The Buddha and Ganesha in Brazil
The first objects that caught my attention when I stepped into the apartment of Antonio Roberto and Margaret were the life-size statues of Buddha placed near the entrance of the drawing room. A marble statue of Lord Ganesha in reclining posture is seen inside the house. I could hardly understand how these symbols of Indian culture find a place in this apartment?
Kochi native Anand Jyothi, who took me to their apartment, cleared my doubts.
“Don't be surprised if you find such installations here. The Brazilians are well aware of Indian culture. Such sculptures can be seen in several houses here,” he detailed.
Antonio Roberto, a French by birth, had arrived in Rio 30 years ago. Further, he married a local resident Margaret and settled in this city.
Apart from Portuguese and French, Antonio speaks English and German very well.
Anand, artist who has been shuttling between Sao Polo and Rio, is a longtime acquaintance of Antonio.
Anand, a documentary director and poet, is fluent in Portuguese too.
His apartment is adorned with expensive and ancient paintings. Around 5-6 cats have made this apartment their home too. Interestingly, all of these animals have been adopted from streets. As far as Brazilians are concerned, they have a special place for pets in their heart. Even we can find people travelling with pets like dog and cats in buses and trains.
Margaret welcomed us serving Caipirinha, a traditional cocktail prepared by mixing hard liquor with lime, crushed ice and herbs.
Liondero, their son-in-law has learned Sanskrit and Vedanta and now he is teaching these subjects. His daughter Gloria also knows a little bit of Sanskrit.
Antonio owns a silicone manufacturing facility in Rio. Now, his son is taking care of the business. The silicone produced here is used for plastic surgeries.
Brazil is one among the countries where most number of plastic surgeries are performed. The people here are concerned about the beauty of their derriere. Samba, their traditional dance, may have an influence.
Dr. Ivo Pitanguy, a surgeon who was renowned for plastic surgeries died while the Olympic Games is progressing in Rio. In Brazil, most cosmetic surgeries are performed for butt augmentation. Anyone who lands in this country can easily understand that they are keen in exhibiting the beauty of their derriere by wearing tight jeans and leggings.
The scenes here resemble song sequences in Bollywood movies _ the women are scantily dressed while men cover their body. However, nobody misbehaves with the fairer sex here for this reason.
During our conversation, I had asked Margaret whether she is a Portuguese. But, she didn’t give me a reply.
Later, Anand told me that the Brazilians have little admiration towards Portuguese even though their ancestors belong to that country. They wish to live a life which is entirely different from the Portuguese lifestyle.
This might have drove him to adopt Samba, which has roots in Africa, and also develop their own style of eating and dressing habits. Giant statues of Lord Siva and Lord Ganesha are common in Brazilian carnivals, the annual festival of the nation.
Even though, the Brazilian lifestyle has influences of Europe, the Brazilians are more inclined towards African culture, it seems.