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A slice of Kolkata in Casino City

North American Bengali Conference offers a platform for hundreds of NRIs who want to hold onto their roots despite living thousands of miles away from their ancestral homes.

A slice of Kolkata in Casino City

Steps away from the iconic Boardwalk from where you can witness the mighty waves swallow the large orange sun at dusk, the nautical winds of Atlantic ocean will carry soul-stirring tunes of Rabindra sangeet, the twang of an Ektara in a baul's hand, and the piquant aroma of kosha mangsho. Over the last 38 years, these three days of summer are ethnically, musically and soulfully Bangali in some part of America. This year it is Atlantic City, the happening coastal destination in New Jersey, popular as mini Las Vegas. The much awaited 38th North American Bengali Conference will be held from June 29 to July 1 at the Atlantic City Convention Center.

The theme of NABC 2018 is "Sanskritir Bondhane Aaj Prithibir Dui Pranto" which literally means 'culture bridges two faraway frontiers across the world on this occasion'.

Banga Sammelan is not just a celebration of Bangaliana, but it serves countless slices of Bengal on the global platter. It is a platform for hundreds of NRIs who want to hold onto their roots despite living thousands of miles away from their ancestral homes.

The captivating business forums will have former FBI special agent Asha Rangappa talk about her incredible journey, and 14-year-old wonder kid Tanmay Bakshi will narrate how he became IBM's honorary advisor and an Artificial Intelligence guru. The North American Bengali Conference 2018 has an enticing schedule of events lined up, from the mesmerising performances of Srabani Sen and Iman Chakraborty, to the ecstatic rhythm jam by table maestro Bickram Ghosh, and the charismatic melody of Shreya Ghosal. The third International Bengali Film Award (IBFA) will recognize excellence in celluloid achievements in the Bengali film industry, along with performances by our very own Tollywood stars. 'Shatakanthe Rabindranath' by Tagore Society of Houston is one of the much awaited domestic events.

The most talked about event since last three years – Aajkaal NABC Shera Bangali Puroshkar will recognize five outstanding Bengalis on this global platform. This year the recipients are Padmabhushan Swadesh Chatterjee, Indian Consul General in New York Sandip Chakraborty, ace actor Sabyasachi Chakraborty, noted poet Subodh Sarkar and renowned journalist Gautam Bhattacharya.

The sky above the Absecon Lighthouse has already begun smelling sweeter. It is that time of the year when frozen yogurt blends flawlessly with rosogollar payesh, and myriad hues of dhakai jamdani sarees overpower the colours of the historic casinos. The Bay of Bengal will never meet the Atlantic Ocean, but Bangaliana has been weaving a bridge between the two for more than three and a half decades now. Differences there might be many, but love for a language has connected people from two extreme parts of the world who are looking forward to meet, to celebrate their dialect, their culture, their food and their identity.

Aryani Banerjee

Aryani Banerjee

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