Elmont, New York: India’s 70th Independence Day celebrations at the Kerala Center started in the afternoon of Sunday, August 14 and was celebrated with fun games and barbecue dinner. The Indian National Flag was hoisted on the center’s flagpole by Dr. Madhu Bhaskaran, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Kerala Center with the singing of the Jana Gana Mana by Ms. Lauren Vattakalam. Then the goodly crowd of the Center’s members and friends withdrew from the hot and humid sun to the cool of the auditorium. Mr. Thambi Thalappillil, Center President welcomed the gathering to the celebration and introduced Board Member Abraham Thomas as Event Coordinator. Thomas stated that the festivities were youth-oriented and put together by the Center’s Youth Club Committee: Jake Thottam, Joel Thomas, Amrita Pulianapallil, Noel Kuzhiparambil, Melvin Manumkal, Anil Paradiyil, Jasmin Uralil, Niel Chaco, Maryann Philip and Lauren Vattakalam.
CMC, famous story teller and beloved member of Sargavedi, delivered a poignant and brief message. Dr. Bhaskaran, inaugurated the youngster’s games with a few great words of patriotic fervor, and Dilip Varghese, a Founder Grand Patron of the Center, played a few of those games, at a dollar for a try. The floor was arranged not with rows and rows of chairs as for a formal meeting, but with various play stations. Soon the adults left the children to their laughter and clatter and re-paired upstairs for card game competitions. There were 36 participants, at $10 per head, for Game 28 and Game 56. The competition progressed through Elimination, Semi Finals and Finals. Card Game Tournament Winners received medals and cash awards. The winners for he card games are as follows: Game 56: Somanathan Nair, Jose Madathilkunnel and Mathew Chacko, Second : Jose Thottam, Thomas Thottam and James Pattiyalil; Game 28: Binchu John, Abraham Abraham, and Anthony Kunjeria, Second: Raju Thomas, Dr. Nandakumar Chanayil and Sani Ambookan. Besides, a fund-raising raffle put some green bills into one lucky pocket.
Meanwhile, barbecue grills had been fired up in the yard. Finally it was time to eat. To eat at leisure. All of Nature’s bounty into the tummy. To be washed down with soda or beer. The eating went on till 8:00 pm, with song, dance and play. The whole event was fun, relaxed and truly celebratory.