Houston Kannada Vrinda Celebrates Karnataka

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Photos: Nik Nikam

By Shridhar Sannabhadti

HOUSTON: It was a part of a multi-course cultural celebration on a rainy Saturday October 24, afternoon at the Stafford Civic Center as over 300 Kannadigas congregated. The occasion, hosted by Houston Kannada Vrinda, was to celebrate the formation of the state of “Karnataka” on November 1, 1956 – something that was mentioned in the talent show by Samhita Kiran, a young girl that was quite enthusiastic, knowledgeable and very well versed with her culture. Karnataka is the state with its capital in Bengaluru, also known as the Silicon Valley of India.

The program started with an excellent meal from “Annam” – an indicator of how the event was going to turn out – filling, sumptuous, exhilarating. Starting with a talent show that had a variety of programs including the singing of patriotic Kannada songs by kids ranging from 5 years to 15 years. The children really showed some amazing talent with an excellent rendition of violin, guitar, Sanskrit shlokas as well as Kannada songs.

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This was followed by “Yakshagana”, a vibrant traditional folk dance from Karnataka that is taking prominence world-wide. Yakshagana stands for the song of the angels. It usually depicts a short story from the known Vedic scriptures and mythologies and is depicted on stage. The unbelievable performance by “Yaksha Manjusha” Mela was on the slaying of Narakasura, an evil demon, the son of Varaha and Bhumi, by Satyabhama, Vishnu’s consort. The story line had a lot of important concepts – how it was bad to associate with evil as well as the strength of women in destroying evil for the good of humanity. The way the Bhagavata (singer of the Yakshagana) sang and the performances by the various characters of the troupe especially Krishna and Satyabhama had the entire crowd spell-bound.

After a snack of “Ragda patties” and some refreshing coffee, there were some beautiful performances by very talented groups and artistes. The line-up included a wonderful dance that had a mixture of old and new Kannada songs by students of Rashmi Shashi, Bharatanatyam performances by students of Indrani Parthasarathy and Padmini Chary and a Kannada song danced using the “Kathak” dance form. With well-made props, wonderful orchestration and a superb performance by young kids, the narration of the start of the “Hoysala” empire enthralled the audience.  Traditional dance forms such as Thillana was also elegantly demonstrated by the kids. The final hallmark of the show was the “Fashion show”. A mixture of nostalgia and elegant Kannada couples dressed in fine wear from the various regions of Karnataka was a feast for the eyes and ears.

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There were also enough opportunities to shop at the venue, where there was an elegant set of saris to be purchased. Indiaproperty.com had quite a few visitors to their stall to understand more about purchase of property by reputed builders in various Indian metros.

All in all, the event did was it was supposed to – “Sirigannadam Gelge” – the richness of Kannada triumphed. Kudos to the organizers – Sharada Prasad, Pawan Mandewalkar, Anu, Monika, Bharat Raj, Deepak Lavi , participants and all that attended the event to make it a resounding success!!