Can Austin Match Bay Area Tamil Vibe? Doubts Wiped Away In One Evening

In early August 2014, as we drove past the familiar roads in the Bay Area and headed towards I10E for our 1800 miles journey to Austin, I knew I was leaving so much greatness.

One of the things I knew I would miss dearly was all my AWESOME Tamil friends. I would walk into an event hosted by Bay Area Tamil Manram or California Tamil Academy or Bay Area Fine Arts or Bharati Tamil Sangam or Sanhiti or Visweta and be greeted by so many friendly faces. I couldn’t ever leave early from any of the events in the last several years….there was so much to see, so much to do and so much to catchup with friends. I knew I would miss that.

I also was worried whether I was going to be denying my boys the rich Tamil tradition that they could grow up with in the Bay Area. Culture. Traditions. Immersion. Would I deny them all that? Those thoughts and more plagued my analytical mind.

I tried to sort the pros and cons into neatly organized excel sheets. How can neatly organized excel sheets capture the beauty of our lives and the choices we have to make?

Yesterday evening, I walked into Austin Tamizh Sangam’s Pongal Program. My mind was envisioning all the Bay Area Friends. All the friendly hellos. All the hugs. All the pats on the back.

I stepped into the auditorium saying to myself “new beginnings”.

The program was filled with many Tamil songs and dances. The auditorium was filled with the same enthusiasm and same fun that I have seen in the Bay Area.

After a few hours, the show was wrapping up and I was starting to pack up my camera gear. That is when pure magic unfolded.

A dance troupe from San Antonio performed pulli attam, poi kal kuthiri, karakatam, mayil attam etc. (Side note: Although I grow up in a city like Chennai for the first 18 years of my life, thanks to my mom’s and grandpa’s ties with their hometown village, I grow to admire and hold with great awe the performers of these dying art forms.)

As the dance troupe started performing, I hurriedly unpacked my gear and started shooting a video (dang – missed the first few minutes of the performance) of the magic that the San Antonio dance troupe created on stage.

Here is the video :

My doubts have been wiped out as of yesterday evening.

My heart brimmed as I saw Arya stay glued to the edge of the stage and watch the final show with big wide eyes. I put my hand on my heart and said what Amir Khan trained us to do in the 3 Idiots movie.

All is well. All is well.

The boys and I have a place to thrive amongst the Tamil community in Austin. I’ll continue to miss Bay Area friends. But, we have found a new home. A place where the boys will thrive.

Thank you Anbu Krishnaswamy, Shankar Chidambaram and Lakshmy Krishnamurthy for the opportunity for Shakthi and his friend Sruthi to play Suttum Vizhi Chudare. Putting on a great show like this required passion and persistence. Kudos to you and your team.

Thank you Akila Radhakrishnan and Ilangovan Murugesan for the great company and all the food and jokes you shared as the kids prepared for their performance.

Thank you also Akila for introducing me to many of your Tamil friends.

All is well.

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