On January 30th, the sky over Nashua was dark and plain on the evening hours as all the stars and the moon landed at the Thai Pongal Vizha 2016 grand inaugural event of Tamil Makkal Mandram, Inc., a 501(c) (3) organization.
The traditions of the Tamilnadu Pongal festival was echoing on the halls of Nashua High School North as the organization hosts this event to help support the Chennai Flood Victims.
Mullai Poo (scented flowers worn in the hair of ladies for its beauty and fragrance), Paneer and Kalkandu (sugar) invited everyone with fragrance and sweetness; Life size bullock Cart, Kolam (Rangoli), Pongal Man Panai (Vessel) and Karumbhu (sugarcane) gave the ambiance of a traditional Pongal day at village; Thoranam the traditional decorations at the ceiling adds color to the mood.
The five hundred plus audiences were captivated with the variety of performances on stage supported by state of the art light and sound effects. The local Tamil educational institutions were invited to sing Tamil Thai Vazhthu (Prayer) and both the Indian and American National Anthem. The cultural entertainment programs performed on colorful stage include Fancy Dress, dance (Bharthanatyam, Classical, Folk, Bharthiyar Song, adult group,Adult Duet, Ladies Duo), Instrumental Melodies, Tamil Kavithai (Poem recital), singing and mime. Trophies were presented to the younger participants.
Manudam Parai, a team of twenty two from Connecticut stunned the audience with the high pitched Parai Instrument music and kummi (a traditional dance) in the house/auditorium thus drawing a standing ovation.
Smt. Ranjani Saigal of Ekal Vidyalaya, Smt. Aparna Balaji of Abbyaas School of Music and Mr.Lakshmi Munugoor of Tamilnadu Foundation graced the occasion with their presence as Guest of Honors. TMM has honored them with a Plaque on their dedication to community service from being in Greater Boston area. TMM presented a charitable donation to the Tamilnadu foundation to support and aid the Chennai flood victims.
Casual and audience friendly compering, flawless coordination and execution within the backstage, participation, audio, video, and floor management teams presented the best audience experience.
The traditional sweet (Sweet Pongal) and Buffet Dinner along with Karaoke music was a feast to ears and mouth and eventually the heart. The Kids thronged the Cotton Candy station and enjoyed the freshly made cotton candies. As you walk out to the dining hall, the variety of shops and vendors surrounding the hallways reflected a Thiruvizha effect, which is a traditional gathering to celebrate back home.
As the event comes to a close and when you walk out to the parking lot to leave home, a heartfelt memory with a nostalgic experience floats in the air while you start to see the stars and the moon back in the sky.
Guest of Honor’s Experiences of our TMM Pongal Vizha :
Aparna Balaji: It was absolutely my pleasure to have witnessed the inaugural function of TMM. Very pleased to see the really high quality programs that you showcased, not only the quality was good, the variety was also equally good. It was a great effort from all performers.
I am extremely humbled to have shared the stage with my loving friends Ranjani Saigal and Lakshmi Munugoor. Deeply honored and really inspired by the work they do. By inviting me along with them, you have pulled me into doing as much work as they do, though they both are a very hard act to follow, I shall definitely give my best to serve this community.
I thoroughly enjoyed the snacks and dinner, the arrangements, decorations, all the interesting stalls, the way everything ran smoothly, having so many people take care of so many things. It was very well organized. Without the team effort this could not have been possible. Kudos to all the committee members and all the volunteers.
All in all, it was a wonderful experience. Am very happy I was able to attend the function.
Lakshmi Munugoor: Fresh, Friendly, Familial – The three words that describe the TMM “Thai Pongal” event.
Before I go on to describe my experience at the event, let me first thank the TMM team for giving me the wonderful opportunity to join the inaugural event. The special Pongal bonus for me was to be with the ever-energetic Ranjani Saigal and the enchanting Aparna Balaji. Kudos to both of them for their respective service to rural education and to classical art forms of India.
About the event – there was a perfect blend of authenticity and freshness in everything: the décor for the venue, the variety and quality of the programs, the thoroughness of arrangements, the stage, the festivities, the food, the technology, the audio-visuals, etc. Watching the spontaneity and flow of the event from start to end, it was very evident to see the discipline, thoughtfulness, extraordinary planning and tremendous hard-work that had gone into every aspect of the entire event.
About the hospitality – The unfailing smile from every member of the volunteer team, the friendly welcome, the familial atmosphere were all truly reflective of the heart and soul of TMM, and its committed team of volunteers.
I want to commend the entire team for dedicating the very first event for a charitable cause, making the donation to Tamil Nadu Foundation towards the Flood Relief work in Tamil Nadu.
My salutes to TMM and its mission. My best wishes to the team for continued success in bringing the community together for the great mission that you have undertaken.
When I was invited to be a guest of honor at this event, I was really touched and humbled. Tamil and community service has a very special place in my heart and to see a new organization that combined both of my interests was especially heartwarming. It was amazing that the first event itself was a fundraiser for a good cause.
Having been to many events, I can honestly say that event was one of the highest caliber. Most importantly, the team that organized it were very selfless and had such joy in making the event happen. That showed in every aspect of the event. The artists who performed were extremely talented. Each item was of the highest quality. By the time I reached it was in the later half of the program and yet the energy level was extremely high despite there already being nearly 3 hours of program completed.
To be with the amazing fellow honorees, Smt Aparna Balaji and Shri Lakshmi Munugoor was truly wonderful. I look forward to the next event from this group. I think this group is a truly wonderful addition to the community organization landscape in New England.