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Suggida Koota – A Bonding Celebration By New England Tulu Koota

Kavita Shetty

 Yenkulu mast bandhulen thikya
Alpa kelavere patheryer
Kelavere thamashe malther
Kelavere padha pander
Kelavere nalither
Yenklege gammath aande

On a rainy March evening, a small group got together to talk, laugh and be entertained just as a family gathers during dusk in their very own “Illadha Chaavadi”.  The evening was a delightful one planned by a creative committee headed by Sudhakara Rao who was ably supported by committee members Puja Shetty, Frederick Fernandes, Prabhakara Bhat, Vivek Hegde, Bhaskar Sherigar, Aneesh Puttur, Raghu Kinnigoly and Suraj Shetty. This had been the first indoor celebration of the fledgling association, MAST – New Engalnd Tulu Koota.

The event was inaugurated by a deepa lighting ceremony by Sudhakara Rao and Narayana Rao followed by some inspiring words by Frederick.  President Sudhakara Rao addressed the Koota with some thoughts on how the group started and how he hoped the group should gather every year for future events.  Raghavendra Kudrethaya gave a unique discourse in pure Tulu and enlightened us on Katil dha appe and Dharmasthala tha Ammere.  Bhavana Jain was the Master of Ceremonies for the evening, joined by Frederick and Sathish Movar who kept the audience breaking into guffaws with their wisecracks about Rampanna and Sompanna.

An invocational prayer, “Aane Monedha Swamiye”, by Shalini Shetty gave a good start to the variety of entertainment items that followed.  Her melodious voice reminded us of childhood summer days in Mangalore when we woke up to devotional songs in the morning to start a new day.  She was accompanied by Rajesh Pai on the Tabla.  Frederick welcomed all the guests with his “Konkanyere, brahmanere, porbhule, bhattere: Tulu Bhashene Marepara Balli”.  “Thedil Barsa de bathhinakelege edde malper devere”.  This was followed by a series of performances:

·         Drithi Prasanna sang a beautiful song calling out “Krishna Baro Ranga Baro”.  She was very convincing in appeasing Lord Krishna himself with her endearing voice.

·         The next item was a dance to the popular beat “Party Tho Banti Hai” choreographed by Sneha Shetty, presented by Ahaan Shetty, Ayaan Hegde, Rihaan Shetty, Trisha Shetty, Aanya Shetty, Niyati Shetty, Akash Shetty, Arjun Hegde and Sneha Shetty.  The song was a fast beat and the children did an awesome job to take the evening to the next level – a well done performance indeed.

·         Aryan Puttur played “clocks” by Coldplay on the saxophone and his sister Aadhya played the Michael Jackson Thriller on the violin.

·         Sucharitha Hegde, our very own New England nightingale, brought in a little romance to the evening with a song from Tulu Naadu, “Mokyedha Singari Unthedhe Vayyari”.

·         Aneesh Puttur’s choreography brought out the spunk in another group of boys with a dance by Aryan Puttur, Aadhya Puttur, Rithvik Kinnigoly, Rishi Kinnigoly, Abishek Sherigar and Aniketh Sherigar.

·         The Hindi song, “Prathama na man” based on Raag Bhupali by Nikita Kuve mesmerized us all.  It was followed by a song by Rishi accompanied by his father Raghu Kinnigoly on the tabla.

·         Raghavendra Kudrethaya gave a talk on “Tulu Swarasya”.  His talk highlighted events that took place in Dakshina Kannada during the good old days.

·         Ritu Somayaji delighted us with her Bharatnatyam performance - a very graceful portrayal of “Shankara Shiva Gangadhara, Gowri Vadhana, Hasya Vadhna Madhana”. 

·         Just when we felt there was a lull and the audience thought, “what’s taking so long for the next event?” came the surprise with Vivek Hegde and Sudhir Prabhu singing “Banigondhu  elle ellidhe” the very lilting song of the movie, “Premadha Kaanike”, a happy tune that graced the radios at home during our childhood days, the song  that always brought us out of a reverie and promoted us into an idealistic world.

·         Our teenagers were ready then to present a beautiful dance; the medley from Dhol Masti that our famous Aishwariya Rai would have been proud of. Yes, the performance was a Bollywood dance sequence performed by Esha Shetty, Neha Chandra and Sneha Shetty. Their performance went encore!! These girls were amazing and exhibited pure perfection.

·         Last but not the least was a beautiful folk lore – celebrating Suggida Parba.  This dance was a “Denana Denana”, to a popular tulu song by Kalpana Shetty, Sapna Shetty, Puja Shetty, Sowmya Aneesh, Shalini Shetty, Rashmi Kinnigoly, Ranjita Hegde and Shaila Sherigar.

Our MC Bhavana did a great job throughout the evening, putting quite a few anecdotes in Tulu and Kannada connecting the events and piecing them together and kept the audience glued to the stage.

The audience was now beginning to get hungry. However, Sudhakara Rao had other plans - he wanted more laughs and decided that everybody go up on stage and give a rib-tickling comical introduction of themselves. We had some very entertaining introductions of families, some who were ready to be the next Toast Masters and some who were just up on the stage having a good laugh themselves.  Suraj’s impromptu Tulu introduction was comical enough to be chosen as the best one among the funnies.  Bhaskar Sherigar thanked one and all for the efforts put together by the team, participants and the audience, to make the evening a great success.

Another highlight of the evening was food - a culmination of several Mangalorean delicacies!!. Our sincere thanks to the many volunteers who helped warm up the food and lend a helping hand serving food to the guests. The evening had begun with an array of snacks prepared by some enthusiastic volunteers. There were several snack contributions; Mangalore buns by Sudhakara and Usha Rao, sajjige bajil by Vivek and Ranjita Hegde, sweet potato podi by Prabhakara and Vijaya Bhat.

The evening concluded with a tasty dinner with contributions from families including catered food. The main course contributions were mutton curry and manoli batani by Ashwin and Puja Shetty, chicken sukka by Krishna Prasad and Shalini Shetty. Idli-Sambar and chutney was provided by Raghavendra Kudrethaya and Amiitra, sambar by Narayana and Shyamala Rao, pundi chutney and majjige by Sudhakara and Usha Rao.  There were naans and vegetarian curries, vegetable pulao and raita catered from a restaurant.  Sudhakara and Usha Rao brought in nendrabalae halwa and Ramesh and Sucharitha Hegde brought in pineapple sheera for dessert. Cracked wheat halwa was provided by Suraj and Kavita Shetty.

The evening was indeed a well-planned event by a very motivated group of committee members who each had a role in coordinating the events. The entertainment activities were very well planned by Puja Shetty who did take special efforts with her own sweet persuasive way in bringing out the best in every family.  Thanks to Aneesh Puttur for his awesome photography and the excellent video coverage of each event by Ashwin Shetty. Bhaskar Sherigar had been very meticulous in paying meticulous attention to every detail of the event.

Hats off to the committee members for making the first Tulu Koota Cultural Evening a big success.

Tulu is one of the five Dravidian languages that is widely spoken in the coastal Karnataka regions of Mangalore and Udupi. Tulu people are big in Banking and Hotel industry and recently in Bollywood as well. MAST is an association to bring all Tulu loving people together in the New England Area.

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