Assam 2002, Colorado

Photographs are available here

Assam 2002, held on 5th and 6th of July in Boulder, Colorado was a grand success. We had about 300 attendees from across the nation and abroad. The cultural programs were of superb quality; the food was superior; the meetings were cordial, informative and productive. We would like to thank the guest artist Dr. Anima Chowdhury, the chief guest Dr. Mamoni Roysom Goswami, all the enthusiastic participants and attendees.

We were all very glad to have you here!

Reeta Kastner/Assam 2002 Host Committee
[Posted at Assannet]


We had a great time at Denver.

The hotel was very nice, set in a fancy, modern, suburban planned development. The surroundings outside the shopping/business complex were however scorched by a severe on-going drought. Even the Rockies in the background looked dried and hazy. The drought made Denver suburbia looksemi-arid.

The bor-xobaah was very enjoyable. Of course, more than the entertainment, the opportunity to meet old friends, indulging in some nostalgic time travel and just being khar-khowas/ tenga-khowas was the most enjoyable parts. However on top of that there were awesome pieces of entertainment as well. Bonmoyuri Kalita's 'xatriya naas' was wonderful, as was Indrany Dutta Barua's classical dance ( can't remember what kind it was). The Silicon Valley Husori Party was just fantastic. I have seen no equal in these shores. THis troupe is going to go places, I can tell you that. And let us give them the inspiration to do so. The Houston Hurricanes :-)( as I call them) have continued to fine-tune their stylized Bihu dance, this time with co-ordinated mekhela-saadors. Some of the children put out stellar performances. Joyshree Das of St. Louis was one of them. THe youth put up terrific pieces too. Again the Silicon Valley H1B Drama Group :-) excelled, as did the NJ group in their humorous skits.Raja Deka could easily pass for Michael Jackson if he gets a face lift and a bleach job :-). The emcees-- Monmi Goswami, Ricky Baruah and Abir Das -- were super too. There is a wealth of budding comedians among them. On the singing front, Abhranil Baruah, Gayatri Sarma, Satyen Das, Kuki Sundi, Reema Das, Madhav Deka --- all shined ( I am sure I am missing some, and hoping to be pardoned for my lapses).

Of course the star of the entertainment was Dr. Anima Choudhury. She kept the audience spell-bound with her exceptional repertoir of Assamese songs, ancient to contemporary and everything in-between.

On the more serious side, the presence of Dr. Indira ( Mamoni Roysom) Goswami was very special indeed. She awed all of us with her immense scholarship on the Ramayana along with her many skills in and contributions to contemporary Assamese literature. I am worried about only one thing: She promised ( I take it as a threat) to write a novel about us expatriate 'markhowas', and was observing our 'aadob-kaida' and was taking notes to that end. I just hope she would be merciful with us :-).

We got a few things accomplished too. THe attendees in the general meeting took a resolution to authorize us to write a letter to the chief minister to intervene and approve our proposal for archiving the ancient manuscripts at DHAS. Dr. Goswami also volunteered to speak on behalf of our proposal to the powers that be.

THe souvenir editors--Jukti Kalita, Achintyo Bezbaruah and Rabin Deka did a fine job, as did the editor of Luitor pora Mississippi and Enajori--Dil Deka.

To top everything off, the hotel went thru a fire alarm at 3:30 am on Sunday, leading to a complete evacuation of the building. Talk about a dramatic finale'.

It is a tremendous undertaking for any community to host such an event. More so for small communities like Denver's. Everything did not go as clockwork. But whatever little problems that might have appeared should be taken as challenges to overcome in future events. To learn from.

As is becoming painfully evident there is an ever shrinking list of volunteers to host future events. St. Louis ( some people never learn) agreed to host the 2003 event by popular demand :-). Luckily 2004 was also spoken for: by the San Francisco Bay Area ( silicon-valley) community.

We thank the organizers for a very tough job well done. We just hope we at St Louis can live up to the high standards of 'joint conventions'set by Houston, Cherry Hills, Toronto and Denver, next year.

Respectfully,

Chandan Mahanta, St. Louis
[Posted at Assannet]


Last year when Dr. Jugal Kalita, now Chairperson for Assam 2002 started discussing about inviting Assam 2002, many people were amused. They thought how such a small Assamese community in Colorado can possibly organize such an event for the entire Assamese community in North America. Dr. Kalita now you prove them wrong. You have done an excellent job. You have done enough. Thank you for your dedication and thank you for a job well done.

Mr. Ganesh Bhuyan, Mr. Dipendra Goswami, Mrs Reeta Kestner, Mr. Debajit Gogoi, Mr. Deepak Chakravarty, Mrs. Bonmoyuri Kalita, Ms. Barna Tahbilder, an unknown person who loaned $15,000.00 and all others - you have done a wonderful job. Together you have shown how a tiny Assamese community, when united can do a misssion impossible. You have shown the way and set the example for many many tiny Assamese community across America that when there is a will, there is a way. Colorado will be the inspiration for many small Assamese community in the future

Thanks a lot.

With regards

Kedar Bhuyan


From: "Sarat Nath"
Subject: Denver or MAMAR GHOR !!!!

Those days at Denver was something like MAMAR GHOR for all of us. It was a great feelings.

Thank you for everything.

Regards

Sarat


Photographs are available here.

Food, fun & fiesta mark two-day Assamese convention in US

Colorado, July 9: It was a moveable feast. Of homegrown madhuhkuieng and mosondori, pepa and urudi, Bihu and Sattriya.

The two﷓day Colorado Assam 2002 convention, that ended on July 6, was a meeting of one people, one culture on a foreign shore. In the luxurious Omni Interlocken resort in Boulder, Colorado, 300 Assamese NRIs from the US, Canada and Ireland, and Assam too, celebrated their roots.
July 4: America's Independence Day. The convention began the next day, but guests had begun checking in. Obviously, it was one of. those rare occasions when one gets to hear more Asomiya than English in the hotel lobby. A comedy of errors began. No matter how professional the hotel staff, they are at their wits' end coping with so many similar-sounding foreign surnames-Barua, Deka, Bora, Hazarika, Mahanta, Bhuyan, Saikia .... it was fim watching the operator transfer phone calls to the wrong Barua or Deka.

The party began at Deep and Anima Goswami's residence, graced by chief guest Mamoni Raisom Goswami and guest artist Anima Choudhury.Amiya Das' Florida-grown authentic Assamese hak combined with fish from Colorado, was a nostalgic hit. Most returned to the hotel at 11.30 pm though some children from Texas stayed on to practise Bihu till one in the morning.

July 5: Guests started registering for tile convention, and from 3 pm to 6 pin, enjoyed a picnic at the beautiful Viele Lake park.

The evening's cultural programme started afer welcome speeches. by the president of the convention committee, the president of Assam Society of America and the vice-presiden of Assam Association of North America.

The highlight of the very beautiful, very Assamese evening was a medley of Assamese songs by Anima Choud hury-lullabies,weddingand devotional songs. The significance of each song was aptly translated into English by her Assamese-American nephew Rakesh Barua.

The children performed dances of the Northeast, including Naga and Bihu. A oneact play PhatikMahdjonor Dukan was presented by an energetic group from California. The centennial ballroom informal dance after midnight marked the day's end.

July 6: Mamoni Raisom Goswami was escorted to the general meeting with uruli, while Anima Choudhury opened the programme with the Borgeet Parabhate syama kanu dhenu loya sange. When Goswami began her talk on comparative Ramayani literature, there was pin drop silence. Goswami's lucid style, especially on the Assamese Ramayana by Madhav Kandali, generated a lot of interest.

Other highlights of the day were a lesson in Sattriya dance by Bonmayuri Kalita, a discussion by Ely Bhuyan on attention-deficiency in children and how parents can cope with it.

A youth forum run by Rakesh Ricky Barua of Wisconsin discussed the improvements the young members of the community desire and plan to implement in next year's convention.

A quiz on Assam, conducted by Chandan Mahanta flrom St Louis, Missouri and KrIshanu Kaushik from Detroit, Michigan, generates a lot of interest.

The Asom Sahitya Sabha of North America conducted its annual meeting in the afternoon. Goswami unveiled the annual publications of ASSNA, LuitorPora Mississippi and Anajori.

(Published in The Telegraph, Guwahati, July 10)


Photographs are available here.