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ICC celebrates 3rd Annual Heritage Day

The centre is not only a tryst for formal instruction, but is also a forum for seniors, writes Shalini Narang.

india Updated: Apr 27, 2006 22:13 IST

In my school history book of possibly grade 7th or 8th, I remember reading about the famous Buddhist scholars from China -- Fahien and Huan Tsang, visiting and staying in India and then documenting their observations about the life and times of the people of their neighbouring nation.

The vitality of cross national interchange between people, practices and principles also reverberates in my mind in the form of the touching account of a traveler willing to sacrifice his life to save the books that he was carrying back via the stormy China Sea when the load of the ship had to be reduced to survive through the storm.

The desire to explore, know and learn about other cultures, countries, cuisines and customs has been prevalent since ancient times and though terms or words describing the cross-cultural communication may differ, the practice of the newly coined term-globalisation has been with us for centuries.

While undoubtedly the current climate of extensive cross cultural transmission between India and US is primarily governed and promoted by mutual business interests of its corporate, the importance of cultural exchanges to promote the camaraderie between the people of the two nations is of no lesser importance.

Though the informal promotion and instruction of the myriad performing arts of India have been widespread in destinations in US with a substantial Indian Diaspora, what the community lacked was an umbrella organisation to promote and propagate the diverse and rich elements of India for all age segments.

Thankfully, for the last three years, the India Community Centre (ICC), a premier institute based in the cities of Milpitas and Sunnyvale in California has adequately filled that niche and beyond.

The centre is not only a tryst for formal instruction of the various Indian arts, but is also a forum for seniors.

The graying of the 1st generation Indo American community is an increasing reality and while financially the members are mostly well endowed, the needs of this age group centre on emotional succor and closeness to family.

While local religious institutions like the Fremont Hindu temple or Sunnyvale Hindu temple have been a tryst for local and visiting Indo American seniors for long, yet their curriculums have not scaled beyond routine religious discourses and basic health check ups.

ICC has gone a step further with planned curriculums involving activity and entertainment for senior citizens.

Besides the highly successful Jollywood Dancers troupe comprising of dancers above 60 years, the seniors at ICC can also participate in activities like yoga, theater, knitting, karaoke etc.

The centre also organises an inter-generational family day, on the second Saturday of every month.

The senior dance troupe once again accentuated their position as ace entertainers via an enthusiastic performance on the foot tapping song from Salaam Namaste as a part of a diverse line up of performances at the 3rd Annual India Heritage Day of ICC at the CET auditorium in San Jose on April 15th.

The geriatrics not only enthralled the gathering with their graceful gyrations but also presented a beautiful dimension of activity and creativity to their retirement years.

The evening programme had commenced with a soothing sitar recital by fifteen students of Pandit Habib Khan followed by the signature event featuring fusion Saxophonist George Brooks, Violinist Kala Ramnath, table maestro Yogesh Samsi and guitarist Chris Robinson.

The quartet enamoured the gathering with their independent and joint renditions, including the Waltz for Lena, from Brooks' CD Summit, in which he had collaborated with Zakir Hussain.

An entertaining showcase of old and new melodies by eight finalists of the ICC Idol competition punctuated with a dance item by the seniors followed the renditions from the maestros.