Odisha became a separate state 82 years ago on April 1, 1936. Since then the first day of April is celebrated as Odisha's birthday all over the world. Yesterday our bay area celebrated Odisha day at the iGurukul facilities in Santa Clara. There must have been over 200 people attending and I must admit I did not know about 70% of the crowd. So many new families and faces!
The entrance at iGurukul was the exhibit hall of many Odia artifacts - books, art, sarees, pattachitra, musical instruments, sculpture, etc. The main hall had Lord Jagannath at the front, greeting all devotees. Kuku Das and team (Gayatri & Manoj Joshi, Priyadarshi,..) did a great job organizing all events. Debendra Das Sharma narrated the glorious past of Odisha and its journey thru the ages to modern times. Kuku presented a short overview of OSA (Odisha Society of the Americas) and encouraged new folks to become members.
Odishi dance and other children programs followed. Nita Ganapathy organized a quiz competition. The best part was food outside. Someone said we had "Chhapan Bhog" (56 items as offered to Lord Jagannath). All kinds of delicacies were served and the food line was
a site to behold. All items were cooked by family volunteers. Apparently the social media came handy - Facebook and WhatsApp were used very effectively to coordinate participation.
Again, thanks goes to Kuku for her leadership with big help from Gayatri and team. Way back in 1983, we did Odisha day and invited many non-Odia Indians and Americans for a half-day program. At that time we had only 20 families. Now that we have so many more, this celebration can be scaled up in future.
Contributed by Jnan Dash