Former Dubai-based journalist Jawahar Chhoda passes away
He had moved from UAE to Mumbai in 2018.
Veteran UAE-based journalist Jawahar Chhoda, 58, who had been suffering from a lung ailment for a while, breathed his last at 7.30am on August 5 at Mumbai's Raheja Hospital.
The former Dubai resident, who was immensely popular among the city's movers and shakers in the 90s and early 2000, had moved to Mumbai in 2018. Jawahar reportedly was severely affected by the death of his mother a year-and-a-half back, according to Juhi Yasmeen Khan, a close friend and entrepreneur from Dubai.
"He was very close to his mother and since her death, he had lost interest in life. He often expressed his feelings in his FB posts," said Juhi, who has known Jawahar for nearly 17 years.
"I lost one of my best friends, he was like a family member. He was my soulmate and I will remember all the wonderful days we spent with him during Diwali and other celebrations," she added.
"I contacted just about five days back, he could barely speak properly due to the tubes in his mouth. He was going through a torturous time," she added.
Bharat Chachara, CEO of India Club, Dubai was shocked to hear of Jawahar's passing away. "This was very unexpected. He was a very talented journalist and had so much to give back to the Dubai society. You could call him the Shoba De of Dubai. I had even suggested he write a book on Dubai life. He's gone away too soon."
"Jawahar was happiest in the company of friends and family and he was always the life of the party. But more than his social skills, he was admired for his unwavering devotion to his mother. She was his rock and even though today is a sad day, I am grateful that they're together again. Godspeed and god bless," said Ambika Vohra, who fondly remembers her association with Jawahar.
Entreprenuer Dr Ram Buxani remembers Jawahar as a man of great humility. "I have known him for nearly 25 years. He was a great human, very non-controversial. He left behind so many friends here. I had seen him become very sad after the passing away of his mother. May his soul rest in peace."
"Jawahar always showed great respect for each member of our family and addressed my father (Dr Ram Buxani) as 'Dada'. Sadly, his last days were really challenging, particularly after the passing away of his mother who was a great source of strength for him. Jawahar will always be remembered as a gregarious, upbeat and fearless writer who always spoke his heart," said Chetna Buxani Shastri
Author Sunanda Mehta, who wrote The Extraordinary Life and Death of Sunanda Pushkar, recollected meeting Jawahar sometime early last year in Mumbai while researching on Pushkar. "I had come across his name as one of the media people who may have known her. I obtained his email and wrote to him and as luck would have it he was making a trip to India the next month and we fixed up a meeting. Two things have stayed in my memory about him, despite the fact that it was a fairly short meeting. One, the fact that he unabashedly declared himself as the leading gossip columnist in Dubai and secondly his absolute rejection of Sunanda's celebrity status in Dubai on the grounds that, 'I was never introduced to her. If she was a true blue celebrity I would have known her well. Till I write about someone in my columns, that person is only a wannabe.' I loved that sense of confidence and nonchalant ownership of the might his pen. I am shocked to hear of his demise. RIP Jawahar," said Mehta.
"It's a sad day. Shell shocked and in disbelief . How can some one so vivacious and full of life just go like this? J you are going to be truly missed by each and everyone who knew you and I will never forget all your chattering , your naughty remarks, your child like attitude and love for old Indian songs. How you loved to sing them ! I clearly remember meeting you for the first time and like it was yesterday! Rest in peace my friend and finally reunite with your Ma who you loved the most in this world . I will miss you truly," said Joyti Karmali, another close friend of Jawahar.
Payal Sharma, who knew Jawahar for the past 18 years was a fan of his column ''From The Grapevine' cannot believe Jawahar is no more. "It's unbelievable that on Saturday, as in every other day, I sent him a voice message, and then late in the night, I got a message in an almost breathless voice, 'Payal, kaisee hai' (how are you Payal). Jawahar still had the strength to ask, and the voice made me feel a pang of guilt. I wish I could somehow work the magic wand and cheer him up if not help vanish his suffering due to lung scarring. He was the big book of secrets for a lot of people in Dubai. We used to speak non-stop for hours. It's hard to fathom the man who loved and lived to talk so much was mercifully silenced in his last few days due to his health. I better make notes to remember, till we meet again my dear friend," said Payal.
Jawahar was known for his take on the social scene in Dubai which he used to present on radio and in his columns for various publications in the UAE. He started his career in 1991 with The Free Press Journal in Mumbai and later worked in the city's dailies like Indian Express, Mid-Day and The Daily.
He used to regularly contribute to the entertainment columns in the city and wrote 'J's Day' and a weekly gossip column called 'From The Grapevine' for the Khaleej Times. He was a member of the launch team of City Pulse magazine and a consulting editor for the food magazine Gulf Gourmet.
The multi-talented journalist also hosted shows for GEO TV and was part of Nadia Khan's morning show hosting the Bollywood segment which covered movie reviews and cinema gossip. Jawahar also hosted restaurant reviews for Pulse 94.7 radio and contributed towards a chapter in the book titled, Global Emirates - An Anthology Of Tolerance and Enterprise.