Newsletter December 2023

Happy Holidays to all! It’s been a fantastic year for COMA, and we closed it out with a bang! The Christmas event was truly grand, featuring photo booths, Christmas carols, nativity skit, and an impressive array of performances by individuals of all age groups. The plum cake, appetizers, and wine served at the outset, followed by the classic Malayali feast for dinner turned out to be a culinary delight. The dance floor was a fitting end to the series of grand celebrations we’ve had this year. A heartfelt thank you to EC 2023 for your outstanding work!

It brings me immense pleasure to envision a bright future for COMA, owing to the commitment and dedication of our volunteers, executive leadership, and trustees. The Executive Committee for 2024 was announced during the COMA Christmas event. We have a dynamic and passionate team all prepared to make their mark. Stay tuned for more details in our January newsletter!

I extend my sincere gratitude to all my readers and contributors for your tremendous support of the newsletter this year. I eagerly anticipate working with you in the upcoming year!

I wish you and your families a happy and healthy holiday season, and a prosperous New Year!

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കിളിയൊഴിഞ്ഞ കൂട് – Beena Kumar

(Beena Kumar is a long term COMA patron and lives in Dublin, OH with her husband Ajoy Kumar. She is an IT professional, and enjoys travel and literature.)

പഞ്ചവർണ്ണക്കിളി പാറി മറഞ്ഞപ്പോൾ
കിളിക്കൂടെനിക്കൊരു ഭാരമായി
മറയാത്തൊരോർമ്മകൾ കൊത്തിപ്പെറുക്കിയെൻ
മാനസം പിന്നോട്ടൊന്നെത്തിനോക്കി
കണ്ണു തുറക്കാത്ത തൂവൽ എഴാത്തൊരു
കുഞ്ഞായി നിന്നെയറിഞ്ഞു തുടങ്ങി ഞാൻ
നാൾക്കുനാൾ നീ വളരുന്നതു കണ്ടെൻ്റെ
ഉള്ളിൽ വാത്സല്യം നിറഞ്ഞു നിന്നു
നിൻ കുഞ്ഞു മേനിയിൽ തൂവൽ കിളിർത്തതും
ആദ്യമായ് കൊഞ്ചിയെൻ കാതിൽ മൊഴിഞ്ഞതും
വേർതിരിച്ചെന്തെന്നറിയാൻ കഴിയാത്ത
കൊഞ്ചൽ എന്നാത്മാവിൻ ആനന്ദമായതും
കുഞ്ഞിച്ചിറകു വിരിച്ചു നീയാദ്യമായ്
പൊങ്ങിപ്പറന്നു തിരികെ അണഞ്ഞതും
ആതിരറിയാതെ നീ പാറി നടന്നപ്പോൾ
അരുതെന്നു ചൊല്ലി ഞാൻ പിന്നാലെ വന്നതും
ബാല്യം കടന്നു നീ യൗവനം ഏറീതും
പഞ്ച വർണ്ണ ചിറകൊക്കെ കുരുത്തതും
സങ്കൽപ്പ ലോകത്തിൽ നീ പാറി നിന്നതും
മിന്നും കഥകളെൻ കാതിൽ മൊഴിഞ്ഞതും
അരുതുകളൊക്കെ അകലെ എറിഞ്ഞു നീ
അരുതാത്തതൊക്കെയും കൊത്തിക്കൊറിച്ചതും
ദീനം പിടിച്ചു നീ വേദന തിന്നതും
വേദാന്തമോതി ഞാൻ കൂടെയിരുന്നതും
കൂടു നിനക്കൊരു ബന്ധനമായതും
ആകാശം വെട്ടിപ്പിടിക്കാൻ മോഹിച്ചതും
യാത്രയും ചൊല്ലി നീ പാറി മറഞ്ഞതും
എന്നുടെ ചേതന ഒന്നു പിടഞ്ഞതും
ഒന്നും മറക്കുന്നതില്ലയെൻ പൈങ്കിളി
ശൂന്യമീ ജീവിതം ഓർമ്മകളില്ലെങ്കിൽ
നന്മകൾ നേരുന്നു നിൻപാത നീളെയും
ആയുരാരോഗ്യ സൗഭാഗ്യങ്ങളും
കാതിരിക്കുന്നു ഞാൻ എന്നും പ്രതീക്ഷയിൽ
തിരികെ നീയെത്തുന്ന നാളിനായി.

Columbus Tuskers Triumph at Naadan 7’s Soccer Tournament in Houston, TX – Pramod Pudhiyattil

(Pramod Pudhiyattil is a long time COMA patron who is most well-known for being COMA’s event videographer. He maintains the official COMA YouTube channel. Pramod is a sport enthusiast and is the manager of the local Malayalee Saturday badminton league as well as a private Friday Badminton league. He’s also one of the best soccer players among Columbus Malayalees and has been a part of various soccer teams over his years in Columbus. He’s an avid biker and is one of the main coordinators of the COMA biking club. In his spare time, he goes running and has completed a half marathon. Pramod lives in Lewis Center with his wife Priya, son Aarit, and daughter Aadhira.)

In an exhilarating showcase of skill and determination, the Columbus Tuskers recently made a triumphant journey from Columbus, OH to Houston, TX to participate in the prestigious Naadan 7’s soccer tournament. The tournament, hosted in the city of Katy, near Houston TX on the 11th and 12th of November 2023, by Houston United MSC (Malayalee Soccer Club), brought together soccer enthusiasts from Malayalees across the nation, creating an atmosphere of friendly competition and community spirit.

The Columbus Tuskers, driven by a passion for the sport, traveled the distance to not only compete but to leave an indelible mark on the Naadan 7’s soccer tournament. The team’s outstanding performance swept Naadan 7’s Soccer Tournament, with double victory, clinching the “Champions Trophy” in the 45+ category and securing the esteemed title of “Runners-Up” in the fiercely competitive 35+ category.

The triumph of the Columbus Tuskers was not confined to team victories alone; several players showcased their exceptional talent and earned individual awards, adding to the team’s impressive achievements.

Subhash Nair emerged as a standout player, bagging the coveted Top Scorer Award for the 35+ category. His goal-scoring prowess and on-field finesse contributed significantly to the team’s success in this age group. Subhash is well known as the Messi of the Columbus Tuskers team and is a nightmare for all opposing teams.

Anil Koothoor, demonstrating exceptional skills between the goalposts, secured the title of Best Goalkeeper in the fiercely competitive 45+ category. His outstanding performance played a crucial role in the Columbus Tuskers’ defensive strength and contributed to their overall success in the tournament.

The 45+ category saw more individual brilliance from the Columbus Tuskers, with Sing Nair earning the Top Scorer Award. Sing N’s scoring prowess and strategic contributions were instrumental in the team’s journey to claiming the “Champions Trophy” in this age group.

Pramod Pudhiyattil, another standout player, was honored with the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in the 45+ category. Pramod’s all-round contributions, leadership on the field, and ability to make a decisive impact in crucial moments solidified his position as a key player for the Columbus Tuskers.

Columbus Tusker 45+ Squad

  • Shibu Nair
  • Pramod Pudhiyattil
  • Ashley Thomas
  • Abraham Thomas
  • Austin Pereira
  • Biju Philip
  • Buby Varghese Mathew
  • Mathew Abraham Varghese
  • Sing Nair
  • Sinu Paul
  • Anil Koothoor

Columbus Tuskers 35+ Squad

  • Anil Koothoor
  • Aslam Abubacker
  • Deepak Asokan
  • Dilin Joy
  • JayKumar Madathil
  • Pradeesh Puthiyattil
  • Pravi Gopalan
  • Rakesh Vijayakrishnan
  • Sajid Nedumpally
  • Subhash Nair
  • Shibu Nair
  • Pramod Pudhiyattil
  • Ashley Thomas

Due to various reasons, the full power of Columbus Tuskers couldn’t be showcased in the Houston tournament, but the team cannot be thanked enough for the support they rendered throughout the tournament. We really missed these folks who could not join us in Houston: Josh (Coach), Basil, Bimal, Anish, Sameer, and Geeno.

Above all, Shibu’s (COMA President) exemplary captaincy set a high standard for aspiring soccer players in the community, emphasizing the importance of leadership, strategic thinking, and camaraderie both on and off the field.

The organizers of Naadan 7 tournament deserve recognition for orchestrating a seamless event. Their dedication and meticulous planning ensured that soccer enthusiasts and families alike could enjoy the weekend filled with excitement and friendly competition.

The resounding success of the Columbus Tuskers at the Naadan 7’s soccer tournament is a testament to the blend of individual brilliance, team cohesion, and exceptional leadership that defines the spirit of the beautiful game. The team’s achievements will undoubtedly inspire future generations of soccer enthusiasts in Columbus, fostering a legacy of excellence in soccer within the community. The entire community joins in celebrating these accomplishments, recognizing the dedication, hard work, and passion that propelled the Columbus Tuskers to success on the national stage. As we reflect on the success, it becomes evident that events like these play a crucial role in strengthening the fabric of our community.

#PhotographyTips #Lighting – Rahul RP

(Rahul RP is an IT engineer with a deep passion for photography and travel. He possesses a keen eye for capturing the beauty of the world through the lens of his camera, turning everyday moments into extraordinary memories. Whether it’s exploring new destinations or delving into the intricacies of technology, he is a true enthusiast with a thirst for knowledge and adventure. Rahul lives in New Albany with his wife Gayathri and son Dhyan. He hails from Trivandrum.)

In the realm of photography, lighting is not merely a technical necessity; it is an art form that can transform an ordinary image into a masterpiece. Whether you are a novice or a seasoned photographer, understanding the nuances of lighting is crucial for capturing breathtaking shots. This article will delve into the importance of lighting in photography and provide tips on how to use it to your advantage.

The Essence of Lighting

Lighting is the key to unlocking the true potential of your photographs. It not only illuminates the subject but also sets the mood, creates depth, and adds a touch of magic to your images. The interplay of light and shadow can turn an ordinary scene into a captivating visual narrative.

Types of Lighting

Natural Light

Harnessing the power of natural light is a skill every photographer should master. The golden hours—early morning and late afternoon—offer soft, warm light that enhances the overall ambiance of your photos. Experiment with different angles to understand how light interacts with your subject.

Artificial Light

Studio photography often relies on artificial lighting, allowing photographers to have precise control over the intensity, direction, and color of light. Continuous lighting and strobes are popular choices, each serving a specific purpose in creating the desired effect.

Understanding Light Direction

The direction from which light falls on your subject significantly impacts the mood and texture of your photograph. Frontal lighting minimizes shadows, while side lighting emphasizes texture and form. Backlighting creates silhouettes and adds drama, making your subject stand out against the background.

Mastering Exposure

Balancing exposure is crucial for achieving well-lit photos. Understand the exposure triangle—aperture, shutter speed, and ISO—to control the amount of light entering your camera. Experiment with different settings to find the perfect exposure for your specific lighting conditions.

Playing with Shadows

Shadows are not to be feared; they can be a powerful tool in creating depth and dimension. Experiment with shadows to add intrigue and mystery to your images. Be mindful of the interplay between light and shadow to convey a sense of drama and emotion.

Color Temperature

Different light sources emit varying color temperatures, affecting the overall tone of your photographs. Learn to adjust white balance to ensure accurate color representation. Daylight, tungsten, and fluorescent lights each have unique characteristics that can be used creatively to enhance your images.

Experimentation and Adaptation

Photography is a dynamic art form, and lighting conditions are ever-changing. Embrace experimentation and be willing to adapt to different scenarios. Learning to work with the available light, whether natural or artificial, will broaden your creative possibilities.

Mastering the art of lighting in photography is a continuous journey of discovery and refinement. By understanding the principles of light and how to manipulate it to your advantage, you can elevate your photography to new heights. So, grab your camera, explore different lighting scenarios, and let the interplay of light and shadow tell your visual story.

Beef/Meat Cutlet – Babitha Joseph

(Babitha lives in Delaware, OH with her husband Dilin and their two children. She is a very enthusiastic chef who likes experimenting with various Kerala meat preparations. Babitha is an IT professional and loves watching movies in her free time.)

Beef cutlet is among the most popular Malayalee appetizers/snacks which is never missed out at parties, especially in Kerala Christian homes. Christmas is around the corner and these cutlets can be the perfect appetizer for your holiday gatherings. Here is the recipe for Kerala style beef cutlet. With 1 kg beef, you can make 25 – 30 cutlets.

Ingredients

Set 1

  • Beef: 1 kg (~2 lb) – cleaned and chopped into small cubes
  • Meat masala: 2 tsp (alternately, you can add 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and 1 tsp each of Chilli powder and Coriander powder)
  • Pepper powder: 1 tsp
  • Garam masala powder: 1 tsp
  • Salt: 1/2 tsp

Set 2

  • Potato: 2 large potatoes (500 g). Take 3, if small/medium.

Set 3

  • Oil: 3 tbsp (preferably coconut oil)
  • Onion: 2 large/medium (finely chopped)
  • Ginger: 1½ inch piece / 2 tbsp (finely chopped)
  • Garlic: 4 cloves (finely chopped)
  • Green chillies: 4-5 (finely chopped, adjust the count based on your taste)
  • Curry leaves: 2-3 sprigs (finely chopped)
  • Salt: 1/2 tsp (or as needed)

Set 4

  • Garam masala powder: 2 tsp
  • Pepper powder: 1 tsp
  • Fennel powder: 1/2 tsp

Set 5

  • Egg whites: 2, beaten
  • Bread crumbs: 1 cup (use store bought, or crushed fresh bread slices)
  • Oil: as needed to deep fry (preferably coconut oil)

Cooking instructions

Step 1

  • Marinate the chopped beef with the ingredients in set 1 (meat masala, pepper powder, garam masala, salt) and keep it aside for 30 minutes.
  • Pressure-cook the marinated beef for 2 – 3 whistles.
  • Open the pressure cooker lid after 15 minutes.
  • Saute the beef in the pressure cooker till the excess water dries up.
  • Let it cool down completely.
  • Pulse/mince the meat using a food processor or mixer grinder.

Step 2

  • Boil the potatoes with a pinch of salt till it becomes soft. Peel and mash it once cooked.

Step 3

  • Heat 3 tbsp oil in a pan.
  • Add finely chopped onion, ginger, garlic, green chilies, curry leaves and salt (ingredients set 3).
  • Saute until onion turns soft / light golden color.
  • Add the spice powders – garam masala, fennel powder, pepper powder (ingredients set 4), and saute for 1 – 2 minutes (until the raw smell of spices are gone).
  • Add the minced beef, mix well, and continue to saute for 3 – 4 mins till it becomes dry.
  • Add the mashed potatoes and mix well.
  • Add 2 tsp of bread crumbs to the mix, which will absorb the excess moisture from the mixture.
  • Taste check for salt and spices.
  • Keep stirring for 2 – 3 minutes and switch off.
  • Allow the mixture to cool down completely.

Step 4

  • Make small balls out of the beef-potato mixture and roll into desired shapes.
  • Beat the egg whites.
  • Dip each cutlet in egg white and then roll with bread crumbs.
  • Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat.
  • Deep fry the cutlets until golden brown on both sides.
  • Keep the temperature medium hot. Avoid overcrowding the pan when frying cutlets.
  • Drain excess oil on paper towels.
  • Serve hot with tomato ketchup or onion salad (challas).

Tips

  • Double coat – Dust the patties in All Purpose Flour / corn flour before dipping in egg white and rolling in bread crumbs to avoid breaking of the cutlets while frying.
  • You can use cookie cutters to make the cutlets in desired shapes.
  • The shaped cutlets/patties can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days, or in the freezer for a month.

Enjoy these delicious Kerala style beef cutlets! Wishing you all Happy Holidays!

Meals on Wheels: Year end review – Nish Nishant

(Nish Nishant lives in Worthington, OH with his wife Smitha and son Rohan, and has been coordinating the COMA Meals on Wheels program since 2015.)

The year 2023 saw the highest ever volunteer participation since we kicked off the program in 2015. A total of 67 volunteers participated this year, for a total of 336 hours. We covered 30 routes and delivered meals to approximately 600 homes. Our volunteers drove around 1400 miles to accommodate these route deliveries. These stats do not include the final route for this year on Christmas eve. It’s worth noting that on September 3rd, we also did a 5-route marathon as a kick-off to the 2023 COMA Onam celebrations.

I personally thank all the volunteers for their time and contribution, and also to the EC team for enabling and supporting this initiative. Here’s a list of our highest activity volunteers who participated 2 or more times this year. Hoping to go even higher in 2024.

  • Smitha Nishant : 5
  • Rohan Nishant : 4
  • Rijul Jeyaseelan : 3
  • Arun Kumar : 3
  • Adithya Arun : 3
  • Priya Arun : 3
  • Aishwarya Arun : 2
  • Ajith Mohan : 2
  • Devan Nair : 2
  • John Patrick : 2
  • Anitha John : 2
  • Dannie Rajesh : 2
  • Stevie Rajesh : 2
  • Gayatri Thampy : 2
  • Chris Norton : 2
  • Sumitra Thampy-Norton : 2
  • Rajesh Ramachandran : 2
  • Pranav Rajesh : 2
  • Valsan Palika : 2
  • Vijaya Valsan : 2

Vote of Thanks – 2023 COMA EC

Dear COMA patrons,

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all our sponsors whose unwavering support has been instrumental in making our events a success. Your continued backing, spanning many years, has been invaluable, and we eagerly anticipate your ongoing support.

We’d like to extend special thanks to the following folks:

  • Malayalam class teachers
  • Food committee
  • Stage performers
  • Decoration committee
  • MCs
  • Carol singers
  • Coconut Trio

The dedication and teamwork displayed by each of you have been exceptional. The list of contributions is extensive, and while we’d love to call out each individually, it would take us way too long!

We’d also like to express our gratitude to Gopi Haridass, Unni Maash, Valsan Palika, and Thomas Oommen for their consistent support throughout the year in planning and arranging food-related aspects. A special mention goes out to Smitha Nishant for her outstanding work on the COMA Newsletter. Smitha, your contributions have been truly remarkable. Our sincere thanks to Rohan Nishant, a high school student, for stepping up as Web Admin at such short notice and demonstrating exceptional flexibility and availability.

Many within our association participated in the Meal of Wheels initiative, and we extend our thanks to Nish Nishant for spearheading this opportunity for us to contribute to.

We’d also like to highlight the efforts of:

  • Kiran Joseph and Aravind Venugopalan for help with the Muthukad fundraiser event
  • Kiran Joseph and Arun Chand for helping with organizing the cricket tournament
  • Pramod Pudhiyattil for event videos and coordinating the badminton tournament

At our recent Muthukad DAC fundraising event, we successfully raised close to 32K. Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed to this noble cause. As a community, we should take pride in our collective effort. Should you find yourself in India, we encourage you to visit the cause.

The introduction of COMA Talks during our committee year wouldn’t have been possible without Girish Sasankasekhar‘s leadership, which was supported by Rahul RP, Aravind Venugopalan, Sukesh, and the other hosts.

Our gratitude extends to the trustees for entrusting us with the opportunity to lead COMA for the last 18 months, and for their belief in our endeavors.

Finally, a massive thank you goes out to the EC team families. Without your unwavering support, none of the achievements in COMA 2023 would have been possible.

To the incoming committee, we extend our warmest welcome. We hope the COMA community will continue to offer their support to the new EC team, just as you have supported us.

Once again, a sincere thank you from the entire EC team. We wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year ahead!

— COMA EC 2023 (Shibu, Arun, Pradeesh, Sachin, and Roopesh)

1 thought on “Newsletter December 2023”

  1. A very big shout out to Smitha Nishant for a stellar editorial job on the 2023 newsletters. The curated content of each edition was simply superb and made very interesting reading. The breadth of topics included was also great. Excellent job Smitha.

    Reply

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