Vic Iyer writes of his recent trip to India and Dubai:
With PujyaShri AKKA’s blessings, all the events in India and Dubai was a grand success – extremely well organized and superbly executed.
With PujyaShri AKKA’s blessings, I had the privilege of attending PujyaShri AKKA’s book release on the afternoon of December 25, 2010 and the two days of grand festivities celebrating Perumal Kalyanam (Balaji’s wedding) on December 30 and 31, 2010 in Dubai.
PujyaShri AKKA’s book this year is titled “Vellicham” meaning (not transliteration) light, brightness… The auditorium at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan was filled to capacity with standing room only.
This year’s festivities in Dubai was spread over 2 days for the first time. Nichyadhartam (engagement ceremony) and related activities was conducted at one of the devotees residence followed by the Perumal Kalyanam on Dec 31 at the Emirates English Speaking School (and yes, that is the name of the school). Loads of hours of planning and physical labor was involved in getting the hall ready for the Kalyanam. PujyaShri AKKA had a meeting on Dec 29 evening with all the volunteers. SHE asked each and everyone of the volunteers to elaborate on the tasks that they were responsible to complete.
The team effort and the volunteer spirit was in full display – the mandapam was beautifully decorated, the hall was decorated with flower thornam (flowers hanging from the ceiling) and PujyaShri AKKA’s pictures from various Nandalala activities was displayed as hanging stars along with the thornam. The pictures were downloaded from the internet.
The grand finale in the evening was the Anakut – Perumal and Andal in the middle surrounded by food and food items. The step closest to Perumal and Andal had glass bowls with dry fruits in it; the next step was fruits in bamboo baskets followed by vegetables in stainless steel vessels, provisions in brass vessels, and sweets and savories in silver vessels. Anakut was preceeded by a skit explaining the meaning of Anakut and the reason for the display – devotees expressing their love and gratitude to Lord Krishna when HE lifted the Govardhana mountain on his little finger to protect them from the rains/flooding caused by Lord Indra. The skit was performed by the Nandalala Children in the Dubai area.
Prasdam items were prepared by Nandalala devotees who came from Chennai; food for the two days of Dubai functions was catered by Saravana Bhavan and Sangeeta Restaurant. Both functions in India and Dubai were well represented by members from the various chapters of Nandalala worldwide.