Onam festival success overwhelms OHM NZ organisers

Members of the Executive Committee from left are Sudheesh Nair, Sankar Namboothiri, Dhanya Anup, Sobha Manmadhan Nair, Nitha Vayoth, Sasidharan Nambissan, Ramesh Keetezhathu, Ajai Nair (Back Row): Maneesh Muraleedharan, Devi Sobhana

Dhanya Anup and Venkat Raman
Auckland, September 12, 2022

From all accounts, the Onam Festival organised by OHM NZ (Organisation of Hindu Malayalis New Zealand) on September 3, 2022, at Shri Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan in Onehunga, Central Auckland was one of the best held in recent years. More than 700 men, women and children witnessed the cultural performance, listened to the speeches and relished ‘Onam Sandya,’ the delectable feast that is exclusive to Onam, which in turn is exclusive to the people of Kerala.

Malayalis around the world set aside their political, economic, religious, social and other afflictions and get together to celebrate the Festival that spells nothing but joy and unity.

Inclusion and Cohesion

Although essentially a Hindu myth and an episode of the Post-Mahabharatam era involving Mahabali, a benevolent despot who was pushed to the underworld by Lord Krishna, Onam brings together people of all other religions including Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and Jainism.

New Zealand Malayalis are no exception.

Four styles of Indian Classical Dances presented by the students of Anuradha’s School of Indian Dances (Photo Supplied)

They were seen at the entrance welcoming guests, at the cash counter selling tickets, near the stage managing the cultural programme, in the Kitchen, slicing vegetables and preparing various dishes (there were about 22 items), and in the dining hall to serve food guests (Onam does not subscribe to buffets), and finally near the exit bidding farewell to guests.

OHM NZ President Sasi Nambissan and his Executive Committee deserve the honour of a special mention for putting together high-quality, high-energy programmes despite the Covid challenges that many of them encountered over the previous three weeks.

A special mention should be made about the Masters of Ceremonies- Remya Kiran and her husband Kiran Kumar. From presenting participants- speakers and performers and introducing their items to offering them the Association’s gift of love, the couple showed immense concentration combined with fun and an air of informality. OHM NZ may have found a veritable

source of continuity and entertainment.

‘Thiruvathiraikali’: Unique and elegant dance of Kerala (INL Photo)

Cultural Rhapsody

“Our Members demonstrated their determination with unmatched dedication and discipline. That was the essence of our success,” Mr Nambissan said.

The programme, comprising, religious, cultural and social attributes, began with ‘Ente Keralam,’ a Prayer for good health and prosperity (rendered by Aanya), followed by ‘Pushpanjali,’ a floral offering for Lord Nataraja, the Master of All Dances (by Ritu Maneesh, of the Varaveena Dance Company, and ‘Vathapi Ganapathy,’ a tribute to Lord Ganesha, the Remover of All Obstacles (a Classical Vocal by Isha Nair).

OHM NZ (which was earlier known as Auckland Malayali Hindu Samajam) Founder-President Gopal Ayyar was joined by Ramesh Keetezhathu, Bindu Pillai, Shobha Nair, Soumini Varma and Gayatri Prabhakar to recite verses from Narayaneeyam (condensation of Bhagavata Puranam), after which Secretary Devi Sobhana outlined the significance of Onam and the objectives of the Association in her welcome speech.

Pradeep Achari, who proposed the idea of establishing a Samajam for Hindu Malayalis in New Zealand was honoured by OHM NZ President Sasi Nambissan.

In his enlightening and extensive speech, Prabhakaran Chullian, one of the Founders of the 23-year-old Auckland Malayali Samajam spoke about Kerala, Onam, family and social values, friendship and the teachings of Lord Krishna through the Bhagavad Gita.

King Mahabali returns to greet his people as youngsters present Pulikali (Photo Supplied)

Extensive participation

‘Thiruvathiraikali’ is a unique dance performed by women in Kerala in praise of Lord Shiva, seeking His marital bliss. Although it is performed traditionally on the auspicious day of ‘Thiruvathira,’ which occurs during ‘Margazhi’ (December-January), it is a feature in many festivals of Kerala. Among those who presented this item at the OHM NZ were Bindu Pillai, Shobhna Nair, Subha Nair, Priya Ajai, Manju Bhargavi and Biji Rajiv.

Among the other items presented include ‘Slokanjali’ (Keya Nair, Siyona Sanvi) a Piano piece on Onam (Aanya Prasanth), Mohiniyattam (Sandhya Pillai), Bharata Natyam (Seema Sivaram), Maveli and Pulikali (Suraj Nambiar, Shambu Sreekumar and Abhinand Nandakumar), Vanchipaattu and Vallamkali (Shankar Namboothiri and Ramesh Keetezhathu), Kuchipudi (Daliya Dev) Folk Dance (Sneha Robin), Fusion Dance (Aishwarya Koka, Abhinandan Nanthakumar, Daliya Dev, Akshaya Babu, Bhargavi Matta), Key Board performance (Pranav Vinu Nair), Bharata Natyam (Athulya Mohan, Aswathi, Tanvi Sundar, Janaki Ratheesh, Nanditha, Gowri, Aneka, Akshaya and Mithali), Fashion Show (Nitha Vayoth, Divya Maneesh, Maneesh Muralidharan, Kiran Lal, Abhinandan Nanthakumar, Christa Prajulal, Swarna Ram, Jeevan G Nair, Jishamol Francy, Manju Bhargavi, Nandha Kishore, Urmika Banger, Vinu Nair, Shaan Bose), Semi Classical Dance Fusion (Anagha Rekha, Amala Jose and Nagavalli Manivannan).

Among the highlights of the cultural programme were two dance numbers presented by the students of Nrityabhinaya, popularly known as Anuradha’s School of Indian Dances.

Fashion Show brings out sartorial resplendency (Photo Supplied)

‘Chaturbhandi’ was the name of the first item, bringing to the fore four major dance formats of India, namely Bharata Natyam (Tamil Nadu), Kuchipudi (Andhra Pradesh), Mohiniyattam (Kerala) and Kathak (Uttar Pradesh). The dance number, performed by 12 students of the School, brought out the special bond that exists between the Guru (Master) and Shishya (Student).

The second number was ‘Alarippu,’ which followed the rhythmic patterns set to the Ragas of Carnatic Music.

Executives and Volunteers

Mr Nambissan said that about 80 volunteers were involved at various stages of the Onam Festival and that the team spirit augmented the festive atmosphere as 65 men and women assembled on Friday (September 2, 2022) night to cut vegetables and prepare for the Onam Sadya next day.

“I am very grateful to the members of our Executive Committee, members of the OHM NZ including the members of our Badminton Club for their unrelenting support and assistance in organising this year’s Festival. Encouraged by their patronage, we are confident of organising a larger festival next year,” he said.

Masters of Ceremonies Remya Kiran and Kiran Kumar (Photo Supplied)

Among the members of the OHM NZX and volunteers who helped to put together Onam 2022 were Abi Manayil (Executive Member who was not present at the Onam Festival), Ajai Nair, Ajith Kundully, Ajitha Pillai, Amal Raveendran, Anil Kumar, Anju Sreekumar, Anup Pillai, Archana Sankar, Athira Krishnakumar, Athulya Sreejith Nair, Babeesh Cheruvathur, Biju Surendran, Cijimon Kesavan, Dhanya Sujith, Gayathri L S, Gayathri Prabhakar, Gayathri Prabhakar, Gopal Ayyar, Kavitha Raj, Krishna Bhatt, Krishna Kumar Menon, Manju Nair, Manju Bhargavi, Meena Suresh, Meera Surendran, Mini Kurup, Mohan G Nair, Mohanan, Pradeep Achari, Pradeep Achari, Preetha Kumar, Preji Venu, Priya Ajith, Raj Pushpangadan, Rajeev Chempath, Rajesh Poomaram, Raji Sathish, Ravi Shankar, Rekha Biju, Renjith Namboothiri,

Sajitha Vinotth, Seema Sadanandan, Sethu Arjunan, Shreejith Nair, Simi Sethu, Sobha Manmadhan Nair, Sobhana Nair, Subhash Pillai, Subhish Babu, Sujith Nair, Sujith Nair, Suma Varma, Suraj Nambiar, Venu Nair, Vineeth Iyer, Vinu Nair, Vishnu Mohan, Vishnu Pillai.

Dhanya Anup is Vice-President of the Organisation of Hindu Malayalis New Zealand (OHM NZ). She lives in Auckland.

Share this story

Related Stories

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Indian Newslink

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement