May fun continue
Forums, Fairs and Festivals
Rajiva Shanker Shresta
Soon arriving here in the US first time ever in 2010 we were with the Newah Organization of America (NOA) on 29th May, the day Mount Everest was first ever conquered in 1953, invited to deliver a talk on the Newars in Sikkim on the occasion of 9th Convention and General Meeting. This time we could not be with them to celebrate their annual day and the new executive committee taking over for the next three years. Babita Pradhan Shrestha is the new president with Mahindra Pradhan as general secretary supported by an efficient and dedicated members whom this author happened to meet during the vibrant Yenya/Indrajatra 2015 celebrations. NOA do not have second term for presidentship allowing a new lease of life to deliver the best possible.
This time again soon on arrival here the same theme brought me before the e-Daboo, a forum in support of the Newah Civilization under the auspices of United Newah USA and World Newah Organization to share about the Newahs in Sikkim on 12th of May. Even before we left Sikkim they were in touch with me for an episode of their monthly programme e-Daboo for a live interaction that was not possible from Rhenock or Gangtok. When told that we would be in the US soon they were too happy and I too could not deny either though I know myself not as a good speaker that too live but a writer, may be. Earlier the e-Daboo episodes guest speakers like WNO founder-head Dr. Bal Gopal Shrestha, WNO-head Season Shrestha, NOA-head Ram Shrestha and NPPA-head Saroj D Prajapati and singers Sanjeep Pradhan and wife Sarishma Amatya. They announced on Facebook the date of this interaction being aired on 12th May and invited all to be there with family. It was quite exciting experience to speak before the audience/listeners world-wide at an hour usually I retire for the day. It was scheduled 10-o'clock Friday night here to catch with the fellow Newars back home in Sikkim/India and Nepal in early hours of the Saturday morning. Broadcast with me here at Chester Springs in Pennsylvania was monitored by Manjul Shrestha from North Carolina with the moderator Pramesh Shrestha at Keller, Texas. This e-Daboo May 2017 episode was probably a few of its kind to go live from different locations as the episodes previously used to be from the studio/office and the last one for April was pre-recorded with the celebrated Man of the Century Dr. Satya Mohan Joshi, 98-year old Newah culture and rituals exponent in Nepal. Connected via Skype the telecast was live on Facebook soon uploaded on YouTube. To talk for an hour at a stretch was quite a thrilling experience but when we came to the end, time at our disposal was found not enough to share all what was in mind! Any way, once the assignment finished and over, it brought me a sigh of great relief physically and mentally with some satisfaction as well - very much like the one I had after my master's examinations ended some fifty years ago! Someone said, "Becoming a writer is a very brave thing to do." For me, becoming a speaker is more than a brave thing to do. "Learn to enjoy yourself in different ways", said another. That is what I exactly did without letting go the opportunity that came my way. Great sense of satisfaction, therefore, prevailed upon as well for being of help in my modest way to share here with those interested to know something about. More than anything else, the author would view this interaction rewarding enough exercise. It would rather be deemed to be a rare privilege to put a step further in solidarity towards the Newah Civilization to strengthen the bond little more after "The Newars World~Wide Connecting the Dots : Sikkim" happened last year March.
Second Sunday of May was Mother's Day. When Ranjana here could our daughter Rachna let it go without celebrating with nice sunny weather around that took us out for Mother's Day Brunch but not before she gave a nice gift! We were at Brickside Grille at Eagleview, Wellington Square. Recently developed this beautiful sprawling property is little ahead as we enter walking steps downwards from Nudy's Cafe we visited during our last sojourn. It was crowded with kids, parents and elders equally rejoicing in the premises which had two other restaurants Mexican and Italian cuisine besides a Beer Bar to match the taste buds. Ours was American, lazying out in the sun while Vimal opted to brave the long queue for the lavish buffet spread and enjoy the brunch with us outside. A hectic day thereafter as we visited shopping malls and Bhavani, the Indian store.
Following Saturday evening we found ourselves visiting the Spring Fair at Exton the place familiar. What a welcome weather to be there just to see how best the Americans enjoy the fun. We were there with Bindiya-Prasad with son Rinay and meet Priya-Vipin with Rhea to have a good company with kids to find ourselves also enjoy. Most of the stall were decked up with plenty of toys high up to entice the children as well as adults to try their luck out of three chances at $5 each of the game like angling, shooting, hooking, darting while at one stall it was a can full of table tennis balls to try put into any of the numerous bowls laid out on the table. After first attempt went naught Rinay won a toy thereafter from an extra chance given for missing all the shots. Later he was good enough to put a ball into the bowl to get a tiny gold fish. Rhea would not leave Bindiya as she had taken her for the horse-ride for the second time her parents had taken. Besides usual joy rides the fair was full of games of chance to keep the visitors occupied with their kids enjoying the fun most visiting eateries. It was too much for Prasad to be hear and bear with the cacophony to excuse himself for some urgent phone call and thereafter be to himself waiting for us in the car. Trophy of gold fish meant some spend on small aquarium with fish feed besides the time to look after and extra care needed to save the little life not forgetting if the tap water serve the purpose and me to suggest try filtered water from refrigerator as a precautionary measure!
Last Sunday of May saw the first article published in the new series 'Off the shore again' for my column 'Thinking local' in the Sikkim Express the news-daily from capital Gangtok. We had some family function to rejoice during the day. Prasad suggested a visit to Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival in the evening and thereafter to China Town for the dinner authentic Chinese dish everyone loves. Tina-Karthik also joined us there. We had to get in a long queue before the gate opened at 6 in the evening and we were passing through the Chinese Archway to see Terra Cota Warriors displayed. Soon it was time for us to enjoy some performances. Besides the acrobatics Chinese are well-known for, there was a couple performing Tibetan dance that was strikingly different from what we see back home in Sikkim. As by the name Festival known, Franklin Square was flooded with lanterns 'to experience immense dazzling handcrafted lantern sculptures and cultural immersions. Each lantern exhibit comprised of hundreds of individual parts lit with over 13,000 LED Lights.' With fall of the night these lanterns glowed brilliant and even the drizzle did not deter the young and old alike to 'An Incredible Spectacle To Not Only To See But Also To Feel'. Words are not enough, though I wrote a review also, readers better visit their website #Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival to enjoy a glimpse of what shared here about the month-long show that ends on June 11. On way back we see spectacular Strawberry Mansion Bridge at dusk and was nice watching once again lovely Boathouse Row along the river Schuylkill illuminated bright every time we pass through at night.
May ended with a long weekend for Memorial Day on Monday 29th. It was not weather usual sunny and hot due to frequent showers every two-three days past few weeks. While coming here presuming so, no need felt of warm clothing as back in our mind was the summer days circa 2010. Then we had visited Washington city that day with later trips to New York City, Niagara Falls, Martha's Vineyard, Philadelphia besides other places around this season. Care, however, taken to bring along some light pullovers and jackets that helped me a lot tide over the weather suddenly changing chilly due to rains. Otherwise also, I would not dare the weather outside or even inside shopping malls here. Good of my advancing age to be safe from cough and cold spoiling the fun.
May ended but not our yearning for many such momentous moments of life pleasant to be blessed with this USA Sojourn 2017 - an episode best ever. May fun continue to spill over the next!
Disclaimer: 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. Some names (*asterisk for those no more), quotes, places and events mentioned are just to connect with and no malice whatsoever intended. He can be reached at email@example.com. "The Newars World~Wide Connecting the Dots : Sikkim" by him is available at Rachna Books