30th June 2012: Day 1 Reception at the residence of Laikangbam's family:
The 21st NAMA Convention kicked off with a reception at the residence of Laikangbam's family at Shrewsbury, Massachusetts state. Gathered at the backyard of the green neighborhood, NAMA members arrived had informal discussions helping them get to know one another. Children were playing and having fun at the playground while many more members were slowly arriving at the venue. The evening started with fun filled Tambola with all members having to hold their breaths while every number was picked up. The luckiest of all turned out to be Sanjeet Lukram who got most of the prizes including the full house. After Tambola a mouth-watering display of Manipuri dishes were laid out for dinner. Fish Curry (Rau thongba), Yen Thongba (Chicken Curry) with awa phadigom, Thambou Shingju (Green salad with Lotus stems),Yendem Eromba, Sana Thongba (paneer), Chana (Chole) Thongba, Maroi Nakuppi Bora Thongba (Chives) were the major dishes which made every one very hungry. Kwa (Betel leaf & Supari) was also served at the end. Dinner served on the reception day was prepared at the host’s residence. The day ended with preparations for the next day - getting the back drop ready, finalizing the presentations and discussing the anchoring plan. Also the group song practice session with the musicians and singers who had arrived that day.
1st July 2012 Day 2: Main Event: India Center, Shrewsbury:
All members gathered at the India Center for a power packed 21st Annual Convention. The anchor of the day was Leenthoingambi Priyank Desai. The program started with President, Vice President, General Secretary & the Guest of Honor Babloo Loitongbam taking their respective seats on the dais. The Welcome Speech was delivered by Rajeshwar Laishram, President NAMA. He welcomed all NAMA members, Executive Team, Founding Members and the Guest of Honor of the day. He touched upon the importance of the convention and expressed his sincere thanks to all NAMA members who have supported the projects concluded during 2011-12. Also he thanked all members who have travelled far & wide to attend the event. NAMA 2011-12 Report was delivered by Sapam Shyamaanda, Gen Secy NAMA. Few major projects highlighted were the PBD 2012 NAMA participation, Career Counselling Session, Mentoring program at MIMS, Symposium on Sharmila at Boston and Career Fair in Imphal. The importance of joining hands with European Manipuri Association (EMA) and working on a common goal for the overall development of the society was also highlighted in his speech. He also expressed the sense of pride in working as a NAMA executive and delivering the projects. NAMA Financial report 2011-12 was presented by Manjarita Laishram, Vice President & Treasurer. All fund collection and expenses made in the entire year were shared with all NAMA members. The Guest of Honor of the event Babloo Loitongbam reminisced his days in US and his association with NAMA. He mentioned that his first connection with NAMA was at a tea party hosted by Late Tamo Jupiter Yambem at his residence. He also attended 2004 NAMA Convention held at Staten Island. Babloo expressed that he feels he is part of the NAMA family. He touched salient points of how NAMA is able to integrate the Manipuris in North America so that the community can share and move forward. He also described how Manipur is potentially becoming the global capital of South East Asia with the connectivity of the mainland India and the South East Asia. He described how only Manipur's landscape is the only way to set up roadways. He described the two books ‘Where China Meets India’ written by Thant Myint-U and ‘Monsoon’ by Robert Kaplan. Speech by a founding member Dhrita Kumar was full of energy. He thanked the organizer and the host for all their hard work and organizing the reception event. He touched upon the issues in Manipur which needs to be resolve for our state to move forward. He also reminded the nomenclature of the association, dedication of the members, emphasized to participate and take responsibility of the society in all respects. Furthermore, he pointed out the importance and speedy finalization of Jiribam-Imphal (Tupul) Railway Project without further delay with a guaranteed usage by all walks of life irrespective of ethnic origins. Ex-Gen Secy Lukhoi Sougaijam also expressed the importance of oneness and the importance of NAMA. A report on IT activities was provided by IT Leader Kunjakishor Maimom. NAMA logo video launch was showcased to the audience followed by lunch. During lunch NAMA members and guests visited the stall where books and various NAMA items were displayed.
After lunch, an award winning short film Nung Amashung Yerum directed by Romi Meitei was screened while we wait for the Chief Guest to arrive. The session was then opened by Laksmikant Laikangbam presenting an overview on the Knowledge Exchange Network (KEN). He described the initiative which was taken over by NAMA & EMA along with the representatives from the Manipur. Finally Mirra Banks, our Chief Guest arrived and graced the occasion. As she takes her seat on the dais, NAMA General Secretary gave a background on how NAMA helped in translation of clippings of the ongoing project of Mirra's most recent Manipur movie - "A Way Home" which is based upon the baseball project of Somi Roy. Mirra and her husband delivered a speech on their experiences of their trip to Manipur. She mentioned that the dedication that was shown by the young sportsmen and sportswomen despites the hardships they have to face is highly commendable. She urged that NAMA like organization can support those people who plan to travel to US and provide awareness of visa interviews. During the open forum, Aeroshil Nameirakpam presented his google map project which has been initiated as part of the KEN. He explained how this project can help internet users in Manipur to locate several unknown places. It can also become a good resource for adventure sports. The closing remarks were given by the Gen Secy thanking each of the Executive Committee and the host who had worked tirelessly to make this event successful. He also thanked Babloo Loitongbam for extending his stay to attend the event, Mirra Banks for travelling all the way from New Jersey and all the NAMA members for making the event a grand success. A special mention was made for Shanti Thokchom who after reaching US just two days before the event travelled all the way from Tulsa Okhlahoma. Tamo Prassana Thokchom also came from Florida.
The final session was a series of cultural program performed by several members and children. The session opened with a group song "Ho Ima Poknapham Ima Nangumbi Leite Ima" with Prassanna Thokchom (Tamo Tombi ) on Sitar and Chinghkhei Akoijam on guitar. Ballet dance was performed by Rachel Laikangbam followed by another dance by Lavani Laishram on fusion music. Leima Jagoi was presented by Echel Sapam. Then solo songs were presented by several members. The day ended with the much awaited Thabal Chongba. Special Thabal Chongba Music was recorded by Jazz Band, Imphal East. Women started the dance joined by men. Overall all members had a fun filled event. Many members left for their homes in the evening. Those who stayed back gathered at host’s residence and had dinner. The Executive team and the founding members along with few members attending the convention had a debrief session at the host’s residence. It was unanimously agreed that NAMA Convention 2013 will be held at Cincinnati, Ohio.
Families & Individuals Cities or States Members visited from: Boston, Massachusetts, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Atlanta, Florida, Columbus (Ohio), Michigan, Chicago, Tulsa, and Buffalo.
Overseas Indian Felicitation Centre (OIFC)
Knowledge Exchange Network (KEN)
Manipur Youth Foundation (MYF)
Items displayed at the NAMA stall:
NAMA T-shirt with new logo
Manipuri Sagol Kangjei (Polo stick) - two types
Manipuri Handicraft item - Phirup Model
DVDs - "Songs of Manshangva" directed by Oinam Doren, Music Albums of Eastern Dark & Imphal Talkies
Chainarol - gifted by Babloo Loitongbam
Cheitharol Kumbaba - gifted by Binalakshmi Nepram
Witness to War - gift from Charlie Clements
Tattooed with Taboos - gift from Chaoba Phuritshabam
Land of the Dancing Deer- gift from Jamuna Advani (California)
Lions Club magazine featuring NAMA Career Counseling Event
Once again, we would like to thank all the NAMA members who attended the event this year. And we hope to see you next year again in a much bigger convention.
NAMA Executive Committee