Monday, April 21, 2008

Vishu and Bihu celebrations 2008

Murali kept asking me to post something as a guest blogger and so here I am, blogging about our regional cultural experiences here in the Bay Area!

In a fit to reconnect with our roots, I decided to become a member of the Malayalee Association of Northern California as well as the Bay Area Assamese Community. I joined the groups in April and this was perfect timing as we were able to attend the New Year celebrations!! (Note for our non Indian readers: Different parts of India celebrate New Year's following the harvesting season, around the 14th and 15th of April).

So, first up, was the Malayalee New Year celebration - Vishu. As I was getting more and more excited about finally getting a chance to wear my Mallu saree, Murali was getting into weekend inertia and debating the need to get up and spoil a perfectly jobless weekend attending a social event. I kept bringing up the "free snacks" piece and eventually came up with another brilliant strategy of getting Frank (our Malayalee friend) involved in the whole deal. The idea was that the two Malayalee's can give each other moral support, while this Assamese girl enjoys the event :)! It worked! The cultural program was complete with Thiruvathirakali, Mohiniattam and Kathakali performances. The pictures below will show the highlights, including a picture Murali sleeping through the event!

The bummer was - most of the free snacks that I kept talking about was all gone before the boys could make their way to the snacks station. We nevertheless managed to get some deep fried banana and a couple other deep fried items :)!

Murali then came up with a very sincere plan of visiting the Livermore temple. This is one of the bigger temples in the Bay Area. I was kicked by the idea, especially with the thoughts of getting some free food in the temple (am I not sounding like a poor girl who rarely gets to eat good food? Well, people who love free food will know exactly what I am talking about). So, we dropped Frank off (he had other free food plans cooked up through his family connections) and drove some 40 mins to Livermore. After visiting the Gods, I pushed Murali to what I thought was the kitchen area. As soon as we entered, we were seated and served about 15 different side dishes with mouth watering sambar, rasam, potato sabji and payasam!!! It was definitely a Saturday well spent!

Vishu Celebration

Next up, was the Bihu celebration the following Sunday. This one was an easy one - just as Murali was getting started with the regular complaints of spending yet another weekend in another social event, I played the cultural balance card - the need to participate in my cultural events, as much as I participate in his (though his reasons had nothing to do with it and more to do with his love for the couch and CNN + other news channels)! The function was held at a restaurant that was reserved for the event. It was a nice space (though much smaller than ICC) and the food was alright. The highlights definitely were the Bihu dances including a Husori ( a form of dance where village elders move from house to house singing Bihu songs and blessing each household). Murali did not fall asleep this time. I also met many new families and hope that we will receive some dinner invites soon!! The pictures will tell the rest of the tale.

Bihu 2008
So this is all the news from the Bay Area. I promise to keep the readers posted with more cultural news and more stories of my successes dragging Murali out from his beloved couch on perfectly sunny outdoor-sy weekends!

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