World market

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

India natives now living in Columbus don't have a shopping outlet for traditional clothing and decorations here. So trips home are opportunities to go on a serious shopping spree.

"We plan it, and when we go to India, we get everything from there," said Rupam Chokshi, vice president of the Federation of Asian Indian Associations of Central Ohio. "And the last time for me was in November. That's when I pack up on the traditional clothes that I want to wear for the next two or three years."

Years? What happens if you feel like a wardrobe update?

One option is to check out this weekend's India Festival, with food, exhibits, shopping and shows that are expected to draw 12,000 to 15,000 people in and around Veterans Memorial.

It's become known as a day of events and offerings that aren't available in Columbus otherwise - and it's the only Indian event of this scale in Ohio.

Among the more than 80 vendors, you'll find fragrant food from Columbus' Indian restaurants, including Flavor of India and Udipi Cafe; traditional clothing like women's saris; jewelry; handpainted artwork; and Indian wedding accessories.

The Hindi movies, CDs and DVDs that many know as Bollywood entertainment will also be for sale.

"You don't find that day-to-day in Columbus, but if you go to bigger metro towns, you can probably find it there," said Chokshi, whose association organizes the festival.

Otherwise, the market for these items retreats to homes, Chokshi said. Many families make trips to India or get shipments from family there, then offer items for sale here.

But for this weekend, people can revel in the selection. And entertainment in the auditorium includes a talent competition, folk dance demonstrations and an evening show highlighting Indian dress.

"In this fashion show, they're going to try to represent different states that have different clothing and completely traditional wear, compared to a fusion wear," Chokshi said.