aapnu Gujarat KOCHI: Dandiya queen Falguni Pathak’s Ke Odhni Odhu Odhu Ne Udi Jaaye can be heard being played loudly in the room.
aapnu Gujara Gujara MCA student Jharna Madani watches her parents and other members of her family dancing to the song in a traditional manner.A few minutes later, Jharna and her group join them and introduce some new dance steps.Her parents hesitate at first, but soon the group strikes a balance between the traditional and the modern, as they prepare for the ‘dandiya nite’, being organized as part of Jharna’s wedding celebrations on November 30. “To me, aapnu Gujara Kochi is home. aapnu Gujarat
aapnu Gujarat informant
aapnu Gujarat We have links with our hometown in Saurashtra. I have never been there either. But being a Gujarati by birth, I want to celebrate the most important day of my life in Kochi in aapnu Gujarat Gujarati style,” said Jharna. And to help the Gujaratis, who are emotionally bonded with Kochi, keep their rituals alive, there is Pandit Jawahar Joshi, someone who is much in demand, especially during the wedding season. “I have performed more than 500 Gujarati weddings.
They are a huge hit even with people from other communities, thanks to the popular TV serials showing elaborate Gujarati weddings,” said Joshi. “Jawahar Panditji was in his twenties when he got us married in Kochi in 1977. Thirty years later, in 2007, he got my daughter too married,” Bharti Dagha said. It is not just their rituals.
Gujaratis also love their food. “In the morning we eat fafda and jalebi or khakra. For lunch and dinner, we have roti (chapati), dal and shakh (vegetable curry). However, we also relish Onam sadya and puttu-kadla,” said Chetan Shah, secretary, Shri Cochin Gujarati Mahajan. And catering to the Gujarati taste buds is Shantilal Mithaiwala on Gujarati Road in Mattanchery. “Our special masala tea, fafda, jalebi, peda, dhokla and kachori are a huge hit in the area,” said shop owner Ronak Shah.
The shop also supplies traditional dresses and saris procured from either Gujarat or Mumbai. There are 786-odd Gujarati families in Kochi, who are registered with the Gujarati Mahajan Samaj. “Gujaratis here are one big family and we are always there for each other,” said Rasik Gadoya.the whose grandfather was the first Gujarati to come to Kochi. However, they rue that their golden period is over.
Bharathkumar K, a chartered accountant said: “Our forefathers came here for business and were involved in the trade of coir and spices. But today owing to the high transportation and labour costs, most businessmen have shifted their businesses to Tamil Nadu,
and even to Andhra Pradesh.” With their businesses being thus hit, the younger generation has moved out of Kochi. “Almost 50 to 60 per cent of the youth have migrated to other states to work in IT companies or to the Gulf to do business,” said Shah. The Gujaratis here also run a school and a college. In the school, Gujarati is a compulsory subject for Gujarati children till standard X. “However, now only 12% of the students in the school are Gujarati as a majority of them now prefer to study in CBSE schools,” added Shah.