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23 Apr 2024, Edition - 3206, Tuesday

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A cosmopolitan Diwali in God’s own country

Jiji Ann Cherian


Thiruvananthapuram: There is no place more cosmopolitan than Kochi in Kerala. Where the Gujaratis, the Kutchis, the Jains , the Marwaris and the Punjabis hobnob with the local crowd and at times even seamlessly meld with them , imbibing the local flavour with elan.

The North Indian community that has added a colourful appeal to the city not only with with their cuisine but also with their festivities is once again getting ready to paint the city red with Diwali round the corner.

“If sweet shops selling North Indian goodies have already registered a hike in sales, some have even done advance booking for sweets for the day.,” says Shantilal who runs a sweet shop at Mattancherry, the hub of Gujarati community Kochi. If mithaiwalas are working over time churning out sweets and namkheens galore, some prefer to make them right in their kitchens loaded with love and care. “Ghugra is my favorite ,” says Deepti D Shah as she describes the half-moon shaped sweet which is a staple in all home s during Diwali.

A Gujarati who came to Kochi 28 years ago as a coy daughter-in law , Deepti finds it her passion to teach Hindi language to the various children in the city. This time too Deepti is getting ready to throw a party to her students by churning out single handedly yummy bhajis, besan sweets and lot more. “Five sweets are a must during Diwali and it can go up to 10 and more ,” she says throwing light on the splendour of the festival of lights. Around 890 Gujarati families in Mattancherry alone are gearing up to celebrate the festival with fun , food and dance.

The Cochin club at Fort Kochi which boasts of an elite membership is also in the process of decking up in style for Diwali. The Chaatwallahs with live counters of mouthwatering kachoris and the authentic Chole Bhaturas are just a few of the eye candy stuff apart from the stage shows and unlimited crackers that light up the night sky and sprawling lawns.

Diwali that marks the arrival of the New year in Gujarati calendar is also an occasion to bond with their near and dear ones,” says Purvee Hitesh Kothari waiting to go around her friend’s houses, loaded with sweets and gifts. “Three days prior to Diwali the fun builds up with colourful Rangolis and diyas on each doorstep ,”adds Purvee who turns creative with her rangoli designs. Purvee who belongs to Saurashtra in Gujarat has made Kochi her home for the past 20 years.

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