Hall of Fame
Since 2008, GRBA initiated honoring its members who have provided exemplary support and have played a crucial role in enhancing our collaborative vision and mission forward. We acknowledged them as the GRBA - "Hall of Fame”. These true heroes have in myriad ways brought all of us together through their love and camaraderie.
Below are the list of members who have been recognized till date. We are so proud to have such a vibrant community and hope to keep adding to this list with so many of you out there.
2008 – Manab and Jamuna Banerjee
2009 – Sanjan and Sikha Ray
2010 – Ranjeet and Inge Sen
2011 – Dilip and Baisakhy Chakraborty
Manab and Jamuna Banerjee
1970’s with daughter Kakali and son Ansu
“To organize programs like Durga Puja is a tremendous achievement. GRBA deserves our support. We have simply done our part by giving moral support” ~ Manab Banerjee
To start an article about Manab mesho is an arduous task, simply because it is better to start with Jamuna mashi. An explanation is in order. Upon embarking on their version of chasing the American dream, they landed in New York City. We learnt from an “extremely reliable source” that at a party following thereafter, Manab mesho was introduced to everyone else as “Jamunar bor”, throughout the evening. Those of you who are fortunate enough to have been acquainted with this charming lady would agree that this affiliation
was extremely well placed.
Now, for those of you who are statistically inclined, Manab and Jamuna Banerjee came to US in 1970. Manab mesho’s visit to London a few years earlier had inspired him to show his family the western world. Fortunately for us, he was offered immigration to come to US. A chemical engineer by profession, Manab mesho struggled through the first three months (invariably old timers become nostalgic when speaking about this period to new comers, as we all will one day), before landing a job with Vulcan Abrasives in New York. Manab mesho later moved to the Petersburg area when his company relocated in 1972. He retired as the Vice President of the same company in 1993. These days, Manab mesho and Jamuna mashi visit their home in India for four to five months each year.
After a few decades with us, Manab and Jamuna Banerjee have done more than just show us their appreciation. Always with a smile, their support, encouragement, philosophy of life, and advice, has inspired us all. As GRBA members from the very beginning, they have shown their support by contributing irrespective of whether they could attend an event or not. This simple gesture has profoundly affected everyone involved with GRBA.
When they came to live in Petersburg in 1972, there were only two other Bengali families living in the greater Richmond area. Both of them recounted going to the second floor of a furniture store in Carytown to order the limited number of spices available at that time. They used to present a shopping list to a person who visited Washington, DC weekly, and waited anxiously until the week after to receive their groceries.
Notwithstanding her physical ailment, in the last twenty years, Jamuna mashi has always made her delicious mishti during the GRBA events and other occasions. The secret to her great mishti : "tons of wasted flour and other ingredients with Manab mesho as the guinea pig". In spite of a knee replacement surgery in recent months, she made the effort to attend this year’s Members’ Appreciation picnic. To quote their reason: “How else do we show our support to the young ones! Besides, we enjoy it too”. Incredible!
Their son Ansu is an attorney with the SEC and daughter Kakali is a Vice President at a software company in Northern Virginia. Just like her parents, Kakali makes an effort to come to Durga Puja events every year with her two beautiful children, Maya (9 years) and Nina (7 years).
written by Soumitra Banerjee
& Priyadarshi Basu