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Kerala Association of Greater Washington

September 18 ,2005 th

Inside this issue:

Executive Committee


President’s Message


Community Articles


Community Health


KAGW and the Arts


Great Cuisine


Welcome to Onam! Message from the Editor Greetings and Happy Onam! I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all of our readers to the latest edition of the Kerala Digest. The Malayali community of the Greater Washington area has been busy this year, with an ever-growing number of members contributing to the planning and execution of a wide variety of activities and events. The sense of satisfaction that comes from a well-planned event, executed smoothly and appreciated by all the participants, is the goal of event organizers everywhere. We are fortunate, here at KAGW, to be blessed with individuals who understand the needs of the community, understand the nuances of how to plan a successful event, understand the wants and desires of the community in its constituent parts and as a whole. The wide variety of skills and talents

that Keralites bring to bear on successive situations can boggle the mind if you think too deeply about it. But this is who we are: a community of lively, talented, intelligent and friendly individuals who want nothing more than to live life to fully and completely in peace and har m on y wi th ou r neighbors. We epitomize this in our celebration of Onam; a time of togetherness, a time of remembrance, a time of celebration. A time when we all, irrespective of social standing or religious belief, come together as a people and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with each other to face the world around us with solidarity, a unity that transcends all else. Let us begin this new year with peace, love and understanding; let us celebrate the spirit of Onam together, once again!

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Kerala Digest

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Kerala Digest

KAGW Executive Committee Members—2005

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Message from the President Dear Friends, The recent hurricanes (disasters) have shown us the impermanence of life on this planet; we could argue that it affects just certain geographical regions and with a proper warning system in place a lot of the fatalities could have been avoided. Well, we’re analyzing just one of the ways Mother Nature unleashes her fury. We have to realize that there is very little that we can do in the wake of a catastrophe of an unprecedented nature, no matter who or where we are. It all boils down to the fact that we are all the same, fragile beings of the Universal Creator. The significance of Onam is even greater as the planet passes through these turbulent times. Petty differences and problems, disagreements and conflicts, all of these are meaningless when we regard the many ways in which we are all similar. Let us learn not to feel superior or inferior to anyone because of social standings, intellectual capacity, wealth, virtue or anything else. We stand or fall together. Onam is a time when this idea can be contemplated, pondered and acted upon. Let us all try to live in the spirit of this glorious tradition - loving and helping one another. As you all know

When Lord Mahabali ruled us, all people were equal. This sublime concept should always be within us, so that we treat and respect one and all around us. I take this opportunity on behalf my executive Committee to wish all members and supporters of KAGW a very happy Onam, and hope that the spirit of Onam will remain with us in whatever we do.


Narayanankutty Menon President, KAGW

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Kerala Digest

Community Articles Onam – as I remember By: Dr. C. V. Girija Vallabhan As if it was yesterday, my memories take me to the nineteen forties. Thrilled as a boy then, along with everyone else, I was waiting for Onam (or ThiruOnam), the time for festivities with joy and happiness for all people of Kerala. This article is intended primarily for youngsters who may wonder what Onam is. I remember grandmothers telling us stories of Onam, stories of Maveli (Mahabali) who was a great benevolent king of Kerala. They sang: Maveli nadu vaneedum kalam manushyarellarum onnu pole aamodathode vasikkum kalam aapathengarkkumottillathanum kallavumilla chathiyumilla ellolamilla polivachanam kallaparayum cherunazhiyum kallatharangal mattonnumilla.

Loosely translated, it means: “During Maveli’s regime, there was perfect equality among people; thefts, cheating, lying were unheard of.” At the time of Maveli, the situation in Kerala was a perfect utopia. The grandmothers also told us that every year during Onam, Maveli would visit his favorite people in their homes. We always waited for his arrival. We cleaned the house, made flower arrangements, and got ourselves prepared to welcome Maveli to our home. The famous poet Changampuzha wrote: Thiruvonam vannu pulakkudilil In other words, Onam was celebrated by the poorest of the poor in their modest huts. Of course Onam season coincided with the conclusion of the harvest and everybody, the rich and the poor celebrated Onam in order to welcome Maveli to their homes. In schools, we were waiting eagerly for the two weeks of Onam holidays. We started the celebrations with Atham ten days before the ThiruvOnam day. The courtyard in front of the home was cleansed with green cow-dung. A beautiful circular flower arrangement (Pookkalam) was made everyday for ten days; the responsibility and the credit for the pookkalam went to young women, but picking the flowers including wild ones was our duty. Naturally, during these ten days, flowers became a very rare commodity and kids had to go to hunt for flowers, begging and even stealing from a neighbor was not uncommon. Even though such acts were not truly civic, everybody tolerated it with a smile in the name of Onam. (Recently about 15 years ago, I stayed for two weeks in Thrikkakkara near Kochi, and I saw two kids, brother and sister, about 7 years old, desperately hunting for flowers, trying to climb up the neighbor’s wall to pick a flower while the lady of house was shouting at them. I was reminded of my good old days) The major preparation for Onam started two weeks before, with the making of three pyramidal pieces made out

of red clay, one about 18 inches tall and the other two about 15 inches tall. The square cross section of these pyramids The major preparation for Onam started two weeks before, with the making of three pyramidal pieces made out of red clay, one about 18 inches tall and the other two about 15 inches tall. The square cross section of these pyramids measured 3 inches at the bottom and 1.5 inches at the top. Small holes were made on the sides and top on these pyramids to decorate them with flowers. The pieces represented Thrikkakkara appan. The common flowers used are red (Chemparathi - Hibiscus), yellow (Kolambi) and some small white flowers (Thumba) along with some green leaves. The day before Onam, the space where the Thrikkakkara appan symbols were to be placed was cleaned. A rice flour paste with some herbal ingredient (example: juice from okra plant) to create some viscosity to the mixture was used to draw beautiful designs (Kolam) about 6 to 8 feet square. My mother was an expert to draw these. When the kolam became dry we would place these pyramids in the center of the kolam on a pedestal. We would decorate the pyramids with vertical lines with the rice paste on the sides and with flowers. My elder brother would perform some puja and we prostrated in front of the Thrikkakara appan. On the Onam day we took bath early in the morning, wore Onakkodi - new dothies (mundu) and red underwear called ‘konam’ with a tail in the back. We were very happy to wear the red konam that was visible through the new mundu. It was a great scene to see kids wearing new mundu and we were very proud to do so. We participated in the pujas. Later, we all ate the long awaited Onam special ‘nenthrapazham puzhungiyathu’ which was boiled plantains with sarkara (brown sugar) etc., along with puttu and pappadam. This was considered a great Onam specialty since in those days, plantains were mainly available only during the Onam season. A sumptuous vegetarian lunch OnaSadya followed which included Rice, Parippu & Neyyu (Dhal & Ghee), Sambar, Aviyal, Kalan, Olan, Erisseri, Pachadi, Thoran, Mezhukkupuratti, Pickles, Pappadam, Kaya Varuthathu (Banana chips) and Sarkara varatti, etc. To top it off, there will be a very rich sweet dessert, a payasam – either Adapradhaman or some other variety of paysams. Nobody was bothered about diet or overweight. Overeating was not considered bad. Feast continued on the second day of Onam. There was Pulikkali (tiger dance). Young men with their body painted to resemble Bengal tigers would act and dance to the rhythm of the accompanying drummers. There were several such groups all over the town and people gathered around them to see this dance; sometimes spectators also would start dancing with the

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tigers ! The talk of the day would be “which group of tigers was the best ?” During Onam festivals in the villages, women sang onam songs and danced. The most popular folk tune was on Maveli, the most benevolent ruler of Kerala. Kaikottikkali or sometimes Thiruvathirakkali was the most popular dance everybody enjoyed. Only women participated in this dance. Oonjal was another important part of the Onam celebrations. Oonjal is a swing strung on high branches of large trees. Young men, women and children rocked one another while singing Onam songs. Vallam Kali (Boat Race) is another major activity during the Onam festival. At Trichur where I grew up, vallam kali was not very common. Originally a Hindu festival, Onam has become the national festival of all Keralites (Malayalees). It is celebrated by all Malayalees all over the world. Most of the time a sumptuous OnaSadya is followed by an equally grand entertainment program. Happy Onam greetings are exchanged through greeting cards and by email. It was customary for out of state malayalees to return to Kerala to celebrate Onam with their families. Circumstances prevent many malayalees, out of state or overseas, from returning to Kerala during Onam season. Now a days small families especially living in larger cities get their OnaSadya catered instead of spending a lot of time and energy in preparing a sadya for a couple of people. Still many families celebrate Onam in a grand scale. Onam remains a happy and joyful time of the year. Wish you all a ‘Happy Onam’. Little did we know at that time who Thrikkakkara appan was. From the Kerala folklore, I learned later that Mahabali (Maveli) belonged to the Asuras, the rakshasas (socalled bad guys). The story as it was told to me is like this: The Suras, the good guys became jealous of Mahabali becoming a good and popular king. They were afraid that Mahabali would become very powerful and may threaten the Suras. They

asked Mahavishnu to curb Mahabali’s power. Mahavishnu incarnated as Vamana, a Brahmin dwarf, who requested three steps of land from the king Mahabali. Mahabali being very generous told Vamana that he is ready to give whatever Vamana asked for. Vamana grew so big that in one step he covered all the land on earth, in the second step he covered everywhere in the universe and there was no space for the third step. Mahabali realized that the dwarf was none other than Vishnu, his favorite lord. He showed his head for placing the third step. Subsequently Vishnu pushed him down into the pathalam (also referred to as hell). Before pushing Mahabali into pathalam, Mahavishnu granted a wish to Mahabali that he can visit his people every year. The moral of this story puzzled me for many years because this was not a story to be told to our young children, where God punished somebody even though he was a good and perfect king. Later on some of my friends explained to me that Maveli was punished for his ego that he could give anything that anybody asked for. Still I am not sure that I am satisfied with that reasoning. Further, it was clarified to me that he was sent to heaven. Whatever happened, this is only a story mostly known to Keralites. Thrikkakkara appan symbolically represented Mahavishnu. During Onam days the practice was to worship him, so that when Maveli visits each home, his favorite god will be there. I think we all should pray to Mahavishnu for another incarnation in Kerala where most of the current rulers and politicians be sent to pathalam. I am just joking ! The author acknowledges the valuable comments and corrections by Shanmukhan Chiyyarath.


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Kerala Digest

Volume XXXI

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Where is She? by: Sini Panicker

I have been searching for her, over and over again, all these days in this trip……. Using every moment I could spare. Using every memory I could invoke. It has been a difficult task. Because she is not lost to herself or to this world, but lost only to me! She is in fact sitting in front of me, with her eyes glued to the IndiaVision news program on the Cable. Monsoon rain is soaking the surroundings with such vengeance. Who said the Monsoon has lost its grip and power? Be here with me at this moment! The clouds, dark and dense, throb with a silent energy. The winds, howling and shrieking, shudder the nature. And the rain-what can I say about the rain? As it lashes down the windowpane, as it drums on the rooftop I hear the lament of the sky as if it had lost everything…… It is Monsoon in my heart too. As I stare at her I want to be a four year old again. To hold on to her fingers and take some strides in the paddy fields. To run around the house to make her chase me, calling “Manikutty, stop, stop”. To enjoy the Monsoon night in her arms listening to the chorus of the crickets and the symphony of the frogs. As I stare at her, my hands are twitching to hold a black slate and pencil. Would she take me to her school again, to the Government Primary School, where I used to go with her when I was four? Would she teach me again how to write, her fingers on top of mine holding them straight on the slate? How would I go back to those days? How would I find that mother again? The young and vibrant mother of mine? This is the mother who recited “Athmavil Oru Chitha” for me when I was ten. Tears started to flood my eyes halfway through her recital; I was crying along with “Kuttan” who not only lost his dearest father, but also his favorite “chandnapambaram” (a spinning top made of sandal wood). She was introducing me to Vayalar. To the world of poetry. To the wail of long lost souls. This is the mother who gave me her hand-written copy of

“Vazhakkula” and “Ramanan”. Through her handwriting I understood the miseries of life for the firs time-the saddened fates of “Azhaki” and “Malayapulayan”. Through her beautiful, right-hand tilted handwriting I came to enjoy the passion of Ramanan. She talked about M.T. She adored Pottekkat. She hummed P. Bhaskaran’s beautiful songs. She beamed about Tagore. She bought me books. She took me to the movies. We went places as I held on to her fingertips. She let me grow up. She asked me to write. She finished the sentences for me when I lacked the words. She asked me to speak up. She wrote speeches for me when I was lost at the topics. She stood behind every step I took. She kept her hands wide open in case I fall. She embraced me when I returned. She wept when I departed. She was the world for me. The only world I knew and cared for. I wouldn’t have grown up if I knew that the world of mine would change one day. I would’ve still held on to her fingertips forever and ever. As I’m creating a world for my son today, I’ve lost the world I grew up in. Cycle of life, you’d say! Yet, I’m sitting here, in the mist created by the heavy Monsoon downpour, as a four year old daughter in front of her mom, wishing to find her young, pretty, smart, and exciting mother once more! But, what I see is a fragile body encasing an even more fragile mind. Thirty years of Diabetes. Life’s calamities and collisions. I see a pair of sunken eyes without the love of life. I see a pair of dry lips with no tunes to hum. Time and life have taken their toll on my mother. I know that the search I’ve been doing is in futile. It is just to comfort me. Just to get lost in the past so that the present would not agonize. As the wind shakes up the trees outside, the power is gone. The Cable is gone. Only Monsoon now! The Heaven is yielding to the Earth. There is a small candle lit in the room now. She looks at me. And smile. I smile back. I realize that I have to freeze this moment. I realize that I have to protect this candle from the wind. This candle with so little light, yet that’s all I’ve got in my hands for the darkness ahead.

Onam thru these eyes: Before writing this, I did not actually know what Onam was. All I knew was that KAGW celebrates this holiday every year, around August. However, after being asked to write about what Onam meant to me, I found out about the story of Mahabali, and how he is honored every year on a day called Onam. Anand Viswanathan, MD

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Amrita T.V. Comes to the U.S. New, this season to the USA, Amrita T.V. has taken the Indian-American television market by storm, with its refreshing and unique blend of the culture, art and glamour of India.

Amrita TV Onam Special Coming this September, Amrita T.V. has a host of new programs. Brand new super hit movies are in the forefront, with celebrity shows like ‘Virunnu’ and ‘Samagamam’ following in a close second. Samagamam features famous film actors Mohanlal and Siddique for Onam. ‘M.T. Kathakal’ is another favorite where rural Kerala comes alive in M T Vasudevan Nair's timeless collection of short stories. The much acclaimed talk show ‘Snehapoorvam Rohini’ is hosted by movie star Rohini and features an impressive guest list with top artists in the movie industry such as Shobana, Mohanlal, Mamooty, Kamalhaasan and Revathy. Then there is the children’s favorite, ‘Krishna Kripa Saagaram’ and an analytical discussion for the intellectually oriented, ‘Bharatadarshanam’. ‘Anjali’ is a tribute to the maestros of Hindi Film music; ‘Pradakshinam’ is an exploration of the land and culture of India and the legends surrounding its ancient wonders; ‘Grihapravesham’is an invitation to visit the innovative architecture and interior design of Kerala homes. But this is not all… there is much, much more. In short, a remarkable line up to suit the tastes of each and every member of the family!

Well received in the U.S. market Essentially a Malayalam channel, Amrita T.V.

offers fine programming revealing an unbiased view of the culture and values of the different lands, people and religions of modern as well as ancient India. This distinctive feature alone has found exceptional reception in the U.S. This is what some viewers had to say: “My children used to associate Indian culture with the dances and music in the other Indian channels,” says Padmini P. from Washington D.C. “Until I saw Amrita T.V., I was at a loss about how to make them understand how deep, ancient and valuable Indian art and culture really is.” “Turning on Amrita T.V. is like bringing deeprooted Indian culture that has been in India for generations into my home,” says George T. from Los Angeles, California. “I like the movies and the celebrity shows too. For once, my wife and I can sit with my parents and our children, and watch T.V. together without cringing at something inappropriate!” “No violence, no vulgarity, just plain good T.V.!” says Sunil G. from New York City. “Today, we have almost forgotten what that is like!”

T.V. Timings change in September Also new this Onam season, Amrita T.V. will change the timings of its shows, shifting the present Indian timings to U.S. timings. Which will mean that primetime shows, which are now featured in the morning, will be shifted to their primetime spots in the evening. The future also holds more promises in the way of more U.S. based shows. Amrita TV is hard at work creating US based shows. Many shows are in the works showcasing US based talent. With all this exclusive programming, Amrita T.V has indeed found its way into the hearts of both young and old T.V. watchers, this side of the globe! To order Amrita TV please call Globe Cast World TV at 1-888-988-5288 or visit

Onam thru these eyes: Onam - Past & Present:- Arun & Sadanandan Pullani When Acha was a young(er) boy, Onam marked the beginning of his favorite time of the year. I think of Onam as a 'harvest festival' celebrated by/with the local Malayali community -- highlighted by traditional attire - moondum neryathum, sumptuous feast - sadya, and colorful entertainment -thiruvathira kali and the annual appearance of Mahabali. Onam is in fact this, but it represents so much more, especially for those with fond memories of Onams past, celebrated back home in Kerala. For Acha, Onam marked the end of terribly morose monsoon rains, and beckoned a bright new year with spring-time flowers, new clothes, playful fun with friends & family celebrations. Though we view Onam from different perspectives, I think we would both agree that Onam represents a celebration of the simple joy and pleasures of living life -- both past & present -- as well as our continuing hopes for a better future.

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Longing By: Mohan Viswanathan

He does not hear the birds on that Saturday morning when he wakes up. He used to hear them. At the end of winter, just before it was spring. Looking out the window while drinking tea, the bright pink flowers on the orchid catch his eye. The specks of deep maroon deep within the flower. The bright yellow pollen grains. The purple variegations on the petals that look like capillaries filled with blood. All the photographs of those flowers that he took are stacked away somewhere. He cannot remember where they are now. How long has it been since this orchid bloomed? Too long for him to recall. The sheen of the green, new shoots on the orchid in the pot nearby seems appealing. Is it ready to bloom? How long a wait is it going to be?

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Arjuna Pathu: Fear be Gone By: Dr. Raghu G Nath One of the advantages of understanding the stories of Hindu Purana is the inspiration that we can draw from the characters. Mahabharatha portrays Arjuna as a fearless warrior and a fierce fighter with boundless courage. Because Arjuna was never scared of anything or anyone, his names became the mantra to help us overcome fears. Children (and adults) are scared by the fierce sound of thunder. To help the kids, Hindu parents advised them to recite the fearless warrior Arjuna’s ten names so that they can ward off fear of thunder and lightning (or dispel fear in other scary situation). These names indicate qualities and personality traits attributed to Arjuna. The names are: Arjuna, Phalguna, Partha, Kireedy, Shwethavahana, Beebhalsur, Vijaya, Jishnu, Savyasachi and Dhananjaya. Now that you know these names, recite these to draw away all your fears! Let us see what all these names mean? The name Arjuna describes his complexion as that of the arjun tree (indigenous to India, botanic name: terminalia arjuna), which has a smooth, light whitish trunk. Phalguna refers to Arjuna’s birth star, Uthram or Uthara phalguny. Partha means son of Prutha (Arjuna’s mother Kunthi’s maiden name). During a deva-asura yudham, Arjuna helped his father Devendra by fighting against asuras. Devendra was very pleased with Arjuna and gave him a special crown or kire! edam as a gift; hence the name kireedy (one who wears the kireedam). Shwethavahana refers to the white (swetha) horse that Arjuna often rides. Beebhalsur suggests that Arjuna fights fair but is capable of killing his enemies (to protect dharma). Vijaya means one who wins and Jishnu, similarly, means one with the habit of always winning. It is interesting to note that Jishnu is also a name of Shree Maha-Vishnu. Thus, Arjuna shares the name and winning habits of Bhagavan Vishnu Himself! Savyasachi can be loosely translated as being ambidextrous, because Arjuna was capable of shooting arrows with both hands. The name Dhananjaya signifies his nature with no desire to accumulate wealth (because he has all the wealth he wanted).

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ONAM By: Sudheer Sundaram Onam is considered to be the most important colorful and activity oriented festival of Kerala and is an attraction for thousands of people within and outside the state. It is increasingly attracting tourists from other parts of the world too. It is also one of the unique festival that unites all people together forgetting differences in caste, creed, religion and social status. The celebration starts on the day of 1st occurrence of the star “Attham” in the1st month Chingam of Kollavarsham (Malayalam Calender thought to be established in 825 AD by Udaya Marthanda Verma, King of Venad) which is fondly referred to by malayalee community as “Ponnum Chinga Masam” or “The Golden Month of Chingam”. The celebration lasts for next ten days and goes all the way through Thiruvonam which marks the last and the most important day of the festival. All the activities during this season are centered around worshiping god, music, dances, sports, boat races, new clothes and good food. Onam is also thought to be a harvest festival to celebrates the bounty of nature after a year of hard labor. Elaborate processions and spectacular snake boat races mark the merry‑making nature of the festival. Women dress up in traditional new saris and jewelry and make elaborate and intricate designs of 'Rangolis' (with colored rice paste) and 'Pookkalam' (with flowers) in front of their homes. The people in Kerala prepare for the festival by cleaning their houses and decorating them. On Onam, everybody in the family would be wearing new clothes. Delicious sweets and favorite vegetarian dishes would be cooked and served on banana leaves. Like any other Indian festival Onam has many legends and stories attached to it. One of the popular legends is connected to the fifth incarnation of Lord Vishnu as “The Vamana Avatar” (The Dwarf Incarnation) and the Asura King Bali (most popularly known as Mahabali after he was praised by Lord Vishu for his virtues). A very short version of this vedic scripture “Vishnu Puran” is presented below: A very long time ago, an Asura (demon) king called Bali grandson of Prahalada (the devote son of Asura king Hiranyakashipu, who was punished and liberated by Vishnu in his just previous Narasimha Avatar) ruled earth. He was a wise, learned vedic scholar (thanks to his grandfather Prahalada), benevolent and judicious ruler and beloved of his subjects. Peace and plenty prevailed every where in his kingdom. Soon his fame as an able king began to spread far and wide. He then extended his rule to the heavens, inspired by the insolent nature of his dynasty (known as Danavas) by driving out Indra (King of Devas in charge of administration of the material world

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appointed by Lord Vishnu) and Devas out of their kingdom. Presuming that he might become over‑powerful, Aditi, the mother of Indra pleaded with Lord Vishnu to curtail King Bali's powers and Lord Vishnu agrees to incarnate as her son to save the demi‑gods and their King Indra. When Bali was about to complete the last of the hundred “Ashwamedha Yaga” (Horse sacrifices) recommended by Asura Guru Shukracharya so that Bali could retain all the three worlds permanently, Lord Vishnu in the disguise of Vamana approached King Bali. Vamana praised King Bali for his virtues and gifts given to people during the yaga. Pleased with the dwarf brahmin's wisdom and pleasing nature, Bali offered to give anything he asks including his Empire. Vamana replied that he was a bachelor and need nothing more than three paces of land to offer as “gurudakshina” to his preceptor Bharadwaja for performing religious rite of “Agnihotra”. The Emperor's preceptor, Sukracharya warned him against the gift, for he realized that the seeker was no ordinary person but Vishnu him self. Hearing this Bali was extremely happy that Lord Vishnu who could be pleased only by saints and wise men after years of austerities has come to take a gift from him and thought that it could have been possible due to merits earned by him in his previous lives. So he firmly declared that there is no greater sin than going back on one's promise. He kept his word. The Vamana asked for a simple gift — three paces of land — and the Emperor agreed to it. Vishnu in the guise of Vamana then increased his stature and with the first step covered the sky, blotting out the stars, and with the second, straddled the netherworld. With no place for the third step Bali offered his head and prayed to Vishnu for banishing his pride of insolence and liberating him from the cycle of birth and death. Vamana gave the three world he received as gift to Indra and gave two boons to Bali. First he offered the Kingdome of Sutala in the underworld and second he promised to protect his kingdom in person a Lord Janardana and also requested Bali to ask anything as a third boon. Bali said he is more than happy to see Vishnu every day in his kingdom as Lord Janardana whereas such privileges are not even available for Rudra, Brahma and Lakshmi. Since Vishnu has offered the third boon is sought permission to visit his erstwhile kingdom and his beloved subjects at least once a year. Vishnu readily grants him the boon and declared that the day Bali gave charity for Vishnu will be celebrated as a festival on earth year after year and thereafter he was known as Mahabali.

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My summer vacation in India By Jeena Thomas

During this summer of 2005, I went to India and had an awesome time. As usual, my family and I first traveled to Kerala, a truly amazing place! Then we flew to New Delhi, visited Agra and Jaipur. Usually if someone asked me, “So Jeena, how was Kerala?” I would reply with the typical, “It was great! I had a lot of fun.” But this time, it was different. I really understood how much different, in a very special way, Kerala is. As we were traveling to India, I started fretting about all the mosquito bites, the flies, all the little bugs, the lizards, the toilets, no toilet paper and so on. I reached my grandparents house and everything was the same old. On our previous trips to India, we had spent most of our time visiting friends and family and had seen only my grandparents’ house, their neighborhoods and a little bit of the sceneries around there as we were driving to visit family members. This time we took time to enjoy some of the beauty of Kerala. My whole family from my mother’s side went on a “kettuvallam” (tour boat) that took us from Alleppey to Kuttanad, then back to Alleppey. I was marveled by the beauty of nature at its best!! I had seen a new side of Kerala. The beautiful palm/coconut trees swaying in the breeze, the peaceful river with little ripples here and there which the tiny fish were making, all the plants and the amazing beauty not created by human hands, but by nature! It was a great and a beautiful trip. As an artist, I saw the little things in Kerala blooming with great beauty, such as the amazing wild flowers growing in my grandparents’ backyard, new singing voices from birds I heard coming from the tree tops, and more. It was amazing! The beauty of Kerala really touched me this time and it will have a major affect on me for ever. As our stay in Kerala came to an end, I treasured all of its beauty and nature’s wonders close to me. We left Kerala and flew from Kochi to New Delhi. From there, we drove to Agra, Jaipur and back to Delhi. All these three places were quite different from Kerala, yet beautiful in its own ways. Delhi and Agra had many buildings and crowds swarmed the streets like busy bees. Jaipur was the best out of the three because of the colorful and beautiful buildings. But none of these cities had as many wild flowers, plants or palm trees as in Kerala. None of these great places had the natural beauty as Kerala, but they had the beauty of history and what human hands could do! In each of these cities, we visited buildings or monuments that had made great contributions to Indian history. In Delhi we visited the India Gate, the Rashtrapati Bahvan (the Indian white house), and Qutb Minar. In Agra we saw the great Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri and the Akbar’s Tomb. In Jaipur, we visited Chowki Dhani, a Rajasthani village made for tourists, which was really fun and few other historically important palaces. At each of these places, I saw how amazing (I mean really amazing) the architectures were. Taj Mahal was made out of marble with semi-precious gems decorating the walls which are so beautiful and amazing. It is truly marvelous when we realize that all these were made by human hands, not machines but hands! The intricate details were amazing and really touched my artistic eyes. I went to each of these old and great places and came back home with something new in my heart. At the end of the trip, I realized that the few mosquito bites and small inconveniences didn’t matter at all. I came back home, in Virginia, with a proud and happy heart realizing how different and beautiful the various places of India are in their own little ways. I am proud of the amazing ‘home’ country and happy to have visited the most beautiful place in India (nature wise), Kerala. I realized that India has several gorgeous monuments and buildings, but in one state, India has the marvelous wonders of nature, my KERALA!

Onam thru these eyes: Onam brings forth nostalgic memories of life, living in a joint family ,collecting and puttiing flowers in the front yard all ten days , my grandma sitting on the front porch eagerly waiting for us to come out in our new clothes, going to the temple with my cousins and the grand finale—the sumptuous ‘Sadya’ - Smitha Menon

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The Box: An in-depth look into the Malayali mind. By: Anonymous Say nothing outside the Box. Think nothing outside the Box. Hear nothing outside the Box. Malayali parents usually try to force their children to adopt their way of thinking. Parents are "always right." Children are not given the choice or opportunity to develop their own opinions. Here is the foundation of that Box - the Box that has been laid into the children's mind. Even if children come up with something reasonable, but unconventional, the parents will stand against it with a big emphatic no because the kids are thinking outside the Box, which, according to the parents, is inappropriate. As children grow into adulthood, the construction of this Box progresses with them, and by being in a Box one limits the individual’s ability to think. Whatever that person has been taught by his/her parents is the only path conceivably available for him/her. Unfortunately, this can lead to:

• • • • •

Increasingly limited and diminishing analyzing skills. Growing inability to identify and differentiate between right and wrong clearly and consistently. An increased dependence on authority figures for the "answer." Parents making decisions on behalf of their children well into adulthood and maturity. Instances where a novel opinion or idea appears, and these children must reflexively close their eyes and mind towards it.

The Box restricts Malayali's from true independence of thought and action. A lack of confidence is one of the many possible recurring bricks that make up significant parts of many people’s Boxes. Always remember: the Berlin Wall was nothing compared to this Box. The Box, once created, seems to be extremely resistant to efforts made to destroy it by those stuck on the inside. This is comparable to AIDS, which seems to laugh heartily at our feeble attempts to destroy it… The Box seems dangerous… Let us all stay away from Boxes.

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Changing Attitudes By Jose Thomas

Once again we are celebrating Onam. The festival brings family, friends and the community together. Through these celebrations we keep our culture and traditions close to our hearts and pass it on to the future generation. As we celebrate Onam this year, I would like to take you to our homeland for a minute to share some good thoughts about our nation and the progress our state Kerala is making. I read an article in New York Times recently which talks about Graduate students from top schools in the US, most of them in MBA programs, vying for internships at India's biggest private companies; for many, outsourcing companies are destinations of choice. The World is changing!! The ‘Aviation Week’ magazine projected India as the new hot market for aviation industry. The relaxed regulations have prompted many Indian companies to begin flying. The center for Asia Pacific Aviation(APA), a consultancy, estimates that India will need up to 4000 more pilots over the next five years. Indigo agreed around 100 airbus A320s, Air Deccan –68, King fisher Airlines –32, Spicejet-25, Go Air-20 airbus and there are few others also in the list. Although they may take couple of years to establish these operations, Isn’t this development amazing !! President A P J Abdul Kalam’s 10-point prescription for Kerala’s development by doubling its per capita income in three years has brought pressure on the Government and the Opposition to discuss growth issues. The 10 core areas proposed by Kalam in his address to the Assembly are tourism, smart waterway, marketing of knowledge products, herbs and ayurveda, quality training for nurses and other paramedics, exclusive zones for NRI investments, fisheries, providing urban amenities in rural areas, spices value addition and collaboration with Indian Space Research Organization in the space-related industry. Currently, the average per capita income in Kerala is Rs 23,000, which has to be raised to Rs 50,000 to achieve the presidential target. Although all the political parties agreed to the president’s suggestions, we will have to wait and see the outcome. Earlier in Kerala, only politicians and the rich were able to send their kids for higher education, especially to other states. (As we had limited seats and professional courses available in Kerala). But the scenario is different today. We started encouraging self-financing colleges. Loans are also easily available for education. Another project called ‘smart city’ has been proposed in Kerala, which will create at least 300000 jobs!! . If this project is successful, Kochi will be the most happening place in India. The economic reforms have changed India to a large extent in the last few years. State monopoly has been abolished in almost all sectors, which have been opened to the private sector. Today the private sector has become an active participant in the telecommunication sector which is booming. The most change in India in the last few years has been in the attitude towards economic reforms. Almost every political party today recognizes the need for continued reforms. Last year, our economic growth rate was 7 per cent and it is likely to be similar this year as well .Our country is a multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-lingual and multiethnic nation. We must seize the moment and grab this opportunity. We need to have the resolve to make our country prosperous. We need to change our attitudes. We must have the self-confidence to realize that we are second to none,

that Indians are as good as the best.

Onam thru these eyes: Flower petal carpet for ten days and a nice feast on a leaf. Aparna Pooleri Every Onam, my family and I go to our friend's house (the Panickers) and eat a delicious vegetarian feast! All of us dress up in Kerala attire- Daddy and my brother in a Juba, Mommy in an off-white sari with a gold border, and me in a pavada. Jeena Thomas

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Greetings From

Your Friendly and Dependable Catering Company owned and operated by Jacob & Rose Kallarackal (Chackochan and Rosamma).


JR Caterers is


the contractor





for operating the Montgomery College Cafeterias at the Germantown and Takoma Park Campuses.

Phone: 301-353-9101 Website:


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I watched Ram Gopal Varma's latest, Sarkar, a couple of weeks ago. I went to the movie with great expectations and left with some of them unfulfilled. The hype that preceded the movie - some created by the media and some by own inflated expectations - should have prepared me for the let down. RGV has established himself as the talented maverick in Hindi cinema and has an impressive list of movies under his name: Satya, Company, Rangeela, Bhoot, Naach, Jungle, Shiva. Each of these movies are technically brilliant, tell different tales in different styles. His ability to reinvent himself while at the same time leave his very authentic stamp on each movie has been unparalleled in Hindi movie history. Now Sarkar was supposed to be his masterpiece, his ode to the Godfather. And it had a dream cast - the father and the son, Amitabh and Abhishek. When I saw Godfather for the first time - in my teens - I had hoped that Amitabh would play Don Corelone in a Hindi remake. When I saw Satya - and then Company - I knew RGV was the person to make this happen. However, for some reason, the best commercial movie director in Hindi and the India's greatest star had never come together before. So when Sarkar was announced, it was as if someone out there was listening to my own dreams albeit I am certain this dream of mine was certainly not unique; any lover of Hindi cinema would have been dreaming of this partnership for the last decade or so. As for Abhishek, he was slowly growing into Hindi cinemas answer to Mohanlal - albeit a much fitter and conventionally better looking answer. While he brought his father's intensity to the screen, he also had a very natural acting style, rare in Indian cinema where actors grow up on method acting. Though Abhishek began his movie career with a series of horribly chosen and forgettable movies, lately he had come into his own with superb performances in Phir Milenge, Yuva and RGV's Naach. And now he was supposed to play Al Pacino to Amitabh's Brando. But Sarkar, as I said earlier, did not meet my expectations. It was certainly not RGV's best. And since I hoped that RGV + Amitabh + Abhishek would provide unforgettable cinema, I had set myself up for disappointment. Sarkar while continuing to be technicallly brilliant did not have the same narrative coherence of a Satya or a Company. It wasn't as gritty as Satya or as complete (and close to perfection) as Company. Dialogues were used very sparely and when they were used, were very conventional and god forbit, for Varma, melodramatic. I could go on with the criticisms but there are many reviews out there which lay out the failures of the movie. But as the week went by, individual scenes from the movie kept coming back to me. And it began to dawn on me that RGV was aiming for something else in Sarkar. He wasn't (at least, just) aiming for narrative coherence. He was aiming for portraits of a larger than life character and his relationship with his sons. The movie was filled with close-ups. In most scenes it was the eyes that did the talking. This movie wasn't a plain Godfather or a Nayakan wannabe. It occurred to me that this was not only RGV's ode to Godfather but also to Amitabh, the superstar (as opposed to Amitabh, the actor - last seen in his last production, Black). Sarkar's frame or eyes filled the screen in the first half. And Abhishek's ambiguity about his father's doings wasn't captured in dialogues and intense confrontations (as in Godfather) but by out of focus shots of Abhishek in the background listening in to conversations and wandering off uncomfortably. As the movie progresses, we see Abhishek moving to the foreground, the camera focuses on him (and his eyes) more. And his quiet brooding presence begins to remind you of Deewar and Shakti (arguably, two of the young Amitabh's best performances). And by the time, Abhisheks lets loose in the denouement (which is masterfully edited), you are assured that the Angry Young Man is back and he is his father's son. So yes, Sarkar is not RGV's best. And it is slow and brooding and has some very un-Varma-like melodrama. As a work of cinema it has its failings. It is not complete. But as a piece of work in the mosaic that is world and Indian cinema, this is a remarkable contribution - An ode to the aging Angry Young Man - reinvented as the Angry Old Man - and the handing over of the mantle to the new generation. RGV has added another memorable one to his impressive repertoire.

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Joys of Public Transportation

fashion trends thanks to the fashion divas who board the train once you enter the ‘District of Columbia’.

By: Lin Thomas

Public transportation offers you too many choices. It offers you some time to reflect and analyze the life around you and be more in touch with people from different walks of life. You can make some friends, solve some puzzles or even catch up on some sleep lost due to a late night movie.

Faced with the prospect of my next project being in Washington DC, I mumbled and grumbled about the idea of having to use public transportation to get to work. And my hubby made it a special point to be gleeful about it. Come on!! , he said, it’s cool to be working in DC. You can travel by the metro, sip a Starbucks and read the news paper. .Isn’t that awesome !! Besides the fact that eating & drinking is not allowed on the metro and more importantly, Starbucks isn’t my favorite brand, I just couldn’t digest the fact that I would have to give up the comfort of my car and travel in the snow and rain by train and bus!! I dragged myself to the Park & Ride close to home and boarded the bus that would take me to the nearest station. I have a 20 minute non stop bus ride and then a 20 minute train ride to work. I slowly began to realize that it wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated. In fact, it was pretty relaxing. I found a cozy seat on the train and began reading the newspaper I had picked. I realized that I actually read it, instead of scanning it as I would have at home. Suddenly my fears seemed unfounded. I looked around at all the friendly faces and it dawned on me that here I was traveling to work, not worried about the traffic on the beltway ,not worried about the car that rudely cut in front of me or the sulky driver behind honking at me. I was actually relaxing!! Isn’t that a luxury few can afford on the way to a dreary day at work? Traveling by the metro instills in you an unusual reality check. The young CEO and the day laborer paid the same ticket and enjoyed the same status in a metro. There was this unusual sense of camaraderie amongst the passengers. As day went by I began to love my travel all the more. I got time to catch up on my reading, listen to music, plan a party and also be updated on the latest

Talking about sleep, it is not the best thing to do if you are a deep sleeper. You might have to get a ride back to the station you missed or better still miss out on some interesting happenings. One fine day as my bus went down the Dulles Toll-free Road, a co-passenger decided to take a snooze. Let’s call him Sleepyhead. Our new driver who was obviously unfamiliar with the roads forgot to take exit into the parallel road that leads to our exit. Once you miss that road there’s no turning back. It takes you straight to the Dulles airport. None of us realized something was amiss until we began to see some unfamiliar buildings. The first thought was that we had got into the wrong bus. All of us turned to each other and said where are we going? Everyone looked really amused. If you are familiar with the Dulles airport roads you’ll know that you need to travel quite a bit till you can actually get back to the highway in the opposite direction. Add to that some construction work and we really did have a joy ride. Sleepyhead was blissfully unaware of all what was happening. After a good 15 minutes ride through all the new construction in the Dulles area we were on our way back. This time our driver did not make a mistake and we were on our exit ramp. Everyone in the bus began clapping, reminiscent of the days when planes landed successfully post 9/11. Sleepyhead woke up with all the commotion and really looked confused seeing that the 30 other passengers were all clapping on the bus. He looked around and everything looked just the same as it did every day. The look of confusion on his face was a sight worth savoring for me as a bus rider. Don’t you agree now that public transportation has its own share of fun and advantages?

Become a KAGW Member .. Ask us about the advantages .. Discounts @ Groceries ..Participate in Social Work ..Join our activities ..contribute to the community .. Annual Membership is just a donation of $20 away .. Become a KAGW Life Member for a nominal fee of $250

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Sweet memoriesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Glorious Traditions .. KAGW Members from 1984

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Community Health TOOTH TIME WITH DR. THOMAS By: Joyce Thomas Karakunnel D.M.D., P.A. Have you ever wondered if over the counter products really whiten your teeth? Are you unhappy with the appearance of your silver fillings? Do you wish that you had straight teeth but do not want to wear braces? Are you wondering if your children need to get braces or have their wisdom teeth pulled? Are you a high school or college student considering a career in dentistry but do not know how to explore this option? If any of these or other dentistry related questions have crossed your mind, take a moment to read this article. Please note that none of the information provided below should be regarded as a substitute for an examination, diagnosis and professional advice from your dentist. This question and answer dialogue is solely intended to encourage you to seek the advice and services of your dental professional and to prompt a discussion with him or her of concerns that you may have.

Q. Do the Crest White strips actually get your teeth whiter? A. Yes, Crest White Strips will lighten the color of your teeth but not as effectively or with as long lasting results as a professional whitening treatment. Because the strips are generally designed to reach from canine tooth (the "fang" tooth as many of my pediatric patients like to call it) to canine tooth, if you have a wide smile line (think: Julia Roberts, a beautiful smile from ear to ear) the strips may not cover all of the teeth that are visible when you smile, thereby defeating the purpose of whitening your teeth for a brighter smile. Additionally, because one form of the strips is dispensed over- the- counter, the concentration of the whitening agent is much less than the concentration of the same whitening agent present in the dentist-dispensed white strips and in the professional whitening treatments - thus leading to the less effective and shorter acting results. An important note to keep in mind when considering any whitening treatment: there is no whitening treatment present at this time that will whiten any existing dental work, they are only effective on natural tooth structure. Therefore, if you have a crown or filling on a front tooth and you undergo a tooth whitening procedure, your teeth may appear lighter in color but your existing dental work will not change color. This can, depending on your desires, necessitate replacing dental work to match your newly whitened teeth.

Q. Can I straighten my teeth without braces? A. Yes, you can create the appearance of straight teeth without actually getting braces. Veneers are thin, tooth shaped coverings that are custom fit and bonded to your teeth. Getting veneers on your teeth is similar to refacing your kitchen cabinets or (for women) having fake nails put on to improve the appearance of your hands.. From the outside, the cabinets look brand new with a great color and style, but underneath, they are still the same cabinets. In the nail example, again, from the outside, the nails are shaped, colored and textured to suit the desires of the woman wearing them, but underneath, the original nails are still present. Because veneers only cover the outside surface of the teeth that you see when you smile, the bulk of your tooth structure is preserved from any alteration. Tooth alignment, shape, and color, combined with a person’s desires, will determine the color/shape/ thickness/thinness/angulations, etc. that the veneers need to be to create the desired outward appearance. The veneers can be made of porcelain and created in a dental laboratory or they can be made of white filling material and be done in one visit with no laboratory fee involved. Veneers can dramatically improve a person’s appearance by creating a “straight” smile that covers not-so-straight teeth, by creating a “white” smile that covers teeth darkened or permanently stained by age, trauma or medications, or by creating a “beautifully shaped” smile that covers teeth whose size and shape may be a constant source of displeasure.

Q. Can I get white fillings to replace my silver ones? A. Yes, silver fillings can be replaced with white fillings. After a thorough examination, if your dentist determines that your teeth are not in need of treatment more extensive than fillings, he or she may recommend removing the silver fillings and placing composite resin, or tooth colored fillings. Because tooth colored fillings actually bond to the tooth structure, they minimize, but do not guarantee against, potential fracture of the tooth. This procedure is done with local anesthetic to ensure that you are comfortable during the treatment. Despite some debate in the public arena, please note that there are no documented, peer reviewed clinical

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studies that have demonstrated that silver fillings are toxic. There are some people who are allergic to certain components of the silver filling material (this is determined with allergy testing) and for these people, removal of the silver filling will improve localized irritation caused by the metal to which they have an allergy. For all others, placing a tooth colored filling is acceptable when a silver filling is breaking down, when a silver filling has decay around the edges, or when you are unhappy with the appearance of the silver filling.

Q. My dentist says that I need a deep cleaning â&#x20AC;&#x201C; what is this? A. A deep cleaning or â&#x20AC;&#x153;scaling and root planingâ&#x20AC;? is a procedure that is done to remove harmful bacteria, plaque, tartar, and diseased tissue from the areas under the gum around the teeth. A person who needs a deep cleaning has generally been diagnosed with periodontal disease, or gum disease. This condition affects the health of all of the tissues or structures that hold our teeth in our mouth under the gum, in the bone. It is caused by different factors such as heredity and lack of adequate home care of the mouth and it is exacerbated by certain factors such as smoking and diabetes. Once a diagnosis of periodontal disease is made, a person is always considered to have the disease, but it is then considered to be controlled or uncontrolled. The scaling and root planing procedure is done with local anesthetic and is done over the course of two to four appointments, depending on the extent of your disease. The 2000 Surgeon General Report addressed, for the first time, the impact that uncontrolled periodontal disease can have on other aspects of health. Pregnant women who suffer from this oral condition can go into preterm labor or have low birth weight babies. Diabetics, who are in general prone to slow healing, are at greater risk of developing periodontal disease. This oral condition is a generally non-painful condition unless an acute abscess forms at which point, there is often too little bone remaining around the tooth to save it. Thus, screening for periodontal disease is something that is routinely done when you have a professional dental cleaning and exam.

Q. What are dental implants? A. Dental implants are titanium posts that placed in the jaw bone to replace missing teeth. They are topped with a crown which is a porcelain and metal covering that is shaped to look like a tooth. Implants are generally placed in the bone by an oral surgeon or periodontist. Depending on how long it takes for the implant to become filled in by the surrounding jaw bone, the general dentist will be the one to place the crown on the implant. Despite their expense, Implants are a great alternative to dentures because they provide sensation to chewing and speaking that is much closer to that of a real tooth that is actually in the jaw, versus a denture that is a piece of acrylic sitting on the jaw. Implants are a great alternative to bridges because no adjacent teeth have to be altered in any way to fill a missing tooth space with an implant. They are also easy to clean, which is an important aspect of maintaining the health of the tissue surrounding the implant as well as the overall health of the mouth.

Q. Can pregnant women have dental treatment? A. Yes, pregnant women can and should have dental treatment, depending on their needs. Studies have shown oral bacteria to be linked to various health conditions, including pre-term, low birth weight babies born to mothers with uncontrolled periodontal disease, or gum disease. Your dentist will work in conjunction with your obstetrician to ensure that recommended precautions are followed. Elective procedures (including but not limited to tooth whitening or cosmetic dental work) should be postponed until after the pregnancy. The first trimester is a period during which a great deal of fetal development is occurring and the third trimester is a period during which the expectant mother is often uncomfortable and would therefore have difficulty sitting through dental treatment. The second trimester is therefore the recommended time period for necessary dental work. There are two exceptions to limiting treatment to the second trimester: emergency care will need to be addressed at any time that it occurs during the pregnancy and cleanings should actually increase in frequency during pregnancy and nursing because hormones during these periods can cause "pregnancy gingivitis." This is a condition characterized by gums that are swollen, red and bleed easily during routine brushing and flossing as well as during professional cleanings. By maintaining shorter intervals (every 3 months during pregnancy and nursing is ideal) between professional cleaning visits, it is possible to minimize the discomfort related to the gingivitis.. The condition will generally resolve through continued good home care after the hormone levels have returned to the patient's pre-pregnancy baseline.

Q. Do all children need braces? A. No, all children do not need braces and those who do may require them for a variety of reasons. While braces do straighten your teeth, they are also beneficial in other ways. By improving the relationship of the upper jaw to the lower jaw, less stress is placed on the on facial muscles and jaw joints. Teeth that are aligned properly are

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easier to clean and this results in better periodontal or “gum” health. Another less physically tangible but nevertheless priceless end result achieved through orthodontic treatment is the improvement in self esteem achieved by a straight, healthy smile. Q. When/why should I take my baby/toddler to the dentist? A. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommends that a child have his/her first dental examination by age 12 months or by the eruption of their first tooth, whichever comes first. This first visit serves some very important purposes. It allows the dentist and dental hygienist to review with parents their child's diet and oral hygiene - two significant avenues by which decay can be prevented. The dental staff can teach proper mouth cleaning techniques and demonstrate the specific areas in your child's mouth that need particular attention. It gives them the opportunity to discuss the hugely detrimental dental effects of putting a baby in bed with a bottle of milk and the incredible cavity causing power of drinking too much juice. Just as important as the clinical components, the first exam and cleaning introduces the child to the dental office and dental staff in a non-emergency situation, thereby making future visits less anxiety provoking. For children who have never been to the dentist for a check up and cleaning, coming in for the first time with a dental emergency involving pain, a knocked out tooth or a large cavity can be an incredibly frightening experience because the office, staff and procedures are unknown to them. The unfortunate long term effect of this is a lifetime of anxiety regarding all dental appointments, even non-threatening, preventive care such as exams and cleanings.

Q. Do all wisdom teeth need to be extracted? A. No, not all wisdom teeth (third molars) need to be extracted, but the need for this should be determined after an examination and diagnosis by your dentist. He/she may advise you that your mouth or the alignment of the wisdom teeth in your jaw will not allow adequate space for eruption. Additionally, some people are unable to clean this area due to lack of space and thus may develop periodontal problems. The recommended course of treatment in these clinical cases is generally, but not always, extraction. You may even be one of the lucky ones who does not have any wisdom teeth! This is a situation that is seen commonly. About the author Dr. Thomas is a 1998 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. From 19981999 she completed Internship in Oral Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and from 1999 – 2000 she completed a residency in Advanced Education in General Dentistry at the Dental Care Center/Faculty Practice of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Thomas then moved to New Jersey, where she was an associate general dentist in private practice for 3 years. She and her family relocated to Maryland in the summer of 2003. She is an associate dentist at the office of Dr. Cheryl Callahan in Rockville, MD. Dr. Thomas’ husband, Joyson Karakunnel, is a hematology/oncology fellow at the University of Maryland in Baltimore. The couple lives in Boyds, MD with their two children, 3 ½ year old Nicholas and 2-year old Diana. Dr. Thomas is thrilled to have found the place that she wants to call home for herself and her young family. Dr. Thomas welcomes questions and would be happy to provide presentations on dentistry related topics such as those described above to any interested groups, such as classrooms, women's groups, girl scout troops, preventive health panel discussions, etc. She may be contacted via cell (301)641-6083 and email: Please feel free to browse the office website: Dr. Thomas is accepting new patients! Please call the office at (301)948-1212 if you would like to schedule an appointment.

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Sports Weather Precautions By: Smita Parikh Mengers, MD, Renette Belizaire, MD, Lynne Soper, R.N., C.P.N.P Warm weather is here and that means it’s time for outdoor sports for our young athletes. The following lists of Do’s will help keep your kids healthy and safe during this sports season: •

• • • • • •

Eat a pre-game meal 2-3 hours before game time. This meal should be rich in carbohydrates (breads, pasta, cereal, potatoes, etc). Eating right before competition puts the body to work digesting the meal instead of having that energy in the muscles ready to burn. Drink water. A child should drink 8-12 oz. of water before a game and 4-8 oz. at regular intervals throughout the game. Avoid sugar-loaded, caffeinated and carbonated drinks. Sports drinks may be high in sugar and should be diluted by half with water. A child should not wait until thirsty to drink. Know the signs of dehydration which are: dry mouth, weakness and fatigue, muscle cramps, rapid breathing, fast and/or weakened pulse, no urination for 6 hours. Follow a warm-up routine. Wear the proper safety equipment and ensure it fits your child properly. Wear sunscreen. Have the coach exert their authority to reschedule games due to extreme heat. Remember that your child’s health is most important!

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KAGW Clothes Drive for Hurricane Katrina Victims KAGW will be coordinating with the Red Cross towards this effort. Kindly donate clothes and other nonperishable, light weight items to KAGW volunteers who will conduct the drive between September 24th and September 25th. Clothes must be washed and in good condition. We will place boxes at a few grocery stores in MD and VA. If you would like to help in any other way or donate anything else , KAGW maybe able to offer some suggestions. For more details please contact Ms Smitha Menon 301 -947 3587

Ms Lin Thomas 571- 643 0833

Ms Parvati Das, 240 -632 8377

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Kerala: The Cradle of Civilization. * K. S. Gokulanathan, M.D., FRCP(C), FAAP, FAAA Thiruonam is the auspicious and appropriate time to emphasize the grandeur and greatness of Kerala as the Cradle of Civilization. This statement may sound strange and unacceptable to Indians and even Keralites due to the hangover from the Euro-centric historians and Macaulay’s educational systems. Recently, DNA studies have proved “that we are all clearly, very closely related, one human family with a common genetic ancestor . . .” from Africa who migrated along the coastal area to south India about 50,000 years back when most the northern hemisphere was covered by hundreds of feet thick ice without any humans! From circa 1500 B.C.E. the repeated onslaught by innumerable outside forces tried to destroy the Indic wisdom and/or claim of its origin outside India. The Muslim conquerors adopted the slash and burn technique to destroy Indian heritage. British strategy of divide and rule was to distort and destroy Indic wisdom, create Aryan-Dravidian racial split, and introduce an educational system to brainwash Indians into their servile status. Among them, the most prejudiced one is the ridiculous Aryan Migration Theory. This extols that light-skinned Aryans from Central Asia, migrated west to Europe and South to India (1500 BCE) who conquered local primitive people and founded the world’s great civilizations! In South India, especially in the geographically isolated Kerala section, the inhabitants found all the bio-supportive Pancha Mahabooths—earth, air, water, fire, and space and a highly fertile agricultural and pastoral land bounded by mountains and sea. This ecological circumscription provided them to evolve Kerala as the Cradle of Civilization. It nurtured the Indic wisdom to form the proto-type of all later philosophical, ecological, economical, epistemological, religious, technological and materialistic progress. Through millennia, this civilization became the legendary Utopian kingdom of Mahabali. Ironically, even the Gods became jealous to invoke the help of Mahavishnu who incarnates as Vamana and tricks Mahabali to abdicate and banishes him to lower worlds. Vamana grants his wish to return to his dear subjects once a year. During Onam festival, we celebrate his return and pay homage to this great leader and reaffirm our commitments to his dictates. Kerala continued to keep the legacy of Mahabali and through the ages became the epicenter of civilization lauded as “God's True Country”, “Noblest and Richest Province in the Whole World”, “Holy Region” and “Paradise.” A simplified and condensed version of the Civilization/Religion Time line, and Vedic Time lines BCE and CE will serve as a guide to appreciate the importance of Kerala through the ages. Against this backdrop, we will examine specific areas of inception of original concepts and the geo-historical, cultural, economical, ecological, political stability and religious harmony of Kerala. Kerala is one the smallest states in India, which is about 360 miles long and an average of 80 miles wide. It extends between the Western Ghats (mountains) on the East and the Arabian Sea in the West, along the southwestern boarder of India. By 200 B.C.E, after years of battle between different kings, the victor consolidated Kerala with large areas of Tamilnadu as Chera dynasty with Kodungallur as the capital. The Kerala ports of Muziris (Kodungallur) and later the port of Cochin situated on the Arabian Sea, became middleman to the ancient world and an international center of

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commerce and trade. Ships laden with spices, silk, and other valuable items like teak, rosewood, peacocks, tigers, and even elephants bound for Greece and Rome crowded the waterways. Ships from far off places like China and Malay brought in semiprecious stones, fine silk, and a variety of goods for trading. It also became the main conduit for the spread of Indic wisdom to Europe via the Arab- Judaic world. Kerala spice nurtured the flowering of the Western Civilization. Kerala, since time immemorial, is the hub of the spice trade of the world. Its spices, tickled the palate of King Solomon and Ceasers as a dash of it stimulates our taste buds. The spices of Kerala helped the Pharoahs enjoy their meals and also helped to have them embalmed for their eternal life. Kerala through the Arab-Hebrew connections reinstated the Vedic wisdom of agri-pastoralism and ecological importance of the cow to sustain humans and civilization: “Go bramanaibia sughamasuthu nithiam, loka samasha suhino bhvanthu” (look after the welfare of the cow and intellectuals; may the world become happy). They also introduced the preservation of meat by the use of spices especially black pepper. It was a decisive factor for the ecological stability of European communities by establishment of animal husbandry and meat preservation. In C.E.480, Alarc the Goth demanded two tins of black pepper as ransom to lift the siege of Rome! It was worth its weight in gold – a few pounds of it served as a valuable gift for the kings! It provided them with valuable commercial token in economic transactions; English tenants in the Middle Ages paid the rent, taxes, and dowries by this commodity! The Arab world controlled the spice trade and traded them at exorbitant price to Europe. In 1500 C.E., Arab will sell a hundred weight of black pepper costing 3 ducats in Kerala for 80 ducats to Venetians who will again markup for sale in Western Europe. They were compelling reasons for Portuguese to continue their explorations! The documents of Marco Polo’s visit to Kerala on his way back from China in 1295 C.E. and of Ibn Buttuta in 1341 C.E. served as prelude and provided navigational ideas for them. The lure of the black pepper initiated European explorations and colonization like the voyages of Vasco da Gama and Pedro Cabral to Kozhikode, Christopher Columbus to sight the new world, and Ferdinand Magellan to circum- navigate the oceans and rewriting of the geo-history of the world. Annually, at present, about 70,000 tons of the black pepper “king of spices” from Kerala, still reigns supreme on the dinning tables around the world! The Chera Dynasty lasted till 1100 C.E. They were in constant battle with their Chola counterparts on the eastern side of the mountains. The king and the warrior nobility were like the feudal lords. They displayed exemplary courage and bravery and enforced strict law and order. Being a Spartan society, female members assumed the responsibility of home and childcare, with formation of matriarchal system. This pioneer system has matrifocal kinship family structure and matrilineal inheritance pattern. Tradition extolled the equality and even superiority of women as embodied in the Mother Goddess. They did not meet the fate of intelligent and courageous women like Hypathia of Alexandria in 300 C.E., Joan of Arc of France in 1430 C.E., and the “witches” of Salem, Massachusetts in 1692 C.E! The recognition of the equal status of women in Kerala leads to a "festival" instead of "the battle of sexes.” By 1102 C.E, the hundred-year war with Chola almost destroyed the Chera dynasty. Cheras were the first to develop suicide squads called “chavettar” and defeated the Cholas. The war drained the resources and the trade of both dynasties. The renewed power struggle among the chieftains (rajas) finally contained itself in the formation of princely states ruled by kings and controlled by feudal lords.

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Through the millennia, Kerala became a complex vast repository of knowledge that has its sway on every facet of human thinking and activities through the human history. They developed the alphabets of the first written language Tamil, millennia before the introduction of Sanskrit. The oldest Tamil word “Takai” for peacock became in Hebrew “Tuki” in the ancient Hebrew text. Many words in European languages can be traced to ancient Tamil root words. For example, the suffix “ur” is an ancient Tamil root-meaning town. Innumerable present day towns have this suffix like Trishivaparur, Ullur, Kolalumpur, and Jodhpur etc. Its phonetic link is obvious in the biblical Ur dynasty and Nippur and Latin urbs ending in the English word “urban.” Australian aborigines, who emigrated from South India during the prehistoric times, still have many words of Tamil origin like Olloru, Kata and Jathi! Between 400 and 600 CE, notable mathematicians like Aryabhata I from Kerala, Brahmagupta, and Bhaskara I introduced the concept of Shunyam, indicated by a dot or Pujyam or “Zero.” and formulated rules of operation zero that foreshadowed the decimal system numeration. They introduced numbers and symbolism, the classification of mathematics, the names and solution methods of equations of the first degree, quadratic equations, cubic equations and equations with more than one unknown, symbolic algebra, and algorithm methods. By 14th century CE, the original contributions of Kerala mathematicians like Madhava, Pameswara, Nilakantha, and Jyesthadeva included trigonometric functions, analytical series, integral calculus and advanced astronomy computations ahead of the Europeans by two to three centuries! Isn’t it fascinating that the zero concepts based binary code and algorithm technique gives us the all-modern computer software! The importance of this discovery is explicit in Albert Einstein’s comments: “We owe a lot to Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.” Aryabhata I presented the heliocentric planetary system, correct explanation for eclipses and calculated the circumference of earth. He was ahead of Copernicus and Galileo by a millennium! To promote the flourishing trade to foreign nations, the South Indian kingdoms build different types of seagoing vessels and the first mariner’s compass. Some families in Kozhikode still continue their shipbuilding business from seventh century. British Naval historian Mr.J.L.Reid attests: “ The Hindu compass was an iron fish that floated in a vessel of oil and pointed to the North . . . the Sanskrit word Maccha Yantra or fish machine . . .” Being astute astronomers, they developed astrolabe and later the sextant known as Vruttashanga Bhaga. The Arabs utilized these instruments and became expert navigators and expanded their maritime horizons and trade. The knowledge of seamanship and navigational instruments acquired from the Moors and Jewish scholars, enabled Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, and Magellan to pursue their explorations to the land of spices. The trade route enabled the different religious groups to seek haven in Kerala. The Jews, fleeing exile and persecution, came to Kerala from the time of King Solomon (960 BC) The apostle St. Thomas arrived in Kerala in 52 C.E. and built the first apostolic church. Thomas of Cana arrived by 4th century C.E. Arabs were there before the time of Mohammed and the first spread of Islam and the building of the first mosque in India were in Kerala. Kerala still boasts of having 400 hundred years old synagogue, older mosques, amidst Hindu temples that are in use for more than two millennia. Kerala is a haven and repository of great religious traditions. Keralites strive to follow the scriptural injunction that “humankind is a interrelated organism,” and live on harmony. In small towns, during weekends, the prayers from the minaret of mosques mingle with the melodies of devotional music from the temples against the background of the chimes of church bells. Rarely, outside fanatic groups like Portuguese and Muslim Kings Hyder Ali and Tuppu sultan have disrupted this

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harmony. These religious uprisings were self-limited once the outside sources were eliminated. Kerala is the birthplace of eminent Hindu religious reformers like Sree Sankarachraya (788200 C.E.) and Sree Narayana Guru (1854-1928 C.E.) The former was a saintly Hindu philosopher who reconciled six different Hindu sects. He clarified the advaita or non-duality or monistic doctrine of Veda about the ultimate oneness of all things. The latter utilized the advaita philosophy of the former to eliminate the decadent caste system and stress the idea of Universal goodness: “ Whichever the religion, it be sufficient if it makes the person good.” Equally admirable pioneer achievement in Kerala in circa 800 C.E was the consecration of Ayyappa diety at the mountainous border of erstwhile Chola and Chera Dynasties with access for devotees from either side. This is a significant geo-historical, socio-cultural, and religious event in Hinduism. This Hindu sect enshrines secularism and encourages inter and intra-faith solidarity, an egalitarian outlook, intense austerities, and deep devotion. Muslims, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, and Christians honor Ayyappan. The name Dharma Shasta connotes the Buddhist influence. The idea of non-dualism is implicit in naming the devotee and the deity by the same name of "Ayyappa". Even interfaith unity is evident in the legendary truce between Ayyappa and Muslim chief Vaavur and a mosque to commemorate it near the temple. Similarly, tribal festivities, and access to all castes made Kerala Ayyappa a bastion of secularism and egalitarianism. The Kerala kings and nobles were patrons of literature and in the fields of performing arts like music, dances, and theatre, and creative arts like handicraft, weaving, embroidery, painting, woodwork, metal- work, and stone carving. Kathakali, which is one of the oldest theatre forms in the world originated in Kerala. It is a dance drama of actors with ornate colorful make up and headdress with highly developed language of gesture that involves facial expression (Mudras) and hand movements (Hasta) and movements of lips and eyes to express various moods. This is accompanied with vocalists and drummers. It is a proto-type of various Eastern and Western dance dramas. Through millennia, Kerala excelled in education systems. By eight century C.E., they developed the Malayalam language out of Tamil and Sanskrit. Kerala literary giants wrote a huge collection of sacred and secular literature in addition to the translation of Hindu scriptures and epics. The Kerala poets were the forerunners of the Indic philosophy of the interactions of individual self (atman) with the ecosystems (Brahman) in human expressions and creations. Romanticism embodied this concept to revolutionize European philosophy, literature, creative art, polity, and scientific empiricism and propel humanity to the space age. The Kerala rulers always promoted literacy among the people. Before the 18th century there was non-formal education that was organized around the temples. Even the women had opportunity to learn in these schools. The high female literacy helped the state to achieve remarkably high status in health as evidenced from indicators like life expectancy, infant mortality etc. Kerala was the pioneer to implement the total literacy program in 1990 with the slogan:” Sakshara Keralam, Sundara Keralam—A Literate Kerala is a Beautiful Kerala." This epic program with the ceremonial literary torch and pledge by students and volunteers initiated in 1989 culminated in making a totally literate State on April 18,1991. This campaign authenticated the ancient Indian adage: “ Vidhia dhanum sarva dhanath pradhanam –The Wealth of Knowledge is the most important Wealth!” With that wealth, Kerala achieved Model of Development by its high material quality of life achievements at low levels of per capita income. Kerala’s people with only 5% of what Americans live on, compared to the US, has 100% of the literacy, 80-90% of life expectancy, infant mortality within 6 per thousand, and a birth rate

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within 2 per thousand! After independence, Kerala stared the first college of modern medicine while still promoting the ancient Ayurveda medical system. For millennia, Kerala physicians practiced Ayurveda system and utilized temple therapy in a rational and systematic manner to probe the mind and unveil the causative factors and cure of mental illnesses. Ayurveda influenced the Arab and Persian medicine that formed the basis of Greco-Roman medical practice. By 7th century C.E., with a linguistic cascade of Sanskrit to Arabic-Hebrew, the Vedic wisdom, Indian numerical systems and Ayurvedic principles spread along the spice routes from Kerala to Arabic and Jewish scholars. The transfer of this knowledge to Latin by Arabic and Hebrew scholars in Spain initiated inception of European scientific medicine! Equally interesting is the contribution of Kerala in the world of sports and games. Kalaripayat originated in Kerala and was transmitted to China by 5th. Century. This is the forerunner of Judo, Karate, Kung Fu and similar martial arts that flourished in the East and became popular in the West. The Chess (Chaturanga), Snake and Ladders (Ludo), and Playing cards (Kridapatram) originated in India centuries BCE and spread to Persia and Arab world and transmitted to Greco-Romans. The interplay of Oriental wisdom and Occidental might (Ex Oriente lux, ex occidente Frus) change the ways of life and the face of earth beyond recall. They steep this overcrowded earth in environmental pollution, natural resources depletion, dwindling bio-diversity, religious fundamentalism, and human conflicts on the threshold of a possible nuclear holocaust. It looks like the road along scriptural injunction of Kali Yuga, the doomsday predictions of Malthus, or the days of broken seal and the four horses of Apocalypse! What are the role of Indic wisdom and the “Cradle of Civilization” in the throes of the crunch of civilizations? The Western intellectuals stress this role of the proto-intellectuals of humanity. Voltaire (1694-1778 C.E.) regarded Indians as the most ancient people on earth and French scholar J.Z. Jacolliot called the Bharatha Varsha the Cradle of Humanity. Will Durant the author of History of Civilization remind us: “India was the mother of our race and Sanskrit the mother of European languages. She was the mother of our philosophy, mother through the Arabs, of much of our mathematic, mother through Buddha, of the ideals embodied in Christianity, mother through village communities of self-government and democracy. Mother India in many ways the mother of us all.” Of Late, this Indic wisdom is being echoed all over the world as prophesied by the British historian, Arnold Tonyubee,: “It is already becoming clearer that a chapter which has a western beginning will have an Indian ending if it is not to end in self-destruction of human race… At this supremely dangerous moment in history, the only way of salvation for mankind is the Indian way.” Bill McKibben suggests the role of Kerala: “ Kerala demonstrates that a low-level economy can create a decent life, abundant in the things--health, education, community--that are most necessary for us all . . . every American dollar or its equivalent spent anywhere on earth, half a liter of oil was consumed in producing, packaging, and shipping the goods . . . One-seventieth the income means oneseventieth the damage to the planet . . . Kerala and the United States manage to achieve the same physical quality of life, Kerala is the vastly more successful society.” Keralities nurtured in the Advaita philosophy of Adi Sankara, Purva Mimimsa of Prabhakara and the Monism and social reformations of Sree Narayana Guru and Chattambi Swamigal should lead such movements to bring harmony among humans. . Let them propagate the Religion of Love based on

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Congressman Bob Ehrlich's successful re-election efforts in 1998 and 2000.

We are all products of our experiences and environments. Many of you know that I am running for the Maryland State Senate in 2006, but you may not know how I came to the decision to run. Knowing that may help you to decide if politics is the right path for you. I considered running for an office lower than State Senate, but none of those seats are available where I live (House of Delegates, County Council, etc.). I firmly believe that you need to "put in your time" before you run for office. In other words, it is difficult to run for Congress when you have not held another elected office.

In 2002, after four years as a prosecutor in Baltimore County, I decided to run for political office myself-for a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates. Redistricting due to the 2000 Census created a District where there was only one elected incumbent out of three seats. However, Maryland's highest court, the Court of Appeals, threw out the redistricting map created by Governor Paris Glendening and substituted its own map in June 2002, two and a half months before the primary. That ruling put 40 percent of the doors I knocked on into another District--a serious blow to our campaign. Yet, I persevered and continued in my quest for elected office. Although I lost in the primary in 2002, future Governor Bob Ehrlich was favorably impressed with our campaign. The two of us spoke after the primary and he said that if he was elected Governor, he would like me to be a part of his Administration. I truly believe that "when one door closes, another opens." Although I lost my race to be a Delegate, I am in a better position as a result.

Politics -- The Last Frontier So, you must be wondering, how did I become so interested in politics--a still unusual path for Indian-Americans? Based on my upbringing, I have always been interested in politics, and the potential to make government more accountable to the people. Indians in America, with our unparalleled work ethic, have excelled in virtually all professions of American life, except elected political office. For us, politics is the last frontier that we must make our mark on, similar to the marks we have left in business, medicine, and law. To run successfully for elected office, though, you must become familiar with the political process (by studying and working on campaigns) and involve yourself in community affairs. My Background I was born in Baltimore to George and Elsie Paliath. My three older brothers who were born in India used to tease me that because I was born here, I was the only one who could become President! From my early childhood, I remember watching the news every night with my parents. My father still has an insatiable desire for current events, including the latest political news. That influence fostered a lifelong interest in politics for me. I majored in Political Science at Boston College, with an emphasis on American politics. In college, I interned for a summer for Congresswoman Helen Bentley in Washington, D.C. Later, I was involved as a campaign volunteer in

My 2002 Campaign

Working for the Governor My position in the Ehrlich Administration has been very useful for my personal decision-making. First, I have been able to see the legislative process up close to make a more informed decision about whether to run for office again. Second, I have been able to see another type of political job other than being elected-- that is the job of a behind-the-scenes policy advisor. In January 2003, I joined Governor Ehrlich's Executive Staff as Legislative Officer and Education Policy Advisor, a position I held for two Legislative Sessions. In August 2004, at the Governor's request, I took the position of Chief Counsel in the Governor's Office of Crime Control & Prevention. In this position, I work on criminal justice legislation and policy for the Governor, using my expertise as a former prosecutor to prevent future victims of crime. I am proud of the fact that I am the highest ranking Indian in the Ehrlich Administration, but it is important to remember that relationships I cultivated over the years have brought me to this point. So, too, I would advise you to network and build relationships. Build Ties in the American Community While working for the Governor, I have maintained and strengthened my ties to the community. I am in the Knights of Columbus, the Timonium Optimist Club, Chimes International Intervals Board of Directors, the Greengate Community Association, and I am a third-term member of the St. Joseph Parish Council. I also am a Mass lector at

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St. Joseph's. I have represented the Governor at numerous events in the Indian community, including some sponsored by the Kerala Association of Greater Washington. Last, but not least, my family has had a long membership in Kairali of Baltimore. Those of you who want to pursue an elected office should remember the old political saying, "Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die." The expression simply means that while it is rewarding to hold elected office, it requires hard work to get there, to stay there and to be effective. I believe that for Indians to gain elected offices, we must apply our work ethic as we have in other facets of American life. If you have an interest in politics, I encourage you to get involved in American community events and in political campaigns. In my view, public service is a noble calling. Being involved in your community will allow you to learn from and serve your neighbors. Community participation also gives them a chance to get to know YOU, who may be the only Indian person they know. Things that you can learn while working on a campaign include grassroots organization (door-to-door canvassing, precinct strategies, targeting direct mail, etc.), marketing to voters, and policy issues. I cannot

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stress enough the importance of going door-to-door, if you are running for political office. In this way, you can make a personal connection with voters, learn more about issues important to them, and at the same time, give them a chance to evaluate you in person. Conclusion There is no one path to success, regarding politics or any other profession. But I hope that this article discussing my path will be useful as you start your own journey. For those of of you still interested in politics as a profession, I would be happy to discuss this with you further. Please feel free to contact me ( The most important thing is to get involved! Even if you do not want to run for office yourself, you should try to become involved in some way in the political process. Much that happens in politics affects our lives, so we should have a seat at the table when decisions are made. Through political participation, we can move another step closer to making our mark in American politics.

By: Dilip Paliath

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Great Cuisine Butter Chicken or Chicken Makhani Contributed by Rekha Nambiar

Ingredients: Marinate chicken pieces boneless - about 7 to 8 breast pieces Green chilies - 5 to 6 Yogurt - 2 table spoons Salt - to taste Garlic paste - 1 table spoon Ginger pate - 1table spoon Oil -1 tablespoon and refrigerate for about 1 or 2 hours Red chili powder â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 2 teaspoons Broil the chicken for 20 to 25 minutes till itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cooked.

Grind single half or single full onion Cumin powder - 2 teaspoons Coriander powder - 2 teaspoons Kasturi Methi leaves - 2 tablespoons Method 1. Fry the above mixture in 1 stick of butter with 1 can of Tomato paste( 12 oz can). 2. Fry till golden brown color. 3. Add the broiled chicken in the fried mixture and cook for 5 to 10 minutes. 4. Add 6 or 8 oz of Table cream mix well and switch off the stove. 5. Butter chicken is ready to serve with Hot Naan or Basmati Rice.

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Great Cuisine Chocolate Rum Cake Contributed by Rekha Nambiar Ingredients: - 2 cups of sugar - 2 sticks of margarine - 3 Tbsp Hershey’s COCOA - 1/2 cup of water Melt the first four ingredients in saucepan over medium heat (do not boil) and keep ½ cup of mixture separate. Cool down the mixture and ADD to: - 2 cups of all-purpose flour - Rum flavoring – 2tsp

- Separate 4 eggs-and add yolks to mixture - 11/2 teaspoon of baking soda. 1. Mix well using mixer. 2. Add 1 or 2 Tbsp of oil, beat the egg whites and add to mixture, add your favor nuts and mix with spatula 3. Grease a baking pan and coat with breadcrumbs. 4. Pour batter into pan. 5. Bake about 45 min at 375 degrees. 6. Cover the baked cake with aluminum foil to keep moisture for 15 min. 7. Remove cake from baking pan and pour the chocolate mixture (you kept from the first mixture) on top of your cake. Enjoy the cake!

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Community News •

Myithili Menon born to Rekha and Shyam Menon in February 2005

Alina born to Deepti and Jeresh Jose in February 2005

Nevin born to Sheena and Bejoy Philip in February 2005

Ryan born to Asha and Tony Augustine in June 2005

Vasudev born to Savi and Ashtamoorthy Kurur in June 2005

Nakul Praveen born to Praveen Kumar and Sapna in May 2005

Anand born to Vinod Kumar and Laxmi in June 2005

Siby & John Koshy tied the knot on June 6th 2005

KAGW/KCS Combined 2005 Picnic Sports Prize List Sac Race (Kids) 1st – Kevin 2nd – Roshni Davis 3rd – Pranav Panakkal

Musical Chair (Kids) 1st – Sohan Kumar 2nd – Sudarshan 3rd – Sneha Raj

Peanut Picking (Kids) 1st – Shilpa Raj 2nd – Roshni Davis 3rd – Parvathi Panakkal

Lemon Race (Girls) 1st – Ashwathi Kunnath 2nd – Anjali Divakaran 3rd – Anisha Davis & Jigna Kakkanattu

Musical Chair (Ladies) 1st – Omana Sreeram 2nd – Kanakamma Radhakrishnan 3rd – Preethi (NJ)

Lemon Race (Kids) 1st – Pranav Panakkal 2nd – Shilpa Raj 3rd – Roshni Davis

Sac Race (Ladies) 1st–Manju Manalel 2nd–Anita Raj 3rd–Kanakamma Radhakrishnan Musical Chair (Gents) 1st – Muraleedharan 2nd – Suresh Raj 3rd – Narayanan Kutty

Lemon Race (Ladies) 1st–Kanakamma Radhakrishnan 2nd–Preethi (NJ) 3rd–Saritha Anil Kumar Egg Toss (All) 1st – Sunil Raj & Teji Manalel 2nd – Narayanan Kutty & Sal

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Smitha Vishwanathan ,an active KAGW member was featured in Washington Post in the Style Section. Navarasa" was premiered by Kuchipudi Kalanidhi Foundation at Montgomery College Saturday during the Indian Dance Educators Association festival.

Kerala Digest 2005  

Kerala Digest 2005