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Onam Festival Preparation in Ahmedabad

It’s chinga maasam again—the Malayalam month that heralds the harvest festival of Onam in Kerala. And, Malayalis in the city have been waiting eagerly for the 10-day festival. On Sunday, the Ahmedabad Kerala Samajam (AKS) kicked off its month-long Onam celebrations. Each of the 13 wards of AKS will have its individual celebration. The first will be at Ghatlodia ward on August 26 while the last one will be on September 30. The day began early at Shri Narayana Guru Cultural mission in Satellite. Nearly 40 enthusiasts got together to make a pookalam (floral design) of the map of India. It was a perfect set for the programme whose theme was ‘Unity in diversity’. Once the pookalam was completed, there was a group patriotic song. Groups from various wards participated in the skit and song competitions. Young girls and boys up to 18 years of age then presented ‘thiruvathirakali’, a folk dance of Kerala. Talking on the sidelines of the event, AKS president Mohanan Nambiar spoke about the success of the Malayalam mission—a mission to spread awareness of the language among ‘pravasi’ (migrant) Malayalis. “Till now, nearly 1,000 students have enrolled for the certificate course. We have 60 teachers across the 13 wards,” said Nambiar. Young director Yadavan Chandran (who worked with Mallika Sarabhai on a film on Mrinalini Sarabhai) was also present at the event. “It is a fantastic opportunity for the Malayali community,” he said, recounting his experience while shooting a short Malayalam film in the city last year. “I could not find enough actors who could speak fluent Malayalam. With this mission, I hope such a situation never arises again,” said Chandran about the AKS’s mission.