Slowly, one after another, vehicles of the resettled Bhutanese started plying in front of the United Methodist Church located at Buena Vista Avenue here in Alameda. A bunch of crowd was in the auditorium of the church-gossiping with their fellow mates, while a few others were just hanging out outside the church premises enjoying the cool evening breeze of the island.
Finally, At 5:15 PM, almost two hours later that the reported time, the emcee of the show Mr. Tilak Poudel(who is also the core group member of the Bhutanusa.com) announced the formal starting of the cultural program from the decorated stage.
Welcoming the mass, the secretary of the Bhutanese Community Support Organization in America(BASCO),Mr. Paul Rai said, “where ever we go, we must not forget our culture, our tradition as they are the inseparable components of our lives-our identity”. He also reiterated that it was one of the prime objectives of BASCO to work for the preservation and promotion of culture.
Soon the hall echoed with a nostalgic Tihar song, Bhailini aaye jhyaau jhyaau… sung by Mrs. Sunita Chhetri, and her cronies on the stage which was subsequently followed by “A! Jhilimili Jilimili deusure..” by roughly a dozen of resettled Bhutanese senior citizens. Keeping up the folklore, a few attendees stood up, came forward and offered Dakshina to the group. Some foreign nationals, in state of extreme bewilderment, had nothing to do with this strage culture than take some snaps. It was then Mr. Talman Thapa who tactfully turned the mass emotionally sentimental by singing Malaai Nasodha kahan Dukhchha..
No sooner had Bhutanese kids, Feona and friends bewitched the whole crowd with their exhilarating dance on Tiharai aayo than Madan Rana accoustically jammed them up with Jaba Sandhya Hunchha. Around 15 artists from the community entertained the audience with their performances.
However, this three-hour long program organized by BASCO on Sunday, October 18, saw a smaller turnout than what was expected, though the program itself was full of interesting stuffs. ‘Since most of the Bhutanese remained busy at home preparing for Bhai Tika, lesser number of people showed up at the show’ says Mohan Tamang, the program co-ordinator. He further added, ‘ The program was not the best, but good’.
(Mr. Chhetri is a member of the Bhutanusa.com on technical aspect)