By Khanderao Kand
Vijayadashami utsav organised by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh this year was a celebration with a difference. The main attraction of the programme was the sports competitions for all age groups?children, teenagers and adults separately. The utsav was held at the Ardenwood Elementary school in Fremont, USA, on October 15. The event was attended by over 300 people from across the bay area.
In an exquisitely decorated setting, the programme began with a melodious rendering of the Mahishasura Mardini stotra by Swaranjali, a musical troupe consisting of both children and adults from various balagokulams in the bay area. Mr. Khanderao Kand, the National Joint Secretary of the HSS, performed the puja of the bedecked Goddess Durga with the accompaniment of Vedic chants. The bay area Joint Secretary of HSS, Mr. Gopakumar Krishnapillai, gave the traditional Vijayadashami address to the assembled. Gopakumar explained the relevance of the day in the American context in strengthening the Hindu awareness not only among the Hindu community but also in the local American community. He stressed the need to be vigilant in making sure that portrayal of Hinduism and Hindu culture is accurate in the educational curriculums and various media forums so that the new generation Hindu community as well as the American society at large benefits from the richness of the Hindu culture.
The indoor events were quickly followed by the outdoor sports events that everyone eagerly took to in spite of the cloudy conditions prevailing. The participants engrossed themselves into two packed hours of challenging and fun-filled games. From the traditional Indian games like the kabbadi and kho-kho to the modern ones like volleyball and basketball, it was a well-planned mix that put to test not only one'sphysical fitness but also mental dexterity. It was a time for one and all to unwind the body and mind to some spontaneous moments of fun and frolic. For many first timers to this programme, this was a refreshing replay of their childhood days in India. Mr. Satish Kumar from San Jose who came to participate in the event for the first time with his wife and four-year-old daughter absolutely loved the ambiance and thought that the event brought back fond memories of his school days. ?I just didn'tknow how three hours went by on a Saturday morning. The orderliness and discipline with which even a sports activity like this is being conducted impressed me greatly,? was how Ms Reshmi Saxena from Sunnyvale commented. The crowning glory of the session was the ?tug-of-war? that saw teams battling it out in a display of strength and strategy. By the end of the event there was nothing more welcome than the delicious food cooked by the volunteers of HSS, which awaited the hungry participants.
(The writer can be contacted at [email protected], 408-737-7930.)