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
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.
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