From Turkey, with love

It was a rather magnificent evening at Chowdiah Memorial Hall as Educational Endowment Trust (EET), known for its pioneering educational endeavours throughout India, organised a vibrant Indo-Turkish Festival of Language and Culture recently.

Complete with scintillating cultural performances, the festival was a feast for both the eyes and ears, followed by home-made authentic Turkish delicacies by EET’s Turk staff. The money raised from the food sales will be used for educating children by EET.

The cultural evening witnessed enthusiastic participation by children studying in schools run by the EET all over India. There were vibrant Indian and Turkish cultural folk dances and songs that won the appreciation of all present. Students from Winners International School, Bengaluru; Iqbalia Junior College, Hyderabad; Iqbalia International School, Hyderabad; Sarita Vidyaniketan School, Hyderabad and Learnium School, New Delhi enthralled the audience with beautiful performances for over two hours.

The singing competition was divided into two — Turkish and Hindi. The Hindi song competition winner was Mohammed Asif from Sarita Vidyaniketan School while the Turkish song competition was won by Gaurav Singh from Learnium School. The winners won a cash prize of Rs 9,000 each and they will go to Romania. The Turkish dance performance by Winners International School has been selected to go to Germany.

While many kept glued to their seats throughout the programme, some made their way gradually to the food stalls set up outside the auditorium on the side lawns to relish the authentic Turkish spread.

The Turkish ladies laid out an elaborate feast comprising both vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies. It had savoury dishes like ‘Yaprak Sarma’ (rice wrapped in steamed grape leaves) and ‘Lahana Sarma’ (rice wrapped in steamed cabbage leaves).

Then there were spinach and cheese flaky buns, cheese and potato stuffed buns, savoury egg rolls, ‘veg kofte’, ‘veg pizza’, non-veg ‘samosa’ and cutlet and a tasty couscous preparation.

Foodies also seemed to be lapping up the ‘Turkmen Pilavi’, a rice dish with chicken and carrots cooked in butter. Even the dessert counter had much to lure everyone. Tasty assorted sweets like ‘baklava’, chocolate cake, chocolate balls sprinkled with coconut, brownies, pastries, cupcakes, varieties of cookies and semolina sweets had
people indulging to the hilt.

A large number of them enjoyed the feast there while few also got food packed to take home. “The food was delicious and I enjoyed myself thoroughly,” remarked Nelofer Mashood, pointing out to some of the dishes she liked. As for Mayura, another visitor, “It’s a wonderful initiative but it could have been better organised. It was a little difficult to understand the language of the stall attendants.  Besides, according to what I’ve seen on TV, I expected more non-veg stuffed breads and dry fruit based desserts. Am hoping for some more variety next time.”

All in all, the festival was an attempt by EET to bring this year’s national level ‘International Festival of Language and Culture’ (IFLC) to the garden city Bengaluru, thanks to its undying green culture and unique heritage. Previous IFLCs were conducted in Thailand, Philippines, South Africa and other countries.  The event will help in bridging the yawning cultural gaps in-between and foster the bilateral ties.
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