COMA Newsletter December 2016

Hello friends,

Tis the most wonderful time of the year! Trees laden with ornaments and twinkling lights, houses decorated with colorful light displays, red & green wreaths on the front door, stockings waiting to be filled with goodies, elves running up and down the house, sleigh bells ringing, snow covered roof tops, children writing letters to Santa, lovingly wrapped presents neatly tucked away. Add to this list the Malayalee touch; painstaking preparation of naadan treats like achappams, fruit cake, kal kals, nankatai, vatteyappam, sukhiyan, kozhukatta….this is making me drool! Yes it does feel a lot like Christmas….

And so the time comes to bid you all farewell. This newsletter editorship been both an absolute pleasure, and a steep learning curve. I’m pleased that I took on the challenge, and looking back, I can safely say that the risk has paid off! In the process, I have made some new friends, which has been both enriching and rewarding in itself.

I’d like to thank each and every single contributor to the newsletter in 2016. All the good things that I hear about the newsletter are owed to your valuable contributions! Who knew COMA had so much talent? Keep it going and support those who have an interest in writing. Especially our kids. I am overwhelmed by the enthusiasm that our kids and youth have shown in supplying articles. In this technological age, where cursive has disappeared from schools and creative writing is at the brink of extinction, its wonderful to see young people express themselves in the most creative form!

I sincerely wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a very prosperous 2017. Keep the momentum going!

I leave you with these words…

“Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.”  – L.R. Knost

Warmest regards,
Anu Kurian

Read moreCOMA Newsletter December 2016

COMA Newsletter November 2016

COMA Newsletter October 2016

Hello Friends, 

halloween-profileAnd so Halloween is is upon us! The streets will soon be filled with fairies, princesses, super heroes, cartoon characters, ghouls & ghosts of all ages! Oooh! Spooky exciting! Every year, we come up with a family strategy to achieve the goal of ‘colossal candy collection’! Every year it’s a different one and somehow, we always manage to collect just about the same amount of candy. Or as we’ve fondly named it “our annual supply of guaranteed cavities”!! Whatever your tradition or family strategy is, have a Spooktacular Halloween! 

Diwali, or Deepavali as its known in the south, is also around the corner. My favorite festival growing up in India- the Festival of Lights! The Triumph of Good over Evil! I sincerely wish each and every one of you a very happy, festive and prosperous Diwali! 

white-houseI leave you with a wonderful picture of the First Lady celebrating Diwali in the White House. 

Until next issue…

Warm regards,

Anu Kurian

Read moreCOMA Newsletter October 2016

COMA Newsletter September 2016

Hello friends,
fullsizerender-2September is the month of Onam, and with it Pujas and Onasadhyas. It’s amazing how us NRI Malayalees celebrate Onam with such pomp and splendor! I myself partook in a couple of mini sadhyas culminating in the grand COMA Onam. With each gathering I have been more and more amazed by the richness and generosity that our culture inculcates in us. Not to mention, the delectable spread of 20+ delicacies served on banana leaf. Feels like home away from home.

Fall is upon us. It happens to be my favorite season. Not too cold yet. Leaves change color displaying an exuberant display of yellows, oranges, reds and deep purple. Pumpkin picking, hay rides, barn bashes and of course Halloween. It’s sheer joy watching children trick-or-treat in their fanciful costumes, running from door to door collecting their annual loot of candy. Send in pictures of your Halloween celebrations and we shall display them on our COMA Facebook page.

Hope you enjoyed the first Presidential debate on Monday. I know I did! Looking forward to many more exciting ones to come.

So without further ado let’s dive into this issue of the newsletter.

Warm regards,

Anu Kurian

Read moreCOMA Newsletter September 2016

COMA Newsletter August 2016

Dear friends, FullSizeRender (1)

Happy 70th year of lndian Independence to all! PM Narendra Modi in his speech quotes “Today on this special day, I convey my greetings to 125 crore Indians and the Indian community living overseas. May this energy guide the nation to scale newer heights of progress in the years to come.”

Olympics fever is at its peak. Our family is glued to the TV, as I’m sure is yours. But at least this time the purpose is to be inspired and believe in the fruit of your ‘sweat & blood’. Hardwork, determination and craftsmanship at its best! 

We wish all our kids a very energetic, enriching and happy back to school experience. And good luck to all parents as well! 

On July 22nd we experienced the very painful and untimely demise of a very valuable member of our COMA family, Salil Nair. I have had the privilege of compiling beautiful memoirs that his friends have contributed in his honor. This newsletter is dedicated to his memory. Special thanks to Smitha and Nish Nishant for helping me reach out to Salil’s near and dear ones. 

Furthermore, you will find details of the COMA 2016 Onam celebration. We hope to see all of you and your families join us for this quintessential Malayalee festival. Details of upcoming Malayalam classes are also included. 

Until next issue…


Anu Kurian

Read moreCOMA Newsletter August 2016

COMA July 2016 Newsletter

Hi friends,

COMA Newsletter June 2016

Hi friends, 

FullSizeRender (1)It’s officially summer! I don’t know about you but it’s amazing how sometimes you can forget how long you’ve been waiting to feel the warmth, and when it’s finally here you start to complain about the days being too hot! Must be the Malayalee in me

Many of you may be planning your long annual vacation back home or short trips in and around the US. We’d love to hear of your travels! I personally dream of sweet alphonso mangas, ripe chakkas, succulent rambutan, squishy yet delightful mangosteen and of course karikku vellum! Yes…I dream a lot about food! And of the monsoon and torrential Kerala rains that brings a new lease of life to the land. 

I would love to publish an article on a members visit back home with lots of pictures of their tharavadu, the scenery, the people, the favorite thattukada, the local puzha and of course the delectable food!  

The COMA Annual Picnic is just around the corner. Get ready for yet another exciting opportunity to mingle and get sporty with your COMA friends. 

Until next issue…

Warm regards,

Anu Kurian

Read moreCOMA Newsletter June 2016

COMA Newsletter May 2016

Hello friends,

FullSizeRender-2May has been a rather busy month. And as we head into June, the weeks seem to get busier and busier. Those with school holidays around the corner know what I mean. 

We lost music legend Prince who lived by his famous words, “A strong spirit transcends rules”. 

May and June also heralds Graduation season. I’m sure we all know a few graduates moving on from their safe zones into the exciting world of college. We look at them thinking, where has time flown? 

So I take this opportunity to congratulate all the 2016 graduates among us and share with you some wonderful words by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook in her commencement speech at University of California, Berkeley. 

“You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive. It is the greatest irony of my life that losing my husband helped me find deeper gratitude- gratitude for the kindness of my friends, the love of my family and the laughter of my children. My hope is that you can find gratitude- not just on the good days like today, but on the hard ones when you will really need it.”

“We can each define ambition and progress for ourselves. The goal is to work toward a world where expectations are not set by the stereotypes that hold us back, but by our personal passion, talents and interests. “

Until next issue…

Warm regards

Anu Kurian

Read moreCOMA Newsletter May 2016

COMA Newsletter April 2016

Hi friends,

FullSizeRender-2It’s April, the month of Vishu! Vishu is a quintessentially Malayali festival, which will be celebrated in Kerala on 14th April this year. The most important event in Vishu is the Vishukanni, which literally means ‘the first thing seen on the day of Vishu after waking up’. Homes are painstakingly decorated with auspicious articles that signify prosperity with the intent to please Lord Krishna. Hindu’s all over Kerala flock to ‘ambalams’ to celebrate this most auspicious festival.

 Vishu is traditionally celebrated with great pomp and grandeur, with nilavilakkus and fireworks display (Vishupdakkam). Other exciting customs at Vishu include buying new clothes (Puthukodi), giving of money (Vishukkaineetum) and a gastronomic feast to go with it (Vishu Sadhya).

Another famous 200 year old tradition, Thrissur Pooram will be celebrated on April 17th. One of India’s most spectacular festivals, it involves 30+ colorfully costumed elephants parading through town on their way to the Vadakkunnathan temple. 

In light of the recent catastrophe in Kollam, I hope that this year’s celebrations remain safe. In any case, I wish all of you a very happy and prosperous Vishu! 

Until next issue…

Stay Warm

Anu Kurian

Read moreCOMA Newsletter April 2016

COMA Newsletter March 2016

Editor’s letter

Hello Friends,

FullSizeRender-2It’s officially Spring! The clocks have turned. Buds have already started appearing on trees. My daffodils look ready to sprout. I’m excited!

It is very fitting that Holi, the festival of colors, will also be celebrated this month. Holi heralds the coming of spring as well as the triumph of good over evil. Growing up in Mumbai, Holi brings back nostalgic memories of being smothered in bright colors and sprayed with pichkaari’s (water pistols). Nerf super soakers don’t really match up! 

March also heralds the Tax season and I’m sure you are busy getting paperwork in order before the April 18th deadline. 

Earlier this month, we lost one of finest actors of Malayalam cinema, Kalabhavan Mani. Mani started as a mimicry artist in the Kalabhavan troupe and starred in over 200 films in Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu. He won a National Film Award and the Kerala State Film Award in 1999 for his outstanding performance in Vaasanthiyum, Lakshmiyum, pinne Njaanum. His legacy will live through his cinema. 

Easter is also just around the corner. I sincerely wish you all a very Blessed Easter! Many of you will be breaking your Lenten fast with a sumptuous spread at your Easter meal with friends and family, while the kids enjoy loading up their baskets with Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies.

The EC 2016 team is excited to present their first event, Glitz & Glam Family night on Saturday, April 2nd, 2016. We hope to see you all there with your families ready to shake a leg and have a good time!

And finally, I wish those of you with school going children a fantastic Spring Break, whether that be spending quality time with family at home or going some place nice. We wish you safe travels! 

I leave you with a quote: 

“Optimism is a courageous choice you can make every day, especially in the face of adversity. Life is not Perfect, Life is not Easy, Life is Good.” 

– By brothers Bert and John Jacobs

Until next issue….

Warm regards,

Anu Kurian

Read moreCOMA Newsletter March 2016