Rongali Bihu celebration has always been the most awaited event for the Assamese community and their friends of Phoenix, Arizona. It was a nice sunny early evening of April 18, 2009, filled with a mild cool breeze in this “Valley of the Sun” City. We gathered at Neon and Ankita Talukdar’s residence for this celebration with great enthusiasm. It started with various games and quiz for the little kids. While the Bihu songs and music were filing the air, the mouthwatering snacks enriched with sira doi, narikolor pitha, tekeli pitha, and nimki started bringing a Bohagi atmosphere of Assam for us.
The cultural program followed this snack time. It stared with the jatio sangeet “O Mor Apunar Desh” and all time melodious chorus “Asom Amar Rupahi”. These songs were beautifully directed by Shamala Das. Children including Brinda, Broto, Diya, Neil, Sanmaan, and Sthuthi showed their talents by singing, chanting slokas, and performing comedy act. This was followed by a dance recital by Nikita Bhuyan who performed Meera Bhajan. Their presentations drew great appreciation and made all of us a very proud Assamese community here. Egg fighting (Koni juz) game was then arranged amongst the kids that entertained all of us. All kids were then awarded with gifts and certificates of appreciation.
The sumptuous bihu bhoj, cooked and contributed by every family, was prepared to Assamese taste. Dishes like masor tenga, chagoli maangso, bengena pitika, lao bhaji, mahor dali, kofta, and dessert like paayas and pera enhanced the atmosphere with Assamese flavor. We thanked all ladies (Ankita, Bobby, Korobee, Poonam, Rachna, Rashmi, Sewali, Shamala) as well as Chandan and Samar who prepared all these delicious dishes.
The cultural program continued after dinner. One of the most enjoyable moments was during adult’s extempore act where each of us was asked to present a particular comic theme individually and in couple. This innovative theme was devised by Sewali Bhuyan. The cultural night was then culminated with Hussori and Mukoli Bihu dance. Everyone participated in these programs by dancing in group as well as in couple. This Rongali Bihu celebration was concluded with serving tea and then words of thanks and blessings to everyone.
As we returned home in the middle of the night to begin a new year, we were filled with memories of this proud celebration. We look forward to bringing more festive moments like this in future.
Samar and Rashmi Bhuyan, Phoenix, Arizona. Photos: Samar Bhuyan, Neon Talukdar and Satish Reddy