The Telegraph
Sunday , November 18 , 2012
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Back home with ballroom & Buddi Girl

Dalpuris and pork vindaloo, ballroom dance to Blue Suede Shoes and Blueberry Hill, waltz and cha-cha-cha, a trip to Bandel and a pub quiz.

Expect all this and more at the 9th International Anglo-Indian Reunion from January 6 to 12 that about 1,200 members of the community from the country and abroad are expected to attend.

“The reunion happens every three years and it’s happening in Calcutta for the first time in 27 years. Around two-thirds of the community has migrated but Calcutta is the heartland of the Anglo-Indians. You can take an Anglo-Indian out of India but you can’t take India out of an Anglo-Indian. The message is, come home and celebrate the land of your birth and the land of your roots,” said Philomena Eaton, convener of the reunion and the Calcutta Anglo-Indian Service Society, one of the principal organisers of the event, on Saturday.

Of the 200,000 Anglo-Indians in India, 40,000 are from Bengal, making the local community the largest.

A 26-member committee has lined up a weeklong extravaganza that will start with a thanksgiving mass at St Paul’s Cathedral at 3.30pm on January 6.

One of the main attractions is Those Were The Days, a musical presentation at Science City on January 8 that will give the audience the opportunity to waltz, cha-cha-cha and jive to the tunes of Usha Uthup, Shayne Hyrapiet, Chanelle Grosser, Francis Lepcha and the band Dhwani.

“The same morning, Andrew Scolt will host a quiz at Rangers Club Hall in which a traditional Anglo-Indian drink will be passed around for the participants to sip and tell!” said Shane Alliew, handling the event’s PR. The St. James’ School hall will be the venue of a five-day exhibition of “community artefacts” like doolies (wooden cupboards with netted windows found in kitchens) and knitted doilies (ornamental mats).

The Anglo-Indian Superstar at Gyan Manch on January 9 will showcase the talents of stand-up comedians, singers and dancers. The winner will walk away with a cash prize of Rs 50,000. The entertainment options that evening include a relaxing river cruise from the Millennium Park jetty and a jeans-and-cowboy themed party at Calcutta Boating Club in Tangra.

On January 10, St. James’ School will be the address for A Family Day Out, a carnival of sorts where stalls will serve Anglo-Indian specialities like pork roast, yellow rice and ball curry, pork vindaloo, aloo chops and pantras. “Stalls selling kites and playing tops, and games like five-a-side football and hockey, things we’ve grown up doing and playing, will be a part of the package,” said Ronald Martin, a member of the committee and the president of Grail Club for 22 years.

“The event will close with a grand ball at Nicco Park where the band Shiva will perform. We’re expecting about 1,000 people to turn up for the show,” said Colin Fitzgerald, a committee member.

The reunion anthem is Coming Home, sung by the choir from Dr Graham’s Home, and the mascot is Buddi Girl, the name given to the eldest daughter in Anglo-Indian families.

Registration for the event is open at till November 30.