Celebrating their heritage

Celebrating their heritage

Renewing a connect

Celebrating their heritage

It was an evening of restrained yet lively celebration as the Australian Consul-General for South India, Sean kelly, hosted the first ever formal Australia Day celebrations recently at The Ritz-Carlton.

 Australians and Indians alike took part in the festivities with zeal and laughter and the lights of cameras punctuated the happenings at regular intervals. Most of the attendees had come to Bengaluru in connection with a social impact programme called ‘40K Globe’ and were quite delighted at being able to take part in an event that commemorated their patriotism.

Samantha Spiroff says, “Australia Day is an amazing day. I have family members who have fought in wars so it is great to have a day to celebrate your country. It is strange to be celebrating a little bit early (Australia day falls on January 26) but the significance is still powerful.”

Talking about the purpose for which they are here, Bethany Sproal says, “We are here to produce videos for the program that works with kids for their education after school. We are here for four weeks and it has been great so far.” Heidi Gallina adds, “It has been an incredible experience so far and we have all connected quite well. The highlight of the trip has been the time we have spent in villages and getting to know the people and listening to their stories. We are called ‘globe teachers’ and we want to make an impact.

Attired in ornately embellished ‘anarkalis’, both Samantha and Heidi are delighted at the sartorial choices they have seen here. “The detail work and the colours are so vibrant and beautiful. Indian fashion has to be my favourite part of the cultural landscape,” says Samantha excitedly.

Heidi chips in, “Since we are here, we want to make the most of it and be part of the experience. The culture is just beautiful. The colours, the people, the spices...everything is fascinating.” A little away from them, a group of girls stands and talks in an animated manner. Asked about their stay here, Gen Sheehan says “It is like embracing myself in a completely new culture; it is all a very new experience to me.”

Nicole Velaives adds, “I am looking forward to seeing the difference in cultures between the northern and southern parts of the country as well as the contrast between the urban and rural regions. We are really loving the time we are spending here and the people have been really kind and welcoming which has been a pleasant surprise.

We were all a bit worried about how appreciated we would be but everyone has been really kind.”Asked about what she liked the most about India, Kate Linsley says, “I like the fashion (laughs). Also, everyone that we have met so far has been very friendly. And the food is different; it is very spicy, but is very nice.”Bella Raymond says “It is always a fun day back in Australia. Everyone is quite excited about this day.”
The host of dignitaries present for the event included the Minister for Labour, Santhosh S Lad; Chair of Biocon and Australian Global Alumni Ambassador, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw; National Chair of the Australia-India Business Council Sheba Nandkeolyar; and cricketing legend Michael Kaspowitz.