Christmas: Sang on Carter Road till 2 am, says trumpeter Joseph Vessaoker

Dec 23, 2018, 08:20 IST | Anju Maskeri

The street would be lit up with a star shining bright on the balcony of every home

Christmas: Sang on Carter Road till 2 am, says trumpeter Joseph Vessaoker
Pic/Shadab Khan

Joseph Vessaoker
Jazz trumpeter
East Indian
Grew up in Bandra

As children, my friends and I would walk the length of this lane [Bazaar Road] singing carols every Christmas. The street would be lit up with a star shining bright on the balcony of every home. Christmas light competitions were a thing, and some people take this very seriously. I still do! Later, as teenagers we'd go up to Carter Road and sing until 2 am, only to be chased away by cops [laughs].

During one of these 'gigs', we even managed to collect R25 from passersby, which, was a princely sum at the time. While kids these days still participate in carol-singing, they don't spill out on the streets like we used to. This street was where all the action was.

For me, Christmas has always meant togetherness, joy and anticipation. We were 10 siblings, so you can imagine what a handful we might have been. My mother, who hailed from the Koli community - father, a fisherman, was Portuguese - had assigned tasks to keep us busy. Mine was invariably the kitchen because I enjoyed cooking. If the trumpet is my first love, food comes a close second. I still take great delight in preparing kulkul, the traditional Goan sweet that consists of deep fried dough curls glazed with sugar and nevris, a crisp flaky fried pastry stuffed with desiccated coconut and dry fruit.

After I became a musician, I ended up spending many a Christmas playing at gymkhanas, churches and weddings, even funerals. But, this time around, I've decided to call my friends and band members over to my home and rustle up a nice meal, complete with dried shrimp made with East Indian bottle masala, vindaloo and turkey. My Christmas wish is to be grateful for what I have. Being a 'funeral musician' has only taught me appreciate life.

How to celebrate Christmas: Make your own decoration. The joy in crafting the star is something else

Also read: Christmas: I made a dynamic Santa, says stand-up comedian Navin Noronha

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