Sunday, August 31 2014
Thanks to dedicated work from organizers and volunteers, North American Sourashtra Convention was well attended and everyone enjoyed the events, food and the company!
Here is a quick run through the events that took place during that day! People started arriving at the school at about 8:30 AM. All attendees had family photos taken by our photography volunteers and were welcomed inside by few youngsters (just like horat back home) with sirkan, kalkandu and rosewater. All guests then went to the registration desks and got their name tags, souvenir book & goodie bag
1. First event of the day was a short Sourashtra prayer song(sung beautifully by adults and kids), and lighting of lamp by couple of our mhottans, followed by a welcome speech by Ragu Tirukonda
2. Family introduction promptly started, but we could not complete more than 50 families (out of 129) due to lack of time.
3. A discussion panel of few Sourashtra families, on the topic of "What did I do right?" at 10:30 AM. Panel consisted of Ramesh & Shanthi Kandallu, Ramesh & Shakila Timmakondu, Madavan & Ramila Makayee, Rani & Madan Appiah, Bhuvanesh & Urmila Kobla. After a brief speech by each family, panel faced questions from the audience
4. Homemakers starting a new career after kids start school, was the next topic of discussion. Jeya Ananthu, Rani Appiah, Santhi Ramesh, Indhu Manicka, Vyjyanthi Bathey, Sharmila Thirukonda, and Aarthi Kochi shared their experience in starting a new career and/or business.
5. After a little q&a, we adjourned for lunch at 12:15 (15 minutes delayed than planned, but this par for the course at any Indian function). Lunch was catered in the school cafeteria from a local Indian restuarant. Hemnath Kunthu and Saravanan Rajaram Maya were the lead coordinators with a dozen volunteers helping them to get and arrange the food in the school cafeteria. It was a sumptious lunch with both vegetarian and chicken items on the menu with Biryani, Naan and White rice. Gulab Jamun was the sweet served with lunch.
6. After lunch we reconvened back at 1:30 PM in the auditorium. First up was a presentation by Sudarsan Vaithu about Palkar Helpline, our charity organization, that has been helping thousands of Sourashtra kids for free lunch, school uniforms and books. They also have several other projects going on right now.
7. One of the most interesting programs of the convention is the young adults discussion group, was at 2 PM. High school freshman - 25 years old young adults who attended the conference had a meet and greet starting at 10:30 in the morning upto this presentation. They discussed on some chosen topics and also conducted polls on some questions chosen by themselves. Results were presented by Karthika Appiah, Shabdesh Chinnakonda and Ashomathi Mollin. This program was moderated by Suparna Tirukonda. After the presentation, questions flowed from the audience to the young adults.
8. Fun activies started at 3:00 pm, with Sourashtra Quiz Program (Howdan Seraya Vathaan) by Sharmila Thirukonda and Shalini Sottallu, Similar Sounding Sourashtra words bu Subodh Monica, Thumi Konka hindo dekhas? and Dumb Charade-Sourashtra edition by Ravi Rajaram
9. At 4.30 we adjourned for evening snack and tea.
10. At 6:00 reconvened back at the auditorium for the evening session. First was a update on Sourashtra Educational Institutions by KSD Sivaprasad.
11. MADURAI TIFFIN HOUSE - A Sourashta drama directed by Satish Chandu, with Hemnath Kunthu, Siva Sottalu, Geetha Kumar, Shyam Kumar Obla, Ravichandran Raghavan, Ravi Rajaram playing main characters, and a handful of people appearing in cameo roles was the hit of the evening
12. Drama was followed by a variety of entertainment, Group dance by VA/MA area kids, Song by TMS's grandson, Harmonica by Vishvesh Obla, followed by a energetic dance by Karthika Appiah.
13. Vote of thanks was given by Subodh Manicka.
14. After programs, we headed back to dinner at the cafeteria, with phalar, pongal,vada, sambar, chutney, poori, channa and carrot halwa. Many volunteers stayed behind and helped the organizers to clean all the food left and return the cafeteria and auditorium cleaned
15. Good byes, hugs and "Ami jeeli aves", "Thunko dhegattemam jhukku sonthosh", "Adutha conventionum dhekkange", "Thumi avre gammuk avo" were heard from everyone.
Tentative plans for the next convention were made for 2017 in the West Coast or Michigan, details will be coming soon.
Overall it was a very successfull event, thanks to organizers and volunteers.
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