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

ONAM 2016


This year we have an exciting new twist! We are also planning to have a POOKALAM COMPETITION on the day. Get your friends together and have a blast creating colorful and creative Pookalams! To register for this and for participation in the cultural program, please contact right away.

Event registration and ticketing information will be sent out shortly.

Thank you.

2016 COMA EC


Ajoy Kumar

AsiaFest1Salil is a good friend and I will remember him for his quick wit and gregarious personality. He made conversations fun, entertaining and lively. He has generously contributed his time and effort for COMA.  Most recently I had the pleasure of volunteering with him at the Asian festival for the Kerala booth. Behind this gregarious personality, we saw in him a passionate man who paid meticulous attention to detail to represent COMA and Kerala to the larger community. He was quite natural in engaging a conversation with a curious onlooker or posing with a group of monks from China. I will be remiss if I do not mention the numerous emails sent to COMA expressing the same sentiments from many members of the community. You will be missed Salil and we will cherish your memories. 

Nish Nishant

Remembering Salil…


The recent demise of Salil Nair in a tragic road accident has stunned the entire Malayalee community in Central Ohio. It would be an understatement to say that Salil’s absence leaves an irreparable hole in all our lives. Different people may remember him in various different ways, but I would boldly declare that Salil had an undeniable quality that brought a smile to anyone he interacted with, on every single occasion. I cannot remember one instance where he was not in a pleasant and cheerful mood. Inevitably, Salil was the life and soul of any social event he was invited to, be it a birthday party, a karaoke night, or even a casual rendezvous.

In spite of his exceedingly cheery outer self, I have occasionally had the privilege to see the warm and compassionate human being that lay underneath. Salil was intelligent and empathetic, and often surprised everyone with selfless acts of altruism. A seemingly minor incident that I still remember so vividly was when I was helping Salil pick out a sound system at an audio store. Salil was extremely aggressive in negotiating the price down to an unbelievably low amount, but moments before he swiped his credit card, he looked at me and told me that if he bought that system at that price, the young salesman would be robbed of his commission. He then turned back and asked for the discounts to be removed and bought it at the original price. If I forget every other memory I have of Salil, I will never ever forget that incident. From my perspective, it objectively reminds me of what a loving, kindhearted, and decent individual he was.  

Salil may have left us prematurely, but I will forever consider it a lucky coincidence that I got to know the man, and that I have so many good memories of him. Salil has left behind two wonderful children, and I have this feeling deep inside that, like their father, they will grow up to become intelligent, well-groomed, and considerate young men. Farewell, my friend! You won’t be forgotten.

 Venu Nair

I have known Salil as a member of the Puja group, and as an active member of the Columbus Malayalee community. He was a very talented person, and had an outgoing friendly personality. Both Komalam and I miss him very much. 

Pradip Ramachandran

A “WALKING GOOGLE” of knowledge about anything artsy in Malayalam, be it movies, film songs, literature or poetry… that was Salil.

When he was introduced into a small karaoke group that I initiated about 6-7 ago, Salil never ceased to amaze all of us with his in-depth knowledge about Mallu movies and songs.

As a singer, Salil would almost always prefer songs that were challenging while others often stayed with the tried and tested. He made many songs very memorable, of which “Soorya Kireedam” will forever remain in our hearts as “Salil’s Song”. “Moham Kondu Njan”, “Oh Mridulay”, “Chandanathil Kadanjadethua”, “Irulin Mahanidrayil” (poetry) were some of his other memorable performances. Salil was also equally good at rendering Hindi songs .. “Dil hoon hoon kare”, and his “Yeh Dosti” duet with Vinay Chalikandy will always be remembered fondly.

Occasionally though, he would also bravely attempt a favorite song of his whether he could carry the tune or not (some folks may remember his rendering “Sankara Nada Sareerapara” from the Sankarabharanam movie)!! 

Anthakshari rounds were always fun-filled when he participated. Quick-fire answers (oftentimes hilarious and irreverent) would shoot out of his mouth before most others had even digested an Anthakshari challenge. Intelligent, he was, for sure.

And who can forget that the name “VIPANCHIKA” for COMA’s choir group was Salil’s brain-child.  He was an extremely quick-witted MC for numerous COMA programs always regaling his audience with one-liners and his profound use of the Malayalam language. Salil was undoubtedly a multi-talented artiste with his memorable performances in skits (remember his “Chandu character” mimicking mammookka?), villu paattu and many other events.  He will truly be missed by everyone his life touched.

Hari Narayanaswamy

ഓർമ്മയുടെ ഓളങ്ങളിൽ സലിൽ

 ഏകദേശം പതിനഞ്ചു വര്ഷങ്ങള്ക്കു മുമ്പാണെന്ന് തോന്നുന്നു ആദ്യമായി സലിൽ എന്ന വ്യക്തിയെ പരിചയപ്പെടുന്നത്. പരേതനായ ശ്രീ രാജൻ നായരുടെ വീട്ടിൽഉച്ചഭക്ഷണത്തിനു വെച്ച്. പെട്ടെന്ന് ആരോടും പരിചയ പെടുന്ന പ്രകൃതം. പുതുതായി പരിചയപെടുന്നവരോട് വളരെ പെട്ടെന്ന് ഒരു പാട് വര്ഷങ്ങളുടെ മുന്പരിചയമുള്ളതുപോലെ ഉള്ള പെരുമാറ്റം. അന്ന് തൊട്ടു ഇന്നേ വരേയും അദ്‌ഭുതത്തോടു മാത്രമേ അത് നോക്കി നില്കാൻ കഴിഞ്ഞിട്ടുള്ളു.

 കവിതയോടും സാഹിത്യത്തോടും പാട്ടുകളോടും കാണിക്കുന്ന അകമഴിഞ്ഞ കമ്പം. ചടുലമായ വാക്ധോരണി. നിശിതമായ നർമ്മബോധം. ചലിക്കുന്ന ഒരുവിജ്ഞാനകോശം. എല്ലാറ്റിനുമുപരി ആരുടെയും മുഖത്തുനോക്കി എന്തും ധൈര്യമായി  പറയാനുള്ള ചങ്കൂറ്റം. (വടക്കൻ വീരഗാഥയിലെ ചന്തുവായിരുന്നു സലീലിന്റെ ഇഷ്ടകഥാപാത്രവും ആരാധ്യപുരുഷനും എന്ന് പലപ്പോഴും തോന്നിയിട്ടുണ്ട്).   വാക്കുകൾ ചിലപ്പോളെങ്കിലും പലരേയും മുറിവേല്പിച്ചിരുന്നു. പക്ഷെ ഏതോ മായികശക്തികൊണ്ടെന്ന പോലെ പറയുന്നത് സലിൽ ആകുമ്പോൾ വാക്കുകളുടെ മൂർച്ച കുറയുമായിരുന്നു.വേദനക്കൊരു മാന്ദ്യമുണ്ടാവുമായിരുന്നു.

 നിങ്ങൾ തമിഴല്ലേ? നിങ്ങൾക്ക് മലയാളം മനസ്സിലാകുമോ ?” എടുക്കാതിരുന്ന  മലയാള ബിരുദതങ്ങളുടെ നഷ്ടബോധം അലയടിക്കുന്ന മനസ്സിന്റെ അകക്കാമ്പ് ഒന്ന്നൊന്തു. പെട്ടെന്ന് ഫോണിൽ ബ്ലോഗ് സൈറ്റ് എടുത്തു കാണിച്ചു കൊടുത്തു. “ഞാൻ എഴുതിയ മലയാള കവിതകളാണ്. വായിച്ചു നോക്കിയിട്ടു പറയു എനിക്ക് മലാലയളംമനിസ്സിലാകുമോ ഇല്ലയോ എന്ന്“. സലീലിന്റെ കണ്ണുകളിൽ ഒരു തിളക്കം. എന്റെ കവിതകളുടെ ഗുണം കൊണ്ടൊന്നുമല്ല. കവിതയോടും സാഹിത്യത്തോടുമുള്ളഅകമഴിഞ്ഞ പ്രിയം കൊണ്ട് മാത്രം.

കവിത മാത്രം ചൊല്ലി കൊണ്ടുള്ള ഒരു കരോക്കെ അല്ലെങ്കിൽ ഒരു  കവിയരങ് നടത്തികൂടെ?” എന്നായി ചോദ്യം. “ഇപ്പോൾ സമയമില്ല, പിന്നെയാവട്ടെഎന്ന്പറഞ്ഞൊഴിഞ്ഞപ്പോൾ, ഇനി ഒരിക്കലും നിറവേറ്റാൻ പറ്റാത്ത ഒരാഗ്രഹത്തെയാണ് നിരസിക്കുന്നതെന്നോർത്തില്ല.

 സൂഫി കവി ജലാലുദിന് റൂമി അദ്ധേഹത്തിന്റെ ഒരു കവിതയിൽ പറഞ്ഞത് പോലെ, സലിൽ നിങ്ങളുടെ ഭാവവും അഭാവവും ഒരു പോലെ മറ്റാർക്കുംനികത്താനാവാത്തതാകുന്നു. പൊട്ടിച്ചിരികളുടെ ഒരു പാട് സായാഹ്നങ്ങൾ ഞങ്ങൾക്ക് നൽകിയ പ്രിയ സുഹൃത്തേ, വേദനയോടെ വിട. ഞങ്ങളുടെ ശ്രദ്ധാഞ്ജലികൾ.

Jacob Vengal

Salil was a man with full of life. It was fun to be around him. Whether it was about participating in a skit, doing tug-of-war at the COMA picnic or some sports activity, Salil was at the top. After so many years I still remember Salil and both of their children coming to a boating event I organized. He cracked jokes about my boat. We will miss Salil! Our heartfelt condolences to Manju and the boys. 

Mavath Unni

Every time I think of Salil, the first thought that comes to my mind is his carefree attitude and his unique ability to lighten up and make us all laugh at even serious situations. He could make any party livelier with his subtle remarks and timely jokes.  

I first met Salil a few days after he moved to Columbus, I think, in the parking lot of Kroger or Meijer. Even at our first meeting he showed his humor and jovial disposition by saying, “I knew that you are a Malayalee from the style of your mustache. But I wanted to confirm it by watching if you own a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord.”

I remember a few years ago, we both were serving in the kitchen at  an Onam or Christmas party. When the first batch of guests finished their dinner, we ran out of one of the main curry items and we did not know what to do. Salil readily came up with a suggestion: “let us mix together a few of the leftover items and make an entirely new item; nobody will doubt or even identify the new dish”. It is so tragic that such a promising life was cut short at its prime.

I was therefore overcome with great sadness when I heard about the accident and demise of Salil and I feel it a personal loss. What a loss for the Columbus Malayalee community!

Shome Thomas

Our memories of Salil are so vivid and poignant. We remember a very friendly, smart, talented and extremely dynamic man. Friendly because we remember his never ceasing warm smiles and wide grins. Smart because we saw him excel in his chosen career path. Talented because he had an amazingly funny wit and could burst into melodious song in a heartbeat. Dynamic because we remember him as MC on the coma stage with an admirable combination of wit, intelligence & poise. Salil’s passing is not only an irreplaceable loss to his family but also a tremendous loss to his friends in the Columbus malayali community. His legacy will live strong in those he left behind and especially in his precious sons, Nandu & Kannan. Salil will be remembered fondly by our family for a long, long time to come.

Dhanush Kandoth

IMG_2649Whenever I hear the song “sooriya keeridam” from the movie “Devasuram”, Salil comes to my mind. It was his favorite song and he sang it so often that he almost had the whole community place a ban on him singing that song. He was such a lively, intelligent, and friendly person. He spoke straight from his heart without any shades of political correctness.


Sachin Sugathan

Every moment we had with Salil was fun filled and never short of laughter. Always loved his unique ability of adding old Malayalam songs here and there into his conversations.

എന്താ പ്രെശ്നം പറയൂസിമ്പിൾഇങ്ങനെ ചെയ്താ തീർന്നില്ലേ നിന്റെ പ്രെശ്നം.. വാ let’s do it.” With Salil around, it was always easier for us COMA volunteers  to find a solution.

Arun Davis

Karaoke nights we had were made lively with Salil’s melodies and his unmatched humor. We had conflicts many times as we had the same song in mind to sing. Last time, we resolved the conflict by singing the song together. I will miss conflict him a lot and the song “Moham Kondu njaan doore eetho” which he sang beautifully comes to my mind every day to remind me of him. 

മോഹം കൊണ്ട് ഞാൻ ദൂരെ ഏതോ ഈണം പൂത്ത നാൾ മധു തേടി പോയി….

സ്വർണ തേരേറി ഞാൻ തങ്ക തിങ്കൾ പോലെ 

ദൂരെ ആകാശം നക്ഷത്ര പൂക്കൾ തൻ തേരോട്ടം

YouTube Video:

Vinay Ramachandran

First of all, my heartfelt condolences to Salil’s family. I had known Salil for more than 10 years. I knew him as a person who was fun loving, witty, cheerful, and who always wanted to be in the lime light in any get-together whether it was Karaoke nights, monthly Pooja, Volleyball games, or COMA get-togethers. His presence made such events lively and enjoyable. I will miss his spontaneous witty comments, disagreement conversations, and funny gestures, and I feel that nobody can fill the void left by Salil’s departure within our Malayalee community

 I will miss you my friend….

Arun Radhakrishnan

When I think about Salil, the picture that comes to my mind is a joyful, fun loving, good friend. He left us all with ever lasting memories that will forever be in our hearts. His presence and talents made our gatherings very special. He was an exceptional person and a great friend, and will be totally missed. You will never be forgotten my friend!

Siva Ramaswami

 It has been such a long and wonderful association since 2001 with Salil! He was so energetic and enthusiastic! In the first ever Malayalee Association event held in a school near Bethel, he was all over the stage, playing different roles in multiple skits. If I remember correctly, that was the first time the entire audience stayed inside the auditorium enjoying the programme.

I can never forget him acting as my father in the “Modern Kailasam” skit. It was fun! He and I used to work on the same floor while he was in Nationwide Insurance. It had always been nice to be around him.

Ramya Janaki

Our first interaction with Salil was when he invited me and Ravi to his house to practice a duet song we were planning to sing for COMA Onam function. We ended up singing at least a dozen other duet songs with him, and as me and Ravi drove home we talked about his fun loving attitude and zest for life and music. He had an inimitable ability to light up any crowd with his humor and when he was around, there was never a dull moment. Salil, you will be remembered fondly by every person whose path has crossed yours.

Sheeja Oomen

My family and I were very fortunate to know Salil Nair for a long time. We had vacation, parties, and a lot of fun together. 

Salil was a person of many talents. One of his amazing skills was to capture the attention of a huge crowd or a person very easily. He was always the center of attraction in any gathering. Because of this great talent, no one can forget him if they had a chance to meet him once. 

Though he is not with us any more physically, he is going to live in our memory forever. Rest in peace, dear friend…

Manoj Thanath

Good bye my dear friend Salil Nair! Hard to believe that you just melted down and vanished off into thin air. Your presence and talents made our gatherings always LIVE. And now we have to live without those moments.

Miss you my friend, with no replacement in my heart! Make your new world LIVE, as you always do…

Joseph Abraham

My last encounter with Salil Nair…

On July 15th evening, 8.30pm I decided to go for Malayalam movie Kasaba at the Screens. My wife was busy so I decided to go myself. There in the parking lot I met Salil. He looked like he was waiting for someone. Turns out he was looking for company to watch the movie. Worked out well for both of us! I didn’t know Salil too well, mainly through COMA. 

He then told me he was famished and really wanted to get something substantial to eat. But he’d forgotten his wallet. So I lent him $10. So while I went to buy tickets, he went to grab some food. Later he returned with brown bag of Chinese take away which we enjoyed through the movie! Ah….good company and good food! This was going really well! 

He was quite chatty and had a lot to talk about. During the movie he seemed annoyed with Mammootty’s new cat walk style and questioned why he was always walking like that! He also said that the movie was similar to Inspector Balram starring Mammootty and Geetha. 

On our way back to the car park he talked about the COMA picnic, insisting that I should come with family. We talked about his new Jaguar SUV, which was incidently in the body shop that day. He came across as generally a very friendly and personable man who one could get comfortable with very easily. He told me to give him my bank details so he could transfer the money. I insisted that it was fine. But he was persistent, so I gave it to him.

Monday morning I received a text from Salil saying he had transferred $30 into my account. I responded saying he had overpaid by $10! To which he replied “that’s for next time’s movie ticket”!

Needless to say, when that COMA email came through on Thursday, I could not believe it! I wish I had never got that message! I’m sure his absence will be felt in future COMA gatherings. May his soul rest in peace….

 Manoj Thomas

Salil comes across as a legend when you think of him. We have several memories of him which has surfaced lately. The one which stands out is the Karthik show. As everyone knows he is a good singer as well as an admirer of music. We felt like he was a better crowd pleaser than Kathik.

We were able to get to know him better during our indoor and outdoor volleyball games for the last couple of years. A person who is always happy and jovial, full of energy. He never seizes to entertain the crowd with his melodious voice and witty jokes whether its in the park or at parties. We miss him.

Rishika Vinaykumar (daughter of Vinay and Sajina Chalikandy)

When we first met him and got to know him, we realized that his lively personality could always brighten the atmosphere and fill a room with smiles, no matter the mood. When they had spoken earlier this year, he had told my dad that they need to sing this memorable song once more. As the lyrics state, “Yeh dosti, hum nahi todenge. Todenge dam magar, tere saath na chhodenge.” This friendship will never break, and a colorful person to converse with, Salil Nair played a dynamic character in all of our lives and he will be missed.

Sheetal Kongattil

Karaoke sessions – that’s the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Salil. An energetic singer so full of life, entertaining, and making his presence felt. A person who would make the effort to break the ice in a group and acknowledge everyone. It is indeed sad and shocking that he is no longer among us. He will always be missed and never forgotten…

Smitha Nishant

IMG_2648Salil was one of those people who would come into your life making a lasting impression in a very short time. He was hilarious, sweet, intelligent, and a great conversationalist. He has often impressed me with his distinguished taste in literature, movies, and music, his uncanny ability to remember and recollect information, and his child-like curiosity. I feel profoundly fortunate to have had the opportunity to have known him, and I will always cherish the pleasant memories and the fun times I got to spend with him. Salil, you will never be forgotten!

Jason Sowards- New York Life 

I think of Salil’s infectious smile and a laugh that would lift the room. He was talented. He sang like a bird. He entertained us with his dancing and made us laugh with his acting. He will always be remembered.

Vikas Gopal

Salil will always be remembered for his charming personality, addictive smile and more importantly his unique ability to energize a group conversation. We cannot remember a single event where he didn’t walk in to take the center stage of a conversation and in his jovial fashion make even the most serious topics a lively discussion. His premature demise is a significant loss for our community. 

Hari Karunakaran

The world knew that Salil was spontaneous, eloquent and his presence always filled the room in a good way. What earned him my respect was his tendency to help when you least expect someone to and when others don’t dare. I benefited from this quality of his that I wish I myself had.


Salil was a master of storytelling and poetry reciting. Columbus karaoke nights will not be the same anymore, without Salil’s unique and enthusiastic voice. His confidence to talk about any topic under the sun and above was unbelievable – be it Malayalam literature or Movies or World Politics, you will get an unbiased opinion, in the most undiluted Trivandrum slang you can listen to, these days! He has his unique way of keeping his friends and stay connected! His charismatic persona has a deep influence among all of his friends, regardless of geographical boundaries.

To his friends he will never die, as he has left a piece of him in everyone and he will be alive through them.

Signing off with a heavy heart…


Registration for the COMA Malayalam class for 2016-2017 is now open. Enrollment will be on a first come / first served basis, and will be open throughout the calendar year. A waiting list will be created if the number of enrollees exceeds class capacity. Classes will start on September 11th and will continue to be held from 11AM- 12Noon at the current location at Lazelle Woods Recreation Center.  Children currently in Class K thru 12 are eligible to join. Parents must have a currently active membership in COMA.

We are planning for a maximum of 12 children per class and we will have 2 classes, one for the beginner levels and another one for the intermediate level kids.

Fee Schedule: Annual fee for one child: $120; $60 for additional siblings. Payable in 2 equal installments, one at enrollment and other in January. No pro-rated fees are planned in case of partial attendance.

Parents who are interested to register their child/children, please email name, age of the child, and contact details for parents to and please CC Veda Warrier (



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