Joseph carries forward a six-decade-old legacy 

Fifty-four-year-old Joseph Fernandez wastes no time as he leads the way to his workshop. The place is lined with enormous tandoori clay ovens.

Published: 11th July 2019 06:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th July 2019 06:52 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI: Fifty-four-year-old Joseph Fernandez wastes no time as he leads the way to his workshop. The place is lined with enormous tandoori clay ovens. Three ovens are in their premature stages, and with their base set and dried, Joseph begins to align one of them with clay which is prepared prior.

“During monsoon, they take about 10 days to be baked completely. Else, six days," he says, pointing to a kiln. Joseph is the sole tandoori oven maker in Moolampilly, home to the now-defunct Moolampilly Kaliman Society formed in 1962.

The residents of the island, part of Kadamakkudy grama panchayat, were once engrossed in the making of clay vessels. The earthenwares and clay pots, popular for their durability, were marketed with the Moolampilly trademark.

According to 'Social History of Luso-Indians in Kerala', a thesis by Charles Dias, former MP, the society was started by Luso-Indians or Portuguese-Indians and was registered as the Kaliman Vyavasaya Sahakarana Sangham - Clay Industrial Cooperative Society.  

“Those who were familiar with pottery were inducted into the society. They would make earthenware and clay flowerpots on a large scale to ensure a stable income. Tandoori ovens arrived later. The St Augustine's Church had provided land and the society's activities centred around the church. However, debt crept in and there was none to repay it. Eventually, the church took over the land,” he says.

Unlike his peers who are engaged in various professions, Joseph continues to bake ovens. “I have learnt masonry. The skills equipped me to do this work better. Therefore, I stuck to it. Fresh clay is obtained from the earth - I acquire it from lands nearby. Orders are primarily placed for kitchen equipment and hotels. It's a seasonal job,” Joseph says.

The society members are either too old or have passed away. “Youngsters did not take up the trade - others who did have grown old or died,” Joseph adds.

Stay up to date on all the latest Kochi news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp