Bihu in Houston, April 14th 2001

The Bihu day started with a picnic at the beautiful Kitty Hollow Park in southwest Houston. The weather was perfect with sunshine and a clear blue sky. Little kids were fishing from the wooden piers with their fathers and grandfathers under the shade of trees. Some others were flying colorful kites at a distance behind a hillock reminding me of the lazy hazy days of summer in Guwahati.

Next, my eyes slowly shifted in the direction of the pavilion where most of the men and the women had gathered. As usual two huge tables were filled with typical Assamese snacks and other goodies as well. Houston ' Kharkhowas' are well known for their affinity to food. The ' must have for Bihu ' kind of food was laid attractively on the table with an Assamese theme along with 'Mah Praxad'. The hot items were ' Narikolor Larus' made by Mala Sarangapani, ' Tilor Laru' made by Reema Das, 'Jon Pitha' made by Manjula Dattabarua ,

'Mitha Alur Pitha' by Pinku Bhuyan and hot 'Samosas' brought by Ranu Dutta. Bihu day formally started with unfurling of the Bihu flag. The flag was made out of a Gamosa with beautiful woven Assamese motif. We sang ' Sree Moyee Axomir Xeetal Bukut...' A gentle wind was helping the flag to wave gracefully through the day.

The Barbecue lunch was with the compliments of the Houston community. Lunch menu included barbecued chicken, green salad, fried rice, ghugni, potato salad, fruit salad and Geeta Deka's famous pickled jalapenos.

Lohit Dattabarua organized the sports activities for children and adults. The sports and the prize distribution are an integral part of Houston Bihu. Most popular sports were three-legged race, tug of war, chicken fight and egg toss. The young winners of the games were amazed to get attractive prizes this year. Thanks to Raja Deka who took it upon himself to provide all those fantastic prizes.

Five community members were recognized for their achievement or outstanding services to the Assamese community -- Reema Das, Raja Deka, Debapratim Hazarika, Jina Mahanta and Mike Fincke. Mono Hazarika acknowledged Lohit Dattabarua, for his dedication to community service. First part of the daylong Bihu celebration ended at 3:30 PM.

The evening activities started with a literary session at 6:30 PM in the Ramada Inn Limited Ballroom. The session was led by Dil Deka. And the participants were, Lohit Dattabarua, Aarusha Das, Aanika Das, Dilip Deka and his son Sanjeet Deka, Rajen Barua, Rabin Mahanta , Arnob Bhuyan, Roopa Barua and Sidhartha Mahanta. Please look forward to their publications in the future newsletter.

The popular Indian restaurant Bombay Palace catered dinner. Masor Tenga prepared by the Houston ladies accompanied the dinner. As the delicious hot food was being served, instead of waiting at the end of the line for dinner, some people started building their appetite by dancing Bihu on the dance floor. This served as the appropriate backdrop for Bihu.

High lights of the evening program were: a chorus by the singers from Houston and Austin, Liga Choudhury's violin performance, a Bihu dance by the ladies from Houston and Austin, a hilarious skit presented by Sanjeet Deka, Sid Mahanta and Rick Barua, tabla by Baltu Das, clarinet by Kimberly Gogoi, guitar by Raj Sareen. songs by Reema Das, Madhab Deka, Roopa and Dadul Barua, Naga dance by Rakhi Barua, Aarusha Das and Karishma Barua, songs by Indu Dattabarua, Husori by Sidhartha and Orie Mahanta, and Arnob and Maina Bhuyan.

The children did an outstanding performance. These children are growing up well together,assisted by the love and support of their families and friends. It is wonderful to see them having fun and also displaying their talent with much confidence and enthusiasm. Thanks to Raja Deka who worked so hard to make this year's Bihu a memorable one. After graduating in computer science from Baylor University, Raja now works for NASA and resides in Houston.

The evening performance and this year's Rongali Bihu ended with 'O mor Aponar Dex' sung by all participants.

[From post of "Dil or Dilip Deka" to Assam Net]