I’ve been staying away from home for quite a long time. It was in 2007 when I moved to Delhi to pursue my dream of studying in Delhi University and becoming a writer. And ever since I went to college, I fell in love with this city’s rich heritage, diverse culinary scene, and warm people. I made a lot of friends who are now like a family to me. But as the saying goes, “Home is where the heart is”, there has never been a moment when I do not miss home. And the melancholy increases when there is a special occasion or a festival. Now that Durga Puja is approaching, I can already picture the preparations going on back at home. Maa must have bought four to five sarees, and the ingredients to make her favourite Axomiya snacks such as kata nimkee, laru, poka mithoi lal mohon, nimokhiya pitha and what not. In another few days, the sound of chanting of mantras (hymns), dhol (drum) and xonkho (conch shell), smell of dhuna (smoking mixture of camphor, incense, tinder and coconut husk), and food stalls at every pandals will bring locals together in good spirits.
To cheer up people like us who won’t be going home, here comes The North East Festival. The third edition that promises to be bigger and better will be held at Indira Gandhi National Centre For Arts from October 16 – 18. Last year, I remember feasting on some authentic Manipuri and Naga food at the food stalls, while enjoying live music performances. I plan to do the same this year too.
Hosted by a socio-cultural trust, Trend MMS, in association with IGNCA and North East Today, the event is expected to be attended by more than three lakh people, and will include top icons, policymakers of the country, senior ministers in Union Cabinet, chief ministers, top bureaucrats, intellectuals, students, and tour operators, representing the seven sisters and one brother states.
Organiser in Chief, Shyamkanu Mahanta said, “This year, tourism is the key focus and the festival would bring forth various facets of the northeast. With the enthusiastic support of Delhi Tourism, we are inviting tour operators across Delhi to be a part of the event and are expecting foreign tourists as well.”
“One will witness fashion shows, 30 dance performances, music performances by around 40 bands, exhibitions dedicated to northeastern tribes and freedom fighters, along with the display of handlooms and handicrafts by around 60 tribal artisans and textile entrepreneurs,” Mahanta added.
I’m sure many must be excited about Axomiya heartthrob Zubeen Garg’s entry to the fest. I’m a huge fan of his ‘Maya maya mathu maya’ song. However, this time I’m looking forward to performances by Alobo Naga & Band, rockstar Lou Majaw, The Local Train and Vinyl Records. Other artists featuring the list are Girish & the Chronicles, Yesterdrive, Traffic Jam, and Borkung Hrangkhal.
Besides tourism, another major attraction this year is the commencement of the North East Festival Football Competition, driven by Indian Collegiate Athletic Program (ICAP). The inaugural edition of which has been started on October 9 at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium will continue until October 15. The competition features over 20 teams, comprising of college teams from the Delhi-NCR region and northeast.
Foodies will get the chance to relish some of the best authentic northeastern fares ranging from tilot diya gahori (pork in sesame seeds) to maas bhoja (fish fry), piyaji (onion fritters) and ghugni (green/yellow pea gravy). For multi-cuisine lovers, there will be fried rice, noodles, momos etc. Oooh! I’m salivating at the thought of having them all!
The festivities will be complemented with discussions on Majuli’s soil erosion, policies of northeast, and seminars on potential of food processing industry and design improvements wherein the top designers of Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts will train the artisans.
For more details, click here.
Book your dates guys, this is going to be big and happening!
Photo source: Facebook pages of NE Festival and Alobo Naga