Off the shores 12
Gratulation par Excellence
Distant sounds heard close by
Rajiva Shanker Shresta
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Gratulation is the word found for the feeling and the expression of joy par excellence that could best be epitomized by the weekend we participated in the 24th Anniversary and Nepal Sambat 1136 Bhintuna Celebrations on Saturday the 21st November 2015 on invitation of Saroj D. Prajapati, president of the Nepa: Pasa: Puch Amerikaye (Nepal Friends Group in America). It was a rare honour being invited thus and to deliver the keynote speech on the Newars in Sikkim and Karunaguthi, which I represented along with Ranjana and family members. We happened to meet on the Indrajatra NOA here last September and she was kind enough to invite us to be part of their annual day celebration with equal pomp and grandeur for yet another this year also, ever since they had their august body established in 1991 under the leadership of her father Ram Malakar. Gratulation par excellence, it was a rare opportunity to be with them this great day and felicitate them both together with the Karuna Smarak Samman in the august gathering. Achyut often says what goes around, comes around and here too when they took this opportunity to appreciate my efforts reaching out to the fellow Newars worldwide and spread the message of camaraderie and solidarity. Though back home such a message might not mean much to our people quite busy solving out their own problems taking out the best of the opportunity to be happy and contended whatever destined to them.
The function started with the Ganesh Puja solemnly performed by the eldest Ram Manandhar of the NPPA family and we all followed getting blessed yet one more time here. Samay Bajee was ready and we joined to have our share with a bottle of water for all. A procession was taken out to mark the beginning of the function officially when all dressed in typical Newar attire marching to the tune of traditional musical instruments and beating of the dhimey baja that ended reaching the stage to welcome and greet all present. Soon we were invited by the young ladies to come on to the stage to take our seats and were welcomed by the founder president Ram Malakar and his wife putting us Tika and garlanded us. The chief guest accompanied by the NPPA president lighted the traditional lamp panas in front. A short welcome address from the president and thereafter chief guest and special guest delivering theirs, it was my turn to present mine that was proceeded by the emcee giving a brief introduction of the key-note speaker. Next was the release of their annual magazine Dabu. Thereafter, it was time for the cultural programme all eagerly waiting for so far with utmost patience as we took back to our respective seats, me joining the family members again.
In my talk, I did not forget to compliment them reiterating that “A well-wisher from the far west USA urged me that let my participation not displease the other group both devoted to the cause common in the area and better be cautious enough maintaining a balance. Welcoming such a valued view, contrary to what was perceived nothing otherwise to observe but both equally positive and interested in knowing about the Newars in Sikkim and Karunaguthi and we ‘all were working very hard to preserve the Newar identity and traditions’ and ‘as the oldest Newah organization in the USA the NPPA was also working diligently for past 24 years to promote and preserve Newah identity. Since this was to be ‘a great cultural event with traditional Newah food, forum, cultural programme and festivities’, there was no question of depriving ourselves of such a rare opportunity to be with them in solidarity. Soon a day might come when both, rather more such organizations in the US or elsewhere come together, work in unison taking the Newah people excelling and culture ahead to greater heights.
“Newars are known since days immemorable not only in Sikkim but the world over as the loyal and trustworthy race serving the state and government whosoever in power for the overall benefit of the society and the country, wherever we reached keeping our traditions and culture alive. In the US also we find them working well-settled and successful for over last three generations prove this unique trait we share in common. We gather not only to celebrate the festivals together but also come forward on occasions of distress like in the recent Nepal Earthquake to express our support in solidarity to face such natural calamity. We pray Pashupatinath to bless us with wisdom, conscience, thoughts and strength to overcome and cope with in order to reconstruct the cultural heritage lost thus destroyed.
Karunaguthi had taken this rare opportunity to felicitate the Nepa: Pasa Pucha: Amerikaye on the auspicious occasion of 24th Anniversary entering the Silver Jubilee year and Nepal Sambat 1136 and award them with much love and goodwill from the Newars in Sikkim, Karuna Smarak Samman in recognition of their dedicated efforts continued to preserve and promote the Newah cultural heritage, tradition and customs working together making the difference in the community as a whole significantly over the past several years. For this, I requested Saroj to request her father the founding president to come over to the stage and grace the occasion accepting together this award. This little effort of ours might help inspire and further motivate each other to undertake such good works more dedicated and vigorously so that their name and fame reach far and wide with universal brotherhood and understanding increased. We also extended our New Year Greetings for a healthy and prosperous long life to all those present here and to fellow Newars spread the world over. A request was also made to come forward without any prejudice to support the efforts of the World Newah Organization in achieving the goals. I also announced that their second convention being held here from March 25th to 27th next year in Washington DC. Many feel that the NPPA belong to the Malakar Family and also found it true when Ram Malakar and his family members led the team and danced their way to big applause. NPPA made the wonderful team and more so to celebrate the Silver Jubilee with more vigour, pomp and grandeur added with almost all the executive members continuing for the second term. President invited other team-members as well to join her pledging to serve with more dedication and energy in achieving their common goal. Tradition was on display best there not simply because they felicitated me in appreciation of my efforts thus having come all the way from Sikkim the remote part of the vast country India.
Cultural programme that showcased to well represent the culture and tradition best preserved and celebrated together in America gave us the impression that we were amidst the Newar population somewhere in Kathmandu Nepal itself. It had young talents as well as some well-known artistes like Yagya Man Shakya performing while Darpan Chhaya actor Dilip Rayamajhi performing with Sarita Amatya in typical traditional attire performing to a popular Rajamati number. It was Raju Shrestha from New York (with Nhuchhen Dangol) who sang his heart out bringing Saroj to join and enjoy dancing with the crowd nearer the stage. Participation of the Nepal Education and Culture Centre with their Deusi/Bhailo helped them raise around $ 4,000/- that evening with many pledges to donate a dollar a day to the noble cause. Even Deepa Didi came forward to make her humble contribution of $ 21/- also announced there. Till the last moment they kept audience listen to them singing again while all were enjoying the typical lapte bhoy sitting on the floor. It was the largest congregation ever seen after the one we had enjoyed some 20 years ago when Nepal Bhasha Manka: Khala had organized one such in Hetauda during the exhibition of Newar Ornaments and Costumes held by the Newah Misa Khala:.
We were to return to Chester Springs as Rachna-Vimal wanted us to be with them for the Thanks Giving. Bipin-Nevi with Vidit driving took us to Washington to join them visiting the place with their friend Shalu and her two kids. We were home by the midnight to share about yet another wonderful trip enjoyed with friends and relatives in the function when Bipin was blessed by iPad 2-mini in the NPPA raffle at the end of their function. He had purchased three tickets for $5/- and had given one each to me and Ranjana but it was him to turn so lucky. We congratulated him for the trophy with our prayer answered for all the trouble he had been taking all the while to make our stay easy and convenient going around attending a slew of functions and get-togethers every weekend off and on. Without him, it would not have been the same, ever possible for us to enjoy at its best and Vidit the most, grabbing the prized hunt!
Next week: Life ordinarily stitches – Little helps much needed
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Kindly visit Events Page for the complete text of the
Key Note Speech on the Newars in Sikkim and Karunaguthi
along with pictures and video.
This is author’s personal account of memories updated to cherish and treasure often on a detour here and there en route to share the joy of the journey called life while in the US. Some names, places and events mentioned are just to connect with and no malice whatsoever intended. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org