Kodavas have a unique tradition among the Indians probably because of their descent from Alexander the great. The migration of Chandragupta Maurya in 298 BC down to Sravanabelagola gives some credence to this theory. The etymology of the word Koda is mysterious, some identify it as west or hills. My premise is that it refers to the vessel with water carried by women folk during wedding ceremony. The language of Kodavas is a great blend of Malayalam, Mapilla , Beary, Tulu, Kannada & Tamil. How did this occur ? It is primarily because of the migration of workers from all the regions to work in the coffee plantation. Coorgis loved hunting and protected their terrain fiercely. The privilege of possession of gun without license in Coorg district makes their clan unique.
I was privileged to be exposed to coorgi lifestyle by default due to my colleague Ganesh. During 1990 BJP had declared a state wide bandh and coorg district was totally blockaded. The entire market was shut down, there were no vehicular movement and i was stranded. Even though i was booked in a lodge there was no way i could have food anywhere in coorg. Ganesh exhibited the hospitality of offering coorgi cusine cooked at home. Akki roti, Kadabu, Avial, Rice, Pandi curry, Sambar etc were some of the foodstuff i relished for 3 days consecutively.
We used to distribute Biscuits on ready stock operation in coorg district. Ganesh was adventurous and he wanted to drive the matador van. He managed to give me a shocker when he applied the reverse gear instead of forward gear while moving out of petrol bunk. Luckily it was no major accident, he just managed to hit a jeep stationed in the queue. The greenary around coorg was so inviting that every alternative month i used to visit the terrain.
After my marriage i lost touch with Ganesh for almost 15 years. I managed to trace him in Mangalore. He was running a boys hostel. We caught up with our olden days when we were working to-gether. He invited me to attend his brother-in-laws marriage in October 2010. After attending the wedding i got a deep insight into their family tradition. I participated in the wedding ceremony having their entire range of cuisine along with cocktails. The elaborate ceremony of the wedding with traditional attire was a revelation. I managed to click photos and some videos in the bargain. One such photo i gifted Ganesh as a blow during my next visit for marriage of his niece.
It was shocker when i received the news from his sister-in-law that Ganesh was no more. She told me that he had passed away due to cancer within a month on 11th December 2010. I spoke to common colleague Nagabushan who told me that he used to be nicknamed as Mamoothy. More than being handsome hunk he was down to earth, filled with empathy and co-ordial relationship. The charm of visiting coorg again will never be same for me my family. We wish the departed soul to rest in peace. Our sincere condolence to his family and relatives for the bereavement.
RIP GANESH WE WILL MISS YOU FOREVER ! May God bless your soul