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President's Letter

A Letter from the BANA 2019 President, Ashish Shetty

BANA Community,


As I write this letter, I’m sitting in lower Manhattan, watching the polar vortex spray the world outside with snow and torrential winds.  At a time like this, the only ways to keep the spirits high are to sip some hot tea and daydream about the great times we are all going to have this summer at BANA!


Before I get to the BANA Manhattan 2019 itinerary, I’m excited to report that we’ll be launching our first Tulu language lesson in short order.  Special mention must be given to Saumya Shetty, Sarah Myers, Nandan Shetty as well as the BANA executive team's own Renu Ballal and Ramprasad "Pappu" Hegde for spearheading this amazing initiative. 


We have finalized our venues for the summer extravaganza and think everyone will be really excited about the itinerary that we have created.  We will be starting with a 4th of July welcome party on the New York Harbor waterfront with fireworks crowning the Statue of Liberty.  


Save up some energy, because the next day will be an exclusive gathering on Governor’s Island, a beautiful setting with breathtaking views of the lower Manhattan skyline. 


We’ll dance and party the night away across two floors in the Downtown Marriott later that night with some great entertainment from the community.


During the day on Saturday, we are planning some exciting cultural activities so that everyone can have some time to connect to their inner Bunt.  We have many things planned including Tulu lessons, authentic Bunt cooking classes and panel discussions to interact with the various talented people within the community.  


I'm personally looking forward to the cooking classes so that I no long have to rely on my parents for some delicious kori roti!


The grand finale will be our closing gala at Tao, a legendary Manhattan hotspot which we have rented out for the night exclusively for our community!  Wear your finest and bring your dancing shoes because this will be a party for the ages.


I encourage everyone to sign up as soon as possible so that we can get some momentum going ahead of the event itself.  It would be great to spread the word to those Bunts who you have seen at years past but haven’t come for some time. 




Tulu Class


BANA Tulu Language Lesson 1

It is with great excitement that we present our first BANA Tulu class! This first installment is taught by Saumya Shetty, and features Ashish Shetty, Nandan Shetty and Ram Hegde as students. Special thanks to Sarah Myers for planning the curriculum and co-writing the lesson and exercises, and to Henry Willette for editing and shooting.


These lessons will be posted in Banavani as they are ready, and will also exist on BANA's Youtube page. Please download and complete the accompanying exercise sheet as well. We have put a lot of work into creating this lesson but as it is our first attempt, we will surely have room to improve. Please let us know what is working and what could be better by writing to us.

Call for Reps


Call for Regional Representatives

At the moment, there are several states which are not officially assigned to a BANA representative. If you reside in one of the states listed below and are interested in taking on the role of representative, please write to us (note: the specific states grouped in your region will be determined depending on the locations of other volunteers):















New Mexico

North Carolina

North Dakota


South Dakota





While the regional representative duties have never been officially defined, generally speaking, reps reach out to members in their region for news, and usually help organize about two official events a year (a summer picnic and Diwali party). If they so choose, reps may of course take it upon themselves to organize more events.

Being a rep is a great way to connect with fellow BANA members throughout the year, rather than once every two years at the convention. We hope you'll consider the opportunity!

Town Profile


Profile of a Town: Harady, Karnataka

by Arjun Hegde

My father, Vivekanand Hegde, grew up in the village of Harady, in the Indian state of Karnataka. Harady is a coastal farm and fishing village, only 2 KM from the Arabian Sea and 4 KM from the National Highway, surrounded by a landscape of rivers and mountains. The climate of this region could be characterized as tropical, with three seasons in the year -- summer, monsoon and winter.


During my Dad’s childhood years, the village was quite rural, with no legitimate transportation system or infrastructure. It was filled with mud roads and walkways through the many rice paddies, and had minimal electrical systems. The panchayats, as local village councils were known, governed Harady. The closest major town, Brahmavara, was 4 KM away.

Harady was a very inclusive village. There were three major religions present in the society - Christianity, Hinduism and Islam. The people of these religions lived with no segregation what so ever - for example, my Hindu father attended a Catholic school for a majority of his school life. With these many religions, there were also many temples, churches and mosques. In this village, everyone knew everyone.

In terms of societal roles, the men were generally the ones to fish and work the farms daily. Some women worked the fields as well, but the majority stayed home as housewives. Most of the agriculture and food in this area was homegrown. The crops mainly consisted of items such as coconuts, mangos, bananas, jackfruit, cucumber, chilies, tomatoes, nuts and more. Rice, however, was and is the main crop, evident in the many rice paddies scattered around the entirety of the village.  Farming was not the only industry however - small local shops and small restaurants were established, mainly catering to the local farmers and fisherman after long days of work.

Although children in this village helped their parents with their work, they also studied in school. Almost all children in the village went to a Kannada medium school, where English was the second language. The local high school was St. Mary’s High School. The local schools primarily focused on social studies, the sciences and mathematics. The entire 300 student population was taught by a dozen or so teachers and staff.



Get to Know Your Executive Committee

This is a Q&A we will be doing with each of our BANA 2019 EC members.  This issue’s Q&A is with Ram Hegde, Vice President.


Where did you grow up?

RH: I am a New Jersey guy through-and-through! I was born and raised in Edison, NJ and spent most of life there until going to college in Washington D.C.

What are you studying and doing for work?

RH: I finished my undergraduate studies at George Washington University with a dual concentration in Finance and Marketing. After getting some real-world experience with several big banks in the D.C. area, I decided to move back to New Jersey and I began to learn how to manage and grow our family business.  We currently own and operate thirteen Dunkin’ Donut and six Baskin Robbins locations, and growing. Specifically, I’m responsible for the day-to-day operations of the business including overseeing approximately 200 employees, a central kitchen producing over 60,000 donuts per week and dealing with the development/construction/remodeling of retail locations.


Looking back, I owe a lot to my father for his knowledge, experience and patience in teaching both my brother and I the ins and outs of the business. We are very fortunate to have him as a resource, and I look forward to sharing that knowledge with anyone in our community who's interested in starting their own small business.

What do you think of when you think of BANA?

RH: When I think of BANA, I think about the countless number of great memories I had as a kid growing up with our family and friends. The connection amongst Bunt families made it feel like we were not just going over a friend’s place to have dinner and talk, it was a feeling of being part of a larger family. In that sense, each of these get-togethers was like a small family reunion, where we could catch up and enjoy time together.


After going to many of the BANA conventions all over the country (and to Mexico), I was able to meet a lot of other people my age who shared similar experiences trying to explain our culture and roots to our peers. For me, growing up in New Jersey, it was not a common occurrence to meet someone with roots in Mangalore at school, so it was nice to finally be in a room full of people who understood some of the nuances of the Bunt culture. 


What is your favorite BANA memory?

RH: My favorite BANA memory would have to be going to the first annual BANA Youth Retreat in Pennsylvania over twenty years ago. I remember it being such as amazing experience meeting people from all over the country, and something different that I had not been a part of up until then. Special thanks to Dr. Dinker Rai for being the first to push that initiative, and to Suresh Shetty of New Jersey for being an organized, patient and gracious host to all the kids who attended.


Why did you want to be involved in the EC?

RH: During previous BANA conventions, I remember having conversations with friends along the lines of having the next generation of Bunts who grew up in the U.S. stepping up to the challenge of running the organization. I may not have had all the tools, knowledge, or frankly, the motivation as a kid in my early twenties to take on such a responsibility. However, over the years I have grown to appreciate what the past leaders in our community have created for us, and I became more interested in being a bigger part of BANA’s success.


Going back to BANA New Jersey in 2009, I was lucky enough to be part of the amazing team that worked hard to bring everyone together for the convention. Though I will not say I contributed to its success compared to those who put countless hours into the planning and execution of the event, I was able to see how much work was involved behind the scenes and what it took to actually make the convention a great experience.


When Ashish asked me to be a part of the EC team, I thought that it would be a great opportunity to learn about how BANA runs as an organization, and a challenge to improve upon BANA in ways future generations can enjoy.


What are your hopes for BANA as it moves forward?

RH: My hopes for BANA are based on the premise that young people need to have a vested interest in the future of the organization. By that I mean, as an EC team of all first generation Bunts born and raised in the U.S., we hope to set an example for other young leaders to step up and take an active role in bringing BANA into the future.


Specifically, I hope this next generation doesn’t just think of BANA as a group of their parents' friends, but rather as a place to meet new people, to make a difference in the Bunt community, and to make a difference in their respective communities overall. I hope that we can leverage our community’s culture, knowledge, and talent to grow BANA and make it a stronger organization.




Washington, D.C.

Sohil Adyanthaya, a D.C. born musician, released his first album on all digital platforms recently. The five song album is titled, "Storytime," and features a blend of pop, hip-hop and alternative vibes.


He wrote, composed, and produced all the songs, as well as co-designed the album cover. Give it a listen while we wait for another track in the coming months!

*Sohil is the son of Dwarak & Shweta Adyanthaya.



The Houston Bunts held a Diwali party last year; below is a group photo.


New York


Jay Shetty served as associate producer on The Last Color, a documentary by Michelin star chef Vikas Khanna. Dr. Heera Shetty and Shyam Shetty hosted a Diwali dinner and special screening at their house in Westchester. 


The documentary also premiered at the Palm Springs International Film Festival earlier this year. You can read more about the film on IMDb.


Below are photos of Jay, Vikas and the Shetty family.

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