I had the “fantabulous” experience attending Pravasi Express Awards Nite 2016 0n 6th August. Pravasi Express is a bilingual newspaper (Malayalam and English) that started in 2012. Now you see my connection with the newspaper(English part of it)? The newspaper reports on various categories like – Singapore news, Kerala news, world news, entertainment, lifestyle, arts and culture, technology, sports, and movies. This newspaper is truly home away from home for Malayalees and many others. This also acts as a common place for Malayalees to discuss common topics and get views on some key events back home. Life is not easy abroad. Many of us don’t even bring our families here for various reasons. And a lot of us are settled here (outside of India) for many years. In this scenario, connecting with fellow Indians is not only important but needed too. So far this newspaper has been successful in bringing Kairali community together and also promote the Malayalam language.
In 2013, they started Pravasi Express Award. The awards were given to appreciate Malayalee personalities for their invaluable commitment and contributions to the society. On 6th August, they celebrated 4th Annual Awards function at Kallang Theatre. The chief guest of the event was Mr. Gopinath Pillai who is Singaporean Diplomat of Indian Origin. He is an Ambassador-at-large for the Government of Singapore. He was honoured by the Government of India, in 2012, with the fourth highest Indian civilian award of Padma Shri. I was one of the fortunate ones to attend this event. When I arrived at the venue, I was pleasantly surprised to see my ex-colleague Suhas Sudhakaran at the ticket counter. He is one of the committee members who promotes the language and cultural event through this newspaper. And then I saw his picture on the booklet distributed at the event. The booklet had full details about people participating in the entire event. Since it was hush- hush, I couldn’t interact more but I am sure I can get lot more insights with this new found connection. Apparently, his wife also writes for the paper just like how I contribute. For me, this event was also a gateway to meet a lot of other people who are either contributor or associated with a good cause like working for the upliftment of the society etc. I also got to meet Chief Editor Mr. Rajesh Kumar who was super busy making sure everyone is calm and comfortable. He was one of the cynosure of the event. While I was collecting my tickets, I also saw my good friend Pravitha at the event. She is also a contributor and an active participant in such cultural events. It was good to see a few familiar faces.
|Kallang Theatre, Waiting for event to start|
As we settled down, the event started with two presenters. My expectation was low from the event because I thought it would be entirely in Malayalee language. I was pleasantly surprised that they kept the ethos of newspaper in the event too. And it was bi-lingual. It started with cultural dance where 8-9 ladies who were dressed in beautiful costumes and danced with absolute rhythm and coordination. I have to say that so far, I never attended any musical program or any event of this sort, so this was an “awe” experience. Since music has no language, I could enjoy most of the programs.
|Start of the kids performance|
The performance that got me out jump out of my seat was little kids dancing on Bollywood dance numbers. And I noticed that just like me, many others were tapping their legs and feet. The little boys and girls were all dressed in colorful costumes and danced beautifully. There was about 4-5 kids program where children of different age groups performed. I must say I couldn’t take my eyes off from them. It was fast paced, well-coordinated and cheerful expression on the face. As if they were equally enjoying their performance. In between, they presented a short video introducing the history of the newspaper. It was informative indeed. I am associated with this newspaper for about six months or less but I didn’t have much idea about the reach of the newspaper. After seeing the video, I well understood the strength and power of this newspaper in Kairali community here in Sing.
Then started the distribution of awards. Many awards were distributed to people for their contribution in Business, IT, Finance, community work etc. In fact, sponsors of the event night were also recognised. And I thought it was a great idea because while representatives were on stage to collect awards, their video ads were running at the back. Not only that, for individual contributors also, there was a little audio- video playing at the back that gave us more information about awardees. One particular award, that caught my attention was – the lifetime achievement award given to a lady named Daya Bai. She is a Social Activist who dedicated her life for the upliftment of downtrodden in various parts of India. Currently, she is working in Madhya Pradesh for various social issues. I googled to find out more and was blown away.
|Daya Bai getting award|
There were many stunning performances after the awards distribution. It left me with beautiful memories of the starry night. The world including me was aware of the achievements and contribution of the Malayalee community but this award event was an eye opener to a different level altogether. This award night left me thinking even after the event – the strength and power of Indian community abroad (I had just experienced Malayalees, how about Bengalis, Punjabis, and few others), Malayalees contribution to different spheres of life, work was done to improve the Malayalam language and work done to bring together the community and provide strength and support in foreign land. It was an awesome night indeed which I will cherish for weeks and months. And I am truly proud to be associated with a newspaper like Pravasi Express.
Some photos from the event –