Saturday evening’s Bollywood Ball, held as a fundraiser for our church, was absolutely magical and I could easily run out of superlatives trying to convey this fact. 85 dinner guests gathered in the local village hall and were treated to authentic Indian food and culture courtesy of the Keralan community.
As the photographs clearly show the Keralans came dressed in gorgeous costumes ready to perform traditional songs and dances. It was all so colourful and exotic and everyone in attendance went out of their way to express their gratitude to me. One said ‘it was an honour to be present’ I agree. The standards and effect were almost worthy of the West End. And the children, who performed most of the dances, were just charming.
Some of the Keralan community are well known to us as, being Catholic, they regularly worship at St Anselms. But their number on the night was boosted by friends from the Hindu community as well. What a wonderful example of people of different faiths working together in love. As is often the case on the ground where media distortion is absent.
As for the food it was delicious. We started with home made samosas and chutneys followed by chicken or vegetable curry with rice and popadoms. The kitchen was very much a male domain on the night and the chaps deserve praise not only for feeding us but doing the washing up as well. Here we see the first of them arriving before the hard work began.
As for liquid refreshment the Anselmian brewery unveiled two new ales. They tasted similar to the local ales of the Tonbridge brewery but were re-named as ‘Old Nick’ -an eccentric brew with an addled head’
The second guest ale was the “Rob- Roy” advertised as a fuller bodied beer. We are grateful to Tunbridge Wells Rugby Club for their help in supplying ale. There was also wine and orange juice. But I wouldn’t know about that.
The Bollywood Ball was a tremendous success then. I want to put on record here my sincere appreciation to the Keralan community who pulled out all the stops to make it so. They are not guests in our parish but full members and friends. And they really enrich our lives not just by their presence but also by their devotion. A perfect picture to illustrate this unity shows my daughter, Jemima, with a best friend from Primary school. They often meet up since leaving for secondary school and much enjoyed each other’s company on the night. One as guest and table setter, the other as a dancer.
What a privilege it was to attend. Who knew that, hidden within our parish, is so much talent and culture? Thank you Keralans and thank you all who helped in any way. It truly was a night to remember.