- By Dr. Gautam Lal BaruahThe residents of Chicagoland welcomed the Assamese New Year with unbridled celebration of our most important festival - Rongali Bihu at the Holiday Inn, Rolling Meadows on April 14th, 2012. With a healthy attendance of around 100, the festivities were enjoyed amidst a classy backdrop of colorful Bihu decorations and posh upholstered seating arrangements. The wonderful aspect of this Bihu was that there was no audience. Everyone was a participant. The ambience was heavy with perfumes and aromas of delicious food, pitha (Kobita baidew), boot mah (Kukibaidew), snacks (other ladies).
The dazzling dresses and traditional garbs were more reminiscent of an Axomiya bihutoli in Bohag than a hotel ballroom in USA. The cultural organizers Enakshi, Arundhati and Farhana and the young MCs Sanjukta and Priyanka choreographed the variety entertainment program with dexterity. Indeed, the constant changes of dresses and props were like a musical chairs game but everything meshed just right.
Thanks to all the participants and the hard work from many in the Texamese community, the 2012 Rongali Bihu at Houston celebrtaed on April 14,2012 was yet another success keeping up the Texas tradition. More than 100 people from Houston, Austin, Tyler, College Station and even from Louisiana and Oklahoma attended the event.
Morning picnic started at the Sugarland Memorial park with flag hoisting , breakfast with delicious Sira-Doi, Bihu snacks followed by a fabulous B'BQ lunch. Thanks to untiring efforts by Anupam, Jay, Pallavi, Archana, Meghna and others for making our traditional B'BQ lunch a huge success. Everybody enjoyed various sports activities for children and adults organized by the ever enthusiastic Duttabarua and Ramgopal. As usual, the highlight of the morning was Pithapona competition for the "Baby Bezbarua" running trophy sponsored by Sarangapanis. Evening program was held at Anjali Dance Center hall at Sugarland. Undoubtedly, the children's fashion show, organized by Manju Saikia and Reenita Fincke was the stealer of the evening program. This was followed by a delicious Indian dinner arranged by Ashok & Roopa Baruah and Bina Hazarika. The cultural program was preceeded by an unique talk and show on space program by none other than our space wizard Mike Fincke. The cultural program was filled with a lot of melodious songs, beautiful dances, instrumental performances ,by children and adults and of course the Texas size Chorus from Houston group. Thanks to Dil Deka and Dr Gautam Borthakur for organizing the evening program supported by Pallabi Bhuyan, Swapnali Sarathi, Meghna Goswami and others. A special thank you to our treasurer Bhalachandra Nevaskar for producing an immaculate balance sheet with some surplus.The most heartening thing about 2012 Texas Bihu was active participation from a number of young people, singles and families alike who have recently moved to Texas.
- By Rini Kakati
On the occasion of Assamese New Year and Rongali Bihu on Saturday, 14 April, 2012 - a traditional Bihu Bhoj was organised by Assamese Community at Barham Park Lounge, Wembley, initiated by Rini Kakati, NRI Co-ordinator for UK. This idea came from Gordon Ramsey when he was enquiring about any Assamese restaurant in London after returning fromAssam 3 years back. Bihu is the main festival of Assam. Irrespective of caste, creed and religion the people of Assam celebrate Bihu with much pomp and gaiety.
To establish the existence of cultural roots and heritage, every community in Britain put their combined efforts in an organized manner. The Assamese community is no exception. The dignitaries present were Jitendra Kumar, First Secretary, Indian High Commission, Rita Payne (President, Commonwealth Journalists Association UK, Rolf Kilius, Curator for Horniman Museum, Mayor of Brent, Navin Shah AM (London Assembly Member), Helga Gladbaum including Councilors from different boroughs - Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative,Justin Wintle, author of the book "The Perfect Hostage", Geoff Payne, Consultant in Urban Development and Planning, Alain Durand-Lasserve and his wife Maylis from France and Krishnan Raleigh, journalist and Dilip Deka from USA.
Cyrus, the well-known BBC Celebrity Chef was invited as a guest of honor. The cuisine of a land is a specific set of cooking tradition and practices. Assamese cuisine is influenced by the ingredients that are easily available and suited to the climate of the area. Mother Nature has given Assam abundant greenery with so many rare endemic plants and herbs. The people of this land of blue hills and red rivers take full advantage of Mother nature's bounty. Xaak (Green) forms an indispensable part of Assamese cooking including dried bamboo shoot, dried cocum (thekera), rice powder, powered lentils (mahor guri), Kharoli, Khahodi and chilly pickle.