Sabu – Bonding through Cultural activities
Bonding through Cultural Activities
He had spent ten years in Singapore, from 1979 to 1989, without his family but they are now making up for lost time by pursuing their mutual passion together every weekend. Their love for music and dance seems to be the glue that keeps Sabu and his family together.
Already acquainted with Sree Narayana Guru’s philosophy in his homeland, Kerala, Sabu had no hesitation in joining the Sree Narayana Mission’s activities in Singapore when he arrived in 1979. “One of the Guru’s teachings is that we should strengthen through organisation, including cultural activities. Our members love these cultural gatherings – the annual Chathayam celebration is like a festival for members and bonding between the members strengthens during Chathayam, all of them gather then,” he asserts. This is so fulfilling that Sabu says he will continue his work, “Until I die”.
Sabu’s wife, Sheeja, confirms his sentiments, “I am very happy to come to the Mission, I feel good and there is a very good feeling here. We like to do these activities for the members. And doing this together improves the family bonding”.
Sabu has been the Chairman of Sree Narayana Mission’s Cultural Sub-Committee since 2001, unfailingly and diligently holding activities for Chathayam and other important occasions on the Mission’s calendar. Sheeja has been joining him since emigrating to Singapore and their daughter, Priyanka, made her debut on the Mission’s stage in childhood. “I was exposed to all this from young. When my parents were singing, I’d go up on stage and dance – I was three years old then. I started formal dance classes at the Mission when I was eight. This involvement in the Mission has been a part of my life since young.”
She realises that the cultural activities help to further the Mission’s objectives to nurture the self, the community and a communal spirit. “It has shaped me as a person. I knew about my culture earlier than other children. Dance is my passion and through dance I’ve learnt many values – determination, endurance, patience, how to be confident. My father organising all this has taught me much; he spends a lot of time on this and that shows his dedication – I admire that. He does it even though he doesn’t get paid for it. That’s a selfless thing to do. As a family, it helped us spend more time with each other, so we’ve grown as a family. Through this, we also spread our culture; it unites the Malayalees, and with more Malays and Chinese coming for Chathayam, more people know who the Malayalees are,” Priyanka reasons.
The 16 year-old sees herself eventually stepping into her parents’ shoes, “Hopefully, I’ll be like my father and help out. I’m in the Youth Wing and when I’m older, I hope to contribute more to the Mission. I also learnt the Guru’s values – to treat all races as one – and I definitely connect to the Guru in a spiritual way. This involvement helps me to be with my family and their presence means a lot to me. I’m lucky that my family is closely involved in this and would want more families to come together because we are all so busy otherwise. It will help the Mission and themselves – in unity there is strength – when families come together”.