on the top of the mountains, using his golden diamond studded pen. Don’t you have to prove him right? Doesn’t he need help?  Time for action, and the time is ‘now’.

Hi Archie, what else shall I say? I have great regard for you to be imitated and now to be owned as a guide for inspiration to me and to the online generation.

I wish you ‘all the best’ and pray God’s choicest blessings on you and all your undertakings. May St. Peter the rock rocken you in continuing the good work that you have begun. Amen.

- By his online close friend.

For a glimpse of the life at Barkur as remembered by Barkurians, check archives

Barkur, located in Udupi Taluk, Karnataka, India. 576 210

Copyright Kishoo, Barkur 2002.