Toronto's ice storm is thankfully just a memory, but on the day of Pillayar Nonbu it was just beginning. Now, although we are now in a winter chill of a different sort, gladly we have light and heat for this, at least.
On the eve of the storm, Saturday, December 21st, while the ground and trees were just starting to freeze, things were warming up inside Northwoods Community Centre for the start of Pillayar Nonbu. With warnings of extreme weather and slippery road conditions, along with a few families being out of town, understandably, not as many families were able to attend. Regardless, there was still a respectable turn-out.
The evening's activity started with a bhajan of Lord Vinayagar songs, sung by both adults and children.
After the bhajan, and after the taking of the Ellai by those in attendance, next was the annual general body meeting. After the year was reviewed by Suppiah, our President, Kalai, our Treasurer, and Adaikappan for the Social Committee, the next item was a vote on the resolution to have Handi-care International disburse CNS funds for us in India, for our scholarship program. After prior discussion through email, and some dicussion during the meeting, polling was done by secret ballot, and the resolution passed with a vote of 30-18.
Afterwards, another record-setting Aelam was conducted by V Pal, with $13,114 raised!
The traditional Nonbu dishes were all well-prepared by the ladies and enjoyed by all.
Thanks to Valli Adaikappan and Chittu Pazhaniappan for organizing a wonderful event.
With 2014 now underway, let's hope that the weatherman will bring better news!
The amount of talent in our community really showed at this year's Deepavali function at Northwoods Community Centre, from Rangoli designers, to a break-dancer, to Tamil "film stars"!
As a main event, the Rangoli competition brought out the creativity and artfulness of the group. The competitors had an hour and a half to impress. They did that, and more. Although every entry was unique and quite artful, a winner had to be chosen. But the tight competition resulted in a tie for first place. Parvathy Meiyappan and Geetha Ramanathan's image of Lord Ganesha, made of coloured coconut, and Kamala and Muthu's "beach scene", made out of cut fruits and vegetables, was what wowed the judges in the end.
Ramanathan, as the MC, brought humourous commentary to the evening. During a break, he also presented a video montage that he beautifully put together, showing how famous Indian movie songs have often emulated famous English songs.
As for the kids, did they ever entertain us this time! Don't they seem to be starting younger and younger? :-) Ishaan impressed, singing two songs, including "O Canada". Iniya sang a religous Hindi song. Archith spoke about Avaiyar very well. Alagu once again did a awesome dance number, and Vaarun burst out on the floor doing a energetic hip-hop routine impressing the crowd.
The "film couple" dances, following the steps of famous Kollywood star couples, was another highlight of the evening. Thanks to all the couples for the effort put in, and to Meena Palam for creating and editing the movie background for each of the dance numbers, as well as organizing an enjoyable game of "Indian" Jeopardy.
The dinner for the evening, prepared by all, was delicious once again.
This was a Deepavali celebration to remember, thanks to everyone and the Youth and Social Committee.
Please click here and here for wonderful photos taken of the evening.
This month's Bhajan took place in Cambridge at Anand and Uma's home.
For this month, the Bhajan was held at Muthu and Chockalingam's house in Vaughan.
CNS Pothu Padaippu
The Tamil word Padaippu means "offering" in English. A Padaippu is tradition important to Nagarathars and a Pothu Padaippu is an occasion where a general Nagarathar community gathers to remember, and seek the blessings from, its ancestors through the offering of food.
CNS had it's very first Pothu Padaippu at Drs. Muthulakshmi's and Yegappan's house in Niagara Falls. Over 70 people from the community attended.
Since the food that is offered must only be prepared by the attendees, a good part of the day was spent by the men helping to cut the vegetables, and the women cooking, as well as making Paniyarams and Paal Choru (milk rice).
To prepare the altar, a brand new saree and vesthi, representing our ancestors, were garlanded with flowers, and placed along with jewellery.
In front of the altar, the prepared food was placed on three banana leaves and oil lamps were also lit.
A conch shell was sounded to start the actual ceremony and ten minutes of silence was observed in which everyone gathered, remembered and revered their ancestors. It was truly a remarkable experience.
Later in the evening, everyone enjoyed the meal that was made in our ancestors' honour.
For photos and a video taken during the Padaippu, please see the "Photos and Video" section on this page.
The Bhajan for the month of September was held at Dr. Kannappan and Renkanayaki's Achi's house in Kitchener. We all pray for Dr. Kannappan's good health.
There was lots of fun in the sun for the 2013 CNS Summer Picnic, held once again at Meadowvale Conservation Area in Mississauga.
The start of the picnic saw the hosts and a few families arriving. The atmosphere got more lively as guests trickled in.
During the course of the day, cricket matches and soccer games were enjoyed by the men, while the ladies decided to go on trail walks.
But weren't the group games the highlights of the picnic this year? It was nice to see everyone participating in these games.
These games saw people running around with beards of shaving foam, "opposites attracting" each other, and guests scavenging the picnic area for word clues.
The "Opposites" game got pairs of people to find out a couple of things about each that were generally not known to the group. Wow, people are really interesting once you find out more about them!
Solving the word jumbles in Scavenger Hunt lead to a prize of a box of Timbits in a Honda Odyssey! Great game, Nalini!
Let's not forget how well-fed we were with all the delicious food that everyone provided.
For the 2014 Picnic, myself and Subathra, along with Palam and Meena have been chosen to organize. It will be a challenge to outdo the organizers of this year's picnic, Siva & Li, and Ramu & Solai, who did a fine job.
Meadowvale Conservation Area is a great spot for a picnic, and we should be lucky to get a spot here next year as well.
Hope everyone had fun, and have a wonderful "rest of the summer"!
Please see a set of photos taken during the picnic in the "Photos & Video" section on this page.
August's Bhajan was held at V Pal and Chittu's house in Scarborough. After the Bhajan, Dr. Meiyappan gave a wonderful slide show presentation of he and his wife Malathi's trip to Mt. Kailash. After receiving blessings from them, everyone was gifted with holy items from their trip.
The Bhajan for the month of July took place at the home of Arun and Parvathy Meiyappan in North York.
With forecasts of rain for Father's Day, the venue was changed to that of Annamalai and Banu's house in Brampton, with your editor as a co-host!
As sometimes happens, the weatherman turned out to be wrong about Sunday. Regardless of the weather, the spirits of everyone who came were not dampened
Before the actual pot-luck lunch, Tandoori chicken was barbequed, veggie skewers grilled, and Pav Bhaji was served for the eager guests.
The fathers enjoyed conversation around the grill while the ladies chatted inside.
Those who wanted to take in the Brampton sunshine, did so, and took leisurely group walks.
The previous day, Chitra Annamalai had gotten the young children to make beautiful "butterfly footprint" cards to their adoring fathers and grandfathers alike.
Near the conclusion of the day, the dad's all played a pleasant game of musical chairs with father and grandfather, Dr. Yegappan, being crowned the winner!
Thanks to all who came, the Social Committee, and for everyone's contribution to making the day an enjoyable one.
Please see some photos taken of the day in the Photos and Videos section.
This month's Bhajan was held at Banu and Annamalai's house in Brampton.
CNS moms got a bit of a boost from their kids this Mother's Day at Northwood Community Centre.
One of the highlights of the afternoon was when each of the kids gave their moms a beautiful long-stem red rose, and one by one, sang songs, recited poems, and presented speeches about how much they appreciated their moms for all that they do for them. Janani Subi's homage to her mom, shown as a touching slide show, was a surprise even to her dad and mom.
As per CNS mother's day tradition, all the dads gave moms a break, and using their best cooking skills, created the meal for the afternoon. Maybe all the dads should have gotten a prize since there were mostly empty dishes at the end! Or could it be that the dads were giving out generous portions? Regardless, the winner for the best non-veg dish was Ramu, who made the delicious Chicken 65 starter and the winner of the vegetarian dish was Kannan (Sathya) who made the wonderful Mutter Paneer.
Sindhu Senthilnathan provided a craft station for all the kids to gather and create recipe cards of "What Incredients make a Great Mom" which I'm sure touched all the moms who got them from their kids! Sindhu Suppiah conducted a delightful game presenting the audience with little known facts about CNS moms, and then asking who they described. It turned out that there was little that was "little-known" to this audience, who correctly guessed each and every mom! Thanks to everyone involved and Social Committee for organizing another great event!
Photos of this event have been posted to the 'Photos and Video' section on this page.
The Bhajan was held this month at Dr. Kannan and Valli's home in Mississauga.
Tamil New Year
CNS celebrated Tamil New Year's in wonderful style at the Northwoods Community Centre on Sat, April 20th, 2013.
A significant portion of the group came early as they were all part of the performances and needed to practice. It was pleasing to see such a large turnout for this event, in which over 100 people came. Subi created a very nice bhajan song which the kids sang, getting the evening off to a nice start. Arvind did a very good job in his debut as the MC for the evening. Arthi did a great, informative speech about why we celebrate Tamil New Year. The performances of the night were all amazing, but the kids in particular were great. Spending a month in practice, they worked hard to memorize their lines, and that too, speaking in Tamil. Who knew they could deliver their lines so well! Many thanks to all the parents who helped put on the play, especially to Nalini for creating the story, V Pal for creating the dialogue, and Subathra and Vasantha for directing the play.
Thanks to Meena Palam for creating the slideshows and the game, which got the entire group on their feet! The men entertained us all with a hilarious and cool performance wearing dark shades and outfits, choreographed by the team of Sindhu and Sindhu. Maybe it's not too late for some of the men to start a career in the movies? As well, It goes without saying that Sindhu, Sindhu, and Sanghavi put on a very good dance performance. Sanghavi did very well keeping up with the elder Sindhus. And no one will forget V Pal's surprise entrance performing as a male dancer a la Kamal Hassan, receiving a standing ovation and hugs for it.
Finally, the youthful ladies group did a very good job performing an entertaining, well-coordinated dance choreographed by Valli Kannan. Dinner followed the performances and games, courtesy of Everest Catering. Many thanks to Valli Kannan for suggesting this particular place, which was a good choice. Surely we will order from them again. Thanks to the Social committee of Adaikkappan and Meena for organization of this wonderful event. Although the night was long, it didn't feel like it, as it was a great atmosphere. Hope everyone had a good time! Photos of this event have been posted to the 'Photos and Video' section on this page.
The Bhajan for the month of April took place at Subi and Aruna's house in Mississauga.
"Pilot" Annamalai and Meyyammai of North York, Ontario, Canada are thrilled to announce the birth of their grand daughter Alysha Mey Annamalai. Proud parents Dr. Alagappan Annamalai (Anand) and Dr. Nita Mahajan, who live in Los Angeles, California, USA, have been blessed with a healthy and happy little girl. She brought smiles to everyone's faces.
March's Bhajan took place at Valli and Iyappan's house in Brampton.
On Saturday, February 13th, CNS celebrated Family Day by 5-pin bowling and mini golf at the Park Royal Family Fun Centre in Mississauga. We split into groups of six and enjoyed 10 rounds of bowling. It was fun to see who could score the highest! Bowling is a nice change from the regular routine. After bowling was an 18-hole mini-golf area for those interested. Not to forget the little ones, there was a large play area to keep them busy and having fun. Special thanks goes to Valli Kannan for finding a great place for everyone to enjoy.
Later, the group went to Udupi Madras Cafe in Mississauga for some good home-style cooking and relaxing conversation. Thanks goes to Subi for coordinating the lunch.
And thanks to the social committee for organizing a fun event. Happy Family Day everyone. Photos of this event have been posted to the 'Photos and Video' section on this page.
The Bhajan for February was held at Raj and Vasantha's house in Oshawa.
This year's Murugan Abishekam, held at the Richmond Hill Temple on Bayview, took place on January 6, 2013.
Despite the early Sunday morning start time and the snowy weather, there was still a good turn out for the function. In all, 22 families attended, or a total of 69 people.
After the Abishekam, we had a pot-luck lunch in the dining area with items that people had graciously made and brought with them. The temple also provided prasatham.
The Murugan Abishekam is usually held in the fall, and this was the first time it was held at the start of the year. Since our members thought that beginning the year with a prayer to the Lord would be auspicious, the Abishekam will continue to be held on the first Sunday of the year.
Thank you to all the attendees for your presence. May the Lord bless us with health and happiness for the year ahead. A few photos of this event have been posted to the "Photos and Video" section of this page.
On Saturday, January 26th, Sindhu Senthilnathan hosted her first bhajan in her beautiful house, and it was a grand success! Thanks to Sindhu for hosting with her mom, and for everyone's attendance, as well as potluck contribution.