COMA Newsletter July 2019

Active COMA has been talk of the town.Our Community is very active in various fronts and Active COMA a became platform where a lot of coordinated activities are happening around us.In this months edition we are taking a peek at various activities where our fellow “Malayalees” has been actively participating.

Walking Club – Groups from different parts of Columbus have been coordinating routine walks in mornings and evenings.We have an average group size of 25 in Dublin,Lewis Center and Powell. For those who are not motivated to get yourself started on a fitness routine this  is your chance to add some steps to your fitness tracker.

There is nothing more than a refreshing and rejoicing experience to walk under morning sun.

Biking Club – Pelotonia is just finished and there were few riders who are quite motivated to up their distance with competitiveness and enthusiasm.You will be quite surprised to find out we have riders from all age groups

who are spinning their wheels any where between 10 to 60 miles on a regular basis. What more can you ask from the folks who are driving up spirit and inspiring others from the community to come out with bikes and join the fun.It is more than a workout routine but to ride together as a group and share the road.

COMA Sports League – by Arun Chand

We’ve kick-started various Sports Leagues in July as part of the Active COMA campaign. We received tremendous response to this initiative from the Malayalee community and a lot of people have shown keen interest and are vigorously participating in the leagues. We sent out a registration form to all our patrons requesting their interest in different sports and found out that most people were favoring Cricket, Soccer and Tennis. We initiated the process by compiling a list of interested people for each sport, picking captains and then working with them to form the teams, rules, format of the game and other logistics.

Cricket was the first league to get going. We got a roster of around 60+ interested players and teams were selected by captains through an IPL(Indian Premier League) – style auction which made sure that we have four equally strong teams.

Empurans & CSK

The teams – Columbus Super Kings, Empuraans, Kolamass and Thakarppans are currently battling out for the prestigious COMA Cricket Cup title. All four teams play each other twice (home and away) for a total of 6 matches each in the league phase. After the league round is completed, based on the points and NRR(net run rate), the top two teams will play in the finals.

Thakarpans & Kolamass

We had a number of exciting matches which went down to the wire and the passion and spirit our players showed on the field is stupendous!

Many people regularly come to watch these games, support their teams and share the thrill and excitement along with the players. Live streaming for the matches are available on the COMA Facebook page which also got a fair share of audience. We are now past half way through the Cricket league and all four teams are still in the running for the top two spots – which shows how close and thrilling the matches have been so far!You can follow the COMA Cricket Cup here (for scores, results and points table): https://www.cricclubs.com/comacup

Tennis tournament has also started and 8 doubles teams are now playing their league matches in two groups. Top two teams from each group will play the semi-finals, followed by the final.

We are now ready to start the Soccer League – four teams; Columbus Blasters, Little Soccer, New Albany Bulls and SM Columbus; have already been formed and they have started practicing under the leadership of their captains and mentors.

New Albany Bulls

Soccer has a roster size of 75+ players and it will be played on a regular field with 11 players on each side. Each team will play each other in the league stage and the top two teams will play the finals.

Little Soccer

By conducting these leagues, we aim to improve the closeness within the community, help people connect with same interests and make new friends as well as grow the COMA family by bringing people together. We are so excited to see that it is happening and are hoping to continue to get the full support from everyone for these events.

Columbus Blasters
SM Columbus

Some of the responses from the sports league participants:

 “Thank  you very much for conducting these tournaments. We have met a lot of new people and made many new friends!”

 “Its so wonderful to see the enthusiasm and passion among the players. Never knew there were these many good players in the Malayalee community”

“It feels great to play the sport again which I had stopped playing years ago.”

Reflections or Ramblings? by Hari Narayanaswamy

(“Will you please write something for our newsletter?”

“Sure. Any specific topic?”

“No. Anything you would like to”

Well, blank checks ad open tabs are always dangerous. And now these reflections or ramblings are making their way to you. Enjoy!)

Last month was very exciting to say the least. What better things could happen in a month! Temperatures were moderate like a Mediterranean city. 5k runs and walks were plenty. I, personally had been to at least half a dozen grad parties to wish the beaming graduate. Plenty of opportunities to share happiness with friends and their families (though I did hurt my back moving my own daughter’s stuff out of her apartment, which I will overlook for now). Everyone appeared to be on the move to wherever hopes, dreams, plans, efforts and fate led.

But then that voice inside doesn’t exactly keep quiet. And all this activity begged me of this age old question – What exactly do we want from life? How do we get it? We all know we want to feel contended, accomplished and happy. But what magic formula makes it work?

One of my favorite pastime is to wander through the literary world (while I am not watching the World Cup cricket).Here is what I found.

There is an interesting exchange in Mahabharata between the eldest Pandava brother Yudhishtira and an Yaksha on this topic.

The context of the story is that the five Pandava brothers were wandering through the forest and one time got stuck not finding potable water to drink. They rested and sent one of the brothers, Bhima, to go look for water.He found a pond but it was guarded by an Yaksha. When Bhima defied the Yaksha and drank water from it, he fell down unconscious. Same fate repeated with three more of the brothers.Finally Yudhishtira himself made his way there and engaged the Yaksha on what he wanted. Yaksha‘s demand was simple, answer all my questions correctly and you can have the water and your brothers back. This exchange of dialog between the Yaksha and Yudhishtira that ensued is known in Mahabharata as the Yaksha Prasna.

One of the things the Yaksha wanted to know was, what is the greatest wonder in the world. Yudhishtira’s response was, humans are the greatest wonder in this world because though they see death happening around them all the time, they go about making decisions and acting in such a way that they seem to be expecting to be living here forever! This may be a bit of overstatement as none of us are generally naive enough to assume eternal life and neither do we go about in our everyday life thinking of our eventual departure from this world. Same time, an occasional reminder of this truth may help us in dealing with some of life’s unnecessary stresses.

Another question from the Yaksha was,

what should we be doing to make the best of our time here?

Below is a gist of the things Yudhisthira lists in answer to this: (If any of you are Sanskrit purists, please excuse my translation and extrapolation)

  1. Be the most skillful and best in whatever we choose to do
  2. Do charity and share with others
  3. Be true to oneself
  4. Make all of the above a habit that they become an integral part of one’s nature itself
  5. Be pleasing with one’s words and be likable 
  6. Create lasting success through thoughtful and diligent action
  7. Find the happiness in genuine friendships and have many friends
  8. Be a role model for ethical living

In Yudhishtira’s opinion, if one can apply the above to a life where health, wealth, security and relationships are not a matter of concern, then it will be a pleasant summer all through the life!                    

Hope these thoughts resonate with you. Make sure to say Hi and something nice the next time we meet in person!!

The Power of a Hackathon! by Ashwin Nair

When I was twelve, a huge wave of mobile applications hit the market, and I was one
of the millions that got swept away. That initiated my desire to create some applications of my own. I knew it would take lots of hard work, but my goal was to create a product with my own imagination that would meet all of my ideals.

In pursuit of my goals I developed my programming skills through after school activities like computer club and attending external training programs. I was fortunate to get exposure to application development, so I started participating in Hackathons; a competition where several teams create a software product (or a prototype) based on specific themes. Exploring thoughts and ideas for such projects accentuates creativity from an individual, providing practical experiences in this field. Hackathons are events where multiple teams solve a given problem by creating mobile applications (app), websites, or prototypes in a designated amount of time. The best apps that are developed around the theme and provide a viable solution are rewarded. Not only do hackathons foster creativity but they also help build around life skills like leadership, communication, and teamwork.

From my first event at the 2016 JPMorgan Chase Youth hackathon

focused on the wellbeing of cancer patients to the 2017 High School I/O hackathon conducted by The Ohio State University where my team was awarded “The Most Creative Team”, every event brought upon new challenges as well as improving my programming skills.

Last spring my team and I developed an app for water conservation at the CBUS Hackathon. This application was developed to notify users when to water their plants after calculating moisture level of the soil. Our entire project took three months where everyone were assigned parts such as application design, programming, hardware integration, and project management. Eventually, We were honored to be placed 2nd in the competition among some of the best teams in Columbus. My experience of being included as a member of every team was phenomenal. Each one of us were like important components of a CPU, working together to make the computer function. Some of the most successful companies in recent times have grown out of hackathons. Few years ago, when the idea of a group message was a nightmare, GroupMe came along and Gizmodo called it a “life changer.”

The app, now basically a household name, began as an idea at TechCrunch Disrupt 2010,

from the minds of Jared Hecht and Steve Martocci. There are many successful outcomes from hackathons in the pharmaceutical industry: UCB initiated the “Hack Epilepsy” that brought together developers, designers and digital experts, along with healthcare providers and patients to imagine new ways of applying digital technologies that can make a real difference for the epilepsy community.

If you are passionate about technology & innovation, I would encourage you to explore hackathons. You never know, your crazy ideas may turn into reality and could be a potential industry disruptor! You may try the following opportunities in and around Columbus.

https://cbusstudenthack.org
https://hack.osu.edu
https://givebackhack.com
https://www.acsl.org

If I could be on any assistance or in case you need any additional information about hackathons, please feel free to reach out at ashwinnair2@gmail.com.

Malayalam Class

We are very delighted to announce that COMA Malayalam class will resume on Sunday, 08/18/2019. Based on interests received, this year we will have a new class for adults as well. If you have not registered for yourself or your child(5 and above),  please register by sending an email to coma.officials@gmail.com. The venue is the same as last year: Lazelle Woods Community Center (8140 Sancus Blvd, Columbus, OH 43215. Classes will be from 11:00 AM to noon every Sunday except holiday weekends. Any changes to the schedule will be informed in advance so that you can plan accordingly.The fee for the entire year is $120.00. Please note that COMA membership is a requirement to join the class. You can pay the fees and membership dues by sending Chase Quickpay/Zelle to coma.officials@gmail.com

Also as this is a completely volunteer driven initiative and we are always in need of volunteers. Please email us and let us know if you are interested and available.
Note: COMA Membership runs from January to December and Malayalam class runs from August to May. So you if you are purchasing the membership now, you will have to purchase one next January as well. 

2019 EC & Malayalam class team  – Looking forward to have another wonderful year,

Giving back to Kerala – COMA initiative giving back to the community

“ I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” – Maya Angelou.

We are sure that every one of us has our own way of giving, whether it is to our community, our choice of charity or simply to whoever is in need. Knowing that, we want to call your attention to this new initiative by COMA – Giving back to Kerala. This initiative is to identify causes back in Kerala and support them in two ways: 

  1. Sustaining Support:The idea is that each of us will donate an amount($1 or above) of your choice on a monthly basis.This money will then be donated to the charity or cause as mentioned above, on a set cadence ( quarterly, twice a year or annually). 
  2. One time Support: The idea is to conduct fundraising events to collect funds and provide something tangible for a chosen cause.

We don’t think any of you need any convincing on why we should give what we can and as often as we can. The hesitation, usually comes about regarding the fund allocation. The common perception and sometimes rightly so, is that some charity organizations do not ensure that the funds are utilized in the right way. There is always the concern whether the money or resources reach the people who really need it or does it get lost in the middle. COMA EC and Trustees will see to it that the right monitoring is enforced to ensure that the money is utilized properly and will make sure that there is a tangible measure for dispersing the funds. 

Every religion and every book of God tells us to do the same, help those in need, be kind to the less fortunate and give whatever we can. The people who have made a difference in the world also tells us to do the same. This is one action where there is no scale, anything and everything counts. 

Please see the details of the causes that have been chosen for this year: 

  • Sustaining need
    • Entity: Gandhi Bhavan Saranalayam
    • Location: Kareepra, Kollam
    • More than a hundred elderly men and women are rehabilitated here with proper protection, medical care, physical and psychological care facilities.
  • One-time need
    • Entity: Sree Chitra Home
    • Location: Trivandrum, Kerala
    • Provides education, full care, accommodation and medical care for 250 destitute and unsupported children.
    • Currently, need financial support to build a facility to host bystanders of Regional Cancer Center patients who need financial assistance

How do I make payments: 

  • Sustaining support:
    • Schedule payment via Chase Quickpay to coma.officials@gmail.com and schedule a cadence. This is the preferred method as we don’t lose money in commissions
    • Schedule payment via Paypal coma.officials@gmail.com and schedule a cadence 
    • To make this process easier and efficient, we are working to get more payment methods like Gpay and will update you soon. 
  • One time support:
    • Send one time payment via Chase Quickpay to coma.officials@gmail.com. Write COMA Charity on the notes.
    • Send one time payment via Paypal
    • Pay with a check payable to COMA – write COMA Charity Support on the memo field
    • Purchase tickets and participate in the fund raising activities

Please remember that together,  we can make some real meaningful differences in people’s lives. 

“ We can do no great things, only small things with great love “ – Mother Teresa

COMA Charity Team