COMA Newsletter November 2019

Thanksgiving has always been a time that reminds me to be grateful for God’s blessings. And if we really want to validate that with the origins of this celebration , we can see that it is in the same premise. Giving thanks to the Creator’s gifts was always the way of life for Native Americans of Wampanoag. So I am justified in saying that this holiday should remind us again to be forever grateful for what has been given to us.

If I look around, I feel that it is so important to have that constant reminder. We have become entitled society, almost to the point of being spoilt. We complain about the hardships of life, when they don’t even remotely qualify as any kind of hardship. We forget our blessings, the fact that we have people who love us, a roof above our heads, food to eat and money to spend. We tend to focus on that we think we need. We forget and we complain. We,COMA Newsletter Family would like to remind us all to reflect on our blessings for a change and be grateful. Let this Thanksgiving be , truly, a Thanksgiving….

COMA Christmas Celebrations

COMA Annual Christmas and Holiday celebration will be held on Saturday, 7th December 2019 from 5:30 PM to 10:00 PM at Olentangy Liberty Middle School, 7940 Liberty Rd, Powell, OH 43065.

  • Picture with Santa
  • Cultural events
  • Dinner with a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian authentic Kerala dishes 
  • Dance floor
  • Dress code: Christmas/Holiday themed casual / party wear

Register here soon as the registration will close on 12/3/2019 (or earlier when the limit is reached). Come and enjoy a splendid night with authentic Kerala food (including many Christmas specials), performances from COMA members and a lot of fun activities! Grab your tickets before its sold out.  

Translucent – by Hrishi Nair

I finally made it! I thought. After all my hard work, I finally got the job at the Gazette! I took another look at the email that I just received from the Gazette. I brimmed with pride like a cup that had been overfilled, dripping its contents everywhere. After all,I needed this
job. I lived in a crappy old apartment with off-white walls and coated with thousands of cobwebs. I owned an old green couch with a pull-out mattress. A brown tube TV stood tall on a stand only a few feet away. The kitchen had a broken oven with a stove sitting on top. Across from that was a couple cupboards with a microwave in the middle. Since I didn’t have a job, I
made money from mowing lawns.

“Congratulations Mr. Gaster! We welcome you to the Gazette,” I started to read the email aloud to myself. “We hope that you can meet the standards that we maintain here. Your first
assignment is to go find an interesting story that we can print in the next issue. Remember you must meet our standards or else your position will be terminated.” I had always wanted to be a journalist. As a little kid I would just write down things in a little notepad that I carried around everywhere. My passion for journalism is like a blazing fire,
impossible to put out no matter how hard your efforts are. Now I have to go find a story that the Gazette will like, I thought to myself.

I decided to take a walk to clear my thoughts and get inspiration.
“What about student loan debt, or global warming, or plastic in animals?” I shook my head. “That’s all too general to be in the newspaper. I have to find something unique to Texas.”I sat down at the bench in a nearby park. Another woman was already sitting watching a child play on the swings. She took a look at the pad I had in my head. “Why do you have that?” she pointed at my pad.

“Why do you have that?” she pointed at my pad.
“Oh, I’m a journalist. I work with the Gazette and I have to find a story.”
She thought for a second. “A story huh? Why not do one on that abandoned house right
across from mine? My son is always so creeped out by it. He hates going outside because of it.”I stood up suddenly. “That might work.”
“I would be careful though, because people say its haunted by the previous owners.” “I wouldn’t worry about that.” I started to jog back home. “Ghosts aren’t even real!” At home I did more research on the house and found its original listing page. Wow that’s really cheap for a house that big, I reasoned. Did something horrible happen
there?

It turns out that the old owners left abruptly. All of the comments on the original selling
page agreed with the woman in the park.
They all said something along the lines of, “This house is haunted.” Those guys are morons.
“This is the perfect story for the Gazette.” I began to talk to myself. “Me and a supposed
haunted house. What could go wrong?”
I grabbed my pad and camera. I took a look outside and saw the light outside was fading. Should I wait for morning? I questioned myself. No I need the story as soon as possible.I ate some instant noodles.

The only food cheap enough for me to afford. Then, I grabbed
a flashlight in case the house was as dark as a dead lightbulb. Giving no light, but instead complete darkness.I followed the address that was listed on the houses selling page. It led to an old, grey run down house with a “for sale” sign. It looked like no one would ever buy it.I grabbed the door knocker and rapped it against the door. BANG, BANG, BANG . “Hello?” I yelled inside. To my sudden surprise someone answered the door.It was a young boy. He didn’t look much over the age of eight. His clothes were wet and
shredded. There was one more thing about him that seemed weird, but I couldn’t put my finger on it due to the darkness outside. Considering his deplorable appearance he spoke excitedly, “Hello!” His voice made me jump. “Hello…” He gestured me in very emphatically. I had no other choice but to walk in. I was still stunned by the fact there was only a boy living in this huge house. I walked in the door.The house was painted in peach. The living room had a grey couch. The couch was like a derelict countertop, slowly gathering dust over the years. Across from the couch was a humongous flatscreen TV. The boy shut the door behind me and quickly rushed to meet me. He seemed very jumpy and excited. “Hey! Hi! How are you?” I was confused by what was going on, so I asked the obvious question, “Who are you?”

“Ahh, I should’ve told you that first. Sorry no one’s been here for the last few years. I’m Aqua.”

I nodded, “Hi.” at that time I thought he was just an orphan who lived alone. I would soon learn otherwise. “Im Jason Gaster. Call me Ghost though. That’s what my friends call me. They say that it’s because I’m too quiet and shy.”
He nodded with a faraway look in his eye. It was almost as if the word ghost reminded him of something.

I started to explore the house while he sat there. It was a gigantic house. There were six rooms upstairs. All of them looked like no one had walked inside for hundreds of years. I walked downstairs to the basement. I saw what looked like the gym. There were weights on racks. Next to them was a couple of pool and ping-pong tables. Across from that there was a door that led to the pool. Inside the pool something caught my attention.Something was floating in it. Next This freaked me out so I walked back to the kitchen, and Aqua was sitting reading a book. He had tears in his eyes. The book he was reading had no words at all. Just pictures. I saw
him next to a couple of people around his height. They all looked similar. Behind them were two adults who also looked like him. “Hey,” I said hesitantly.
Aqua quickly wiped the tears out of his eyes, “Hi.” I pointed at the pool, “What’s floating in the water?” Something was floating in it.

A dark expression passed over his face for a few seconds before it returned to normal.“Something happened,” his tone made it clear that he didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t care and kept on asking, “Like what?” “Nothing you should care about,” He snapped back quickly

“But I want to kno-.”
I suddenly realized what was weird about this boy.

His appearance was translucent… Like a ghost.“That’s where you died isn’t it.”
He turned away quickly with tears in his eyes. “I was the youngest child. My siblings loved to hurt me.” he started to quietly sob while grabbing a rusty, blood stained knife. “They cut me up with this kitchen knife and dunked me in the water. I don’t think they meant to kill me. When I woke up, they were gone. Even my parents. I ́ve been stuck here as a ghost for two years.My body never allowed me to leave. I learned you could never leave the place you died.”
I didn’t know how to respond to that. So I didn’t. I hadn’t stayed there for too long, but I decided that it was enough. I grabbed my camera and started to walk out in a daze; I was still trying to make sense of what just happened. I hadn’t taken any notes on my experience with
Aqua. I just hoped that I would forget about it all and move on with my life.
̈ ̈No don’t leave!” Aqua started to run after me. ¨I don’t want to be stuck here all alone! I don’t want to be here with no one to talk to” I didn’t care about what he said. I ran for the door.“Please don’t leave.” he started to cry, “I don’t want to make you stay.” I kept on ignoring him while struggling to open the rusty old door. It refused to move like a huge elephant, perfectly content with where it is. I heard the screech of the boy. I turned around and saw him rushing at me with the rusty, blood stained knife. I felt a sharp pain in my side.

Then I was in a daze. Everything was spinning. The boy was filled with shock by what happened. I found myself falling before everything went dark.
When I woke up the boy was at my side. My head ached. I lay there dazed and filled with pain trying to remember what happened. Aqua had a pensive look on his face. I tried to stand up
but instead stumbled back onto the floor.“There’s no use,” Aqua uttered. “I’ve already done it.” “What are you talking about?” I questioned, “What do you mean by already done it?”
He shook his head and walked away. I tried to stand back up again but the same thing happened.I gave up trying to get up and decided to lay on the ground for a while. My head still throbbed
from what I thought was a concussion. It looked like I was a baby;trying to get it’s head of the floor for the first time. I eventually got enough energy to stand up. I grabbed my pen, pad, and camera and started to head for the door.
That was so weird. I hope I can just forget about it all and just find a better stor- I stopped in my tracks. For some reason I couldn’t grab the doorknob. My body wouldn’t allow me to.I suddenly remembered what Aqua had said about him being stuck here. About his body
not allowing him to leave the place where he died. About how he couldn’t leave the house that he died in. I quickly raised my hands to my face to look at them.
They were… translucent.

Reflections or Ramblings – (edition 4) by Hari Narayanaswamy

Some of the highlights:

When we hear the word “Thanksgiving“, what comes to the mind first? Holidays, shopping, turkey, family, maybe Black Friday? Maybe we will get to the word ”gratitude” if we think really hard, no thanks to the commercialisation and consumerism that have taken over the holidays. Should it be that hard? I would say no, provided we have kept up with our culture of maintaining cherished values in everyday life instead of celebrating them once a year. That brings up the question if gratitude should be a cherished value. Does gratitude have an inherent worth to it? 

One of the key aspects of the post-industrial revolution world was the search for the eluding human happiness. Somehow the comforts, security, and luxury of material wealth in the developed world didn’t exactly translate to happiness, but in fact, had the opposite effect of creating more internal misery. We have seen the resulting fascination for eastern mystical thinking in the 20th century that later on got mired with drugs and aimless free living in the ‘60s. Most recently, we see this in the fascination with new age Gurus and mindfulness coaches. There are shelves exclusively dedicated for the topic of “happiness“ in book stores and libraries.

If we scour over all of these books and lectures offering help on finding happiness, what we will find is that the one key ingredient to all the prescriptions is the recommendation to develop the attitude of gratitude. Somehow, being grateful magically lessens the weight of the heart and fills it with positivity.

Those of you who have the tradition of saying grace as a family at the dinner table or in a prayer would certainly know this. But, here is the challenge. The benefit of being grateful is totally internal and not tangible, while opportunism and focus on transactional gain leads to “success” and “wins”. History is replete with stories of arrogance and pompousness from the latter leading to the ultimate fall while graciousness and sacrifice have inspired and endured.

Two Indian fables also come to mind. One is that of a squirrel who helps in the building of the bridge across ocean in Ramayana. While the powerful monkeys were carrying giant boulders to drop in the ocean, the squirrel was trying to do its best carrying whatever sand or pebbles it could to add to the bridge. Rama becomes so astonished by the dedication of this squirrel that he is supposed to have run three fringes of his right hand over its back in affection, and since then, all squirrels have a golden stripe on their backs! Here, the key point is, gratitude is not necessarily a measured return for the material benefit but a return of affection for the very intent and attitude itself.

Other story is from Jataka tales where a Lion one time spares the life of a mouse. The relived mouse offers his help whenever a need may arise. But, the powerful lion waves it away, saying, “What use does the meagre mouse have?” One day, the lion gets entrapped in a hunters net and lies there powerless.

The mouse shows up and snips away the net, letting the lion free itself.  The moral of the story is obviously about humility, but it also tells us that gratitude is founded on humility. It is not a mere ”thank you” said at every turn, but an acknowledgement of our limitations and how much we need voluntary help from others in our lives.

Not every culture is expressive with words about gratitude, however. Many of us have come from a culture where saying “thank you“ can actually offend our close friends and family. It somehow has a connotation of making the relationship formal and distant. I have no memory of saying “thank you” to my mother or father, but I can say confidently how much they knew of my gratefulness for their sacrifices. The silence of unsaid words are often much more powerful than ones uttered.

Have a great Thanksgiving and hope we will all strive to be thankful all the time!

PS: A very useful Fortune cookie quote to keep in mind as we shop the Thanksgiving deals – “A bargain is something you don’t need that comes at an attractive price” 🙂


Theyyam – by Valsan Palika

തെയ്യത്തിന് പ്രാദേശിക സ്വഭാവമുണ്ടെന്നു പറഞ്ഞുവല്ലോ. വടക്കേ മലബാറിൽ മിക്ക ഗ്രാമങ്ങളിലും ദേശമൂർത്തികളായ തെയ്യങ്ങൾ കണ്ടുവരുന്നു. വളരെ ചുരുക്കം തെയ്യങ്ങൾ ഗ്രാമ സീമകളെ മറികടന്ന് വിശാലമായ ഒരു പ്രദേശത്തിന്റെയും, ജനവിഭാഗത്തിന്റെയും ആരാധനാ മൂർത്തികളായി മാറിയിട്ടുണ്ട്. മുച്ചിലോട്ട് ഭഗവതി, ചാമുണ്ഡി, പൊട്ടൻ, ഗുളികൻ, വയനാട്ടു കുലവൻ, കണ്ണങ്ങാട്ട് ഭവതി, കുട്ടിച്ചാത്തൻ, കതിവനൂർ വീരൻ മുതലായ തെയ്യങ്ങൾ ഇവയിൽ ചിലതാണ്. ‘കളിയാട്ടം’ എന്ന മലയാള സിനിമയിൽ  കതിവനൂർ വീരൻ തെയ്യത്തെക്കുറിച്ചു പരാമർശിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ട്. നൂറോളം കാവുകളിൽ പ്രധാന മൂർത്തിയായ മുച്ചിലോട്ട് ഭഗവതിയെക്കുറിച്ചു ചില കാര്യങ്ങൾ പറയാം 

പണ്ട് പെരിഞ്ചെല്ലൂർ എന്ന് അറിയപ്പെട്ടിരുന്ന ഇന്നത്തെ തളിപ്പറമ്പിൽ (കണ്ണൂർ ജില്ല) ‘രയരമംഗലത്ത് മന’ എന്ന് പേരുള്ള പേരുകേട്ട ഒരു കുടുംബമുണ്ടായിരുന്നു. ഒരു കാലത്ത് അവിടെ കുട്ടികളില്ലാതെ വരികയാൽ  മനയിലെ കാരണവന്മാർ കുലദേവതയായ രയരമംഗലത്ത് ഭഗവതിയെ പ്രീതിപ്പെടുത്താനായി വിശേഷാൽ പ്രാർത്ഥനകളും പൂജകളും നടത്തി. ഒരു പുത്രനെയാണ് ആഗ്രഹിച്ചതെങ്കിലും ആ കുടുംബത്തിൽ

പിറന്നത് ഒരു പെൺകുട്ടിയായിരുന്നു. ഈശ്വര കടാക്ഷത്താൽ കിട്ടിയ കുഞ്ഞായതിനാൽ അവൾക്ക് ‘ദൈവകന്യക’ എന്ന് നാമകരണവും ചെയ്തു.  പെൺകുഞ്ഞായിരുന്നുവെങ്കിലും അവളെ വേണ്ട വിധത്തിൽ വിദ്യാഭാസം ചെയ്യിച്ചു. അതി സമർത്ഥയും  സർവ കലകളിലും അഗ്രഗണ്യയുമായി അവൾ വളർന്നു വന്നു. പക്ഷെ ഗ്രാമത്തിലെ മറ്റു പണ്ഡിതർക്ക് ഒരു പെൺകുട്ടിയുടെ ഈ വളർച്ചയും ഖ്യാതിയും സഹിക്കാവുന്നതിലും അപ്പുറമായിരുന്നു. കിട്ടിയ അവസരങ്ങളെല്ലാം അവർ അവളെ ഇകഴ്ത്താനും പരിഹസിക്കാനും ഉപയോഗിച്ചു. ബാല്യ വിവാഹം സർവ്വസാധാരണമായിരുന്ന കാലമായിരുന്നതിനാൽ പന്ത്രണ്ടാം വയസ്സിൽ അവളുടെ വിവാഹം നടത്താൻ തീരുമാനിച്ചു. തന്നെ നേരിട്ട് ഒരു വാഗ്വാദത്തിൽ തോൽപ്പിക്കാൻ കഴിവുള്ള പണ്ഡിതനെ  മാത്രമേ താൻ വിവാഹം കഴിക്കു എന്ന് അവൾ ശഠിച്ചു. അങ്ങിനെ വാഗ്വാദത്തിന് ഒരു തിയതി നിശ്ചയിച്ചു വിളംബരം ചെയ്തു.
ധാരാളം പണ്ഡിതന്മാർ കേട്ടറിഞ്ഞെത്തിയെങ്കിലും ആർക്കും അവളെ വാഗ്വാദത്തിൽ തോൽപ്പിക്കാൻ പറ്റിയില്ല. സഹികെട്ട പണ്ഡിതന്മാർ ചേർന്ന് അവൾക്കെതിരായി ഒരു ചതിപ്രയോഗത്തിന് പദ്ധതിയിട്ടു. നവരസങ്ങളിൽ പ്രധാനം ശൃംഗാരമെന്നും ഏറ്റവും കഠിനമായ വേദന പ്രസവ വേദനയാണെന്നും ചോദ്യങ്ങൾക്കുത്തരമായി അവൾ പറഞ്ഞപ്പോൾ അവർ അവളെ പരിഹസിച്ചു. അവൾ പ്രസവ വേദനയും ശൃംഗാരവും രഹസ്യമായി അനുഭവിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ടന്നും അവർ അവളെ അധിക്ഷേപിച്ചു. അവളുടെ അച്ഛന്റെ അപേക്ഷകളെല്ലാം പാടെ നിരസിച്ചുകൊണ്ട് അവളെ ആ സമൂഹത്തിൽനിന്ന് ഭ്രഷ്ട് കല്പിച്ചു പുറത്താക്കി. വിഷാദവും ദേഷ്യവും നിരാശയും കലർന്ന മനോസ്സോടെ അവൾ വീടും ഗ്രാമവും ഉപേക്ഷിച്ചിറങ്ങി. തന്റെ നിരപരാധിത്വം തെളിയിക്കാൻ അഗ്നിയിൽ ചാടി ജീവിതം

അവസാനിപ്പിക്കാൻ അവൾ ഉറച്ചു. കാട്ടിൽനിന്നും വിറകും ഇലകളും ശേഖരിച്ചു അവൾ ഒരു ചിതയുണ്ടാക്കി അതിലേക്ക് ചാടി. പക്ഷെ അഗ്നി അവളെ ഒട്ടും വേദനിപ്പിച്ചില്ല! അപ്പോൾ അതുവഴി വന്ന ഒരു വെളിച്ചെണ്ണ വില്പനക്കാരന്റെ കയ്യിൽനിന്നും വെളിച്ചെണ്ണ വാങ്ങി അവൾ ചിതയിലേക്ക് ഒഴിച്ച് അഗ്നിയുടെ ശക്തികൂട്ടി. വാനോളം ഉയർന്ന അഗ്നിനാളങ്ങളിലേക്ക്  ചാടി അവൾ ജീവനൊടുക്കി. ഭയന്നുപോയ വിൽപ്പനക്കാരൻ സ്വന്തം വീട്ടിലേക്ക് പാഞ്ഞുപോയി. ‘മുച്ചിലോടൻ’ എന്ന് പേരായ അവന്റെ കൂടെ അവളുടെ ചൈതന്യം പോവുകയും ‘മുച്ചിലോട്’ വീട്ടിൽ കുടിയിരിക്കുകയും ചെയ്തു എന്ന് വിശ്വാസം. ഈ കഥ കേട്ടവർ അത് ഭഗവതിയുടെ അവതാരമാണെന്നു സംശയലേശമെന്യേ വിശ്വസിച്ചു, മുച്ചിലോട് ഭഗവതി എന്ന് വിളിച്ചു. ഭാഗവിതക്കു വേണ്ടി ഒരു കാവ് ഉണ്ടാക്കുകയും അവിടെ പൂജയും കെട്ടിയാടുന്ന തെയ്യവും നടത്തുകയും ചെയ്തു.
സാധാരണ കാവുകളിനൽ  ഓരോ വർഷവും, പ്രധാനപ്പെട്ട ചില കാവുകളിൽ പാന്ത്രണ്ടു വർഷത്തിലൊരിക്കലും  (‘പെരുങ്കളിയാട്ട’മായി) മുച്ചിലോട്ട് ഭഗവതി തെയ്യം ആഘോഷിച്ചുവരുന്നു. മതപരവും സാമൂഹികവുമായ അടിത്തറയെന്ന നിലയിൽ, പ്രദേശത്തിന്റെ സാമൂഹിക ചരിത്രത്തിൽ മുച്ചിലോട്ട് ഭഗവതിക്കും മറ്റ് തെയ്യങ്ങൾക്കും ഒരു നിർണ്ണായക സ്ഥാനമുണ്ട്. മാറി വരുന്ന സാമൂഹിക സാഹചര്യങ്ങളിലും തെയ്യങ്ങളുടെ ആനുകാലിക പ്രസക്തി നിലനിൽക്കുന്നുണ്ടെന്നത് വളരെ ആശാവഹമാണ്. സർക്കാരും സർക്കാരിതര പ്രസ്ഥാനങ്ങളും ഈ പാരമ്പര്യ കലകൾ നിലനിർത്തുന്നതിനും കലാകാരന്മാരുടെ ജീവിത സാഹചര്യങ്ങൾ മെച്ചപ്പെടുത്തുന്നതിനും അനുസ്യൂതം പ്രയത്നിക്കുന്നുണ്ട്. ഇതിനാലൊക്കെ ഇത്തരം പൈതൃക സമ്പത്തുകൾ കാലത്തിനെ അതിജീവിച്ചു നിലനിൽക്കും എന്ന് നമുക്ക് പ്രത്യാശിക്കാം.


COMA Sports Leagues

COMA Sports league 2019 – The inaugural sports league of COMA have come to end.

It all started with COMA Badminton tournament 2019 which was held in February 2019. We made this tournament open to everyone and more than 80 players from Columbus, Cincinnati, Celeveland and Pittsburg areas participated in it. We received may rave reviews about the tournament from all around and everyone is looking forward to participating next year. We hoped to publicize ‘COMA’ to the Indian community in Columbus through this tournament and this exactly did the same. We hope this tournament will become one of the marquee events of COMA going forward. Another exciting part of the tournament was that Men’s Doubles Champions are COMA members – Anoop Joseph and Dilin Joy.

Next event was Thuruppu Gulan 2019 – a cards and game night for Malayalees. We included the games that are loved by Malayalees all around the world – Thuruppugulan, Rummy and Carrom. This event was very well received within the community and a lot of people joined us for a fun filled evening, playing a lot of games with their dear and near ones.

Thuruppu Gulan – Irupathiyettu
Winner – Team Veerans (Jojo Joseph, John George and Abraham Thomas)
Runner Up – Team Challengers (Deepu Paul, Binix John, Joseph Sebastian)
Third Place – Team Minimum Vili (Sakunthala Puthiyattil, Pradeesh Puthiyattil and Sachin Sugathan)

Thuruppu Gulan – Rummy
Winner – Shibu Nair
Runner Up – Sangeetha Muthiraparambath
Third Place – Anand Cherian

Thuruppu Gulan – Carrom
Winner – Arun Chand & Sajid Babu
Runner Up – Arun Davis & Deepak Divakaran
Third Place – Abraham Thomas & Priya Pramod

We conducted three outdoor leagues in Summer – Cricket, Soccer and Tennis.

Cricket tournament was won by Team Empuraans beating Thakarppans in a closely contested finals. Finals was conducted in best-of-three matches format. Thakarppans won the first match, but Empuraans came back strongly and defeated Thakarppans in the next two matches, and won the trophy!

COMA Soccer league had four teams from our community. A lot of passion and fighting spirit were shown in every match and all teams were fighting tooth and nail till the end. Unfortunately, we had to cancel the final for the soccer league due to time constraints and we decided to finish the tournament in the league format itself without the finals. Here are the final standing for the league – Columbus Blasters got the top spot in the standings.

COMA Tennis Tournament got a lot of interest from the community – eight Mens Doubles teams played in a round robin format and top four teams went onto play the semi finals. Ajish Poonthuruthiyil and Arun Chand won the tournament beating Girish Manoharan and Ravi Hariharan in the Final.

We hope all of you enjoyed the COMA Sports and Games Tournaments this year. The passion and vigor all of you showed in the field is exemplary! We hope to having these tournaments as an annual event for COMA. Thank you everyone for showing up and making these events a great success for COMA!


Meals on Wheels Volunteers

  • 10/27 – Sudha Warrier,Govi Warrier,Anoop Nair
  • 11/10 – Sunil Balkrishnan,Jerry Zachariah,Vipin Nair
  • 11/24 – Nish Nishant,Austin Pereira,Ceby Philip

COMA Newsletter October 2019

Here in Midwest we are now seeing the major seasons change of the year, and to every ones delight our curbside trees are turning gorgeous with those fall colors.Before its loo late you have couple of weeks to explore some of the beautiful scenic dives in and around Ohio and experience the golden light of mother nature. In this edition of the newsletter of Hari has written a beautiful poem and Manju is talking about the importance of Malayalam education but to begin with, Shraddha have written a piece about relevance of Mahatma Gandhi and his values in our lives and for the generations to come. Happy Reading!!! and Wishing you all a Happy Diwali!!!

Celebrating Gandhi – His Values and Principles by Shraddha Krishnan

While celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the question of whether Gandhi’s values and principles are still relevant and important to the current world is definitely worthy of examination. Gandhi was one of the most influential voices of not just India, but the whole world. His words spoke out and related to most of the planet’s population, and he was a force to be reckoned with. When asked about him, Albert Einstein once said, “Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.” Einstein could not believe that someone with values of such high esteem could actually be human.

If we look back at the life of Gandhi, two very important values seem to stand out, and form the core principles of his teachings. One of these values is satyam, or a strict adherence to truth. He once said, “In judging myself I shall try to be as harsh as truth, as I want others also to be. Morality is the basis of things and truth is the substance of all morality.” This is something he had followed for all his life, from his teenage years all the way up to his unfortunate death.

The second value is ahimsa, or non-violence. He encouraged all his followers to do the same, and it made such a difference in the world. This is one of the things Gandhi is most remembered for. He did not believe in fighting violence with violence. He always stood by the strong belief that violence is never the answer. The most noted evidence of this is the Salt Satyagraha, or the Salt March. This was an act of disobedience to assert one’s rights without violence. It was simple, yet spoke so loud. This trend of non-violent action set the stage for many future activists, including Martin Luther King Jr., who constantly referred to Gandhi’s principles during the Civil Rights Movement.    

These two moral standards did not appear out of thin air.  Mahatma Gandhi’s experiences in life, from being a student in London, to working as a lawyer in South Africa, and leading a revolution in India, churned together and formed his teachings as we know of them today. Gandhi lived through many important events, and they shaped his character into something that even today, we revere. We live in a world right now where violence appears to be the main expression of power.

We see it all the time that in violence and thirst for power, hate and injustice seem to manifest themselves in every crevice of society. This is not any different from Gandhi’s time. Just as he was able to use the values of non-violence and truth to fight domination and injustice in his era, we can also do the same today. 

Sudents all around the globe are currently taught about Gandhi and why his message is so important. Students of today are the future, and are responsible for what our world will be tomorrow. As inspired by a very famous quote of Gandhi, we need to be the change we want to see in the world. It is so important that students learn to appreciate Gandhi and his principles in order to make today’s multicultural and cosmopolitan societies a true success. The example set by Gandhi on peaceful coexistence and mutual respect is extremely valuable to today’s as well as the future world. Gandhi’s principles will always be applicable through the generations to come. This is why students should learn about them to make our world a better place. 

Reflections or Ramblings – (edition 3) by Hari Narayanaswamy

I too had strolled up a mount
Coming upon two forking paths*
Leading away to places far
Mysteries unseen, buried very deep

One was hemmed with flowery shrubs
Jasmine and Lily, Lavender and Daisies
Opening the gate for rushing thoughts
Waking up dreams that slept in heart

Dreams of a spring bright with Sun
Sprawling meadows and shiny grass
Daffodils swaying, breeze very light
Darting birds and clear blue sky

Other was laid with fallen leaves
Glistening in colors that bring us cheer
Sun’s rays playing hide and seek
Fresh odor of cedar, oak and birch

Solemness of a winter not yet here
Traces of a summer not yet gone
Clouds that rush to homes far off
Hearts that yearn for long lost love

Down I went on my autumn path
Sparsely treaded, rarely passed
What I come upon was not my care
Breathing joy on a boundless flight

*Reference is to Robert Frost’s famous poem ‘Road not taken’

Why Malayalam ? by Manjula Nair

It is ironic that I am writing about why it is important to learn Malayalam , in English. My intent is to reach a broader audience and also those who do not know Malayalam. I read somewhere that the biggest human invention is our languages. Languages have helped humans communicate and that has led us towards civilization. I am sure there are some of us who would argue that animals and birds communicate better than humans in this day and age. And there are also people (like me) who believe that non verbal communication is way more effective. But let’s table that topic for another day.

Coming back to the importance of communication , done in the right way, it is the most powerful tool that exists today. It could be used to influence human minds, give new perspectives, forge relationships, soothe an aching heart. But since it is such a powerful tool, it can cause just as much destruction too. Communication or the lack of, has destroyed relationships, caused world wars, Hence the importance of using it carefully and mindfully.

Having said this, I need to tell you why I think it is important to learn your mother tongue.  As humans, one of our most basic needs is to belong in friendship, in romance, in a family, a community, whatever it maybe. But we need to belong. To belong to your roots, to the land where you originated, you should be able to communicate in the same language. I am not saying you cannot connect to your motherland without knowing the language, but it is definitely easier if you do. You understand the jokes, the slang, the little references that come up in conversations and voila! you are one among them..

For our children, who has grown up in another land,that we call our home, it is always harder to communicate and connect with those back in our motherland. Language plays a huge role in bridging the gap, amongst many other things. 

One of the best gifts that we can give our children is a chance to learn the language, so that they don’t feel so alien when they visit Kerala. I have seen that happen with so many children and is very sad to watch them trying to fit in and are unable to.

Our association has an ongoing Malayalam class that is run by volunteers entirely and caters to both adults and children.If you didn’t know about this offering and if you would like to learn our language, please check out our association website

If you are one to treasure our roots in Kerala and wishes that your children do too, give them the gift of language. That will help them belong to the Malayali community. Plus, we all know, there is no place in the entire world where you won’t find a Malayali. And lets not forget our world class literature and movies.You will be exposing them to the treasure land of books and movies and they will thank you. 

Hopefully we will see more of you in our Malayalam class..

Onam Celebrations

Please access pictures from COMA Onam celebration 2019 by clicking here. Thank you to Ashish M for capturing the moments so well.

Finance 101

COMA will be conducting a finance 101 session for youths. This session will be a great opportunity for the youths to understand the Importance of money and how to start saving and investing for future from the industry experts on Finance and Insurance. This session is geared towards children from middle school through college going.  There will be a limited number of seats available for this session and we would encourage you to sign up early by sending an email to coma.officials@gmail.com  Please mark your calendar for the session to be conducted on Nov 16th Saturday 2.00 PM to 3.00 PM.  We will send out venue and other details soon. 

Meals on Wheels Volunteers

  • 09/22 – Thomas Pullumpallil, Reuben Varughese and Girish Manoharan
  • 10/13 – Nish Nishant, Dhanush Kondoth and Shibu Nair

“GIVING BACK TO KERALA”

What is this initiative? 

Being so far away from India, all of you have probably wanted to somehow be able to give back and be connected to our birthplace, Kerala. COMA is starting an initiative called ‘Giving back to Kerala’ and has for the year 2019-2020, identified two non-profit, non-religious, non-political charitable organizations in Kerala that desperately require financial support. Both serve the elderly, destitute, battered women, abandoned children.

  • Gandhi Bhavan Saranalayam, Kollam-Sustaining Need – TARGET $300 ($100 of 300  reached) per month 
    • Pay a recurring monthly amount or one-time payment through  coma.charities@gmail.com
  • Sri Chitra Home, Trivandrum- One Time Need – TARGET $3000 this year  
  • **Payment through Quick pay (coma.charities@gmail.com) or Paypal to coma.officials@gmail.com

What happens to my donation?

Separate account is set up for donations and the donations will be handed over to these organizations and accounted separately by COMA. Total donations received will be published annually for full transparency. Efforts are in place to ensure that there is complete accountability for the money received at these organizations. The utilization of the funds will be socialized with the givers so that we can rest easy that the money has reached the truly deserving people. 

As always, please send us any questions or clarifications that you might have regarding this at coma.charities@gmail.com.

Thank you all in advance for your generosity!!

COMA CHARITY TEAM

COMA Newsletter September 2019

This time of the year is where we all have been eagerly waiting to welcome “Mahabali”, as you all are aware much awaited COMA Onam celebrations is around the corner, behind the scenes our volunteers are working hard to make the Onam celebration a grand success. We hope all of you will get to enjoy this beautiful festival with your family and friends.

Reflections or Ramblings (Edition-2) by Hari Narayanaswami.

I won’t expect anyone to disagree with me if I say there is a world of difference between Kerala and Ohio. We are at least 7000 miles apart to start with and Ohio winter is not too far out in case you haven’t noticed!  But, usually in August as the summer starts waning and the sunny evenings leave an orange glow in the western sky, with few clouds hanging around in the sky to add a shade to the glow, Ohio does remind me of my late summer evenings in Kerala. I used to enjoy the leisurely walk in my neighborhood on those late May evenings, with the glow of setting sun still hanging in the sky, an anticipation of upcoming rains hanging somewhere silently in the breeze and the unbridled cacophony of birds sharing their day’s stories as they settle back in nests. (There weren’t these many vehicles honking away to glory and spoiling the ambiance at the time)

Undoubtedly the best time to be in Kerala is during the Onam. With the monsoons having taken a break, the nature looks like having emerged fresh from a shower and somehow everything suddenly looks positive all around. Something like a Christmas cheer settles in. Everyone appears to have forgotten the many difficulties of the scorching summer and the torrential rains of monsoon. Flowers are blooming, sky looks pristine blue and full moon nights are simply gorgeous. No wonder Keralites chose their biggest festival to be at this time. My pet peeve used to be the school quarterly tests, ‘ona pareeksha’, that were invariably scheduled right after the Onam vacation as the prime spoiler.

When did Keralites start celebrating Onam? The myths associated were interesting but the historical timeline of them  didn’t exactly make sense to me. One myth said Kerala was created when the sea withdrew for the length Parasurama threw his axe from Gokarnam.

According to Purana, this is supposed to have happened in the third of the four Yugas called Threta Yuga. Kerala’s favorite emperor Mahabali, the key legend of Onam belonged to the Krita Yuga, few millennia before Parasurama. Obviously the stories didn’t gel though I still loved both these myths. Thinking outside of this myth, one has to wonder where exactly did these key characteristics of Onam like the reminiscence of a golden past, the hope and anticipation that those days will come back once again, actually originate from? I had to dig into Kerala’s history to find a sensible answer that at least made logical sense to me.

Kerala’s trading history goes way into the past and the region is considered to be the source of spices and essences used by Egyptians, Babylonians and even King Solomon of Israel. Ptolemy in 2nd century AD refers to ‘Kerala puttar’ and famous ports in Kerala  like Musiris and Thondi. The history of spice trades with Arabs, Romans and Chinese could be traced back to late centuries of BCE. However, the first time Kerala saw a really powerful empire that unified it to a good extend was in the 8th entry CE. This was the second Chera Empire of the Kulasekharas that was established with the capital of ‘Mahodayapuram’ which is supposed to be somewhere near today’s Kochi. The first Chera empire in the early centuries of AD is mentioned in the Sangham poetry of Tamil Nadu. Their capital is known as ‘Vanchi’ is supposed to have been close to today’s Kodungalloor.

A number of famous kings including the vaishnava saint Kulasekhara Alwar as well as Sthanu Ravi Varma were part of the second Chera dynasty. Most of the Kings were scholars, people oriented and supporters of art and literature.

The glorious period of the second Chera dynasty, a flourishing period of no war and total social amity,  lasted until beginning of 11th century when the Chola kings decided to invade. Though the Chola king Kulothungan didn’t completely overthrow the Chera state, he did manage to weaken it significantly, move them out of Mahodayapuram and destroy that city.  After the dissolution of the dynasty, the land of Kerala was broken down into small chiefdoms called as ‘nadu’ and were ruled by local chieftains.

My romantic thinking leads me to believe that this is the time period when the Onam festival originated. A festival of hope for a distressed people living in difficult conditions, reminiscing on the glories of the past when there was no shortage for food, a powerful and able administrator was in charge and there were no worries of safety and security. Whether I am right or wrong about this, the Onam festival has to say something about the spirit of this ‘God’s own country’ where people come together as one in times of need, overcoming all their divisions and spreading hopes of a better tomorrow. On a lighter note, look at how many decades Keralites have voted alternatively right and left in elections and each time expected a new beginning with their Government. We, Keralites never lose hope!!

Onam greetings to each and everyone of you and looking forward to see you at this year’s COMA Onam festival!

Trip to United States of America – By Malathy Nair

COMA Onam Celebration

The wait is over! Tickets for COMA Onam Celebrations 2019 is open now. The event is on Saturday, September 14th at Westerville North High School. In addition to the sumptuous Sadya, many cultural and fun programs are planned. The venue will be open from 11:00 AM and Sadya will promptly start at 11:30 AM. Cultural programs will start at 1:30 PM.

Click below for more details and purchasing tickets: https://www.comaohio.org/onam-2019/

If you are NOT a COMA Member yet, click on the below link to become a member and receive reduced ticket prices for Onam and Christmas events.
https://www.comaohio.org/membership-account/membership-levels/

Malayalam Class:

We would like to remind you all that Malayalam class will resume on Sunday, September 22nd (Time: 11:00 AM to noon) at the same venue as last year, Lazelle Woods Community Center, 8140 Sancus Blvd, Columbus, OH 43215). We are very excited to start the adult class and are looking forward to another great year. For registration, please send an email with your/child’s detail to coma.officials@gmail.com.

Giving back to Kerala:

As communicated earlier, COMA has started an initiative to give back to Kerala. We are very happy that the idea is welcomed by our community and thankful to all of you who supported with your generous donations. If you missed the earlier communication, please see ‘Giving back to Kerala’ for more details and payment methods. Please remember that together,  we can make some real meaningful differences in people’s lives. 

Meals on Wheels Volunteers

  • Jul 14 ‘2019 – Roopesh Sathyan, Sandeep Nair, Sunitha Sandeep
  • Jul 18 ‘2019 – Ashish, Abhi, and Adithya Muthiraparambath
  • Aug 11 ‘2019 – Valsan, Hrishi, and Niranjan Namboodhiri.
  • Aug 25 ‘2019 – Mary Eapen,Keziah Uthup and Marissa Uthup
  • Sep 8 ‘ 2019 – Saira Nawaz,Razvi Razack

North South Foundation Columbus

COMA Newsletter July 2019

Active COMA has been talk of the town.Our Community is very active in various fronts and Active COMA a became platform where a lot of coordinated activities are happening around us.In this months edition we are taking a peek at various activities where our fellow “Malayalees” has been actively participating.

Walking Club – Groups from different parts of Columbus have been coordinating routine walks in mornings and evenings.We have an average group size of 25 in Dublin,Lewis Center and Powell. For those who are not motivated to get yourself started on a fitness routine this  is your chance to add some steps to your fitness tracker.

There is nothing more than a refreshing and rejoicing experience to walk under morning sun.

Biking Club – Pelotonia is just finished and there were few riders who are quite motivated to up their distance with competitiveness and enthusiasm.You will be quite surprised to find out we have riders from all age groups

who are spinning their wheels any where between 10 to 60 miles on a regular basis. What more can you ask from the folks who are driving up spirit and inspiring others from the community to come out with bikes and join the fun.It is more than a workout routine but to ride together as a group and share the road.

COMA Sports League – by Arun Chand

We’ve kick-started various Sports Leagues in July as part of the Active COMA campaign. We received tremendous response to this initiative from the Malayalee community and a lot of people have shown keen interest and are vigorously participating in the leagues. We sent out a registration form to all our patrons requesting their interest in different sports and found out that most people were favoring Cricket, Soccer and Tennis. We initiated the process by compiling a list of interested people for each sport, picking captains and then working with them to form the teams, rules, format of the game and other logistics.

Cricket was the first league to get going. We got a roster of around 60+ interested players and teams were selected by captains through an IPL(Indian Premier League) – style auction which made sure that we have four equally strong teams.

Empurans & CSK

The teams – Columbus Super Kings, Empuraans, Kolamass and Thakarppans are currently battling out for the prestigious COMA Cricket Cup title. All four teams play each other twice (home and away) for a total of 6 matches each in the league phase. After the league round is completed, based on the points and NRR(net run rate), the top two teams will play in the finals.

Thakarpans & Kolamass

We had a number of exciting matches which went down to the wire and the passion and spirit our players showed on the field is stupendous!

Many people regularly come to watch these games, support their teams and share the thrill and excitement along with the players. Live streaming for the matches are available on the COMA Facebook page which also got a fair share of audience. We are now past half way through the Cricket league and all four teams are still in the running for the top two spots – which shows how close and thrilling the matches have been so far!You can follow the COMA Cricket Cup here (for scores, results and points table): https://www.cricclubs.com/comacup

Tennis tournament has also started and 8 doubles teams are now playing their league matches in two groups. Top two teams from each group will play the semi-finals, followed by the final.

We are now ready to start the Soccer League – four teams; Columbus Blasters, Little Soccer, New Albany Bulls and SM Columbus; have already been formed and they have started practicing under the leadership of their captains and mentors.

New Albany Bulls

Soccer has a roster size of 75+ players and it will be played on a regular field with 11 players on each side. Each team will play each other in the league stage and the top two teams will play the finals.

Little Soccer

By conducting these leagues, we aim to improve the closeness within the community, help people connect with same interests and make new friends as well as grow the COMA family by bringing people together. We are so excited to see that it is happening and are hoping to continue to get the full support from everyone for these events.

Columbus Blasters
SM Columbus

Some of the responses from the sports league participants:

 “Thank  you very much for conducting these tournaments. We have met a lot of new people and made many new friends!”

 “Its so wonderful to see the enthusiasm and passion among the players. Never knew there were these many good players in the Malayalee community”

“It feels great to play the sport again which I had stopped playing years ago.”

Reflections or Ramblings? by Hari Narayanaswamy

(“Will you please write something for our newsletter?”

“Sure. Any specific topic?”

“No. Anything you would like to”

Well, blank checks ad open tabs are always dangerous. And now these reflections or ramblings are making their way to you. Enjoy!)

Last month was very exciting to say the least. What better things could happen in a month! Temperatures were moderate like a Mediterranean city. 5k runs and walks were plenty. I, personally had been to at least half a dozen grad parties to wish the beaming graduate. Plenty of opportunities to share happiness with friends and their families (though I did hurt my back moving my own daughter’s stuff out of her apartment, which I will overlook for now). Everyone appeared to be on the move to wherever hopes, dreams, plans, efforts and fate led.

But then that voice inside doesn’t exactly keep quiet. And all this activity begged me of this age old question – What exactly do we want from life? How do we get it? We all know we want to feel contended, accomplished and happy. But what magic formula makes it work?

One of my favorite pastime is to wander through the literary world (while I am not watching the World Cup cricket).Here is what I found.

There is an interesting exchange in Mahabharata between the eldest Pandava brother Yudhishtira and an Yaksha on this topic.

The context of the story is that the five Pandava brothers were wandering through the forest and one time got stuck not finding potable water to drink. They rested and sent one of the brothers, Bhima, to go look for water.He found a pond but it was guarded by an Yaksha. When Bhima defied the Yaksha and drank water from it, he fell down unconscious. Same fate repeated with three more of the brothers.Finally Yudhishtira himself made his way there and engaged the Yaksha on what he wanted. Yaksha‘s demand was simple, answer all my questions correctly and you can have the water and your brothers back. This exchange of dialog between the Yaksha and Yudhishtira that ensued is known in Mahabharata as the Yaksha Prasna.

One of the things the Yaksha wanted to know was, what is the greatest wonder in the world. Yudhishtira’s response was, humans are the greatest wonder in this world because though they see death happening around them all the time, they go about making decisions and acting in such a way that they seem to be expecting to be living here forever! This may be a bit of overstatement as none of us are generally naive enough to assume eternal life and neither do we go about in our everyday life thinking of our eventual departure from this world. Same time, an occasional reminder of this truth may help us in dealing with some of life’s unnecessary stresses.

Another question from the Yaksha was,

what should we be doing to make the best of our time here?

Below is a gist of the things Yudhisthira lists in answer to this: (If any of you are Sanskrit purists, please excuse my translation and extrapolation)

  1. Be the most skillful and best in whatever we choose to do
  2. Do charity and share with others
  3. Be true to oneself
  4. Make all of the above a habit that they become an integral part of one’s nature itself
  5. Be pleasing with one’s words and be likable 
  6. Create lasting success through thoughtful and diligent action
  7. Find the happiness in genuine friendships and have many friends
  8. Be a role model for ethical living

In Yudhishtira’s opinion, if one can apply the above to a life where health, wealth, security and relationships are not a matter of concern, then it will be a pleasant summer all through the life!                    

Hope these thoughts resonate with you. Make sure to say Hi and something nice the next time we meet in person!!

The Power of a Hackathon! by Ashwin Nair

When I was twelve, a huge wave of mobile applications hit the market, and I was one
of the millions that got swept away. That initiated my desire to create some applications of my own. I knew it would take lots of hard work, but my goal was to create a product with my own imagination that would meet all of my ideals.

In pursuit of my goals I developed my programming skills through after school activities like computer club and attending external training programs. I was fortunate to get exposure to application development, so I started participating in Hackathons; a competition where several teams create a software product (or a prototype) based on specific themes. Exploring thoughts and ideas for such projects accentuates creativity from an individual, providing practical experiences in this field. Hackathons are events where multiple teams solve a given problem by creating mobile applications (app), websites, or prototypes in a designated amount of time. The best apps that are developed around the theme and provide a viable solution are rewarded. Not only do hackathons foster creativity but they also help build around life skills like leadership, communication, and teamwork.

From my first event at the 2016 JPMorgan Chase Youth hackathon

focused on the wellbeing of cancer patients to the 2017 High School I/O hackathon conducted by The Ohio State University where my team was awarded “The Most Creative Team”, every event brought upon new challenges as well as improving my programming skills.

Last spring my team and I developed an app for water conservation at the CBUS Hackathon. This application was developed to notify users when to water their plants after calculating moisture level of the soil. Our entire project took three months where everyone were assigned parts such as application design, programming, hardware integration, and project management. Eventually, We were honored to be placed 2nd in the competition among some of the best teams in Columbus. My experience of being included as a member of every team was phenomenal. Each one of us were like important components of a CPU, working together to make the computer function. Some of the most successful companies in recent times have grown out of hackathons. Few years ago, when the idea of a group message was a nightmare, GroupMe came along and Gizmodo called it a “life changer.”

The app, now basically a household name, began as an idea at TechCrunch Disrupt 2010,

from the minds of Jared Hecht and Steve Martocci. There are many successful outcomes from hackathons in the pharmaceutical industry: UCB initiated the “Hack Epilepsy” that brought together developers, designers and digital experts, along with healthcare providers and patients to imagine new ways of applying digital technologies that can make a real difference for the epilepsy community.

If you are passionate about technology & innovation, I would encourage you to explore hackathons. You never know, your crazy ideas may turn into reality and could be a potential industry disruptor! You may try the following opportunities in and around Columbus.

https://cbusstudenthack.org
https://hack.osu.edu
https://givebackhack.com
https://www.acsl.org

If I could be on any assistance or in case you need any additional information about hackathons, please feel free to reach out at ashwinnair2@gmail.com.

Malayalam Class

We are very delighted to announce that COMA Malayalam class will resume on Sunday, 08/18/2019. Based on interests received, this year we will have a new class for adults as well. If you have not registered for yourself or your child(5 and above),  please register by sending an email to coma.officials@gmail.com. The venue is the same as last year: Lazelle Woods Community Center (8140 Sancus Blvd, Columbus, OH 43215. Classes will be from 11:00 AM to noon every Sunday except holiday weekends. Any changes to the schedule will be informed in advance so that you can plan accordingly.The fee for the entire year is $120.00. Please note that COMA membership is a requirement to join the class. You can pay the fees and membership dues by sending Chase Quickpay/Zelle to coma.officials@gmail.com

Also as this is a completely volunteer driven initiative and we are always in need of volunteers. Please email us and let us know if you are interested and available.
Note: COMA Membership runs from January to December and Malayalam class runs from August to May. So you if you are purchasing the membership now, you will have to purchase one next January as well. 

2019 EC & Malayalam class team  – Looking forward to have another wonderful year,

Giving back to Kerala – COMA initiative giving back to the community

“ I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” – Maya Angelou.

We are sure that every one of us has our own way of giving, whether it is to our community, our choice of charity or simply to whoever is in need. Knowing that, we want to call your attention to this new initiative by COMA – Giving back to Kerala. This initiative is to identify causes back in Kerala and support them in two ways: 

  1. Sustaining Support:The idea is that each of us will donate an amount($1 or above) of your choice on a monthly basis.This money will then be donated to the charity or cause as mentioned above, on a set cadence ( quarterly, twice a year or annually). 
  2. One time Support: The idea is to conduct fundraising events to collect funds and provide something tangible for a chosen cause.

We don’t think any of you need any convincing on why we should give what we can and as often as we can. The hesitation, usually comes about regarding the fund allocation. The common perception and sometimes rightly so, is that some charity organizations do not ensure that the funds are utilized in the right way. There is always the concern whether the money or resources reach the people who really need it or does it get lost in the middle. COMA EC and Trustees will see to it that the right monitoring is enforced to ensure that the money is utilized properly and will make sure that there is a tangible measure for dispersing the funds. 

Every religion and every book of God tells us to do the same, help those in need, be kind to the less fortunate and give whatever we can. The people who have made a difference in the world also tells us to do the same. This is one action where there is no scale, anything and everything counts. 

Please see the details of the causes that have been chosen for this year: 

  • Sustaining need
    • Entity: Gandhi Bhavan Saranalayam
    • Location: Kareepra, Kollam
    • More than a hundred elderly men and women are rehabilitated here with proper protection, medical care, physical and psychological care facilities.
  • One-time need
    • Entity: Sree Chitra Home
    • Location: Trivandrum, Kerala
    • Provides education, full care, accommodation and medical care for 250 destitute and unsupported children.
    • Currently, need financial support to build a facility to host bystanders of Regional Cancer Center patients who need financial assistance

How do I make payments: 

  • Sustaining support:
    • Schedule payment via Chase Quickpay to coma.officials@gmail.com and schedule a cadence. This is the preferred method as we don’t lose money in commissions
    • Schedule payment via Paypal coma.officials@gmail.com and schedule a cadence 
    • To make this process easier and efficient, we are working to get more payment methods like Gpay and will update you soon. 
  • One time support:
    • Send one time payment via Chase Quickpay to coma.officials@gmail.com. Write COMA Charity on the notes.
    • Send one time payment via Paypal
    • Pay with a check payable to COMA – write COMA Charity Support on the memo field
    • Purchase tickets and participate in the fund raising activities

Please remember that together,  we can make some real meaningful differences in people’s lives. 

“ We can do no great things, only small things with great love “ – Mother Teresa

COMA Charity Team

COMA Newsletter June 2019

June is one of those happening months where there is quite a lot of excitement happening around us.The one tops the list is the preparation needed for young adults to start their college life and second in the list is the planning for vacation trips.In this edition of newsletter we have a few members who are sharing their experiences in both the categories.Last but not the least “Cricket – World Cup” is happening now and we have couple of members who shared their world cup memories.Lets go ahead and hear from them.

My transition to College by Osheen Oommen 

Approximately 18 years in the making and the journey is just beginning. College is an exciting time to learn more about yourself and begin the process of becoming who and what you want. After one year, I know I don’t have all the answers, but I feel like I have learned a few things that I think can be helpful for any new college student.

Osheen Oommen

The biggest struggle I had in college was learning how to take care of myself. Not just in the physical sense of making food and cleaning up, but in the mental and emotional sense. I had to learn how to take care of my mental health.  With the stress of classes, being away from home, the pressure to make friends, and so much more, it was hard not having my friends and family with me, but I found things that helped me. I learned that exercise helps a lot with stress, and I found ways to get involved on campus and explored the city with my friends.

Finding the balance between school and your personal life takes time and looks different for each person, but don’t get frustrated if you get overwhelmed, just keep trying new things and eventually you will find the balance.Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I know this is what everyone says but it is the biggest advice I have for anyone that is about to start their college career. But not only is it important to ask for help, but it is so important to realize when you need help. If you are struggling, don’t think it’s just something you have to fix on your own.

Your life is going to change in a lot of ways.It’ll change in the way you expect, such has having more material to study, and having more free time where you have to learn time management, but it will also change in ways you don’t expect.You truly don’t realize how much you rely on your parents and all the things they do for you. If you get sick, it is up to you to make an appointment and get yourself to the doctor. If you have a problem with your roommate, it is your responsibility to seek the correct course of action to fix the situation.

While your parents will always be there to support you and help you through this next chapter, it is your responsibility to take what they have taught you and start to make a life of your own. The first year of college is going to be tough, but it’s going to be a year that you can look back on and see your personal that will shape who you are going to be in the future. Good luck graduates. You are going to do amazing things and just remember, you have a great community that will always support you.

Iceland: The Land of Fire and Ice by Adithya Nair

Imagine waking up everyday to the sound of a glacial waterfall calmly flowing outside your hostel door. Then, imagine rising out of your tiny twin-sized bed, opening the window, and gazing onto the far-reaching, green pastures only to find that they are filled with gorgeous wild mustangs grazing to their hearts’ content. Imagine a realm filled with glaciers, cliffs, Fjords, rivers, mountains, and beaches anywhere and everywhere. If you can imagine yourself in a place exactly as I have described, then you are in Iceland. I started my journey in Canada. My friend Mohit and I decided to get there ourselves by first driving through Michigan and then crossing the border into Ontario.

Adithya Nair

This is the ideal way to travel to this country because it is the cheapest city to fly out of (it’s half the price of flying from JFK or Chicago O’Hare) and you get to spend a night in a fun, young, and lively city. After the 6 hour flight from Toronto Pearson Airport, we landed in Keflavik, a city in the far western part of Iceland, 40 minutes away from the city of Reykjavik. Instead of touring the entirety of the capital (a tour commonly referred to as the “Golden Circle”), we rented a diesel Fiat hatchback and began our road-trip of the entire country straightaway.

If I were to go into the intricate details and itinerary of our trip, I would bore everyone reading right away. This is because I don’t have the ability as a writer to translate what my eyes saw into words worthy of them; you truly have to go and see for yourself. Instead, I will try and explain the “why” question for Iceland.

Firstly, Iceland has something for everyone in the family. For the driving enthusiasts, Iceland has some of the best driving roads on the globe. If you’re familiar with the small, often single lane B roads of the United Kingdom, think of the Icelandic roads as C roads: they’re a pleasure to tear up with any vehicle! For the nature-lovers, every square inch of the country is filled with either glacial ice or lush greenery. There are animals galore too; in fact, sheep outnumber the populace and the wild Icelandic horse, a national treasure, can be found galloping across the plains, joyful and free from any human interference. History buffs would be in heaven; I, personally, roamed a real Viking settlement on the side of a mountain.

Finally, Game of Thrones nerds (such as myself) can feel like they are walking through set at locations such as Dyrholaey, where Daenerys discovers the island of Dragonstone.

Secondly, the people and culture. Save for the far Northeastern part of United States, I have not met such polite, helpful individuals in my life. Everyone speaks English (justifying the country’s 100% literacy rate) and they are all ready to aid you if you need directions or travel guidance of any sort. Even when my friend and I were being chastised in a hostel room for being too loud by a neighboring resident, she was civil and polite. In terms of culture, the Icelandic people are proud of their Viking heritage and language, which makes travel even more fascinating.

Finally, the overall experience is one you cannot get anywhere else on this planet. I would be lying if I said I deserved this hiatus to clear my mind and replenish my psyche after the wild roller coaster of freshman year at Ohio State. But, all I have to say is that I’m grateful that I did and hope that everyone has the opportunity to visit the Land of Fire and Ice at least once in their lifetime.

In the Know How by Arvind Nair

The final three seconds of the ITK championships match seemed to be slower than time itself.It took a while for me to finally process that we had won four OSU scholarships and acquired bragging rights for being the first team from Olentangy Liberty to ever win the title of champion in In the Know.Quizbowl had always been a huge part of my school and personal life prior to ever participating in the In the Know television show.

Trivia pretty much first entered my life in my childhood when my family and I would occasionally watch Jeopardy! certain nights and feebly try and answer the few questions that were targeted for the audience. Fast forward to middle school and my true exposure to the world of trivia began in the form of the nationwide school club known as Quizbowl .

Although I started out as a mediocre team player, after taking time to really hone my knowledge on certain subjects like Geography, History and Science I began to stand out as a great trivia player, especially after two consecutive years of attending Quizbowl nationals.

Jumping into high school really demonstrated the limits of my will and mental capacity. Having to juggle my new and intense academic schedule with the commitment of almost every Saturday to attend out of state quiz bowl tournaments proved to be too much for most of my friends who chose to end their journey with the school quizbowl team and solely focus on their school and social life.

I first heard about the OSU organised trivia style tv show In the Know when asked to tryout to become part of my school ITK team.I breezed through the tryouts and managed to get our team through the 3rd round before losing horribly to Bexley’s ITK team.By next year our team consisted of new batch of kids who were more familiar with the dynamics of trivia and were much more comfortable being on tv without getting jittery.After blasting though team after team we finally met our match in the quarterfinals

Arvind Nair

against Olentangy High , It took us until the final question for us to take the lead and win the game and advance onto next round against Dublin Coffman. After winning the semi-finals and finally beating the last team in the championship game I sighed in relief,understanding that until next year,I would be recognized and congratulated through out my school for achieving what was once thought to be impossible.

ICC Cricket World Cup Memories

Benson & Hedges World Cup (1992)

Team Captains – It was Pakistan who emerged as a winner in the finals by defeating England.

Back in Mar 1992 ,3am something woke me up. I slowly opened my eyes and see the ‘timepiece’ ringing looking at me. Was it a dream? NO… I started hearing the cheering waves of cricket and ran to our vintage BPL. 

I ran through “clicking” all channels to see which one is telecasting.Finally got it and laid down to my couch to see India won the toss for the Benson Hedges World Cup.After 27 years, that spirit hasn’t gone away.Back from 1992 as a fifth grader to 2019 as a family man, still feeling the same level of energy to wake up. When I set the alarm for India vs Pakistan match, it took me back to the memories. This cricket fever comes to me for every world cup, but how?.I still remember it was my mom who motivated me during school days to watch cricket. I followed her excitement when she even used to listen to radio commentary.Those days are gone, but the spirit of cricket still keep me alive during world cup.

It’s still a great feeling, waking up hearing the ‘melodious’ alarm , ‘jogging’ to TV,  grab a cup of coffee, relax and watch the game and sunrise lonely.  Go for it ! –

Girish

The Wills World Cup (1996)

While I’ve got fond memories of multiple world cups, the one that has always remained a stimulating memory is the 1996 world cup that Sri Lanka won. That was when they unleashed the power hitting opening pair of Sanath Jayasurya and Romesh Kaluwitharana, both of whom were proficient at hitting over the in-field during the 15 over power-play. At that time, I was already in love with Kalu’s batting ever since he made that debut 100 against Australia with 26 boundaries (percentage-wise, an unusuality those days). Kalu and Jayasurya made sure Sri Lanka reached the final. Curiously enough, both of them failed in the final and mostly everyone expected the Aussies to win.

That did not happen as Aravinda de Silva hit an unbeaten century (one of the best knocks of his career) and Sri Lanka won their first ever world cup. As an India supporter I was disappointed that we lost in the semis (also to SL, and amidst some unfortunate crowd behavior), but as a cricket lover, I knew that this would trigger a huge change in the way batsmen handled the power play going forward.

Nish Nishant
Romesh Kaluwitharana

Achievements

Dr. Naduparambil Korah Jacob is a tenured Associate Professor at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is the co-holder of several US patents and has authored research articles in leading scientific journals. Dr. Jacob is frequently invited for seminars and presentations at Universities and scientific meetings in the area of Radiation Research and Oncology. He serves as principal investigator in research grants funded by US National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense and NASA.  https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-selects-10-proposals-to-support-astronaut-health-and-performance-on-missions-to-moon-and-mars.

Obituary

With deep sorrow Julie & Manoj Thomas informed us about the demise of Manoj’s mother, Thankamma Thomas Sankoorikal, 89 years. She passed away on July 4th at their home town Changanacherry, Kerala. The funeral is scheduled to be on July 8th – 11:00 AM at Changanacherry Valiyapalli. 

Manoj and Julie have been in Columbus for a long time and they are active members of COMA community. Julie is currently a member of COMA trustee board. 

We convey our heartfelt condolences to the grieving family. Please keep them in your prayers.

COMA Events

We are very excited to announce that annual COMA picnic is on Saturday, July 27th at the Concord Township Park, 6435 Home Rd, Delaware OH 43015 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Please mark your calendar and join us for fun, food and meet your friends. We will send out information regarding registration and other details soon. Please stay tuned. 

Meals On Wheels

June 9 ‘ 2019 – Manoj Thomas, Unnikrishnan Nair, MJ Joseph

June 23 ‘ 2019 – Sunil Balakrishnan, Ravikumar Hariharan and Manjula Nair

Sponsors Corner

  • Greetings from Bombay Bazaar! Special Sale!
    • Frozen Foods Buy 1 Get 1 free (50% off)
    • Non Frozen Foods Buy 2 Get 1 Free (33% off)
    • Stock up & Save!

COMA Newsletter May 2019

Month of May – There are many options for a theme for this month. Mother’s Day, Beginning of Summer, High School Graduation are a few which comes to our mind. It also makes sense to have a combined theme of all of the above. Kids we knew as babies and kids are now graduating high school and going off to start new chapters in their lives. What could be a more fitting tribute to the mothers (sorry dads, no offense) on Mother’s Day to see their babies all grown up and graduating with honors.So this month’s newsletter is dedicated to all parents (especially mothers) and all our brilliant kids who are graduating high school. Please see their accomplishments and future plans below.

High School Graduates – Class of 2019

“Hi! My name is Megha Rajesh, Rajesh and Mini’s daughter, and I am graduating from Olentangy Liberty High School with summa cum laude. I will be attending The Ohio State University this fall semester as a Computer Science Engineering major and a Business minor. I am ready to embark on this next stage of my life! ”


Varun Gopal, son of Vikas Gopal and Arati Krishna, is graduating summa cum laude from Olentangy High School.  He will be attending Indiana University and plans to major in Information Systems from the Kelley School of Business. Varun has been active in the school Debate, Orchestra, and “In the Know” teams and is a member of the National Honor Society. 
“Hi I am Rohan Thomas Shome son of Shome and Sumita Thomas. I am graduating summa cum laude from Olentangy Liberty High School. I plan to attend The Ohio State University Honors program for Biomedical Engineering on a Pre-Med track. I will always cherish my high school years as they made me who I am today. And I am looking forward to continuing my education and maximizing my capabilities! “
Hi! My name is Aishwarya Arun, daughter of Arun and Priya. I will be graduating from Olentangy Orange High School with summa cumme laude. This coming fall, I will be attending The Ohio State University and plan to major in Computer Science and Engineering.


Meera, daughter of Unni and Latha Nair, is graduating from Dublin Scioto High School and will be attending The Ohio State University pursuing a Neuroscience major.
Meera has played with Irish Volleyball from 7th grade to senior year this past fall where she earned a Varsity letter. She is the President of the American Cancer Society Youth Ambassadors and leads the group to raise funds for cancer research and to raise awareness. In addition, she is Vice President of Student Senate, and she helped organize and implement the Battle of Hard Road canned food drive with the Dublin and Worthington Rotary, the Pink Out Game, Trick or Treat so Kids Can Eat for the Dublin Food Pantry, DublinThon and the Gingerbread Showcase. With her leadership, DublinThon, a dance marathon for pediatric cancer, raised over $15,000 this March, doubling their previous record. Since 2016, Meera volunteers her Sundays at Riverside Methodist Hospital. Community service has shaped Meera’s actions, career goals, and the person Meera is today.
Ashwin Nair, son of Ajit & Nisha Nair is graduating from Dublin Jerome High School. He has been named Valedictorian and summa cum laude. He shall be attending the Honors Program in Computer Science and Engineering at The Ohio State University.
Ashwin was good at balancing his academic requirements and pursuing his interests in sports, volunteering, participating in hackathons, robotics competitions. He was also a team member of Dublin Jerome High School JV tennis team. Ashwin is thankful to all the new friends he made at Columbus and COMA has played an instrumental role in making that happen. He has expressed his gratitude to Deepak Warrier and Hrishikesh Namboodiri who have mentored him through high school journey.
I am Aadhira Pramod, daughter of Pramod Pudhiyattil and Priya Kolangara. I will be graduating from Olentangy High School. This fall, I will be joining University of Cincinnati with a major in neuroscience. The end of one journey and a start of another…

Asha Pereira, daughter of Austin and Deepa Pereira is graduating from Olentangy Liberty High School, Class of 2019 with summa cum laude, Honors Diploma, National Merit Commended Scholar, Presidential Award, PROMYS 2017, HSMC 2018. Founder and President of Debate Club, President of Service Club, President of Varsity Choir, COSI Demonstrator – 5 Years, Refugee ESL Teacher – 4 years. Asha is also the recipient of the Rotary Club (Delaware County) ‘Service Above Self’ Award, Mary Ann White Community Service Scholarship and Undergraduate Cybersecurity Scholarship. Asha plans to attend The University of Pennsylvania in the fall, majoring in Applied Mathematics and Economics.

OSU GRAD Katherine Niju – Graduated from The Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business – Full time MBA program
“With a 2 year old daughter and husband working out of town I doubted many a time if I would be able to do well. I was wrong to doubt. If anything my daughter kept me focused on things that truly mattered, my husband constantly encouraged me, my parents in laws, brother and sister kept reminding me how proud they were of me. If there is anything at all I can tell anyone, it is – impossible is nothing. You really need to want something really bad and then you will see that the forces of the universe will unite in making it happen. Never think your family is a hindrance. You will see that they will be your guiding rock and pillar. I know for me they have. And now as I embark on a new journey towards PhD I make a promise to myself to doubt less, believe more and march ahead.” – Katherine

Malayalam Class 2018-19

For Malayalam class another academic year has successfully concluded. This would not have been possible without the support from volunteers who make themselves available every Sunday to help students of all ages to learn our mother tongue. Also we would like to thank and appreciate all the support extended by parents and the COMA EC. 2018 ’19 academic year came to an end with a graduation event where certificates were awarded to students. Students from our beginners group who are mastering the Malayalam vocabulary sang a nursery rhyme in Malayalam, advanced students who are mastering in reading and writing showed off their skills by narrating a story in Malayalam.

Intermediate students who are mastering all the 56 Malayalam alphabets,vowels, consonants, “chillu aksharagal” gave an to attempt to write a letter to their moms in Malayalam for the Mother’s Day. Here are the snippet of letters they wrote:

COMA Events

Active COMA 2019 – Be Active, Have fun!

We are excited to kick start Active COMA 2019 activities as it was a great success last year. Based on your feedback, we are planning to have smaller teams (5+ members)  in each Metro areas who can participate in a competitive fashion in the Walk/Run/Bike Clubs. To make it simple, the group that walks/runs/bikes the most this season will be the winners. As part of the expansion, we are also introducing various sports leagues for the Central Ohio Malayalee community. Please take a minute to complete this application(click here to get to the URL) to notify us of your interested activities/sports. We hope that you will take advantage of this great opportunity to meet/make friends, be active by participating in your favorite activity and have fun!

COMA 5 K – A lot of us had a lot of fun participating in the 5K Run/ Walk arranged by our COMA. It was a great start to warm weather and a gentle reminder and motivation to take care of ourselves by starting to be fit and having fun.Enjoy the photos of the day in the below link – https://photos.app.goo.gl/CVoEumtyyQtLrxar8

Winners:

  • Mens
    • First Place: Aedin Pereira
    • Second Place: Arun Chand
  • Womens
    • First Place: Dhiya Pereira
    • Second Place :Osheen Oomen
  • Juniors:
    • First Place: Aadithya Arun
    • Second Place: Pranav Rajesh

Thuruppugulan – Cards and Carrom – you can’t go wrong with either. COMA arranged such a night for those who who wanted to prove their prowess in these games last month. And it was very well received. Enjoy the pictures from the event in the link https://photos.app.goo.gl/GdmrnXvLjxhbwkh99

Winners:

  • 28 :
    • First Place: Team Veerans (Jojo Joseph, John and Abraham Thomas)
    • Second Place: Team Challengers (Deepu, Binix, Joseph)
    • Third Place: Team Minimum Vili (Sakunthala, Pradeesh and Sachin)
  • Rummy
    • First Place: Shibu Nair
    • Second Place: Sangeetha Muthiraparambath
    • Third Place: Anand Cherian
  • Carrom
    • First Place: Arun Chand & Sajid Babu
    • Second Place: Arun Davis & Deepak Divakaran
    • Third Place: Abraham Thomas & Priya Pramod

Community News & Columbus Events

H2O – Make a Difference

Registered non profit organisation with a mission to empower financially challenged farmers,students/schools,Orphanages & Women across the globe. H2O is organizing its 3rd Annual 5K/ Run on June 23’2019.Please visit this link(click here to get to the URL) to register.

Toastmasters

Radiant Toastmasters club was started by some members of COMA in 2018 to provide a platform for club members to improve the public speaking skills. This is one of the clubs where it has vibrant youth leadership program. The club published its first quarterly newsletter in May. Click here for information about the club.

Closing Comments

Weather is finally warm, sun is out , grass is green, skies are blue, flowers are in bloom. The sweet scents of flowers and fresh cut grass and earth after the rains hit you as you step outside. The grills are brought out, patio furniture has come out from under their covers and barbecue spices are in the air. Reminds me every time why I love Columbus. Our city is gorgeous in the warm months Spring through Fall , so in my mind , the harsh winter months are a small price to pay.

Almost all of us have travel plans both domestic and/or  international. Some are looking forward to exciting vacations that were planned months ago. Some are looking forward to some quiet quality time with their spouses when the kids go off to grandparents or other family. Some are just looking forward to enjoying the beautiful weather and have done great summer fun.
Whatever your plans are, we from the COMA Newsletter family wish you a wonderful happy summer!

COMA Newsletter April 2019

We are into Spring here in Midwest,Season changes always brings in freshness and energy into our lives.Let’s start of this spring newsletter with a review of recently conducted badminton tournament.

This year COMA ventured into organizing a badminton tournament for the first time and with out any doubt this event was a great success.For all the badminton enthusiasts in the region the event was an opportunity to enjoy competitive games and to up their racket skills.This event saw an active participation of 112 players from central Ohio region.There were 56 teams which included 32 men’s,8 women’s and 16 mixed doubles team.

  • Men’s Doubles
    • Winners :Dilin Joy & Anoop Joseph
    • Runners Up: Padam Rai & Purna Rai
  • Women’s Doubles
    • Winners:Christina Lin & Easter Chen
    • Runner’s Up: Surabhi Patil & Srijana Chhethri
  • Mixed Doubles
    • Winners: Cindi Wu & Dongkan Hu
    • Runners Up: Chaithanya Reddy & Aswini Murthy

Youth Corner
It is this time of the year many of us look forward for a nice get away to a serene location with family and friends ,for all the travel buffs out there our youth member Arya Janardhanan has written a beautiful travelogue from her trip to Mexico

My trip to Mexico!

Arya Janardhanan (12 years)

I love to travel around the world to taste new food and see many historical sites. I have been to many different cities, states, and countries. I’ve always wanted to see more countries and when my dad told me that we were going to Cancun, Mexico, I exploded with excitement because we’ve never been there before.

I still remember when I first got to the hotel, an employee gave me some lemonade to cool me down from the sun’s burning rays. I quickly devoured it all joyfully. It was a huge hotel with a lot of activities to do – for example, golfing, swimming, painting, basketball, and much more. My family and I got to go swimming in the pools and play golf. My sister and I even got to paint ceramics and keep it. The food they served was impeccable. They had a buffet serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They had a variety of food items like croissants, pancakes, quesadillas, bacon, egg, steak, and they even had desserts like pudding, jello, and ice cream!

I thought staying there at Mexico couldn’t get any better – I was wrong! I got to see the ancient ruins of a civilization called the Mayans, and did I mention I love history. There were many structures at the site that had steps that looked like the steps you see right in front of your front door. The site wasn’t crowded, but was still very hot there, I felt like I was going to melt! It was between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit! It was cool seeing structures so old still standing. What was incredible was how the Mayans moved the heavy rocks and glued them together. The scenery was breathtaking. It felt like I was walking into the past and stepping into someone else world.

A few days after that, my family told me we were going in a submarine. When I was heading towards the submarine, I first had to get onto a boat, then the boast would take us to the submarine. It felt nice on the boat with the breeze on my face and looking at small plants rising out of the water. Once the boat was side by side with the submarine, I hopped in eagerly. When it started to descend into the water, I saw small statues covered by plants and other particles. In the middle of the ride, I saw how the sun glimmered against the sand and the rocks which made it very relaxing to watch underwater. The sand was in a pattern mode of wavy horizontal lines. There was a lot coral and seaweed standing on the sea floor slowly swaying with the water. Sometimes, there were little fish swimming past. I even got to see Dory! When the submarine was about to rise from the water, there was a little surprise for the people onboard. A mermaid came out of nowhere and swam past the submarine waving at us. Her tail was blue in color, and she had long and dark brown hair. After that, we went to the beach near our hotel to soak out feet in and to see the Gulf of Mexico. On the beach, I made sandcastles and left many footprints there. I love collecting seashells and rocks, so when my family and I were going to the beach, I collected as many rocks and seashells my hands could hold.

I saw the sunset at many different places. I remember once my family and I were going to see the sunset near a boat dock. We were running late, so we had to squeeze between people and run fast, so we wouldn’t miss the sunset. We barely made it on time. With the sun setting, the sky turned an orange and red color and in the center was the sun just barely peeking out. I learned a lot of things staying in Mexico. One of them was some Spanish, so we had to communicate with our hands to show where we were going, or if we were going to eat. They still didn’t understand us and spoke Spanish to us. My dad would go to an employee who knew English and would ask them how to say one word in Spanish.

I am going to miss Mexico, the hotel, and especially the temperature. We went to Mexico during December 2017, so in Columbus, it was about 20 degrees, while in Mexico it was 80 degrees. I took many photos and created many new memories. I will never forget my first trip to Mexico!


Arya delivering this travelogue at COMA Toastmasters on Aug 15, 2018.

Upcoming COMA Events

  • Thuruppu Gulan – COMA presents Thuruppu Gulan – a games night for its members – includes 28 (Irupathiyettu),  Rummy and Carrom. The event will be at Mirchi Columbus, Indian Bar & Grill, 195 E Campus View Blvd, Columbus, OH 43235 on Saturday, 27th April 4:00 PM to 11:00 PM. For details and registration, please visit http://www.comaohio.org/thuruppugulan
  • 5K run/walk – Mark your calendar for COMA  5K run/walk to be conducted on Sunday, May 5th 2019 at 7:30 AM. (Location: Orange Township Trails at Glen Oak Park). Please join us for fun and to support a good cause, YWCA host a meal program. We will be introducing our Active coma initiative after the run. For details and registration
    http://www.comaohio.org/5Krun

Community Corner

  • Meals On Wheels
    • 04/14/2019 – Mathew John,Suju Mathew,Sudha Warrier
    • 04/28/2019- Saira Nawaz,Manjula Nair,Arvind Nair

Achievements

Young Achievers in NSF – https://www.northsouth.org

Gauri Nanda daughter of Sudeesh Vasudevan and Lekshmy , won 1st place in Junior essay writing competition conducted by NSF at Ohio State University on April 6 th 2019.

Arya Janardhanan (left) and Anjali Janardhanan (right), daughter of Anuja and Ajayan Janardhanan, received the 1st and 3rd place respectively in the Vocabulary and Science competition conducted by the North South Foundation at The Ohio State University on April 6th, 2019. Based on overall ranking, they could represent Ohio at the National level competition to be held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in August.

Columbus Telangana Association Carrom Tournament –
Arun Chand was runner up in singles competition , Arun and Sajid Babu won runner’s up in doubles. Currently Arun Chand is serving as an EC member for COMA.

If you would like to share any accomplishments or achievements please write to coma.officials@gmail.com

COMA Newsletter February – March 2019

February was the month of love – we hope everyone got an opportunity to enjoy Valentines day with your loved ones.In this month of love and passion we would like to start of the newsletter with a cute drawing from a young talent – Shreya Girish and she loves drawing.

As a community organization COMA presented an “Oru Adipoli Night” for its families to demonstrate their passion to dance and act. And this year the planning team took the initiative to arrange “Oru Adipoli Night” in a slightly different way from previous years where members were given an opportunity to participate in teams and compete to show case their talents. The turn out and participation for this event beat all expectations. Now let’s go ahead and hear from the organizers and couple of young members about their experience.


Here’s what EC team has to say “We would like to congratulate each and every member of COMA community for making “Oru Adipoli Night” a grand success.

We received lot of positive feedback and many of you responded saying that they really enjoyed the event. As we had mentioned, the event was designed to have fun and increase the interaction among the members. Another positive note is that we were able to conduct the event in a timely manner – started on time and kept the pace going till the very end. It’s amazing to see the amount of talent we have in this community all of you came out of your comfort zone and performed the very first time in a COMA event. You all are great team players.

Event would not have been successful without a great teamwork and overwhelming support from the community. Thank you for all the volunteers for chiming in and making sure the event was conducted as per the plan.
Together, we made the name of the event meaningful ‘Oru Adipoli Night’ and it is added to our joyful memories. We are planning many such events this year and we’re looking forward to your continued support!”


“Pradeesh Puthiyattil” was one of the captains for the event who lead his team to victory in a highly spirited and competitive manner . In his own words this event was very very vibrant with the enthusiasm displayed by the entire community. He strongly believes that this was one of the best COMA events and he would like to extend his thanks to organizers , MC’s, Judges and other fellow captains.


It was a privilege and honor to be one of the judges for the ‘Oru Adipoli Night’. And it gave me an opportunity to see the performances in a different light than usual. So I thought I will share with you all what I saw.  

The first and foremost thing that hit me was the camaraderie and the eagerness of the teams to display their items. Everyone was so hyped and happy and excited and the energy hit you and filled the hall, making it a very vibrant crowd. It was impossible not to be excited. The second thing was the lack of inhibition from the participants. This needs a little bit more thought put into it to know why this is so important. We, Malayalis, as you all know are known as the most uptight people in almost any crowd. Hence, to see a crowd lose its inhibitors and be eager to perform in front of Malayalis gives me this message – no one has a fear of being judged. Which by itself is very telling of the dynamic that this association has managed to build over the past years. We should all be proud of having contributed to building that kind of dynamic in our Malayali community. Then comes the display of the talents. I had heard that the teams were hard at work for weeks in preparation, but nothing had prepared me for what I saw. Each and every item was so well thought out and executed that the performances took a level all too new for many of us. It was a feast for the eyes and ears.

Big kudos to the team captains for keeping the teams so motivated and engaged and an even bigger accolade to everyone who participant performed. Of course it made the judges’ job really challenging. It would be unfair not to mention the food, which was delicious and was served on time. I will conclude by giving a huge shoutout to our Executive committee and the MC’s for a very memorable event, for executing such a new concept in such a well managed way. You guys have raised the bar for the upcoming events and definitely for your predecessors. – Manjula Nair


Youth Corner


Now let’s hear from some of our Youth Members:

“I am very happy and proud to say that I was basically born into this community! My parents were involved with Malayalee community even before COMA was established.They helped out with events, and programs that were self run and time-consuming, so it is safe to say that COMA has grown over the years! My first stage experience was with a COMA event where I was a tiny flower girl who went around picking up the flowers that everyone had just dropped! Since that time I have participated in most of the events conducted by COMA . I am also a member COMA youth wing volunteer since its inception, through COMA I was able to develop a strong group of friends who are interested in giving back to the community.

Another opportunity I was able to get through COMA is the Malayalam class. My brother and I were in the first batch of Malayalam class back in 2011. When I went to India last year, I was very happy that I was able to communicate well in Malayalam, not just with my grandparents but also random people in the stores and other places we visited. I was also able to read billboards and Malayalam newspapers which made my grandpa very proud. I am glad that I had the opportunity to learn Malayalam here which gave me the basics that I could build on.” Being in high school comes with a busy schedule and lots of extracurricular activities, the events that COMA puts together gives me a way to de-stress and connect to my friends and family. 

The most recent COMA event “Adipoli night” was an event where I got a chance to connect with many people, I even made a new good friend! I also enjoyed working with the younger kids, I had a fun time coordinating and teaching the dance to the younger girls! My involvement in COMA has provided me with lots of opportunities to learn and meet new people, and for that, I am truly grateful!” – Divya Warrier


I woke up with a feeling that today was going to be special. As I got out of bed, I remembered that today was COMA’s special event. My mind raced with excitement. I counted down the minutes until we would get into the car and go to the rec center for the event. As we walked in, I noticed several things. People reuniting with others, and everyone having conversations full of excitement. The thing I noticed the most was the smiles, everyone was happy to finally be here. The hours flew by, and everyone did a wonderful job. Then came the moment everyone was waiting for, the awarding ceremony. The White team didn’t win many awards, but we won something greater. We won happiness, and we had the most fun.  – Diya Raj


Smash Badminton Club – The activity that brought them together

Passion. Dedication. Joy. All of which happens on a radiant Saturday morning of the Smash Badminton Club. As for me, my Saturday mornings comprise of a gourmet breakfast with some classic tunes. However, this is not the case for those who enjoy the intricate nature of badminton. Being the main sports center in the area, the Lazelle Recreation center is where they meet to attend to their nets. The tan walls become their opponent when the nets are busy. As the time unfolds, they say their goodbye to their friends and their rackets until the next Saturday of course.

You’re probably wondering why I’m explaining the popular nature of badminton. During the fall of 2018, the Smash Badminton Club threw a thanksgiving lunch to show their thanks and appreciation for the Lazelle staff members and to their own members. Not only does badminton fuel their passion, but it has brought them together as a family. So, in the end, the net of a badminton court can create a network of connections. – Aadhira Pramod

If you want to signup your children to COMA Youth Club, please send an email to coma.officials@gmail.com.


Upcoming COMA Event

COMA Badminton Tournament – This year COMA is conducting a Badminton tournament on April 6th, badminton players out there please go ahead book your spots at http://www.comaohio.org/badminton. Members get a discounted price of$8 per person.


Community Corner


EC team is working hard to stir up “Spirit of COMA ” by introducing a lot of events to its community .Yes, lot of ideas brewing inside the EC team and we will definitely do our spy work to keep you update, so stay tuned….

  • Community Events
    • Meals On Wheels
      • 03/10/2019
        • Austin Pereira, Aedin Pereira, Sunil Balakrishnan
      • 03/24/2019
        • Valsan Pallika, Niranjan, Vijaya

Sponsor Corner


H&R Moats Inc –

For COMA Members who are new to H&R Moats, a tax prep fee of $70 good till April 6th 2019

Shilpa Gupta – Cutler Realty

Call her at 714-335-0331 for COMA Member offers

Bombay Bazaar – 58 Dillmont Dr, Columbus, OH 43235

Easter / Vishu Offer: 5% Off on groceries from April 1 to 14th