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Spreading the joy

UST-Global’s Onam celebrations Photo: Special Arrangement

UST-Global’s Onam celebrations Photo: Special Arrangement  

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Onam celebrations with a difference in Technopark

Onam has come early to Technopark. Pookkalams in myriad shades have been laid out, the smell of Onasadyas wafts in the air and the entire campus resounds with the joy of celebration. But its not all about fun, games and feasting in Technopark this year. Many techies are celebrating Onam with a difference this year.

Going organic

Natana, Technopark’s cultural club, Prakruthi, a green club and company-forum G-Tech hosted a ‘safe-to-eat’ ‘organic’ sadya for over 1,500 people, a first-of-its-kind event on campus yesterday. “We’ve taken care to ensure that most of the ingredients, particularly vegetables, are organic,” says Biju Sundaran, a founder-member of Prakruthi and one the organisers of the event. “We’ve been planning the event for over a month now. Some 24 items for the sadya were sourced from Kurichiyar tribals in Wayanad and the rest from Thanal. We got jaggery from an organic farming collective near Erode. Techies contributed curry leaves, coconuts, chillies, ghee, assorted vegetables from their homes and gardens,” adds Biju. The sadya was cooked by Pazhayidam Mohanan Namboothiri. “In keeping with the green protocol, we used steel glasses instead of disposables and got in touch with the Suchitwa Mission to effectively manage waste disposal,” says another organiser.

Spirit of togetherness

For the first time ever, this year, Natana organised a pan-campus Onam celebration, a la Tech-a-break (Technopark’s annual carnival) style. “Usually, Onam celebrations, cultural events and sadyas are organised by individual companies on campus. Onam is at its core a community celebration and we thought it was the best time to celebrate the festive season as a community,” explains Divas Sadasivan of Natana. As such they organised an inter-company pookkalam contest, in which some 20 teams (including MNCs) participated. There was also a ‘rally’ competition, in which teams paraded around campus, decked to the nines on the theme of togetherness. The organisers also got popular folk band Oorali to perform at the event.

Nod to tradition

No Onam on campus is complete without techies letting their hair down for traditional Onam games and events. For example, uriyadi, vadamvali, Thiruvathirakali, Onappaattu, pookkalam and so on were a part of UST-Global’s Onam.

At Infosys, Onam is also the time of their annual, 10-day cultural fete - Utsav and the techies really get into the spirit of things. “It’s been all play, no work!” says an Infosysian.

This year all the employees were divided into four teams and they took part in a variety of cultural contests (skits, movie mash-ups, fashion shows, group songs and the like) and games. So big is the event that they actually brought out a teaser video and Aswin Kumar, a senior systems engineer, even created a theme song ‘Aarpo Irro’ for the same.

Giving back

The festive season for techies is also about giving back to society. Prathidhwani, a socio-cultural organisation, on campus, organised a rice-bucket challenge.

The ‘challenge’ for techies was to deposit rice packets (of minimum 5 kg) in buckets placed at the entrance of main buildings and then challenge their friends to do the same.

“Last year, we collected 1,000 kg of rice. All the rice collected will be distributed to non-IT staff on campus, particular some 200 women who are part of the cleaning crew,” says Rajeev Krishnan, secretary of the organisation. Some 25 members of Vivekananda Study Circle, another socio-cultural organisation on campus, meanwhile, hosted an Onasadya and distributed gifts to tribal students of a tribal school in Pothode, Kottoor.

“This is the seventh time we are organising the event. Earlier we used to bring the kids here and show them around Technopark. For the past three years we have been going to Pothode, only accessible by off-roading 15 km through the forest. We have also committed to building a toilet for the schoolhouse,” says Praveen Kumar P.V., secretary of the organisation.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2019 12:44:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/Spreading-the-joy/article14628532.ece

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