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1999 Review

Murali Nair reports on the progress achieved by KALA so far...

It is that time again to have our usual review of the year.  A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since the last year's review and many Malayali brethren have laid down their lives in the battle of Kargil.  We pay our respect to the bravery of those who fought there.

Back to KALA's activities during the past twelve months.  Each year has been better than the one before.  Undoubtedly, the year was the most hectic period of cultural activities since Kala's birth lust over three years go.

The Second Annual Meeting
The Second Annual Meeting of Kala, held on October 1998 at Bushey Mead School Hall was graced by chief guest, poet Professor Madhusudanan Nair, Guest of Honour Dr. Krishnan Nair, Director of Regional Cancer Centre in Thiruvananthapuram and a gathering of distinguished friends of KALA.  While Professor Madhusudanan Nair shared his poetic wit and wisdom with the audience, Dr. Krishnan Nair talked about his experience as a doctor who has eminently practised medicine both in England and India.  We were also fortunate to have Shri Jayan of “JayaVijaya twins” as a special guest, who took to the stage and sung memorable songs, which enthralled the audience.

The evening was full of entertainment with dance (Bharatha Natyam and folk dances) by talented UK Malayali dancers.  There was slide presentation on Kathakali, which gave an opportunity to the younger members to have a look at Kerala's great art.  This was followed by a Kathakali performance “Poothana Moksham” which went down well with the audience, young and old alike.  There were other unique items like Mridangam and informal spontaneous vocal entertainment by Kala members.  The gathering was well fed by specially arranged caterers for an authentic Kerala taste, followed by plenty more entertainment of song and dance, and made it a truly memorable evening.

The Spring Meeting
The Spring Meeting is also the Annual General Meeting of the KALA members, where the organisational matters are discussed and agreed.  At the end of the formal deliberations, there was a specially arranged Quiz programme, which was entertaining as well as competitive.  At the end we could see the testimony that there were several members with high levels of knowledge, who won the coveted prize.

The evening also witnessed the debut of the mathematical human computer, Kala's own home grown Guru Kukkudanandan assisted by his disciple (shishyan) Mannunni, amazing the crowd with his mathematical and memory prowess.

Kala’s young members provided entertainment for the evening with a piece of classical dance and a sketch adapted from the award winning BBC series "Goodness Gracious Me".  As usual the meeting concluded with a lot of songs by Kala's own hand of musicians.

Summer Event
This years summer event was on 26th June.  It was a combination of ramble in the Hampshire countryside and a canal boat trip, thoughtfully chosen by the organising committee.  Taking precautions as not to disturb the tiny village community or the wildlife, the members were split in three small groups.  At the end of a tiring three-hour criss-crossing walk through wheat- fields, wild meadows, woods and canal towpaths the party gathered aboard the boat John Pinkerton to have the second part of the programme, with plenty of home cooked variety Kerala dishes.  Perhaps it was for the first time so much variety of Kerala fares - food and “Vanchippat” - were served aboard the boat John Pinkerton.

Food Tasting and Medical Symposium
The idea behind organising this event is to fill the long gap between the formal AGM in March and the Annual Meeting in October.  In spite of people visiting India during summer vacation, the participation in this year's symposium was high in numbers and liveliness.  The "Food Tasting" preceded symposium.  It was where Kala discovered its own Spice Girls" of different denominations.  We have all of them, you name it we have them.  The food was rich in quality and variety, made by 21 families.  "Food Tasting" was perhaps a misnomer.  "Koodiyoot" might have been more apt, one could say.  Of course it was traditional Kerala cuisine, nothing else - Pulyinchi to Payasam.  Aviyal, Kalan, Pachhadi, Thoran, Theeyal, Sambar and Mezhukku puratti to name a few dishes.  As if these were not enough, for those fond of non-vegetarian items, there were varieties of mutton curries, chicken and fish made in different regional styles.  To realise how successful the event was, I quote the extract of some of the comments received from the participants: “Never attended a combination of these two”, “A good thinking and well arranged”, “Plenty of variety foods”, “Excellent vegetarian items”, “Good participation from the audience during question time”.

It is more likely that by popular demand this mid term "side show" will gain in strength and become as important and enriching like the other Kala Events, before long.

Third Annual Meeting 23rd October 1999
As in the previous Annual Meetings, this year also we are expecting it to be a truly memorable event. Sri Madhu, the award winning film actor, has kindly agreed to grace the occasion.  There are other surprises too, details of which are given in the News and Views page of this magazine.

The Palm Leaf
This review will not be complete without saying a few word about The Palm Leaf, Kala's voice line to you, the reader. There were two issues in the last twelve months - the Annual Issue published in October 98 and the Spring issue published in March 99.  As I said in the last review, Palm Leaf occupies the pride of place in Kala's activities.  Fortunately The Palm Leaf receives inspiration and support of all Kala members and others those who love Kerala's arts and literature, and we hope that such patronage and contributions will continue from our well-wishers,

Kala News
KALA News is a newsletter aimed at creating closer interaction between the executive committee and members.  This publication is the product of the single.

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