Dindigul I. Leoni’s Comedy Hour in Houston

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By Ponni Sivaraman

PEARLAND: As part of their efforts to raise funds to aid in the education of specialized and needy children of Secondary and Higher Secondary schools from the rural district of Thiruvarur, South India, a “Pattimandram “ or a “Debate in Tamil” was hosted by the Tamil Nadu Foundation’s (TNF) Houston chapter on Friday, January 23, at Sri Meenakshi Temple, Pearland, Texas.

Dr. Ram Sivaraman, President, TNF Houston Chapter presented TNF activities in detail and the need for raising funds to improve public schools in rural Tamil Nadu.  He highlighted about funding needs for the adopted rural schools in Thiruvarur District.  Earlier Bala J Balachandran, Vice-President / Treasurer, welcomed the audience who turned out in large numbers inspite of being a work day evening.

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Tupil Narasiman, Vice-President, Bharathi Kalai Mandram (BKM), Dr. P. Vaduganathan, Sri Meenakshi Temple (MTS) and Srikanth Venugopal, Secretary, MTS complimented the services of TNF Houston Chapter and also for being a co-sponsors for the event.  This is the first time in Houston that the three local organizations conducted a charity program jointly.  Dr. S.G. Appan, Advisory Board Member, TNF Houston Chapter, mentioned in brief about the 2012 National TNF Conference in Houston.  Sam Kannappan, Advisory Board Member and Honorary President MTS, TNF Houston Chapter, presented a “Ponnadai” and Plank to Leoni.

The event, with a panel of 6 members was chaired by Kalaimamani DindIgul I. Leoni, a teacher, a great orator and a comedy debates judge. The panel participants were: Natarajan, Govindan, Arul, Srividya, Andrew and Nandhu.  Leoni worked as a science teacher in Saint Mary’s higher secondary school in Dindigul for many years before he quit his job to become a full time Pattimandram judge.  He is famous for his humor and for the simple messages he conveys in his Pattimandrams which enlighten the masses. Leoni was given the ‘Kalaimamani” award by the Government of Tamil Nadu for excellence in the field of arts and Literature.  He currently conducts “Nalla Pesunga Nallathaiyae Pesunga” (Speak well and speak about good) a regular pattimanram show on Kalaingar TV.

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The event in Houston drew a house full crowd, even on a cold and rainy night. Leoni had the audience spellbound and kept them roaring with laughter continuously for about three hours. Needless to say, the event was very entertaining and a huge success.  Govindan Somakanthan, Committee Chair, TNF Houston Chapter coordinated in bringing the chief guest to Canada and the US.  Huge Thanks to Bharathi Kalai Mandram, Houston and Sri Meenakshi Temple, Pearland Texas, who co-sponsored the program and made it a huge success.  Raj N Thiagarajan, Secretary, delivered the vote of thanks to those who attended, supported, volunteered and specifically the donors who graciously donated for a noble cause.