Tuesday, July 10, 2007

TANA 2007 in Washington DC Convention Center

In my 16 years in US, I never cared to attend any Indian or Telugu Association functions assuming they are all either boring or waste of valuable weekend time. 2007 changed all that for me after I had to forcefully attend Capitol Area Telugu Society (CATS) Ugadi function with my son who performed dance for the famous "Devuda Devuda" song from Pokiri. Even if my son didn't perform that day, I would still have fallen in love with the Telugu Association functions as it's a very special feeling to be with so many people who have similar roots as we did. Food and entertainment don't really matter once you get there as it's the environment of being in the middle of so many Telugu people that will get you.

Ever since that day, I made up my mind to attend TANA (Telugu Association of North America) 2007 being held in Washington DC Convention Center on July 4th weekend. After all, I might see only one more TANA being organized in DC Metro area in my life. I almost missed attending TANA as I got tied with on-call responsibility that week at my new job at Washington post.

Fortunately, I was able to switch my responsibility at work for that week with a co-worker. I went there on the second day and joined my friends for lunch as I walked in. Lunch was let down but it will be stupid of me to expect good food when I can see over 12,000 people attending the function. It was decent enough to eat but I decided all my next meals will be from the food court area where Minerva and Mirchi were selling enjoyable food.

To me the best part of attending TANA is the probability we have in bumping into our good old friends from yesteryears. I happened to meet one friend after almost 25 years and many after 3-10 years. It was a great feeling. Entertainment, shopping, and food all become insignificant once you start bumping into friends. Also, the feeling you get seeing over 10K Telugu people in the convention center will make you nostalgic about our culture. It's like being at a wedding in Andhra. Very few care to watch the wedding. It's all about meeting friends and cousins and feeling the mood of celebration. Washington Convention center was filled with Teluguthanam those 3-days. It's a feeling that will stay with you for a while. I enjoyed being there so much that I am already trying to plan with friends to make a trip to Orlando, FL in 2009 to attend the TANA there. Hopefully, Mahesh Babu will be the main guest then.

I have to confess I couldn't help myself from not appreciating Nandamuri Bala Krishna. His action in movies isn't to my liking and I hardly even rent his movies on DVDs. Probably, he is the only hero I can't stand watching in movies in the last year or two. But, he stole the show at TANA.

He not only performed exceptionally on stage as Sri Krishna Devarayulu and Yama Dharmaraju but, he was down to earth and it was nice to see him sign autographs for several kids.

I heard 14,000 - 16,000 people attended TANA 2007. I wonder how many more would have attended had Mahesh Babu attended as initially planned? Already TANA 2007 saw too many celebrities (Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Bala Krishna, Narra Chandra Babu Naidu, Murali Mohan, Gummadi(honored with Life Time Achievement Award by TANA), Illeana, Parvati Melton, Sunil, Prabha, Rama Prabha, Mani Sharma, Paruchuri Brother, and many more stars and politicians) attended and it probably didn't need Mahesh Babu. I hope he makes it to the next TANA. It's good to read about TANA in Washington Post.

Congratulations to all TANA organizers for working hard to make TANA 2007 a very memorable one. TANA 2007 will be remembered as Katragadda Krishna Prasad's TANA. He donated not just for TANA and Clinton Foundation for AIDS. Google him or "Katragadda Charities" and you will find about the things he does for his village and for his state. I wish him great success in his business as he is sure to share his profits for the welfare of his state in India.

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