Kannada Rajyotsava & Deepavali 2021 Celebrations – Nov.13th

Weeks of preparation & meticulous planning by the Volunteers and eager anticipation from others culminated into a great evening at the Bollywood restaurant in Pudong, where the Shanghai Kannadigaru group met & celebrated the Kannada Rajyotsava and Deepavali for the Year 2021. On Friday evening, the day before the main event, the volunteers met for the venue decorations& final preparations, enthusiastically joined by the various cultural program participants. An atmosphere of Kannada celebration had been well created; all were now eagerly looking forward to the main event on Saturday.

Stage was all set on Nov.13th, volunteers started decorations in the morning, folks started coming in soon after lunch time. Mahesh did a phenomenal job of capturing videos of guests wishing everyone a very happy Kannada Rajyotsava and Deepavali from Shanghai Kannadigaru & posting it on the group, nudging the anticipation even further. Soon after 4pm, a sizeable crowd had gathered, and the room was completely abuzz with folks excitedly  greeting each other, knowing the whereabouts, etc. Soon, the Onion Bhajji made its way with Garam Chai. Given the relatively cold weather outside, everyone enjoyed the delightful snack very much.

At around 5pm, the Consulate General of India, Dr.Nandakumar arrived with his family. They were heartily welcomed by Shanghai Kannadigaru family with high respect, traditional Sandalwood smearing on the forehead, the excited kids handed out flowers. Soon after, everyone was requested to take their seats and get entertained. Sadashiva, the veteran host took charge of the stage with his co-host, Nagarathna, who went on to have a fantastic debut. Videos of highly respected Kannadigas,  Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar and Mr. Murugesh Nirani (Minister of Large and Medium Industries of Karnataka) were played, who praised the Shanghai Kannadigaru group on doing a commendable job in promoting the Kannada language & culture. A nice compilation of video soon followed, funny spin on how the Shanghai Kannadigaru folks felt lonely amidst the troubled covid times, far away from home, missing their loved ones. 

Anantha Sharma was entrusted to deliver a welcome note. He spoke how everyone worked hard to form this wonderful group in Shanghai. He welcomed all the arrived guests and ended with a delightful self-composed poem praising the Kannada Naadu. After the welcome note, Shwetha was invited on stage to call on the divine to grace the occasion, singing a melodious rendition of the “Sharanu Ninage Sharanu Vinaayaka” song. Dr.Nandakumar and family were requested to come on the stage, along with Kala, Aravind and Achuth to light the lamps, signaling an official start to the day’s cultural events.

Dr.Nandakumar and his family were felicitated by Anantha Sharma and Nandita Prabhu. Dr.Nandakumar was then requested to speak a few words, it was a fantastic speech once again by the CG; He wished everyone a very happy Deepavali festival and Kannada Rajyotsava, brought up a brief history of the formation of Karnataka and praised a lot on the achievements done by the people of this wonderful state. He ended his speech citing stories of two spirited personalities from Karnataka who recently had been awarded the prestigious Padma Shri awards; Tulsi Gowda, a forest protectionist, fondly called “Encyclopedia of forest” for her immense knowledge on forest herbs, served her life in tribal areas, planting around 30000 saplings, taking care of forest department,. Another story of Manjamma Jogathi, a theatre actress, singer, and dancer of Jogathi Nritya, a folk-dance form of North Karnataka, awarded Padma Shri for her contribution to the field of folk arts. 

After the speech, Vanshika came on the stage to delight the audience with her expressive dancing to the “Shri Mahalakshmi” song, a very good start to the day’s cultural parade. Little Vidhu came on next to sing “Bhaava geethe” in great spirit. Although tears started rolling down his cheek midway during the performance probably out of fear, it was impressive how he never lost composure till the end and delivered very well. Next up was the impressive dance from the four little angels Pranavi, Aishani, Vanshika and Ishika, performing to the tunes of “Ammana Madilali” and “Baarisu kannada dimdimava”. They did fantastic job and it truly ignited the spirits of the audience, who acknowledged with resounding claps. Bharathi and her daughter Deepthi teamed up next to sing a soulful rendition of “Shaaradeye” by Vijayadasa, they took us all to the magical “Keerthana Loka”. It was particularly special as it was Vijayadasa’s Jayanthi today. In between the performances, Sadashiva and Nagarathna continued to engage the audience with their humor and gather support for the participants. Next, it was a family dance by Saariga and her kids Shravya and Shiviya. They danced to the tunes of “San sananana re” in great tempo, captivating the audience completely. Gayathri was invited on the stage to recite some fantastic verses (“Vachanas”) from the legendary poet & social activist Basavanna, it took the audience back into memory lanes and get intellectually stimulated. Sadashiva himself came to perform next, along with Prajwal, they enacted a “Kelu Krishna” song depicting one of the episodes in Mahabhaaratha from the movie “Rama Rama re”. It was quite humorous & they managed to entertain the audience very well. Sadashiva stepped up again to mono-act the legendary scene from Dr.Rajkumar’s “Babhruvahana” movie, he did a great job, folks from audience pitched in whenever required, it was a fantastic act. New members in the Shanghai Kannadigaru family  were requested to come up on stage and introduce themselves; Sharan, Swati, Karthik, Dr Aniruddha, Dr.Sharan, Ruthwik, Nandita, Deepa Jison, Williams came up and gave quick intro, it was good to know them more. Next, master Rahul came to perform on the Keyboard, he played tunes of popular Kannada songs very well, audience appreciated his talent very much. There was a group song after this, led by Bharathi, who sang multiple songs “Hacchevu Kannadada Deepa”,“Deepavali Deepavali”, “Kalladhare Naanu”, “Karunaada Thayi” and “Baarisu kannada dimdimava”. It was scintillating performance and audience joined in chorus especially for the final “Baarisu kannada dimdimava”, lighting up the Kannada mood to the highest level. A bunch of videos from the make your video competition were played; Pranavi enacted Kittur Rani Chennamma, Aishani talked about Rani Abbakka Devi of Ullal, and Vidhu explained how to make a special Chaat (snacks). There was an awards ceremony for the kids who had participated in the make your video competition and cultural events. Mohini was next requested to come on the stage to deliver a “Note of thanks”. She appreciated the great support from her fellow volunteers, who were phenomenal in organizing this fantastic event. She also thanked CG & family for taking their time to attend the event, and the venue management & staff. Just before the guests headed for dinner, there was time for quick games. Folks from the audience were requested to come on stage, pick a chit and talk about whatever written on the chit. It was quite fun & informative to get people talk about various aspects of the state like Sarees, dance forms, popular songs, etc., many participated enthusiastically. Finally, it was time for dinner.

Food spread was quite extensive & good; Hara bara kabab, Chicken mix- kabab, malai, Reshmi, Poori channa masala, Mixed veg fry (Palya), White rice, Rasam, Vegetable Pulav, Mixed raita, Butter chicken, Dal tadka, Curds, Papad/fryoms, pickle, Phirni. People enjoyed the food, and most importantly the wonderful company of the likeminded group. It was another successful event from the Shanghai Kannadigaru family. Folks now looked forward to the next event from the group. Until next time then!

Authored by: Achuth Kamath

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