Member Spotlight: Ajay and Uma Kanade


Ajay and Uma Kanade – The family that can set the stage on fire.

UmaAndAjay Ajay and Uma Kanade, a powerhouse couple, whose simple and friendly persona can make one feel instantly welcome into their life. Ajay, a former Karaoke club manager for A2MM’s Karaoke club in the years 2013-14, is an excellent singer along with being an audio visual junkie. Ajay has been closely working with the AV lead Ninad Lokre for almost all of A2MM’s events in the past couple years. Uma’s love for cooking turned to be an asset for her as she led the Food Committee for the year 2016 with commitment and dedication. Blessed with two wonderful and talented girls Meera and Nihira, the Kanades are always a treat to watch on stage. If there is one thing to uniquely set this family apart is all four of them have a passion to be on stage and there is no dearth of talent to support this passion.

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A true Punekar at heart, Ajay pursued his engineering from Pune and went on to manage his family based software business in Tokyo, Japan for two years starting in 1997. It was during this phase that he started a wonderful life partnership with Uma when they got married in 1997. Uma, a simple Kolhapur girl, with a Masters in Computer Applications joined Ajay in Tokyo and experienced the work culture in a new country when she worked for the Australian embassy in Tokyo. The then newly married couple was enamored with the Japanese lifestyle and enjoyed the enriching experience of living in the high tech yet deeply modest culture. Work took them back to Pune for a year only to fly them seven seas apart to explore the land of opportunity on the American soil in the year of 2000. Troy, Michigan was their home away from home where they began a new journey, forming new connections by getting involved with various Maharashtra mandal events and serving on the committee as and when they could. Both Ajay and Uma share their love of people, making new friends and hosting people at their house. They became proud parents to a beautiful girl, Meera in 2002. After setting base in Northville in the year 2005, Ajay and Uma, being avid enthusiasts in the field of entertainment along with helping with food and managing events started participating in dances and drama at Maharashtra mandal events. .  Meera became a proud big sister to adorable baby sister Nihira in 2009. Nihira is also following in the footsteps of her big sister and parents by showing an admiration for being on stage. Both girls seize the opportunity to be on stage with great enthusiasm. Meera, a self professed Harry Potter fan is also a talented dancer, working her way with great determination on being a Kathak visharad. She is an active member of the youth committee and has shown great promise with continued active involvement.

 

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In the year 2009 they were introduced to the Ann Arbor Marathi Mandal community. This marked the beginning of the future generations’ enthusiasm and love for arts as Meera started performing in dances with Smita Joshi for the annual Ganpati kids’ talent shows. She found her own set of close friends sharing common interests through these dances over the years. The BMM convention of Chicago in 2011 turned out to be an excellent opportunity to experience the grandness of events and the Kanades’ made great connections during practices which in turn formed a bond with A2MM in its entirety.

 

Ajay, best known for his cool attitude and helping nature is also an excellent mimicry artist. His role as Dada Kondke in the year 2012 for A2MM’s Mahadin program depicting the nuances of Marathi cinema is still remembered fondly by all the viewers with a smile on their face. Little does anyone know that Ajay had never truly been on stage prior to that performance? Thanks to fellow member friends Pallavi Sapre and Makrand Nalgilkar for giving Ajay the right platform for showcasing his talent. Ajay has worked closely with the professional local theatre group “Natyagandhar” led by close friends Abhijit and Rupali Paradkar and helped in various aspects of stage set up and backstage management in some of their theatre shows. Ajay nailed his performance as “Malhar Rao” in the magnum opus production of the periodic play “Ranangan” by Natyagandhar. His performance resonated deeply with the audience. Ajay credits his transformation from a diamond in the rough to a stage artist to his better half Uma, who recognized his true potential and nudged him in the right direction and to the team of Natyagandhar from whom he learnt a lot and got a good surge in confidence. A few of Ajay’s hobbies are playing golf, socializing, singing and watching football games.

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Uma’s simple persona might fool many a people but she wears multiple hats with élan. An excellent cook, a gracious host, a very passionate stage actress, Uma has always garnered a deep interest for performing arts. All through her school and college years Uma enthusiastically participated in stage plays and went on to compete in Natya Spardha to further hone her talent. After being involved in Maharashtra Mandal events she got various opportunities to act in plays which she heartily enjoyed. Starting with the play “Celebration” in 2006, “Premachya Gava Jave” in 2007, “Saujanyachi Aishi Taishi” in 2012, “Chuk Bhul Dyavi ghyavi” in 2015 and last but not the least the illustrious role of the lead female protagonist “Sujata” in the play “Prayanotsav” in the year 2016, Uma found her niche in the field of stage acting. Playing the gut wrenching emotional character of “Sujata” in the drama “Prayanotsav”, Uma found herself at the stepping stone of performing her dream role. The impact of this role reverberated with every age group in the audience and there wasn’t a single dry eye in the auditorium.  Uma’s hobbies include reading, cooking, hosting people, watching art films and listening to old Hindi songs.

 

Ajay and Uma unanimously agree that they are blessed with a great family of friends away from home thanks to the Ann Arbor Marathi mandals friendly, welcoming and warm reception of people within their community. This extended family culture and cozy camaraderie pull the Kanades back again and again and they look forward to events along with their daughters as they collectively feel it adds more spice to their life. For them this community and its events is the thread that ties the future generation to our roots, our culture in spite of being so far away from the origin of it.

 

Their vision for A2MM is positive growth with a purposeful control on maintaining the core culture of warmth and good connections with fellow members. They would be happy to see a shift in structure of events to include more charity focused activities to enable the experience of giving back to the community, new memberships should bring in new talent, new ideas to the table to enrich the talent pool which in turn will positively encourage a good flow of responsibilities without burdening a select few.