[ Bevinda Collaco – Target: News ]
On May 10, tune your radio to 105.4MHz between 6.00 and 7.00 pm. Listen to a book on radio Reminiscences of My Radio Days being released on radio by its author Imelda Dias. Dona Imelda is one of a fast disappearing breed of giants of Goa. Known as the voice of Goa’s radio Emissora de Goa, her voice was recognized in countries far away, like Mozambique, the Middle East and Portugal. She was appreciated in India and Goa too. That love for what she did carried across the airwaves directly into her listeners’ hearts.
IMELDA DIAS autographing her latest book Reminiscences of My Radio Days Pic: Bevinda Collaco I know. I have a relative who was hopelessly in love with Imelda’s voice through the 60s and 70s. I told him she probably looked like a rhino in real life. He said no, this voice cannot come from a rhino. He was right. Dona Imelda is beautiful even at this age, elegantly turned out with coiffed hair, pearls, arched eyebrows and a gentle smile. Plagued as she is by health problems, you know that this elegant woman comes from a different mould, a different time, when women were graceful, beautiful and strong. Words have been her calling since the beginning. Then, it was the spoken word, now it is the written word. Imelda has already written and published one book called Shattered Lives and a two-part autobiography – How Long Is Forever and its sequel To Love And Live Again. On May 10, Imelda Dias will release her third book Reminiscences of My Radio Days published by Third Millenium. The book is a fascinating first-hand account of the birth, survival and astounding success of Radio Goa re-christened Emissora de Goa. The station was received with delight not just in Goa and India, but in Africa and the Middle East too.
EASY TO READ DIFFICULT TO FORGET Dona Imelda’s latest book Pic: Bevinda Collaco Having just finished the slim volume Reminiscences of My Radio Days, I can say it is a must-have book for those in radio and indeed the wider field of entertainment and programming. It’s a must-have for those interested in the history of Goa, because Dona Imelda writes from the heart. She gives a valuable first-hand account of the turbulent times radio in Goa struggled through. It began with that first microphone in a coconut shell and a weak transmitter way back in May 20 1946, an exercise which gave birth to Radio Goa. Portugal, seeing the potential of Radio Goa added on more powerful transmitters and the baby grew into a giant – an interesting, fun and instructive giant that became of all things, hugely popular in India, outshining the boring and pedantic All India Radio. Radio Goa renamed Emissora de Goa was welcomed by the people of India who wanted international music along with Indian music, and clever programming for children and adults. The phenomenal success of Emissora de Goa had its own fallout with lots of letters written in newspapers all over the country about how the radio station was not good for India etc. However, as it turned out there were even more letters championing its cause and screaming encouragement. Rivetting samples of both are reproduced in this book. Then came the Liberation of Goa when the Indian army invaded the colony. The station was bombed; the staff had already been moved to Portugal. Even though she was given a good post by the Portuguese Radio in Lisbon, Dona Imelda returned to Goa with her children to protect her land and to be with her family. It helped that her job in the radio in Goa was offered back to her. “You take off from where you left off,” the Station Director told her. “Yes, Sir, I will do exactly that,” she replied. Little insights from Imelda tell one of the changed character of the radio in Goa, with the changed circumstances of Emissora de Goa renamed as All India Radio Panaji. Emissora de Goa was swallowed up by its competitor that had viewed its rising success with such suspicion. The original strong transmitters were taken away from Goa and sent to the northern borders of India since there was constant threat of war. Weak transmitters led to a reduction in the reach of the station. Listeners in India were incensed. The quality of programming suffered with the authorities frowning on all things Portuguese. Proponents of Marathi were trying to force Marathi on to the airwaves. This slim book is an invaluable documentation of the inside story of radio, not just in Goa but its impact in India and elsewhere. Publishers Third Millenium, also need to be congratulated on this book. Dona Imelda’s fan club was legend. The book even has a letter from a most avid fan – Remo Fernandes. Imelda’s move with the radio from Goa to Portugal and back to India has been written simply and clearly, without any flowery emotional excesses as could be forgiven in one who has been through such turbulent times. Her writing however is as elegant as the lady herself. She speaks with love of the warmth and encouragement she received during her short six month stint in Portugal. “From here in Emissora de Goa we were broadcasting to Africa, the Middle East and Europe. When I began broadcasting from Lisbon, people in Africa etc recognized my voice and asked how is it that the Goa lady announcer is heard here in Portugal? My colleagues said that I had come as an evacuee. And they replied, ‘So tell her that we listen to her’. You tell me,” said Dona Imelda with a glowing smile, “What more could you want out of life? That was the crowning glory of being in broadcasting.” She used to plan programmes, translate, read the news and also be the announcer and says she enjoyed every packed minute of it. She had taken an apartment close to the station and used to carry her work home with her. How did she manage as a mother of five? Her daughter Marianne smiled ruefully, “She was very strict with us.” I laughed. How strict could this gentle lady with the lilting voice be? “Oh everything was regimented,” she said. “I set fixed timings for meals, study and play. When they were naughty I would punish them by making them stand in a corner, or kneel down. They could not move away until I told them to.” Dona Imelda gifted me a copy of her new book Reminiscences of My Radio Days. I thought of my besotted relative and asked Imelda to write his name in it instead of mine, with her autograph. I know that is one devoted listener who will be very, very happy.