Reading My First Gujarati Novel, I Felt As If It Was The First Book of My Life!
cultural clashes and not able to identify the middle path? Let festivals like Navratri or an
occasion like marriage come in a family, and you will see parents exposing their kids to the
rich culture of Gujarat, from ‘Patan na Patola’ to ‘Garvo Gadh Girnar’! Dancing to the
tunes of devotional garbas (traditional Gujarati folk dance and song), they will boast about
the kind of heritage, traditions, customs, the value system we inherit and the need of its
preservation by the younger generation.
difficult to grasp and internalize these occasional sermons. The child who was learning to
take his first baby steps in this world, was first taught to say ‘A’ for ‘Apple’ and ask ‘How
are you?’ and not ‘Kem cho?’ finds difficult to cope with the two extremes that exists in his
grand-father and mother’s utmost wish that I should grow up to be a kind of person who is
just not fluent in Gujarati but also explore the finest nuances of its rich literature.
Unfortunately, call it peer influence or my inability to comprehend the significance of
learning one’s mother tongue at that young age, I left Gujarati language as a subject in
seventh grade and instead took up Hindi and Special Hindi. A decision I am still regretting!
with whom I share a desk is an ardent fan of Gujarati songs and literature. We both love
mythology. Our long discussion on the character of ‘Krishna’ and his life is what led to the
start of our friendship. She recommended that I read a book ‘Krishnayan’ in Gujarati
written by Kajal Oza Vaidya. In this novel, Krishna and his relationship with three important
women in his life – namely Draupadi, Radha and Rukmini are given different shades and
novel evoked in me. It was my first Gujarati novel and I felt as if it was the first book I was reading in my life! Every single Gujarati word on the paper gave me goosebumps
and a kind of euphoria that I have never encountered with any other novel reading before!
Gradually, she introduced me to some of the gems of Gujarati literature like Ankit
Trivedi, Khalil Dhantejvi and Bhikhudan Gadhvi. These days, amidst the dull office work,
when we shell out few minutes to refresh ourselves, we take refuge in the shelter of the
mellifluous Gujarati songs, discuss the beautiful lyrics and our interpretation on the same.
Understanding my mother tongue has been a life changing experience indeed. It helped me
overcome the murky past and balanced me as an individual. I couldn’t thank my colleague
enough! Thank You!