NABC 2014: Prelude National Bengali Conference 2015 in Houston

                                                                     Photos: Srijeet Chaudhuri

Photos: Srijeet Chaudhuri

By Sanchali Basu

HOUSTON: If NABC (North American Bengali Conference) 2014 was a snapshot of things to look forward to in 2015, we are in for a big treat in Houston in 2015. Orlndo, Florida held the NABC 2014 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel with great gusto and enthusiasm from July 4-6. Bengalis from all over the world assembled in large numbers to celebrate the annual Bengali conference which has made it through 34 years successfully.

The evening of July 4 started with the opening ceremony organized by renowned Bharatnatyam exponent Thanakamani Kutty from Kolkata. As registrants still tried to check into their hotel rooms and collect their registration badges, vendors ranging from jewelry, saris, clothing, books, music, DVDs, real estate, banks, TV stations, handicrafts etc. were setting up their stalls in anticipation. On the main stage Kanchan Mullick rocked the stage with his stand up comedy act. Bangla band Chandrabindoo  who incidentally will be performing in Houston at the TSH program Barnali at Durgabari on July 18 ended the day’s proceedings.

The conference packed with business forums, movie screenings, university reunions, youth programs, dramas, music and dance programs had something to cater to every taste and Bengalis were excited to reconnect with old friends and acquaintances. The second day had artists from India, UK and the US performing on 2 different stages and went on into the early hours of the morning with classical music programs and dramas.

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The Govt. of West Bengal was represented by principal secretary, Rajiva Sinha, IAS and handicrafts by Bengal artisans were showcased in the Biswa Bangla booth. NABC 2015 Houston’s booth had opened in the meantime and was drawing large crowds with its display of the theme song, marketing video and cleverly arranged Karaoke singing. With ambitious, lofty plans of staging and setting the NABC 2015 apart from yesteryears, with its trailblazing ideas, Houston definitely wants to create an impact and make it a hard act to follow. In keeping with the theme of NABC 2015, “Celebrate our heritage and embrace the change”, the goals are set to be accomplished by working with various different organizations to highlight the grandeur, artists, crafts, culture and folklore of Bengal and also help with education, business entrepreneurship and rehabilitation of the Bauls (singing minstrels) of Bengal. In association with the Tagore Society of Houston (TSH), NABC 2015 expects to raise funds to give back to the local and Bengal community. With a strong supportive WB Govt., a Baul village can be set up in the Birbhum district of WB and the Tagore Center for visual and performing arts can be built in the museum district of Houston.

The last day of the conference was bittersweet with things wrapping up, leaving an emptiness in the heart and at the same time an immense anticipation for the next one. The baton was handed over to the Houston group. Sadhana Sargam, Bappi Lahiri and KK kept the audience going till way past midnight. Houston’s registration booth succeeded in getting a lot of attendees registered for NABC 2015. The website is now officially open to register online at  www.nabc2015.org and Hilton of the Americas hotel rooms (connected to the convention center) can be reserved at a discounted rate after registration, while they last. Time is of the essence now. Let’s make NABC 2015 a resounding success in our beloved space city Houston from July 10-12 at the Houston George Brown Convention Center.

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