Southwest BANA 2023: Gathering of Bunt Families in Houston
USA: Southwest BANA event which is celebrated once every 2 years was once again celebrated recently in Houston, Texas USA. Southwest BANA comprises of states- Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and New Mexico. The evening of April 22nd was a special one in Houston, the guests started trickling in clad in beautiful Indian attire, adding a vibrant splash of colours to the evening. They were welcomed warmly by the Houston Bunts. Rosewater (panir) was sprinkled on the guests following the Bunt customs and were greeted at the registration desk. As people mingled with each other, they shared their excitement about the upcoming performances and the chance to celebrate their culture with the community. The special drinks station was thoughtfully designed to cater to everyone’s needs, with cocktails and mocktails for adults and kids to enjoy. The atmosphere was electric, and as the program began, the audience settled down with their appetizers and drinks to enjoy the evening entertainment.
The younger generation took the stage delivering a heartwarming speech about what BANA meant to them and the importance of preserving their cultural heritage. The ceremonial lighting of the lamp by three distinguished and respected members of our community Dr Mallika Rai, Dr Shakuntala Shetty and Mrs Amitha Shetty followed, accompanied by a mesmerizing invocation dance and a scintillating Tabla performance set the tone for the rest of the night.
After the inauguration ceremony, Southwest BANA president, Siddharth Shetty took the stage to welcome all the people who had travelled several miles to attend the event and thanked all his committee members for their hard work and support. He also stressed the importance of such programs to keep the culture and traditions alive among the younger generation. The night was filled with spectacular performances from Dallas, Austin, and Houston. It was the highlight of the evening, showcasing the incredible talent of the Southwest BANA community. There were dances, skits and singing by the kids, women, and men. The dinner that followed the event was a lavish spread of Indian cuisine. The aroma of biryani and other delicacies wafted into the air, enticing everyone’s taste buds. As everyone enjoyed their meal, conversations and laughter filled the air, and guests continued to socialize and make new connections. It was a truly memorable evening filled with great performances, delicious food, and wonderful company. The night ended with everyone having a great time dancing and socializing until midnight, leaving a lasting impression.
April 23rd, the morning after our successful cultural event, everyone woke up with enthusiasm, despite the rainy and cold weather. We started the day with a warm and cosy breakfast, with friends cuddling under blankets and enjoying hot chai and coffee. The breakfast Bajil, Sajjige and Sheera was prepared by Udupi Temple, Houston was simply delicious, and its traditional flavours and aromas took over the park. After breakfast, we all participated in an amazing Dance Class called BollyX, which was a perfect mix of Bollywood music and Zumba moves. Everyone had a great time dancing and grooving to the beats. During our lunch break, we had another treat for our taste buds with a mouthwatering Tex-Mex meal.
The variety of flavours and spices left everyone satisfied. We also had group games for kids and adults alike, adding an extra layer of fun and excitement to the event. It was a wonderful opportunity for a gathering of over 200 people to come together and enjoy each other’s company. We are already looking forward to organizing more events in the future.
by Nia Shetty and Siddharth Shetty