History of KANE


KANE 1970 - 2021

This page has KANE's 50 years history in 2 parts. The first 25 years (1970 to 1996) written by Prof. Dr. Thomas Koshy and the second 25 years (1996 to 2021) written by Mr. Steny Kalapurakkel

Estimated reading time: 30 minutes, 25 seconds.
Contains 6085 words


The KANE Community: A Retrospect
KANE 1970 -1996

Prof. Dr. Thomas Koshy

The late 1950s and the 60s witnessed the beginning of a flow of Keralites into the Boston area, most of them as graduate students. There was a good reason for this: Boston was and continues to be the educational hub of the world, and Mecca of medical care. They had left behind a homeland that had given them life, freedom, and a good education. Some had their families with them, some had left them temporarily in Kerala, and the rest were single. Those in the last two categories were eager to meet other Malayalies who were few in number or even other Asian Indians; they were craving for social interaction, emotional support, and a decent Malayali meal. Those with families were generous in welcoming others to their homes and fulfilling these needs. No one had originally thought of settling here. However, after experiencing the intellectual challenges, and enjoying the comforts and conveniences of life in The United States, they decided to establish roots here. Meanwhile, the Malayali population in the area began increasing gradually and slowly the pilgrims felt the need for an organization. In the fall of 1970, Dr. C. T. John, then a professor at Northeastern University, took the initiative in inviting all Keralites in the area to an organizational meeting at Harvard University where the late Dr. A. V. Varughese was a post-doctoral fellow. The attendees enthusiastically endorsed his idea for an association, thus laying the foundation for Kerala Samajam, an informal body constituted to meet the social and cultural needs of the people. As could be expected, Dr. John was elected president, and Kurian Tharakan and Madhavan M. Nambiar as secretary and treasurer, respectively. For the convenience of all, Dr. John compiled and distributed a one-page type-written list of addresses and telephone numbers of all male Keralites in the Boston area.

Seeking social interaction and a tasty, spicy meal, they took advantages of every opportunity to meet; for example, whenever a priest would pass through the area, all Christians would gather for a worship service, irrespective of the denominations to which they belonged. Most of the services were held at Boston University and sporadically at Northeastern University also. (There was no Hindu Temple in the Boston area at that time.) Initially, the Samajam had few activities. Occasionally Malayalam movies were shown, sometimes at Northeastern and other times at MIT. The movie-screenings provided opportunities for renewing friendships, swapping old and new stories, and meeting the newly arrived. But the advent of videos in the 80s dampened the interest in them.

First non-trivial activity of the maiden year was a picnic, held on a summer evening in 1971 on the banks of the Charles River, across from WBZ-TV station on Soldiers Field Road; Well-attended and well-received, it included a pot-luck meal and a few games. Later picnics, however, have featured cookouts, and sports and games for all ages. Most of the cultural activities in the 70s and the early 80s were held at the Immanuel Methodist Church (IMC) in Waltham and the rest at Bentley College. The first Christmas function was held in 1973 at Phillips congregational church in Watertown; its highlights included the singing of carols, a Christmas pageant, a costume competition, a visit by Santa Clause, and of course an exchange of gifts. The addresses distributed then included wives’ names, bringing them a step closer to genuine equality; but children’s names were not added until three years later.

A special attraction of the Samajam in those days was the Onam festivities. The first one was held in August 1974 at Northeastern University’s Burlington Campus. The feast is invariably followed by a variety of entertainment, including Bharata Natyam, plays, songs, and instrumental music. Traditionally well-attended and well-supported, the festivals mirror the celebrations in the homeland, taking us back home on an annual nostalgic pilgrimage and reminding us of what we miss in the United States. 1980 was a milestone in the history of the organization. During the tenure of P. K. George and Koshy Mathews, it was christened Kerala Association of New England, which neatly fits the acronym KANE proposed by Joseph Vargise.

Color and pageantry were subsequently added to the Onam festivities, providing novelty, excitement, and embellishment. Athappu, a beautiful floral arrangement, for instance, became a focal point of the festival held in Carter Memorial Methodist Church in Needham in August 1980; thalappoli, a ceremonious way of greeting distinguished guests by girls dressed in beautiful, traditional dress and carrying flowers in bronze plates, and the lighting of the nilavilakku, a traditional bronze lamp, were added to the festivities at the First Armenian Church in Belmont in September 1981. In the following year, a nirapara filled to the rime with rice, a symbol of prosperity, became an added feature of the spectacle. (A para is a beautifully carved wooden cylinder with one end closed; it is used to measure paddy). As can be imagined these features have become prominent fixtures of all later Onam celebrations.

Until 1980, the KANE executive committee had been elected by the general body. But in 1981 KANE experimented with a new procedure which has since worked well. It elected a president, secretary, and treasurer at the Onam business meeting and entrusted them with adding a reasonable number of members to the committee. The president presented the new members for recognition at the following Christmas function.  The liberalization of immigration laws in the 70s opened the shores to a new wave of Keralites to arrive and to participate fully in the “American Dream.” This led to a gradual and steady increase in our population in New England, especially in the Greater Boston area. All well-qualified, the newly arrived had left their homeland to enhance their economic well-being, to delight in the modern amenities of life to provide a better future for their children.

The infusion of new blood with a variety of talents in the arts and music enhanced the cultural offerings of the Association. Among them concerts, koladi, vallom kali, thalappoli, kathaprasangam, and the playing of a large array of musical instruments are noteworthy.

KANE was twice blessed by the visits of renowned movie stars: Padmasree Thikkurissi and Padmasree Gemini Ganesan (‘77), and Padmasree Prem Nazir and Kuthiravattom Pappu (‘88). In addition, concerts by Padmasree Jesudas (9/73, 3/83, 10/87), P. Leela (9/74), Jolly Abraham (11/79), Jency Anthony & Chorus (10/82), and Jesudas and Chitra (7/95) were captivating. A number of gifted KANE vocalists such as Raju Thekkekara (9/85, 9/87) have also entertained us. The plays directed or acted in by the members include SPCH: Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Husband (Spring,‘76), Kshira-bala-sahacharadi-kashayathil (9/78), Kuttavum Shikshayum (4/81), Vallithirumanam (Jyothi Raghavan, 9/83), cherukkankaanal (9/85), Pennukaanal (8/89), Manosugham Clinic (9/90), Kalianikku Kambi Vannu (8/83, 9/93), Kudumba Yogam (9/92), and Yuge Yuge (4/95); a total of five kathaprasangams were also staged: Nerchakozhi (Dn. V.K. Thomas, 9/77), Magdalanamariam (Samuel Thomas, 12/80), Pathanam (Alex Thomas, 5/89), Maveli Bostonil (Alex Thomas, 6/91), and Neelathidumbu (Samuel Thomas, 4/95). Without exception, the audiences were enraptured.

The year 1981 gave birth to two non-profit organizations in the Boston area. In July, with Dr. P.M. John as the founding father, the Third World Scholars Consortium Inc. was formed to promote “the cultural, religious, educational, developmental, and organizational concerns of the Third World,” and in December the Kerala Christian Conference was born. The latter holds an annual Thanksgiving service in November, and a one- or two-day conference in the summer; its maiden function, however, was the Christmas service at IMC.

The year 1981-1982 was a memorable one. The list of addresses appeared for the first time in a booklet form with a printed cover page and artwork by Maya Jacob. It contained advertisements from the large business community, generating sufficient funds to meet printing costs a profitable practice since continued. Swami Sarvagadananda of the Rama Krishna Vedanta Society at MIT gave the message at the Christmas function held at IMC. At the function, KANE JR., a team coined by Mercy Koshy, was formed to meet the social and cultural needs of the youngsters in the community. Its activities include ski trips, visit to the historical sites and theme parks, Halloween parties, charitable work such as Walk for Hunger and serving at soup kitchens, and an annual publication, New Horizons, began in the fall of 1983. In the summer of 1982, Kane realized a long-cherished dream. It bought a public address system, the seeds of which were planted four years earlier by Eapen Koshy, and then revivified in 1980-81.

Dr. K. R. Narayanan, then Ambassador to the United States and currently the Vice President of India, was the chief guest at the Onam festival in September 1982. Ambika Sukumaran, a star on the Kerala silver screen for several decades, delivered the Onam message. In addition, Simi Garewal, a movie star and director of the Hindi movie, Rookshat (1985), which was produced by Philip Cherian, also was present. A new activity, square dancing was experimented with in March 1984, again at IMC, under the leadership of The Rev. DR. Abraham Thomas.

Commencing in 1984, KANE has participated in nearly all Independence and Republic Day celebrations, organized by the India Association of Greater Boston, and won a second place in cultural competitions held in January 1989 for the one-act-play, Kerala Bus Travel.

In February 1986, KANE hosted the first recreation night at the Longfellow Tennis and Fitness Club in Wayland, a practice that continued until two years ago. In July, Joseph Vadakekalam led a deep-sea fishing trip off Cape Cod. It was followed in August by the first overnight camping at Bowdish Lake, West Glocester, Rhode Island, held under the joint directorship of Joy Abraham and Joseph Akkara, an activity enjoyed by the campers. The tradition started then continues to have a strong faithful following.

In the summer of 1987, KANE participated in the India - a Festival of Science exhibition at the Museum of Science in Boston. Sponsored by the Government of India and the Department of Science and Technology, it highlighted the scientific contributions of India; in August, Kerala Day was observed with a panoply of arts and crafts. Three years later, KANE organized a trip to Atlantic City.

The December 1993 address book listed the hometowns and nicknames of all adults. In the following summer KANE participated in the International Festival held at Bayside Expo Center. With 168 countries from around the world participating in the exposition, KANE had a booth displaying Kerala’s culture, art, handicrafts, spices, and costumes, and it was visited by India’s Ambassador, Siddhartha Shankar Ray. It was followed by a whale watching trip off Boston Harbor in August. At the Onam meeting in 1994, the office of the secretary for arts and sports was added to the executive committee to lead KANE in cultural and entertainment pursuits. A legal counsel was also retained.

1994-95 was a landmark year in the growth of KANE. It now boasts to have a splendid logo, commissioned in the fall. Designed by Manu Mathew, a multi-talented professional artist and the father of numerous impressive creations, this composition comprises two concentric circles; the inner one contains the silhouette of a woman clad in traditional royal clothes holding a lamp in her right hand and a platter of fruits in the other. At the 1994 Christmas function, KANE adopted a constitution, originally drafted in 1993 by an ad hoc subcommittee headed by Alex Thomas. On December 30, it became a registered, non-profit organization to “foster social, educational, charitable, and cultural needs of the Kerala Community in New England and to promote the artistic, literary, inter-cultural, and inter-generational needs of the wider Indian community in active participation with organizations in North America with similar and mutual interests”. History was also made when a Board of Advisors was formed in December to “provide continuity and guidance in fulfilling long-term goals and objectives”.
In contrast to the previous ones, this year’s picnic at Concord was special. It was fully underwritten by the KANE business community, manifesting the esprit de corps of successful enterprises. The large influx of Malayalies into the area in the 80s and the early 90s has resulted in about 325 families. (see the graph below.) Although they are disposed in various parts of New England, most of them are concentrated within Route 495 in Massachusetts.

The Keralite population in New England, by and large, consists of Christians and Hindus. Catholics have been attending local Catholic churches, whereas their non-Catholic counterparts initially worshiped together when a priest would become available. With the large influx of Christians, however, this situation has changed; the 80s saw the birth of six congregations in Boston: Mar Thoma Church (’84), The Church of South India (’88), International Church of God (’88), St. Mary’s Orthodox Church (’89), Pentecostal Assembly of Boston (’89), and St. Stephen’s Knanaya Church (’92). Meanwhile, in 1981, the Hindus from various parts of India along with the believers from Kerala, bought 12 acers of land in Ashland, Massachusetts, to build a temple there. Although the construction of Sri Lakshmi temple began in June 1984, it continues to be architecturally embellished. Nevertheless, three resident poojarees from India conduct poojas there regularly. The community is delighted that two of its pilgrims went on to become vice-chancellors of two universities in Kerala, Dr. A. V. Varughese at the University of Kerala, and Dr. A. T. Devasia at Mahatma Gandhi University at Kottayam. It is also laudable that The Rev. Oommen Koruthu who graduated from Boston University with a D. Min. in 1976, was consecrated as a bishop in the Mar Thoma Church four years later; Bishop Zacharias Mar Theophilus is currently in charge of the Diocese of North America and Europe, and serves on the Central Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches. In addition, The Rev. Dr. Abraham V. Thomas was elevated to Corepiscopa in 1986 in the Syrian Knanaya Church, since 1989 he has been the Administrator of the North American Knanaya Diocese.

KANE can boast of having gifted playwrights, artists, kathikans, and photographers too. To cite a few, Alice Sebastian crafted Pennukaanal, Tessy Maliakal and Mary Mathews Kalianikku Kambi Vannu, and Alex Thomas both Pathanam and Maveli Bostonil, enlivening our cultural activities. Maya Jacob has had her outstanding work displayed t several art exhibitions. Smita Vadakekalam and Sissili Philipose, two young, budding artists also deserve credit. The only recipient of the Education Foundation Ambassador Scholarship from Massachusetts, Smita represented the Commonwealth on a ten-day educational tour of Europe this summer; the scholarship “was established to promote the exchange of innovative ideas, foster international understanding, and celebrate cultural diversity”. Prem Menachery, a talented photographer, has voluntarily captured many of KANE’s memorable and precious moments in color and has a vast repository of such pictures. In addition, since 1989 Mohan Somasundaram has been hosting a program on WCUB FM radio in Worcester; He was joined by Sunitha Menon last year. Several of the youngsters have been very active in the Boy Scouts, some even becoming Eagle Scouts; Jay
Abraham (’77), Reuben K. Varghese (’82), Paul Varghese (’84), Viju Akkara (’88), and Freddy Papali (’95) have received the coveted honor. Over the years several of our girls have been learning ballet and Bharata Natyam, three reaching professional
status through arangetram: Sunitha Nambiar (’83), Anisha Abraham (’89), and Anita Sebastian (’94). With parents established and with most of their children born here, the latter group has taken an active interest in social and charitable work in the community where an innumerable number of volunteer opportunities exists. In 1984, for instance, Suresh Koshy, walked 20 miles in the annual Walk for Hunger to raise funds for Project Bread. His participation has had a ripple effect. Since then a dedicated group has been participating in this annual, worthwhile cause and its size has been increasing year after year. In the summer of 1988, Jyothi Nambiar participated in City Year, a project initiated by two Harvard graduate students and Mayor Raymond L. Flynn of Boston, and later expanded nationwide by the Clinton Administration; she received a Certificate of Public service Achievement for exemplary service as a founding corps member. Two years later, Nisha Koshy worked for Habitat for Humanity, a project begun by former President Jimmy Carter. Since 1992 Joseph Akkara has been a member of Holliston Lion’s Club engaging in social and charitable activities; he has been a board member since 1993 and treasurer since the beginning of this year. The entire Papali family are engaged in various activities of charitable nature: Scholarship telethons (Augustine), WGBH Community Advisory Board and Stepping Stone Foundation (Prabha), Amnesty International (Alexis), Sri. Chinmoy Foundation (Harry), Helping Hand at Park School (Freddy). In fact several of our members, including KANE, JR. members are also engaged in volunteer work at various organizations and institutions; they include American Cancer Society, WGBH telethon, Perkins School, Salvation Army, Miracle Kitchen, Rosie’s Place, Pine Street Inn, and Tutoring in Roxbury.  Over the years, KANE has touched the lives of many around the world through generous donations: CARE (‘78), the flood in Andhra Pradesh (‘79) Perkin School (‘82), the victims of the Bhopal industrial accident (‘86), and the earthquake in Maharashtra (‘93), to cite a few cases. Then in 1989, large quantities of clothes to the Aborigines in Gudallur, Tamil Nadu, and since May 1994, , Alex Thomas has been sending proceeds from his book, Thalamaru, to Mochana, a drug rehabilitation and counseling center at Manganam, a commendable act of compassion.  To continue establishing our roots in the community at large several have become politically active. Koshy Matthews (‘88, ‘90, ‘92), Madhavan Nambiar (‘92), K. J. .Sebastian (‘92), Maria Alunkal (‘94), Tessy Maliakal (‘94) and Vijay Padmanabhan (‘94), Tessy Maliakal (‘94), for example, have served as delegates to annual State Democratic conventions. Last year Marium Alunkal, P. M. John, Koshy Matthews, and Vijay Padamanabhan played roles in the 1994 re-election campaign of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, while Mariam also actively campaigned for town committee candidates in Hopkinton. Our contributions, however, are not confined to the boundaries of the United States. Three young adults, for example, went abroad to pursue charitable work. Two years ago, Asha Matthew, after graduating from Brown, worked with Mission Integral Urbano Rural to raise funds for providing health training and health facilities for the poor in Lima, Peru. Last year, Prakash Thomas, soon after graduating from Yale, left for China to teach English at a college under a program sponsored by the Amity Foundation of the Chinese Christian Council. Rachel Matthews, a graduate from the University of Michigan, is currently working in Senegal on a Peace Corps mission. It is indeed laudable that our community is increasingly contributing to the social fabric of the society at large. Koshy Matthews, for instance, serves as the Executive Director of the Asian American Resource Workshop, a nonprofit organization, the mission of which is “to work for the empowerment of the Asian Pacific American community.” Nalina Narain is the Executive Director of the Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence, Inc. “a coalition of individuals and organizations which aims to eliminate family violence and to strengthen Asian families and communities;” Anu Spain is its Program Director. The eighties staged a turning point in the life of the community. Seeing unprecedented opportunities for growth, development, and advancement, several people started their own businesses and are flourishing in their endeavors in “the New World” with competence and mastery. “The trend is in fact accelerating, with important implications for the future of” this community, especially our children and the generations not yet born. Our economic success is no longer a dream, but indeed a reality.  Amidst the happiness we feel in having established ourselves as a community, we have had our sad moments also. We have lost ten of our valuable members in the prime of their lives: A. V. Varughese (‘31-’83), George Kurien (‘14-’85), Leela S. John (‘33-’85), John Matthew (‘34-91’), Fr. P. I. Abraham (‘14-’91), Prasad Thomas (‘59-’93), Sunil Thomas (’72-’94), David C. John (‘15-’94), Frederick Ambellur (‘32-’94), and Varghese Kurian (‘43-’95). Although their voices have been stilled, their presence is still felt, and they continue to live in our hearts and minds.

Finally, a word about our younger generation: our children are excelling in academics, graduating from prestigious colleges and universities. Their pursuits of interest span a wide spectrum of fields such as accounting, architecture, biology, business, communications, computer science, economics, education, engineering, English, environmental science, law, international relations, medicine, nutrition, political science, and psychology; and some even speak French and Spanish fluently. Their academic excellence exemplifies we are nulli secundus in hard work, performance, expectation, or intelligence. They have set a lofty record of accomplishments that will be difficult for future generations to break. They deserve our applause and unwavering support.

The saga continues in to the next millennium
KANE 1996-2021

Mr. Steny Kalapurakkel


The chronological history of the next quarter-century as written below is based on the documented responses from all those veteran presidents of the yesteryears. We treasure the enthusiasm and support of these leaders who have graciously honored our request for responses to a few questions about their respective tenures. We also cherish the degree of openness expressed by most of those responders. However, naturally, there were variations in the amount of data shared which may explain the discrepancies in the size of the contents among various years. Also, responses from a very few officials haven’t reached us as of press time which would justify any interruption you may notice in the sequence of events. In addition, to be fair, while describing the highlights of those years we focused more on events than individuals. Finally, the KANE souvenir committee editorial board holds collective responsibility in recording these milestones of our beloved Association for the generations to come.

Thank you all for being part this magnificent mission.

The second half of KANE’s prolific history of 50 years begins with its presidents Dr. Omprakash Pillai (1995-1996) followed by Mr. Sonny Abraham (1996-1997). Under Mr. James Kutticherry’s presidency (1997-1998), KANE continued to enjoy its status as a non-profit cultural organization. The Association’s fundraising efforts became consistent which led to its financial self sufficiency. Mr. George Tharisayi presided over KANE in the year 1998-1999. It was under the leadership of Mr. Raphael Maliakal (1999- 2000) that KANE created its own website: kaneusa.org to the greatest enthusiasm of its members. It went through a few facelifts in the next several years. In addition, KANE started on-site cooking for Onam Sadhya for the first time. The days leading up to the event became a cheerful and jubilant community activity of vegetable cutting and food preparation that still continues. Mrs. Veena Pillai was the president of KANE during the year 2001-2002. Mr. Iype Geevarghese was the president (2000-2001) when the country was hit by its worst domestic tragedy, 9/11. Under his leadership, KANE came together as a community to support each other and to honor the lives that lost in this horrific national disaster of the century. In solidarity with the somber mood of the nation, KANE canceled Onam festivities for the first time in many years.
Under the presidency of Mr. Samuel Thomas in 2002-2003, KANE organized a membership drive for the first time. Each committee member was given a list of its members to be contacted. Their vigorous efforts resulted in an increase of over 250 registrations and subscriptions that year. The regular programs during the year were supplemented with a Star Nite Special performed by a visiting team of movie stars, singers and dancers from Kerala.

Mr. Vaidyanathan Iyer, one of the veterans of the community and a mentor to the Association and its leaders, was at the helm of KANE during the year 2003-2004. Under his leadership, an amendment to KANE’s constitution was adopted. This amendment made the election process of its office bearers more formal and better defined. In an earnest effort to teach our kids our mother tongue, a Malayalam school was started under the presidency of Mr. Varghese Yohannan (2004-2005). The community interest was so widespread that the student strength had reached to 60, at its peak. KANE started publishing a literary magazine named Sameeksha attracting various literary talents from the community especially from its younger members. Several more issues were published in the following years under various presidents. Aspiring writers, irrespective of their expertise and age, extended even beyond the KANE community, eagerly participated in this literary and intellectual experience for years to come.

On December 24, 2004 the world witnessed one of the worst natural disasters, the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. Along with some of the southern Indian states, Kerala also suffered a huge loss. KANE’s fundraising machinery was kick-started and the community was able to donate $4,500 to Kerala Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund.

Mr. Daniel Kutty was at the helm of KANE in the year 2005-2006 with a confirmed membership of 511 in active status. Also, Onam festival that year witnessed a record crowd of about 1,200 people. Ms. Susan, a representative of the then Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney delivered the Onam message during the celebration. Other highlights of the year included the hosting of a large science and technology forum and a classical dance performance by the famous Malayalam actress Padmashree Sobhana. Ganasandhya was one of the major highlights of the year 2006-2007 under Mr. Jacob Kallupura’s presidency. A fashion show represented by members of all ages of the community was also turned out to be a real success. Onam festival that year witnessed an unprecedented participation by the community as well. Under the leadership of Mr. Jose Sebastian in the year 2007-2008, KANE thoroughly redesigned its logo depicting the cultural symbols of Kerala and the Boston skyline with the words ‘Together Everyone Achieves More’ (TEAM) inscribed in it. A monthly  electronic newsletter named KANE Varthakal, outlining the Association’s initiatives and programs, was introduced to the community.

KANE restarted the Malayalam school, renamed it as Akshara to continue to teach the younger generation our first language. Bodhi, a platform for the entrepreneurs and innovators of our community was created. Paypal was introduced for the first time as a mode of payment. Partnered with other Malayalee Associations in the region, the first Jayaram show with Ms. Usha Uthup as one of the lead entertainers was staged to a very large audience. Despite its occasional inertia, this partnership has added several more stage shows and Malayalam movie screenings and still continues. Mr. Phillip Varghese (2008-2009) still fondly remembers the support of the community during his tenure as president. Based on his recollection the total  participation especially that of the children on all events was very fulfilling.

Mr. Rajendraprasad Sivadasan was the president (2009-2010) when the Association began to provide KANE calendars to its members. Also, dance and carol competitions were added to that year’s Arts & Talents event and Christmas celebrations, respectively.

Under Mr. Joboy Jacob’s presidency (2010-2011), along with the traditional activities, KANE was able to lead many charitable services and conducted a few stage shows and other entertainment events. Mr. Biju Thoompil presided over KANE in the year 2011-2012. In addition to the regular programs, two stage shows, led by Idea Star singer Somadas and Kalabhavan Prasad respectively, were the highlights of the year.

Under the presidency of Mr. Mathew Chacko in 2012-2013, sudden changes had to be made to KANE’s Arts & Talents Day event due to the unfortunate marathon bombing in April 2013, considered as Boston’s 9/11. Despite the turbulence the region has experienced, the event became very successful. The major highlight of the Onam celebrations was the Jeffery Iqbal Musical Show which was well- received by the community.

2013-2014 was the period under the leadership of Mr. Mathew George that KANE restarted Malayalam movie screening in partnership with other Malayalee Associations in the region. The popular movie Drishyam was the first venture that was screened at the Apple Movie Theater in Cambridge, MA. The joint venture also brought in a Star Show under the banner Ullasa Thiramala. The highlight of the Onam celebrations was a two- hour entertainment show named Mithrah 2014 led by the noted playback singer Franco. Another major accomplishment was the revamping of the KANE website under the mastery of Secretary, Mr. Jollson Varghese who received a plaque from the Association for this remarkable achievement. The newly designed website was unveiled to the community by one of its highly regarded patrons, Mrs. Mandaram Madhavan at the Onam festival. Also, KANE introduced a $100 annual membership fee for the family.

Under the presidency of Mr. Prakash Nellurvalappil (2014-2015), the Association created a new position of Public Relations Officer and Mr. Jollson Varghese was appointed as the first PRO. In the spring of that year, KANE hosted a ballet named Maya Madhavam by Lasya School of Dance and in the fall another Jayaram Show was staged as well. Both shows were widely accepted by the community.

It was under the leadership of Mr. Babu Punnose (2015-2016) that KANE’s charity platform became more formal and consistent and assumed the name KANE CARE with an introductory fundraising campaign for the Chennai flood of 2015. Also during the same year, a platform was created for the annual Arts & Dance Competition, named Malhar. In April, Malhar was inaugurated by the renowned cine artist & dancer Smt. Shanthi Krishna at the venue named ‘ONV Nagar’ to honor the memories of the late Shri. ONV Kurup, the highly acclaimed Malayalam poet. Also, a five member team represented KANE in FOMAA (Federation of Malayalee Associations of Americas) convention in Florida.

Under Mr. Jose Mohan’s leadership in 2016-2017, Malhar was taken to the next level of performance thanks to the tenacity and hard work of Arts Club secretary, Mr. Joseph Kunnel and his team. More attractive themes were added to the program extending it to a two-day event. KANE’s Onam Sadhya has always been the most favored and widely sought-after event in any given year. However, this often results in long waits. ‘Time slot based booking’ was introduced for the first time which was proven to be very effective. Also, Onam 2017 celebration was highlighted by the presence of the noted Indian cine artist, Ms. Maya Naidu.

In 2017-2018, under the leadership of Mr. Joseph Kunnel, the Diwali celebration was introduced for the first time. Also, a spelling bee competition was added to Malhar. KANE electronic newsletter, KANE Varthakal was resumed with more stories and news articles added to each edition. It was well-received by the community as evidenced by its positive responses. On invitation from the US District Court of Massachusetts, as part of their cultural and ethnic initiative, KANE representatives made an informational presentation about our traditions and culture at the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse in Boston on May 30th 2018. KANE Picnic in 2017experimented Kerala’s widely popular Thattukada for the first time. It included the traditional Thattukada items, namely, dosa with sambar & chutney and egg omelet etc. that were made-to-order right from the oven. The Biju Menon Show, hosted in participation with the other Associations was also a huge success. However, for the second time in the history of KANE, first being the 9/11 attack, the Onam celebration was canceled to express solidarity and support to the historical flood in Kerala in 2018. Instead of celebrating Onam, KANE initiated a rigorous fundraising campaign that resulted in donating $10,481.49 to the Kerala Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund.

Under the presidency of Ms. Elsie Marangoly in 2018-19, Diwali that entered its second year of celebration was a great success. Also, KANE hosted a badminton tournament in partnership with Burlington Badminton Club. The Christmas event was very special due to the presence of Dr. Sriram Venkataraman IAS as the chief guest. KANE added a new musical night, Kala Sandhya, with live orchestra which was widely applauded by the audience. Malhar in 2019 was extended to a third day with the generous support and sponsorship of Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU). Onam 2019 had to face an unusual challenge of finding a cooking spot up until the night before. But it turned out to be a great success especially with the Star Show Poomaram by noted cine artists and singers from Kerala.

Now the KANE Caravan proudly and ceremoniously bursts into another milestone, the Golden Jubilee Year! It was with great expectations and excitement that the new executive committee under the Presidency of Mr. Jollson Varghese entered into the Golden Jubilee Year. As an acknowledgement and recognition of this remarkable milestone, on December 6th 2019, at Northeastern University, KANE was invited and spotlighted in a meeting organized by the Indian Association of Greater Boston (IAGB) where the Indian Ambassador to US, Mr. Harsh Vardhan Shringla was the chief guest. KANE was represented by President Mr. Jollson Varghese and Secretary Mr. Roshan George along the representatives of 23 other regional Indian Associations in New England. In addition, on January 25, 2020 during the Indian Republic Day celebrations at Burlington High school, MA, KANE was awarded a plaque by the President of IAGB Mr. Sanjay Gowda, honoring the Association’s Golden Jubilee Year. In the year 2019-2020 the regular programs such as Halloween, Diwali, Kalasandhya and Christmas were all conducted as planned. The Christmas celebration on December 14, 2019 was the most notable this year not only due to its immense participation of 434 attendees but due to the celebrity value of its guests as well. During this Christmas event KANE felicitated one of our earliest members, Dr. K.M Abraham who is a well-respected American Scientist in the field of renewable energy and lithium battery research. Chief guest H. E. Dr. Ayub Mor Silvanos who was the distingushed presence at the Christmas dias also delivered the Holiday message.

KANE started renting a storage place in Shrewsbury, MA in August 2020, following the persistent plea from the various executive committees of the past to have a central location for the Association’s belongings and assets. In 2019 the KANE executive committee has decided to publish a Souvenir in the Golden Jubilee Year of 2020, in tune with the Silver Jubilee Souvenir 25 years ago. During the Kalasandhya event in 2019, a KANE Golden Jubilee Souvenir Editorial Committee was announced with Mr. Biju Thoompil as the chief-editor. Also, as a token for this impending Golden Jubilee publication, souvenir themed coffee mugs were distributed during Christmas celebrations.

KANE entered its Jubilee Year 2019-2020 with the determination and resolve to transform it into the most eventful and memorable year of its 50-year history. As we all are painfully aware now, the world turned upside down due to the Covid-19 pandemic during the waning days of winter 2020. Along with several states in US, Massachusetts went into complete lockdown by late March of 2020. Life as we know and used to, came to an absolute halt. Stay-at-home orders were declared across the state. Consequently, the remaining KANE events like Malhar, Summer Picnic and even the highly anticipated Onam celebrations had to be cancelled in 2020. However, the air of despair among the community didn’t prevail too long. When physical gathering became impossible and even prohibited, KANE along with other Malayalee organizations in the region, under the direction of FOMAA, turned on their virtual platforms and hosted many Covid-19 related information sessions by medical experts and career councilors to empower the members of the community during this challenging time. Despite these trying times, the KANE Golden Jubilee Souvenir Committee was hard at work with the ambitious goal of releasing and dedicating the Souvenir to the community at the Onam 2020 ceremony. Unfortunately, with the pandemic that was showing its even uglier fangs and the state still under a virtual lock down, the target date had to be revised and rescheduled. Taking this main objective into consideration, for the first time in KANE’s half-acentury history, the Annual General Body meeting conducted on a virtual platform on October 03, 2020 decided to re-elect the 2019-2020 Board of Directors to continue into the next year.

As of press time, we are witnessing the rays of light appearing at the end of this seemingly endless tunnel.Covid-19 vaccines are being manufactured at lightning speed and administered in the arms of individuals worldwide.If this miracle medicine proves to be effective, the Souvenir Committee earnestly hopes to place a copy of the Souvenir directly into the hands of each and every member of the KANE community at the Onam 2021 celebrations. Moreover, it is our sincere hope that we can get together and embrace one another without fear or distress again. Although we may still feel that the tunnel is getting longer and darker before it ends, we may also remember the English proverb that goes, “The darkest hours are just before the dawn.”

Let us not lose hope!