A Convention to Remember for the Assamese Minnesotans

- Sabina Zeenat & Collage by Geeti Das

The 32nd Assam Convention was a much anticipated event for the Assamese residents of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Windy City, being only 400 miles from the city of lakes, it was almost certain that we would all attend the convention. And in fact, almost the entire Assamese community saw themselves transplanted to Chicago for those three days partaking a slice of our rich culture. The weekends prior to the Convention were buzzing with practice sessions and everybody took these sessions very passionately and enthusiastically. Even the little kids looked forward to these sessions and loved to practice their songs and dances for they knew that they were performing in front of a large audience. Armored with all the practices and preparations we headed for Chicago for indulging in a good time with friends, family and acquaintances. The venue for the Convention was a beautiful hotel nestled in the lush greens of a golf course and its peaceful surroundings.

convention 2011 minnesota kids

A dozen performances from the Minnesotans in the cultural program started with our kids performing their pieces in the children’s category. The 3, 4 and 5 year olds (Aarhi, Reisha, Devarsh, Ruhi, Nimisha, Annie, Sabreen and Geet) performed “Kon Moinar Monimala”, a collection of Assamese songs from yesteryears (“soku meli nasaba…”, “bonoria ami bonor sorai…” and “ek dui tini sari…”).

Geeti painstakingly taught the kids with the help of all the other moms. Minti accompanied them on the stage on the keyboard and Arun on the dhol. Ashmita’s classical Bharat Natyam dance, Sabriyah’s keyboard performance of a popular Jyoti Sangeet and Geet’s dance to Zor ka Jhatka were some of the solo performances by the kids. Besides, the trio, comprising of Nibir, Samir and Ayan sang a popular Joi Barua song. Ashmita, Neeshan and Sabriyah’s dance to “Won’t You Take Me to Funky Town…” was another lively performance.

convention 2011 minnesotans

Our elegant Bihu nasonis, Ankita, Mili, Geeti and Purabi put in a lot of effort to present a memorable Bihu dance which received rave reviews. Another highlight from team Minnnesota was the husori. Dressed in traditional dhoti, tongali and sepkon and replete with traditions, our group of men brought the indomitable spirit of husori on the stage. It was very authentic and felt as if a piece of rural Assamese culture was brought to life in a land far away from home. The nasonis too joined the husori making the stage look even more vibrant, colorful and lively. Minti and Pranab rendered their melodious voices to  the husori songs. Devika’s classical Bharat Natyam dance was another beautiful performance of the evening. A marquee performance from the fatherdaugther duo, Parvez and Neeshan, to a Bollywood number was sensational to say the least.

The ‘cherry on the sundae’ moment for us was when we were declared the joint-winners of the first prize in the Anima Chakraborty Memorial Chorus competition. Our chorus song “Brahmaputror Parore” is Mr. Suresh Sarma’s composition. He hails from Guwahati and is Purabi Sarma’s (a Twin Cities resident) brother-in-law. We enjoyed every moment of our stay, admired all those talented friends who performed on the stage and were captivated by the melodious songs of Zubeen and Zublee. The haute couture fashion show where the models sizzled with some of the finest Assamese, Indian and western attires was top notch. We also relished those delectable homemade snacks prepared by our Chicago friends. And last but not the least, we truly admire and appreciate the hard work of the host committee for putting together such a wonderful event. In short, we loved it all….

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