Jatra 2018 – Adhava


Jatra 2018!

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जत्रा म्हंटली की आपल्या सगळ्यांच्या डोळ्यासमोर हमखास “पिंजरा”, “सुगंधी कट्टा ” असे अजरामर मराठी चित्रपट येतात, नाही का?.. ऐका sss … असं म्हणत म्हणत सवाल-जवाबांची रंगलेली जुगलबंदी, ढोलकीवरची थाप आणि मौज-मजा-धमाल-मस्ती!
स्पर्धा, चढाओढ, आनंदी-उत्साही, अत्यंत खेळीमेळीचं वातावरण… लहानग्याची हि गडबड-घाई, पळापळ. मिठाई-खाऊ-दागिने-कपड्याच्या दुकानांच्या लांबच लांब लागलेल्या रांगा. नवीन खरेदीच्या विचारानेच खुललेले, विशेषतः स्त्री वर्गाचे आनंदी चेहरे. कुस्तीच्या आखाड्यात लाल माती ने रंगलेले, भारदस्त पेहेलवान गडी . दूरवर कुठेतरी फेटे आणि पागोट्यांचं नकळत लक्ष विचलित करून, अमाप गर्दी खेचून घेणारा तमाशाचा फड ! हलकेच किणकिणारे घुंगरू आणि मोठ्या दिमाखात सगळ्या रसिक दर्दी, मंडळींना आपल्या तालावर आपसूक डोलवणारी, आणि उत्स्फूर्त दाद द्यायला भाग पाडणारी, कडाडणारी ढोलकी …. खरंतर हीच आपली साधी भोळी पण तितकीच रांगडी मराठी संस्कृती आणि तिचा एक अविभाज्य घटक “जत्रा”! आणि इकडे अमेरिकेतसुद्धा, २१ व्या शतकाच्या आधुनिक युगात तीच संस्कृती जीवापाड जपण्याचा ऍन आर्बर (A2MM) मंडळाचा हा एक फक्कड “मराठमोळा” साजेसा प्रयत्न “जत्रा २०१८” !

ह्या मॉडर्न जत्रेचं विशेष आकर्षण म्हणजे Miraya Dance Group च्या मुक्ता जोशी आणि त्यांच्या सह-कलाकारांनी मिळून सादर केलेले विविध नृत्याविष्कार!
भारतीय व पाश्चात्त्य संगीत-नृत्यशैलीची सुरेल सांगड घालून ह्या नृत्य प्रकारांनी सगळ्याच लहान-मोठ्या प्रेक्षकांना जवळजवळ तासभर खुर्चीवर अक्षरशः: खिळवून ठेवले. भरतनाट्यम सारख्या पारंपरिक भारतीय नृत्यशैलीत विशेष पारंगत असलेल्या मुक्ताने दिलेल्या माहितीपर पार्श्वभूमीने कार्यक्रमाची सुरुवात झाली. भारतातील विविध प्रांतातील नृत्यप्रकार म्हणजे पंजाबचा भांगडा, राजस्थानी गरबा-घुमर, मराठमोळी लावणी आपल्या समृद्ध भारताच्या अलौकिक संगीत-नृत्यपरंपरेची पुन्हा एकवार नव्याने सगळ्या मराठी, भारतीय मनात असलेली आपली छबी कायमची पक्की करून गेली.
पडद्या मागचे कलाकार अजय कानडे, समीर जोशी, मंदार देशपांडे, सुशांत खोपकर आणि उमा कानडे त्याचप्रमाणे मुक्ता च्या सहकलाकरा समवेत लय,सूर आणि तालाच्या सुरेल गुंफणीने गुंफलेल्या ह्या नृत्याविष्कारांना प्रेक्षकांचा प्रचंड उत्स्फुर्त प्रतिसाद मिळाला…. आणि विशेष वाहवा मिळाली ! आपल्या दैनंदिन आयुष्यातलं संगीत, नृत्याचं महत्व आणि जेव्हा जेव्हा इच्छा होईल तेव्हा, ते व्यक्त करायला, कुठल्याही प्रकारची आडकाठी नसावी. वयाच्या, वजनाच्या अश्या क्षुल्लक सबबी नसाव्यात. डायटिंग च्या अती आहारी न जाता, ऋजुता दिवेकर म्हणते तसं आजी सांगते ते सगळं सावकाश खा, आपली कड-धान्य नियमित खा. आपल्या आरोग्याची विशेष काळजी घ्या, असा हलका-फुलका संदेश घेऊन मंडळी खाऊच्या आणि खेळांच्या स्टॉल्स कडे वळली.

अत्यंत माफक दारात काही खायचे स्वादिष्ट पदार्थ ह्या स्टॉल्स वर विक्रीसाठी उपलब्ध करण्यात आले होते. कमीत-कमी दारात उपस्थितांना जास्तीत-जास्त पदार्थांचा आस्वाद घेता यावा, आणि हीच ह्या कार्यक्रमाची खासियत!. नंतर मंडळींनी पावभाजी, (बटाटा)वडा-पाव , भेळ, वेज.बिर्याणी, पुरणपोळी, रस-मलाई केक, पिझ्झा, ब्राउनी, Mocktails ह्या पदार्थांवर ताव मारला. त्यानंतर पानाच्या विड्याने जेवणाची लज्जत आणखीनच वाढली.

खाण्याच्या स्टॉल्स बरोबरच, छोट्या दोस्तांच्या वेगवेगळ्या खेळांच्याया स्टॉल्सनी पण बरीच गर्दी खेचली. नुकत्याच भारतातून आलेल्या सगळ्या आजी-आजोबांनी देखील ह्या चिमुकल्यांची मर्जी राखत ह्या खेळात अगदी आवर्जून भाग घेतला. त्याच प्रमाणे “Dress Up with The Celebrities” स्पर्धेत मोठ्या संख्येने बऱ्याच लहान-मोठ्या स्पर्धकांनी भाग घेऊन प्रचंड प्रतिसाद दिला. अनारकली, झीनत अमान, जुम्मा, सर्किट, ऍन अर्बोर चा संजू बाबा असे बरेच हॉलिवूड, बॉलिवूड च्या महान हस्तींनी, आपल्या बिझी शूटिंग schedule मधून वेळात वेळ काढून हजेरी लावली आणि कार्यक्रमाचा आनंद द्विगुणित झाला..

Namaskar Mandali !

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June 3, 2018 marked yet another memorable day in the A2MM 2018 calendar of events. Almost 300 people gathered at Towsley Auditorium – Ann Arbor, to jointly celebrate the annual”Jatra” event. As some of you might already know, Jatra is a Marathi word, which means a “fair”, a fun event that typically has entertainment, food and games. Like most of the villages and towns in India, many seasonal and annual fairs are held in the state of Maharashtra.

Similar to last year, this Jatra was also full of happy smiling people enjoying the entertainment, the creative game-stalls, and the mouth-watering options at the food-stalls.

The evening festivities commenced with the main attraction, a colorful and upbeat dance show presented by Miraya Dance Group. The founder of this group is none other than our very own Mukta Joshi, who happens to be a well-trained “Bharat Natyam” dancer and Certified Fitness trainer! I was thoroughly impressed by the extremely creative dance performances and fitness regimes, which also showed the complete focus needed on mind, body and soul. After watching the well-woven dance compositions based on Indian and western dance forms, I have to admit that Miraya definitely succeeded in promoting health and wellness through the impressive dance performances.

Mukta strongly believes that how you feel after you make healthy choices, and regular exercise is far more important than just dropping weight or your pant size. You need to continue eating foods that you grew up with, or to quote Rujuta Diwekar“aaji sangaychi te sagla, savkaash jevne, kulith ani apali saadhidhaanya khane, etc”. Through Miraya, Mukta definitely wants to portray collaboration and inclusiveness. Her dance & fitness company is not just for and about the Indian community and wants to include and spread the joy across different communities. In addition, she firmly believes that the learning from this collaboration can be and should be adapted as a constructive health program or a dance routine.

Mukta also strives to promote collaboration with talented, multi-cultural and multi-national dancers for a better dance and fitness experience, while keeping creativity, passion, as well as healthy entertainment emotions strongly bonded and intact.

Following these scintillating dance performances, all the attendees migrated out to the atrium area of the auditorium. It was almost as if they were being drawn out by the aroma from all the street food lined up outside. The mere sight of the food-stalls offering lip-smacking, mouth-watering, Bombay street food, along with the banter from the sellers and the buyers, definitely brought back old school/college memories from back home. There were classic items such as Vada-Pav, Pavbhaji, and Bhel, there were special delicacies like Puran Poli, and Biryani, and of course, you can’t end a meal without either a brownie, Cake-Ras Malai, or a Pan(Vida). In addition, to quench the thirsty, there were the tasty offerings of Mocktails. The best part was that all this was made available to the members at prices unheard of in restaurants.

And I guess, all the above reasons is why this program concept has been extremely popular with all the age groups, for the past few years.

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After the hungry souls were done tasting a few food items, their attention shifted to the game stalls where people were trying out their luck and skills. What was amazing to watch was that not only were the little ones playing the games, but I also saw a few grandparents trying out their hand at the games. I think somewhere deep inside, they were all going back in time, to become that little boy or girl competing at the fair to win something. I could tell that they were there not just to play, but also to win the prizes. I felt pleasantly satisfied to see those happy smiles lit up on their faces as they played the various games, designed by our young creative and budding entrepreneurs.

Finally, yet importantly, there was a huge turnout from movie celebrities, who came to participate in the ‘Hollywood and Bollywood’ dress contest. Along with the young artists, there was the famous Gatsby flapper from Hollywood, as well as Bollywood celebrities such as Anarkali (Madhubala), Janice (Zeenat Aman), Zumma (Kimi Katkar), Circuit (Arshad Warsi), and Sanju-Baba (Dutt). It was great to see them show up, in-spite of their tight schedules. A2MM would like to thank everyone that entered this “Hollywood-Bollywood” contest and congratulate the winners of this dress contest.

On behalf of the A2MM Executive Committee, I would finally like to give a big shout out to the various committee members from the Entertainment, Hospitality, Decoration, Registration, and Logistics/infrastructure teams, as well as the Jatra food-stall management team. Thanks to Sachin Sawant and Piyush Karkare for capturing these cherishable fun moments through their lenses and making them even more special. Special thanks to our Youth members – Vinny Shende, Meera Kanade, Neel Marathe, Ava Mandhare, Devansh Shende, and Richa Javkar for managing the youth booth and various games stalls with able guidance and encouragement from their parents as well as Prashant Javkar. Their enthusiasm, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit was simply adorable! Events like these give them an opportunity to learn real-life skills such as teamwork, presentation, and teach them basics of how to set up and run a small business.

It would be remise of me if I forgot to say that the flawless program execution by the program manager Amol Sandbhor along with the able guidance from our very own Madhuri Deshpande and Swati Kulkarni, made the event run like a well-oiled machine. Cheers to all the volunteers who helped in every way they could to make this event a memorable one, along with our Vice President Sailiy Sawant, President Laukik Deshpande, and First lady Yugandhara Deshpande! (www.facebook.com/annarbormarathimandal/)

A2MM would like to welcome all their new members and hope you all had a wonderful and a memorable evening. Thank you once again and see you soon at the next event…Stay tuned.

Saroj Prashant Javkar

A2MM Marketing Team

Communications@a2mm.org

Jatra 2018