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Waiting For ATA
Vasu Reddy from Chicago
Chicago, Illinois, USA is my adopted home. American Telugu Association (ATA) is hosting its 8th bi-annual convention in Chicago. This convention is conducted every two years in a major city in the USA. This event is one of the two major gatherings organized by people of AP, who live in the USA. The other organization is Telugu Association of North America (TANA) that conducts mega Telugu events in the USA.
ATA’s 8th convention in Chicago is a three-day event that will be held on July 2nd, 3rd, and 4th at the Rosemont Convention Center near O’ Hare airport. As a native of Chicago I can attest to the fact that the accommodations and the convention center facilities are excellent. Chicago has wonderful places to stay, visit, eat, roam and simply hang around along with one of the greatest Telugu communities in the world. So, there is no denying that any visitor to Chicago will be at home.
Why am I waiting for ATA?
What I am waiting for? I am going to list out all things I am waiting for from ATA before the convention and perhaps come back and write a follow-up after the ATA convention. I am trying to think of everything I am waiting for in this event, so if I miss something please write to me, and I will try to capture them in a follow-up article.
Food is my favorite topic and so I start the wish list with food. The menu promised by ATA is with a great every meal every meal served at the convention. I hope so. I think the restaurant that is catering for this event is a place I visit regularly and their food is good. I hope they make all my favorite dishes when I eat at ATA. I hope that they make authentic Andhra food and not cater to the typical western audiences. I must have food with special Andhra flavor.
People and Language
All people from Andhra are beautiful. I hope we have thousands of them at the convention. It will be fun to see endless folks speaking Telugu in various versions of the language for three days. Then again we all speak English and most of us in some form of Hindi. So it will be fun to have a huge crowd speaking in Hindi, English combined with some heavily accented Telugu. This is something I must experience; as it is not often we have gatherings that can have such great language spoken by so many people under one roof.
Some heavy hitters of the Telugu literary community are going to be in town. I am glad they are in Chicago, as I was worried that we forgot about literature while we have a lot of movie stars listed as coming to the convention. I have to go to these literary events, as I must hear some of our literary greats in person. It is my one single opportunity to admit I like reading anything in Telugu and hear anything in Telugu. These literary events should be a great experience to all who attend them.
Glamour and Entertainment
ATA has listed a number of movie actresses and actors along with a bunch of singers and musicians. I wrote to ATA some weeks ago to get confirmation on which of the celebrities were coming? And I got a response that all of them were confirmed. I am a member of TAGC, which published a newsletter stating all the celebrities were confirmed to be in Chicago, and they were also going to be available amongst us common folks. I hope some of them come, especially the actresses. I really want to hang out with Bhoomika and Katrina. I read that these two beauties might get married at the end of this year (from Internet magazines), so I can get some pictures with them while they are still single. Aarati Agarwal might come back to Chicago, so I already know that I will know at least one famous (not Telugu) woman if she comes. The guys I don’t really care much about, and I hope Balakrishna is out of his current situation. If Mahesh comes, he will definitely get advise from me not doing any more movies like Nani. I was told that Suman will be invited, but I am not sure if he is really coming. He was a great guy to be with, and I hope he comes back to Chicago. I hope the two young ladies who came to Chicago for Ugadi (again I was told were invited) will come back. It is fun to have people come back as you get to be the guy who knows them, even though you don’t really know them. I hope Junior NTR is at ATA, as I want to really see how closely he resembles to the great NTR, who I was fortunate to have seen in Chicago in 1984. I think whomsoever is at ATA will be too busy and I may be too busy to worry about them, except for Bhoomika and Katrina I will never be busy. I hope the singers and musicians play some songs from 1970s and from 1980s, as the newer Telugu music is too difficult for me to follow. But again I don’t really care as long as they sing in Telugu and have at least a four-hour program. I am going to look forward to lots of glamour in the event, and I hope all the big names come to my town. I have to have bragging rights about having spent time with them.
I love the traditional Indian wear. I hope all women are in saris and girls in langa and oni. No looking at jeans at least for three days. I hope the guys wear traditional wear too. Not lungis but at least some Indian wear. I am planning (the key word is planning) to wear Indian outfits at least for the three days, so I will blend in if the others do the same.
No need to elaborate this. I think the most beautiful people are form where we come from. Let me not forget that Bhoomika and Katrina are not Telugu folks, but just beautiful folks. All I really care is that a lot of beautiful people will be ATA.
I am hoping I make new friends at ATA. I am hoping I will find some old friends. I am hoping everyone at the event will find friendship. I hope all people of AP who can be here are able to enjoy the event and the city of Chicago.
I know there is a youth convention in concert with ATA. The primary purpose of this gathering is to get people hitched. I have a lot of respect for the institution of marriage, but I think parents should do this part as they do (at least in most homes) in AP. But I hope everyone gets lucky, and goes home happy. My best wishes to all the prospective brides and grooms, and I hope this ATA event provides all of them with great opportunity in prospecting for partners. But this is not a topic of great interest for my looking forward to ATA, but it is of important consequence to the community. People of the community need to get married so we can have future ATA conventions with larger gatherings.
I have great expectations to hear new gossip. I am not sure what I really want to know but whatever gossip I will hear at ATA will be fun. I hope it is really juicy stuff I already don’t know. If I hear another piece of gossip I already know I must just have another drink and tolerate it. With the advent of all the Internet magazines and news magazines, I am sure I already know the latest gossip, but I expect to hear some good gossip. I also need material for my future articles.
I hope to experience positive and beautiful memories at ATA. But again I am looking for beautiful memories all the time.
Outside of my listed expectations I have limited time for other stuff. I am going to for sure check out the expensive books the event is planning to sell ($1000.00 for works by Sri. Viswanatha Satyanarayana) which I cannot afford. I will definitely buy a bunch of DVDs, even though I really don’t watch them. I will certainly carry the ATA souvenir as it gives me much needed material for future references, and also looking at people I know in print. I think one of my New York cousin’s old articles might be published, so it is going to be valuable. I might even get her to autograph the souvenir. There has to be at least some people from the local association who will perform, so I have to go and cheer them on. I only hope they do some new stuff rather than the same stuff they do in the local events. I also know my brother’s daughter is performing (I think one of those Devdas songs, what else is new?), so I will definitely go to cheer her and the other young girls to keep dancing. I hope there is no rain, and it is not too hot, and it is not too crowded. I hope the event is pleasant, nice, and full of things that will relax me for a few days.
Vote of Thanks ahead of time
The people who support such events must be truly commended. As I write the article I look at my wish list of things to expect from ATA, and it looks like a wedding party’s requirement, except that this is no wedding. I really think people who go to these events are also to be commended. Imagine three days of time spent in the event, with so much planning to be done. It’s us Andhra folks who go to the events that deserve the vote of thanks. I hope all people have great fun and enjoyment.
Just in case
If I experience everything I am waiting for in ATA, I may decide not to write a follow-up article to ATA. Again even if I don’t get what I am expecting, I may still not write a follow-up as I may be too tired of this, and may decide to hold off for two years to write about ATA again. I will definitely write an article on TANA; next time they do the Andhra event in Chicago. Enjoy the show if you are here and welcome to Chicago.
Disclaimer: Andhra Vilas and myself are independent of any political affiliations. The views expressed in the article are my personal views.
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