New York, USA, July 5, 2011
First of all - Let me take this opportunity to thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for making this annual camp such a wonderful and memorable event. Such enthusiasm displayed by attendees all the way from 6 month old to 83 year old, their presence through mind and body, their active participation, and volunteering is extremely commendable. All this really demonstrates that our generations here stand proof to the affectionate bonding that real "Kashmiriyat" is all about. I owe you all to make this camp a success.
As some of you may know, only 17 families had registered initially, and all the arrangements needed to be done in a short span of 2 weeks. While Anil and I were the team leaders, this could not have been possible without the immense help from the core team members (Rakesh Kaul, Umesh Kaul, Pramod Kachroo, Inder Kaul, Kiran kaul, Sandeep kaul, Rekha Chaku). Several people made changes to their personal plans to make this a success, e.g. Anil ji postponed his trip to India, and helping to make this event a success. While Inder Kaul could not be present in person due to certain circumstances, his creative ideas and inputs using his extensive past experience, helped us bring in a lot of efficiency in the planning of this camp.
To set the stage for such a lovely get-together on the first evening(July 1st) was all organized by Rakesh ji. Delightful performances by Rakesh Kaul, Satish Tiku, Chakri by Neerja Sadhu, Pami Kachru, Rekha Kachru, Neetu Kaul, Reema Kaul, Anju Kaul, Preyerna Raina, and oldies music by Neerja Sadhu, Anju Kaul and Kirti Sazawal, got the evening rolling!
The next day (July 2nd) morning started with yoga @ 7am led by Ashish Goja. While the kids enjoyed the swimming pools and tennis during the day, adults reinvented and brushed up their skills playing spirited games of cricket.
The evening started with awesome inspiring performances by our children Ananya, Arya, Aran, Yshassvi, Arya , Leela, Sirina, Aaryana and Sharika. We surely have some of the brightest and most talented kids around. Kudos to Nikita Kachroo in organizing the kids program. After dinner, the much awaited performance started. World reknowned singer Aarti Tickoo Kaul enthralled everyone with a mesmerizing performance, while obliging with couple rounds of encore, much to the delight of the awe-filled audience.
July 3rd, Sunday started with showers transforming Roaring Brook into the misty vistas of Pahalgam. Such a lovely coincidence - wasn't it, helping us relive the splendors of Kashmir! Many of the camp attendees joined the morning hikes across the trails that dot the camp grounds.
Our spiritual souls found devotion at noon in the form of Havan, which was also a time to reflect on things that we normally may not. The tough logistics around arranging for the priest were managed very effectively by Kalpana Fotedar.
The group photo-shoot was conducted at the top of the rolling grounds overlooking the magnificent fountain. Words may not do enough justice to express the beauty of the locale. Thank you Umeshji and Sandeep ji for organizing the photographs and videography.
Sunday evening brought in even more delights to all the music-craved souls with several treats - no less from our own biradari members. Thanks to Rakesh ji for organizing such an exquisite event. Several attendees were pleasantly stunned at the high level of talent we have amidst us. Kashmiri music, Hindustani music - both classical and popular by Rakesk Kaul, Manmohan Wanchoo, Monica Kaul, Preyrna Raina, Prerna Bhat and Satish Tickoo enthralled the audience. Last but not least Maharaj Kaul ‘s rib tickling standup comedy act got the audience rolling in laughter. He could any day give Jerry Sienfield a run for his money. We certainly discovered a new star in our community.
Subsequently DJ Gera and Manmohan ji, at the request of the audience, led campers to the dance floor rocking them till the wee hours of July 4th morning!
While I want to sincerely acknowledge and convey my heart-felt thanks to everyone, I apologize in case I miss out out acknowledging any one's efforts.
Special thanks to the following:
- Rinku from Tandoori Chef for organizing the food that tingled the palettes of all attendees.
- Rakesh ji for managing the overall menu for the scrumptious lunches and dinners.
- Pramod ji for organizing the games for the adults.
- Umesh Kaul for organizing photographs, Video and Children's games.
- Aseem Sadhu and Tapasya Wanchoo for registration.
- The team of Neetu Kaul, Pami Kaul, Rekha Kachroo, Deepika Kaul & Deepshikha Kaul for making delicious Kehwa.
- Nancy Moza for sharing Tumbaknaris.
- Kalpana ji for organizing priest for the havan, while also spending hours organizing and arranging for the supply items.
- DJ Sanjay Gera for helping us rock thru the evening into the night with his foot-tapping music.
- Naren for his wonderful percussion on Tabla.