From the Editor’s desk
The holidays are around the corner and 2015 is coming to an end. The COMA 2015 Christmas Party was a fitting end to a very fruitful year for our Malayalee association.
The COMA newsletter has grown significantly this year. We were able to bring you interesting news relating to a wide variety of topics: achievements, birth announcements, graduation news, travelogues, adventures, youth contributions, local events, and interviews, to name a few. We have successfully met our target to consistently reach out to the community with a monthly newsletter – a significant feat for a small community and budding organization like ours.
Leading the newsletter this year has given me the good fortune to work very closely with the 2015 Executive Committee, and I take this opportunity to thank them for their constant support (and for giving me a free reign). I would like to especially thank Arun Radhakrishnan (President) for his outstanding leadership, and Nish Nishant (General Secretary) for his technical support with publishing the newsletter and sharing it with COMA’s reader base. Special thanks also goes to Adithya Nair for coordinating the youth contributions.
And lastly, my sincere gratitude to all the contributors and readers for your continued interest and support.
I have decided to hang up the notepad and step down as the newsletter editor for COMA due to personal commitments. I would like to express my deep gratitude to Anu Kurian who has cheerfully agreed to serve as the next COMA newsletter editor. She has a lot of new ideas and plans on how to take the newsletter forward, so we have much to look forward to next year. I wish Anu all the very best! I hope you continue to read and support the COMA newsletter.
With that, I bid adieu, and leave you with a final thought: “On the keyboard of life, always keep one finger on the Escape key.”
Wishing you all happy holidays and a wonderful new year!!!
Thank You message from the 2015 President
It was my privilege and honor to serve as the President of the Central Ohio Malayalee Association for the year 2015. It has been an incredible experience and I had a lot of fun. I consider myself lucky to have got an opportunity to work with a great executive team: Julie Manoj (Vice President), Nish Nishant (General Secretary), Vidya Shibu (Joint Secretary), and Pramod Pudhiyattil (Treasurer). I personally want to thank each one of them for their great team work and commitment.
The theme for the year- 2015 was “Committee for the Community”, and we really worked hard to meet that goal. We planned all our major events with social commitment in mind and at the same time made sure to provide a great experience to our community. The most rewarding part of the experience was the community support we received and the record breaking attendance in all the events. People participation was the critical reason for the success of the programs, we THANK YOU for that.
One of the highlights of 2015 was the stage show “Krishna” (dance drama) by the distinguished South Indian actress and dancer Shobhana. The event was well received by the community and raised five thousand dollars ($5000.00) for the “Wounded Warrior Project” (Wounded Warrior Project is a charity and veterans’ service organization that offers a variety of programs, services, and events for wounded veterans).
In the year 2015, COMA also witnessed the launch of the Youth Wing. The youth group has been actively involved in COMA the entire year and has contributed in all the events. I want to thank all the Youth Group volunteers for their energy, enthusiasm, and support throughout the year.
As part of our ongoing commitment to the community, this year, we also started volunteering in Meals on Wheels programs. The response for this program has been overwhelming. We continued our support for YWCA, conducted three Host-A-Meal programs this year, and did a gift card drive during our annual Christmas celebration.
My heartfelt gratitude goes to all our sponsors who have helped us this year. Your generous contributions helped in making a great difference to our community.
Finally, to our COMA members and Malayalees in Central Ohio, THANK YOU! Without your support and encouragement, none of this would have been possible.
Arun Radhakrishnan, President (2015)
Central Ohio Malayalee Association
The COMA 2015 Christmas Party
The COMA Christmas party that was held earlier this month was extremely well received by the 200-strong audience that turned up for the party. President Arun said that this was an all-time record-high as far as turn-out was concerned. The evening began with a Photo with Santa session, and many of our families with young children posed with Santa Claus. It was a very Christmas-like atmosphere with a manger, Christmas trees, Christmas décor all around the banquet hall, and Christmas themed table layouts. There was complimentary wine and cake served next to the manger, and the cake was a generous gift by the first family (Arun and Priya).
The Christmas program began with an enthralling instrumental performance by Lloyd George and Rohit Parayil. This was followed by choirs from St Peter Church and the Ohio Malayalee Christian Congregation. The program ended with a fascinating ballet performance by Hayley from Inspiration to Movement.
In between programs, the trustees announced the team for the 2016 Executive Committee. All five members of the 2015 EC team came up and individually thanked everyone for their support and encouragement, and they bid their goodbyes. Dinner was a multi-course buffet, and included a large variety of desserts. After dinner, DJ Mavi opened up the dance floor, and there was a surprise intro dance by the parting 2015 team. There was so much enthusiasm on the dance floor that the party continued well past its scheduled end time.
You can catch highlight videos from the party on Pramod Pudhiyattil’s YouTube channel:
A passionate Christmas hobby
[Editor’s note – I had a chance to chat with my friend and COMA patron Jayakrishnan Menon about a very interesting hobby he has been passionate about for quite a few years. The below excerpt is what Jay shared with me.]
The tradition of Christmas village started in the mid 1950s. This was believed to be a Protestant tradition and used to be a part of the Christmas tree and Nativity decorations during Christmas. The phrase ‘Christmas Village’ is a misnomer I feel, because Jesus Christ was born in a semi-desert with no snow around in December. That’s why many people call it a Snow Village or European Village.
I got interested in this hobby around 7-8 years back. As a person, I love history. I used to collect antiques in India and used them to decorate our home, and naturally when I came to the US I started going to old antique shops. I liked these tiny houses with small lights inside them and started collecting them. Each house is architecturally unique, and you can find whatever buildings you normally see in a small town like schools, churches, post office, diners, grocery stores, flower shops, cafe, fire station, police station, play grounds, houses etc., in a Christmas village too. I also bought some of these houses/buildings in my collection from stores like Walmart or Old Time Pottery.
In addition to the buildings, you can find trees, people, animals and cars, trains etc. too in a Christmas Village decoration.
Unfortunately this hobby is dying out so fast, most companies that used to make villages are out of business and/or making much fewer houses each year. I think it’s because it needs a lot of patience to set up a village, lot of display room, too many accessories, too many wires underneath, and can be expensive. And you can display them out only for a month, unlike other decorations in your home.
My wife doesn’t always approve of my antique collection, but fortunately she supports my Christmas Village hobby. She thinks it will be cool to take all these tiny houses to India where we don’t get to buy them and she wants to display them during December. My daughter is a big fan of this, and helps me put them together every time.
I am so glad that I could share this in the COMA newsletter. In our fast paced world, we are losing almost all our old traditions. I feel that preserving a little bit of history and an old tradition for the sake of our future generations is really important. Thank you!
Jayakrishnan Menon lives in Polaris with his wife Sindhu and daughter Kimaya Menon.
Voice of the youth – An annual review
Hello again and I hope everyone is enjoying their holidays or upcoming holidays! Christmas is just around the corner, and it also happens to be the very 1st birthday of an incredibly special group of people, The COMA Youth Wing! We have just completed our very first year as the representatives of the younger generation in the Malayalee community, and I have to say, it has been a stellar experience! We have done a lot in terms of helping out in all the cultural events that COMA has held this year. Some of the things we have done are that, we helped organize and run the kitchens at the Onam program, helped keep the kids busy at the 70’s Dance Party program (by far our most daunting task…), and we have helped run the coat drives and Indian clothes drive at the recent COMA Christmas of 2015! We have, also in fact, started the very “Voice of the Youth” section you are reading this article from, in the monthly newsletter!
However, the main purpose of my writing this end of the year article, is to express how impressed I am with my amazing team and my gratitude towards them for being such! All 10 of the current members, Aishwarya Arun, Neelima Gopi, Aadhira Pramod, Meera Unni, Osheen Oommen, Nikita Satya, Alison Thomas, Melissa Thomas, Deepak Warrier, and Nitin Gopi, have done an incredible job committing themselves to every, single event that COMA has put on this year! They have cooperated, deliberated, coordinated, and organized every single one of their individual role/jobs, with only the executive committee and I relaying to them the minor amount of information they need to do so! And honestly, I have never seen such a large group of Desi males and females work together so well and without any tension whatsoever, (which really could be labeled as the biggest accomplishment here…) and I am so thankful to have all of them representing the youth in our Malayalee community!
Once again, as I say at every program the Youth-Wing is involved in, please contact the EC or me if you want your children to represent their culture in their community, and get involved in a prodigious group of individuals like with similar goals and interests! My main goal for next year is to gain more interested and motivated members to help the Youth-Wing with our involvement in all the events that are to come in 2016 and beyond! I wish everyone a very happy holiday break, and I wish COMA, an even more efficient, productive, and, most importantly, fun year for 2016!
Vidya Dhanush, a very regular COMA patron, graduated from the Chamberlain College of Nursing and Keller Graduate School of Management with an MSN specializing in nursing management and administration. She said that the graduation day was a really memorable day for her, and added : “All that effort to juggle family, work, and education for 2 years really felt worth it when I walked on stage in front of all my family and friends, and received my diploma.” Vidya did her BSN (Bachelor of Nursing) from Devi Ahilya University of Indore, India, and after a 7 year gap, went back to school for her Masters. She stated that : “Getting back to Student mode was quite challenging in the beginning, and also the new format of graduate studies was also quite a task for me to tackle initially.” Congratulations Vidya! That is an impressive accomplishment.
Vidya is married to Dhanush Kondoth, Columbus’ resident music guru, and former COMA Executive Committee member. They have a daughter, Shivpriya, and they live in Dublin. Many of you would have seen Vidya perform on COMA event stages, as she is an accomplished Bharatanatyam performer.
Farewell from the 2015 team
We had a fun year, and the encouragement and kind words from you, the Malayalee people of Columbus, will not be forgotten in a long while. We set out with some targets in mind, and while we may not have been perfect, we are extremely satisfied with what we’ve achieved this year. We’d like to wish all of you a very happy new year. Goodbye!