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Bathukamma in Atlanta: Colorful and Jubilant

Manju Ganta
September 2009
Bathukamma in Atlanta: Colorful and Jubilant Metro Atlanta’s Telengana community celebrated Bathukamma 2009 with colorful floral arrangements, music, dance and food on Saturday, September 26.

The event, which was organized by Telengana Community Inc. at South Forsyth Middle School, Suwanee, began around noon with women and children arriving in their finest traditional dresses, and carrying their beautiful Bathukammas (conical stacks of flowers symbolizing Goddess Durga). The organizers warmed up the occasion with games for the children, while parents socialized and recollected previous Bathukamma festivals.

Telangana Community President G.S. Reddy inaugurated the event with a speech addressing the significance of the Bathukamma celebrations and thanked the audience for the record turnout—about 900 people— who attended in spite of inclement weather. He spoke of the organization’s plans to involve itself in various development projects across the Telangana region in Andhra Pradesh.

Narender Reddy welcomed the audience and invited the chief guest of the occasion, Mayor David Williams of Suwanee, to light the lamp. Mayor Williams also released the Telangana community member directory. A Bathukamma was presented to the mayor.

The event continued with a folk-themed cultural program including group and solo dances by children of all ages. Each performance was based on Telangana culture, aiming to kindle memories of the homeland in everyone. Other events such as fancy dress competitions for various age groups, raffle draws, etc., were also held.

Sulochana Reddy was recognized for her outstanding, three-decade career in Information Technology. A plaque was presented to her by Narender Reddy. Earlier, G.S. Reddy awarded a plaque to Viju Chiluveru for his outstanding services to the community during the year.

Ranjith Ganta explained to the audience how the organization was helping build water purification projects at various villages in Telangana.

The much-awaited Bathukammas finally got their attention in the evening. All the women gathered and placed their Bathukammas in the middle and danced around them, clapping in unison and singing soul-stirring folksongs. After the singing and dancing, the Bathukammas were taken to a nearby swimming pool and set afloat in the water. The judges picked the best three Bathukammas for this year and awarded prizes to their makers. Prizes were also given for other events.

Local restaurants such as Sai Murali, Swapna Indian Cuisine, Madras Chettinad, Krishna Vilas, Amma’s Kitchen & Maruti Restaurant sponsored the free lunch for all the participants.

The event was a huge success thanks to generous contributions by several businesses and individuals who sponsored the event. The organizers acknowledged the efforts of more than 60 volunteers for their hard work in planning the event. Sushumna Ravichander proposed a vote of thanks.

The Bathukamma festival was ably supported by Telugu Association of Metro Atlanta (TAMA). Satyanarayana Reddy Tangirala and executive committee members were present at the event, as was Paddy Sharma, an Indian-American community leader.

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