Ghatis in My Life

Marathi people are lovingly known as ghatis, as they live close to the Western ghats. I am a Gulti (at least in large part) as I grew up in Telugu-land, and only part ghati, as we speak Marathi at home. But there have been plenty of ghatis who were an influence, or were around even while growing up. The families of Kenjale, Kaushik, Talpallikar, Tilak, Moghe and Bhide were some of these. Our Bridge-playing sessions with Subodh and Manoj Bhide (and my brother) would go on for hours, with only bio breaks in holidays.

The numerous aunts and uncles (and cousins) on our visits to Pune and Mumbai (and Nagpur and Indore and Satna) would end up being a huge influence on my once-tender mind (!) One uncle in particular, Yadunath Thatte, was a part of India's socialist movement, and was well-read, and an author/editor too. Another great-uncle ran a literary mag in Marathi in Pune. Others were in different professions or pursuits. One in Delhi ran an outfit called The Institute for Rewriting Indian History! A cousin in Mumbai had a musical family, with her daughters playing Sitar and Sarod, and husband a vocalist. I got to hear them practice on my visits!

Later, I came across ghatis in Mumbai where I worked, and some in the U.S. where I lived between 1986-91. Mostly, these were relatives or friends who had settled down there. As I returned to academics in India, not too many ghatis were in the institutes I worked in (I guess the Bongs had taken over :)), other than at Nagpur, where I found Phadnises and Phadnavises.

Among students and friends too, many have been non-ghatis, barring at IIM Indore, where many students from Maharashtra seem to get in. And some at PESIT, Bangalore-those who came from Belgaum in particular.

Now we are a global family, with many nieces and nephews and cousins married to people of different nationalities. Even ghatis do grow up!


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