It’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…
GLITZ & GLAM NITE UPDATE
The EC 2016 Team is pleased to announce that their first event of the year went off to a great start! Attendees experienced a wonderful family night filled with tons of fun activities for all members of the family. Special mention to the Youth Volunteers who kept the little ones more than entertained! Here are some pictures from the event. You can see more by clicking the link https://goo.gl/photos/36BwURbo25uywrMQA
YWCA- Host a Meal program
The program provides meals for homeless families at YWCA facility in Northeast Columbus. YWCA facility typically provides three meals and two snacks per day in this temporary housing facility that houses approximately 50 families until they are found safe and affordable housing. YWCA Host a Meal program is supported through volunteers and donations.
COMA has signed up for April 30th and Oct 29th Host a Meal – Breakfast option on both days. Typically a group of 10 volunteers are needed at the facility to cook and serve the food. We would greatly appreciate if you can let us know your interest to attend the YWCA – Host a Meal event by April 25th so that we can make the appropriate logistics for the event. An email with further details will be sent out shortly. In the meantime, you can inform us of your interest on firstname.lastname@example.org.
YOUTH EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
We are pleased to have finalized the Youth Executive Committee and volunteers! These COMA kids have done a phenomenal job keeping the little ones entertained at the Glitz & Glam Night. The EC 2016 team applauds all their efforts and we hope to see more of your kids join this very vibrant and dynamic young lot! To join, please send us an email at email@example.com
President – Adithya Nair
VP (cultural) – Megha Rajesh
VP (cultural) – Aravind Nair
VP (charity) – Aishwarya Arun
VP (charity) – Hrishikesh Namboothiri
Program Director (Family Nite) – Neelima Gopinath
Program Director (Onam) – Niranjan Namboothiri
Program Director (Christmas)– Aravind Kumar
Program Director (Special events) – Nisha Sathiaprakash
Newsletter co-Editor – Aadhira Pramod
Newsletter co-Editor – Nikita Sathiaprakash
Volunteers (positions to be finalized)
A Contribution to the Community- By Aadhira Pramod
Charity is a generous action to aid the helpless or the poor. Charity can be found from our house to somewhere across the world. When we think of the world, we think of serenity and tranquility but for the real truth, there are people dying from diseases and poverty. The realization that many people in the world are less fortunate than us inspired me to get off my couch and help.
As some may remember, COMA held a clothing charity drive as a part of the 2015 Christmas program last year, and we received over 40 bags of clothes. Later, COMA reached out to an organization called Halcyon Systems to help with clothing shipments to India. On March 6, volunteers from COMA and other organizations came in on Sunday and together kids and parents helped out to make the event a success. The COMA group that volunteered that day was Arun uncle, Gopi uncle, Nishant uncle, my dad (Pramod), Venu uncle, me, Aishwarya, Megha and Neelima. We all enjoyed working with members from other cultural organizations. Together we folded, separated, and then packed them into boxes to get ready for their trip to India. Thanks to all who donated!
Overall, the experience was not only fun because my friends were there, but it was also like a life lesson moment. It helped me realize that I should be grateful for what I have. Many think charity means donating a lot of money, but what I learned is that it doesn’t have to be something big, it can start anywhere from donating clothes or working at the homeless shelter. This opportunity gave me a chance to give back to the community what was given to me. In my opinion, charity is one of the pillars of any community. Giving back is the greatest lesson anyone can receive.
Dance, My Passion- By Remya Kiran
I was introduced to the world of dance at the tender age of 4. My first guru was my Mom, Mrs. Rajalakshmi Ramachandran. I have always been fascinated by various dance forms and my mother was a major influence in developing a keen interest and a passion for dance from an early age. Since I lived close to Kalamandalam, in Ongallur, it made learning the dance forms I loved even easier, and that too from great prolific teachers who were experts in their respective fields. I learned Bharatanatyam from Kalakshetra Udai guru, Mohiniattam from Kalamandalam Sreedevi teacher and Kuchipudi from Suresh Master. I studied these dance forms for more than 10 yrs and I have given many performances in Kerala for state level competitions and events. I have won state level awards and was also the recipient of the “Kalathilkam” title while in school.
Mohiniattam is a classical dance form from Kerala. This dance form has a beautiful feminine style with surging flow of body movements. Mohiniattam focuses mainly on feminine moods and emotions. The main theme of Mohiniattam dance is “sringara” or Love.
Bharatanatyam is one of the oldest and most popular Indian classical dance forms which originated from Tamil Nadu. It is performed as a ‘Nrithyam’ or a ‘Natyam’. It is known for its grace, elegance, expressions and sculpturesque poses. Lord Shiva in his Nataraja form is considered the God of this dance.
Kuchipudi is an Indian Classical dance form which originated from Andhra Pradesh. Kuchipudi is known for its graceful movements and its strong narrative/dramatic character.
We have been in Columbus since 2009, close to the Chase office in Polaris. My husband Kiran works in the IT industry and we have a 5 yr old son named Devarsh. I am currently teaching Bharatanatyam for kids and adults, and also providing custom choreography for various association programs and cultural events in Columbus. I take classes at my home, mostly in the evening.
Contact for Dance class details:
Fight Allergies this Season- By Summit Shah, Premier Allergy
Allergy season is already off to a strong start in central Ohio for 2016. Sneezing, a runny, itchy or stuffy nose, and itchy eyes, skin and throat are all symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis. Seasonal allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is a common condition that affects millions of Americans every year.
The unpleasant symptoms associated with seasonal allergies are triggered by pollen from trees, grasses and weeds, or from microscopic mold spores that grow on the ground.
According to Dr. Summit Shah at Premier Allergy, mold growth has been worse than normal this year due to a mild winter that kept the ground warmer than usual and allowed mold to grow and spread. Many trees and flowers are also blooming early because of the warmer temperatures. These factors add up to an itchy late winter and early spring for those with seasonal allergies.
There are steps you can take to limit your exposure to the pollen and molds that cause seasonal allergy symptoms. Peak pollen hours are in the morning from 5am to 10am, so it is advisable to stay indoors as much as possible during this time on high pollen days. Keep windows to your home and workplace closed, and also keep windows up while driving to decrease your exposure to pollen and mold in the air. Take shoes off at the door. Shower or bathe at night before going to bed to remove pollen from the hair and skin.
In your home, dust and vacuum regularly, and change air filters at least once a month. Hardwood, tile or vinyl flooring is more allergy-friendly than carpet, as carpet and rugs hold in allergens tracked into the home, along with other allergens such as dust mites and pet dander.
Over-the-counter medications are available to combat seasonal allergy symptoms, but if you are still finding no respite, a visit to an allergist may be in order. Allergy testing can identify exactly what a patient is allergic to, so that a specific treatment may be recommended. Sometimes, prescription medications or a series of shots designed to build up a patient’s tolerance for a particular allergen can help provide relief.
Dr. Perez, allergist at Premier Allergy, says that over the past few weeks, he has seen many patients who are experiencing seasonal allergy symptoms. For those suffering, the sooner they can make an appointment to see an allergist, the sooner they can be on their way to an enjoyable spring.
PACHAKAM-By Preeti Sachin Nair
My childhood days were mostly outside Kerala and I have fond memories of Vishu and Onam with my mummy turning the whole kitchen upside down to dish out our “Naadan Sadhya”. I have always associated Vishu with the color “Yellow”, pocket money and a day off from school. I remember my parents going into panic mode trying to source “Kanikonna” in that small town in East India after having located a tree praying that it doesn’t rain till Vishu. The sadhya always had Mambazham pachadi and I very vividly remember me and my sister fighting for the “Manga andi” . It also meant that summer was around the corner and I would have a steady supply of my fav fruit (For those who haven’t guessed it yet – I mean Mangos).
Today all my Sadhya’s have to have Mambazham Pachadi and I have my stock of Kanikonna ready- Do you? So here’s a very yellow and mangoey post:
• Ripe Mango- 2
• Water- 1/3 cup
• Red Chili powder – 1 Tsp
• Turmeric – 1\2 Tsp
• Mustard seeds – 1 Tsp
• Grated Coconut – 1\2 – 3/4 Cup
• Yogurt – 1\2 – 3\4 cup
• Sugar\ Jaggery : To taste
• Seasoning: Coconut Oil ,Red Chillies, Mustard seeds, Curry leaves
1. Cut the mangoes in medium size pieces (I leave the flesh on the edges intact and add the use the seed too).
2. Add water, chili powder, salt and cook the mangoes.
3. Grind coconut and mustard together to a fine paste and add it to the mangoes once tender.
4. Bring it to a boil, stirring frequently.
5. Next, do a taste test and add Sugar\ Jaggery. The trick is to add more if your mangoes are not too sweet or omit it completely if you manage to get real sweet ones. Mix thoroughly until everything dissolves.
6. Turn down the heat to low and add yogurt stirring constantly.
7. Prepare your seasoning and garnish your Pachadi. Easy Peasy!
Since summer wouldn’t have officially started we used to get big, beautiful and pretty Bland mangoes during Vishu and this dish was the perfect way to use them all up.
We thought it fitting that the ‘Best Dressed Couple’ winners should be featured. And the winner by majority vote (drum roll!) is…..Rekha and Binoy! This is what Rekha had to say about her ensemble, “When the EC team decided the Glitz & Glam theme, I had a vision of what I wanted to wear, which was black & gold with just the right amount of shimmer. But when my visit to several stores didn’t yield the desired result, I decided to make my own.
So I found a nice fitting pencil skirt from my closet, bought glittery gold material from Joann’s and took on a sewing project! With the excess fabric I sewed on stripes on a plain white Tee for husband Binoy and my son, and a rather cute skirt for my daughter! All in all it got my creative juices going and I am rather pleased with the results!”
Well done, Rekha! Goes to show how a little bit of imagination with a sprinkle of creativity, can go a long way.
കോന്നിയും കൊട്ടവഞ്ചിയും – Konni & Basket Boat by Jacob Vengal
കാടും നദിയും എന്നും എനിക്കൊരു ഹരം ആയിരുന്നു. ഏതെങ്കിലും ഒരു നദി എന്നതിനു പകരം അത് കാട്ടാറാണെങ്കിൽ പ്രത്യേകിച്ചു പറയുകയുംവേണ്ട. കഴിഞ്ഞ ക്രിസ്തുമസ് സമയത്ത് ആയിരുന്നു ഒരു സ്നേഹിതൻ യാദൃശ്ചികമായി കോന്നിയിലെ കൊട്ടവഞ്ചിയെപ്പറ്റി (Basket Boat) എന്നോട്പറഞ്ഞത്. അതു കേട്ടതേ, ജനുവരിയിൽ നാട്ടിൽ പോകുമ്പോൾ കൊട്ടവഞ്ചിയിൽ കയറണമെന്ന് ഞാൻ തീരുമാനിച്ചു.
കോന്നിക്കടുത്തുള്ള “ഗവി” എന്ന സ്ഥലത്ത് കൊടുംവനത്തിലൂടെയൊഴുകുന്ന കല്ലാറിലാണ് കേരള ടൂറിസം വകുപ്പ് കൊട്ടവഞ്ചി സഞ്ചാരത്തിനുള്ളസൗകര്യം ഏർപ്പെടുത്തിയിരിക്കുന്നത്. ജനുവരിയിൽ കല്ലാറിൽ വെള്ളം കുറവായിരുന്നതിനാൽ ഏകദേശം അര മൈലോളം വരുന്നഹ്രസ്വദൂരയാത്രമാത്രമേ ഞങ്ങൾക്ക് സാധ്യമായുള്ളു. എങ്കിലും ആ യാത്ര വളരെ മനോഹരമായ ഒരു അനുഭവമായിരുന്നു.
കൊട്ടവഞ്ചിയിൽ ഒരു ദീർഘദൂര പ്രയാണം ആഗ്രഹിക്കുന്നവർ ജൂൺ മാസം മുതൽ കല്ലാറ്റിലെ ജലനിരപ്പ് ഉയരുമ്പോൾ അവിടെ സന്ദർശിച്ചാൽ നാല്മൈൽ ദൂരം കൊട്ടവഞ്ചിയിൽ സഞ്ചരിക്കാവുന്നതാണ്. വരുന്ന ജൂലൈ മാസം കുടുംബമായി അവിടെ പോയി ദീർഘദൂര കൊട്ടവഞ്ചി യാത്രചെയ്യേണംഎന്നാഗ്രഹിക്കുന്നു. അതുകൂടാതെ അതിനടുത്ത് ഏറുമാടത്തിൽ (Tree House) ഒരു ദിവസം താമസിക്കണം എന്നും, വനത്തിലൂടെ അഞ്ചാറ് മൈൽനടക്കേണം (Hiking) എന്നും ആഗ്രഹിക്കുന്നു.
ഇവിടെയുള്ള മറ്റൊരു പ്രധാന ആകർഷണം കോന്നിയിലെ വളരെ പ്രശസ്തമായ ആനക്കൂട് ആണ്. പണ്ടൊക്കെ അവിടെ കാട്ടിൽ നിന്നും ആനയെ പിടിച്ച്കൊണ്ടുവന്ന് മെരുക്കിയെടുക്കുന്ന പരിപാടി സ്ഥിരമായി ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നു. ഇപ്പോഴും അവിടെ ആനസവാരി പോലുള്ള നിരവധി വിനോദോപാധികൾസന്ദർശകർക്കായി ഒരുക്കിയിട്ടുണ്ട്.
ഇതിനെപ്പറ്റി കൂടുതൽ വിവരങ്ങൾ അറിയുവാൻ Basket boat in Konni എന്ന് ഗൂഗ്ൾ ചെയ്താൽ മതി.
COMA official email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ajoy: 614 556 6588
Simple: 614 743 7888
Newsletter contributions: email@example.com