ASSAM 2009, the grand get-together of Non Resident Assamese and their well-wishers was held at the Marriot Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA on July 3 and 4 July. People came from all corners of the USA and some from Assam. The program began with picnic, games and sports in Golden Hills Park, which was attended by Michael Fincke in addition all participants. Astronaut Michael Fincke, an Assamese son-in-law, recently returned from the International Space Station (ISS) as commander and shared his experience with the audience. During his presentation he expressed his joy that he was able to dance Bihu in the space station and also to communicate with students from several educational institutions in Northeast India from the ISS. He showed a video of the activities of astronauts in the space station and how he spacewalked.
The Variety Show on the first day started with the prathana “Tumi Sitto Britti Muro” and followed by the introductory chorus “Axom Aamar Rupohi” (composed by Dr. Bhupen Hazarika) describing the beauty, elegance and cultural uniqueness of our Axom. The masters of ceremony for the evening were Sidhartha Hazarika and Rinku Dewri of Colorado, and Sanjukta Santra of Nebraska. The audience was enthralled by the Bharatanatyam performance of Sanjukta Santra, songs by young Rohan and Reema Baishya of Colorado. Former music teacher Jaqueline Bhuyan of Colorado exhibited her masterful left-handed performance on piano followed by Assamese songs of high school sophomore Shikha Baishya (Nebraska) and then Nikita Bhuyan (Arizona) danced to the tune of Meera Bhajan. The little Bryce and Faron Medhi (Nebraska) were marvelous on the piano so were veteran Jayanta and Nilakshee Thakuria (New Jersey) with Assamese modern songs. Sketches by young Salina Kalita of California adorned the area by the side of the stage.
Gayathri Chelvadurai and Smita Patel are students of Natyasangam Dance Academy which is directed by Bonmayuri Kalita of Colorado Springs. They performed Bharatanatyam on the first day and Bihu along with Latha Reddy the following evening. Amerikar Rick and Nick Bhuyan of New Jersey were on their best with Assamese, Hindi and English songs. They also sang Bihu in which almost the whole audience along with Michael Fincke danced on the stage. Before the guest artist Tarali Sharma took the floor, there was a very colorful Fashion Show, organized by Samar and Roshmi Bhuyan of Arizona. Tarali Sharma engaged the audience with her sweet voice. The evening ended when the floor was opened to everyone and everyone danced gaily to the tunes of Gollywood and Bollywood. Later, informal meetings and parties were held in guest rooms; this is where decisions were taken for the future get-togethers.
The final day’s activity started in morning with annual meeting of Assam Society of America, “Axom Sangha”, followed by presentation of by Ram and Alpana Sarangapani (Texas) about Parijat Academy and about Supporting Children in Assam by Ankur Bora (Texas). Akhil Chakravorty, President Asom Natya Sonmilon presented state of Assamese drama in light of the current situation in Assam. Alumni of Cotton College relived their experiences and memories in a nostalgic session which was coordinated by Paban Sarma.
Margaret Mistry, a professor of Foreign Languages and Cultures at the University of Colorado, explained the importance of Assamese culture when she emceed the ceremonies in the evening. Later, she was ably followed by Paban Sarma (Colorado) and Mona Baishya (Nebraska). Elora Marie Das of Pennsylvania played several tunes on the flute and was followed by Assamese songs by Ruprekha Bhuyan of New Jersey. Samar Kalita of California gave a rousing speech emphasizing unity among all Assamese world-wide. The most acclaimed piece of show of the evening was “Raas” by Natyasangam Dance Academy of Colorado Springs. The performers were Divyanka Gupta, Kuhu Basak, Tia Basak and Vanika Hans (all are non-Assamese) led by their teacher Bonmayuri Kalita. Violin by Monalisa Baishya and Bharatanatyam Natraj Anjali Dance by Nikita Bhuyan followed the Raas. Rick and Nick Bhuyan continued with their songs and got the audience to their feet with their Bihu songs. The sisters Nilakshi Thakuria and Suravi Kalita (New Jersey) performed an Assamese contemporary dance to tune of “Jonakore Raati”. Surekha Baishya’s (Colorado) songs and Hilly Kalita’s (California) Kathak nitrya added spice to the evening. The humorous skit “Senapoti” by Mallika and Ganesh Bora (North Dakota) and “Cinema” by Ganesh Bora, Rinku Dewri and Paban Sarma kept the audience laughing. Vedajyoti Ojah (Texas) performed Sattriya Dance before the featured artist Tarali Sarma took the stage.
Ganesh Bora, North Dakota