Family Reunion : Making memories, breaking the distance

Listening to the elderly people was like a step back in time. Yes, this was a family reunion event which happened for the first time in decades in our family. This invite was from Cheenivillakonam family tree. I was wondering how this would be.  So I did a quick research and understood that such events happen once every year in some parts of our state, Kerala, where the members of the extended families come together. Typically, it would be like they would assemble for a meal followed by discussions and recreations.

I don't even know most of the family members even in my generation. This thought was kinda pulling me back but then I thought why not go and check out how big the family is. So on Friday night, I started off to the outskirts of Kollam district, where the event was scheduled to happen. My baby was so excited since he would be able to see his brothers and sisters. Yes I was also in that mood, even if we have umpteen number of online tools to be in touch with the family, it cannot replace the fun and energy which we get while we meet them in person. 

The function, or rather get together was scheduled for Saturday morning. Well for my surprise, it was well arranged for the first time. They had send out the message and managed to reach across our state to find the members of this family tree. Since this was the first call among this family, we were also little skeptical about the number of families that would be attending. To our surprise, the families from Calicut, Idukki and other part of Kerala joined. Yes this time, it broke the distance barrier and bought the families closer.

It looked like the preparations for this meeting had began well in advance. I was told that there were a number of meetings held within the main members of the family to discuss the feasibility of such a programme and in the end they decided to go ahead. A pandal (a temporary auditorium ) was put up in a vacant plot of a family member. The pandal was big enough to hold at least 200 people. Also a separate pandal was put up for serving lunch. In this era of fast food, I must mention that all the food items served at this function was prepared in  the premises of the pandal itself. 

The main agenda of the meeting was to get to know each other. This was the thought that encouraged the organizers to put up such an event. Such an event would help identify people within our family from different walks of life. This would surely help those who needs a push career wise or for any kind of medical treatment or for any kind of support from the extended family.

The programme began with a prayer followed by lighting of the ceremonial lamp. The first programme was an introduction into our family tree and this was given by one of them most senior most person in the family. While this was happening, the audience was served with nice hot tea and banana fry. He spoke about the lives and greatness of our great grandfathers and ancestors. How they played a major role in the development of our area. This was followed by a detailed introduction by each and every family member. And finally family photos of the families.

We were amazed to know that we had family members who were doctors in top institutions, we had cousins who were studying in India's premier institutes, we had cousins who worked in really good firms across the globe. All this would actually provide an opportunity for the upliftment of the less fortunate in our family. 

Also a decision was taken on registering this group as a trust and to carry out its activities. A President, Secretary, Treasurer and other committee members were also elected to form the core committee. This was to ensure active participation from all the family members. As we mingled and started to know each other, it had already been time for lunch. The lunch organized was a traditional sadhya but of course with some non vegetarian dishes as well.

Event Auditorium 
Registration of the families in progress
Different books for each family head
Main coordinators of the event
Happy Gautham
Hot and yummy banana fry 
The food being prepared
The ceremonial being lit
Prayer Song 
Introduction in Process
and thats our small family

As the sun reached its peak, people slowly started to take leave. Even we left soon, but with a promise to return back for more get together.

*All the pictures were taken using Canon 70DCanon 16-35 f4 lens with available light.

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Rahul Devakumar
Creative Media Studio

We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.


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