Chris Valentino sdb
MUMBAI, AUGUST 17, 2009:
Boscowadi at Uttan-Gorai was converted into a hotspot on Sunday, August 16, 2009 as a 90-strong contingent of the Salesian Family descended on the quiet little camp house to celebrate their first-of-a-kind picnic, commemorating the Birth Anniversary of Don Bosco. It was a spirited potpourri of Co-operators, Past-Pupils, Volunteers, FMAs and Salesians, in varied hues, shapes, ages and from different walks of life, including Fr Michael Fernandes, the Salesian Provincial of Mumbai.
Hitting the tarmac simultaneously, from Matunga and Andheri at 7:00 a.m. and filling up as the journey progressed, the huge buses wound their way into the hinterland of the Mumbai outskirts amidst oohs and aahs, meandering along the refreshingly green and cool foliage before coming to a halt at the intended hotspot. Breakfast was the starting fare, followed by the Eucharistic Meal presided over by Fr Michael Fernandes. Celebrating the occasion, Fr Michael invited the picnickers to become “bread for our brothers and sisters in imitation our Saviour and model Jesus Christ, the bread of life.”

It was then a dash to the roaring sea, which however wasn’t too inviting thanks to the litter and the oil slick… but the enterprising picnickers continued with their fun, frolicking and collecting shells along the shore. It was singing, chatting, mingling around with “old and newer siblings”… a quintessentially picnicky feeling with crooning away, belting out of golden oldies, spontaneous dances, choruses, games, regaling each other with the memories of the ‘good old days’ and a general familial ambient both indoors and out on the refreshingly spirited waterfront.

The mood of the day was a passionate mixture of nostalgia, recollectedness, friendly banter, flirty swings and even enterprisingly futuristic planning. The sumptuous platter served up in the noon, only added to the camaraderie. Later in the evening, the ‘Housie’ with animated gusto and punching of numbers gave the siblings an opportunity to engage in a cheerful duel, culminating in the munching of biscuits and sipping of the ever tasty chai. Others of a more pious and divine orientation walked up the stairs to the Shrine atop Bhatte-Bundar, for a darshan. Some others who couldn’t resist the temptation to stay away from the inviting waves of the sea darted down the beach and in to the ‘not-so-clean’ waters anyway, just to get the thrill-feel. Just a little before sun-down the festival party clambered into the house-on-wheels, heading back to husband, wife, children grandchildren and the daily routine of life.

It was a coup of sorts with the entire Family coming together for this venture of togetherness and party-time. It was even more appropriate that this was on the Birth Anniversary of our Father and Founder. Some of the members opined “It is so nice … I feel at home… It would be nice to meet up more often like this… Wow… this is great… Thanks to Fr Elias….” etc, etc, etc. The Salesian Confreres of Don Bosco Matunga, Dominic Savio Andheri and Bosco Boys were specially thanked, appreciated and prayed for, for having made this adventure possible. Perhaps the only dampener was… the scorching heat with water, water everywhere, not a drop that fell… and yet the family’s day was made…!!