Diwali Radiates Art, Dance and Music at the Netip Annual Gala
The lights were blazing, floors were gleaming and jewels were sparkling at the 2004 Network of Indian Professionals (NetIP) annual Diwali Gala held in downtown Atlanta's SunTrust Garden Atrium on Oct 16th. Over 350 guests attended the gala event which included music by DJ Romal, silent art auction benefiting Raksha, food catered by Bhojanic, and towering, luminous sculptures lending to the ambience.
Diwali, literally translating into a row of lights, brings in new life and festivities on a grand scale. The NetIP Atlanta event was no exception. SunTrust Plaza was illuminescent in the night sky and guests where greeted with butler elevator service, deliciously arranged food on white linen and Indian artwork adorning the walls. Alongside fireworks and diyas, Diwali traditions translate into new clothes and fine jewelry. The Atlanta crowd went with the mainstream and wore their finest and shiniest. Surprisingly, many women wore saris instead of gagra cholis or salwar kameez. Black was the color to be in this year with beautiful embroidery spun into shimmering silk. Guys were in black suits and colorful ties, marking an extraordinary contrast with the atrium's lustrous white surroundings.
The evening kicked off with artfully choreographed dances performed by Asha. Her graceful agility and impressive rhythm mesmerized the crowd. With each hip sway and head tilt, she captivated the crowd into holding their breath while she effortlessly balanced a sword on her head for minutes during the first number. With a collective exhale, DJ Romal spun into bhangra songs and the dance floor filled within seconds. Instantly, it became a nonstop party with swelling lines at the cash-only bars, with the young professionals mixing, mingling and dancing.
NetIP Atlanta is a professional South Asian networking group consisting of over 400 members. The Atlanta chapter was recently awarded "Best 2004 Chapter" at the organization's national conference held earlier this year. Also, the leadership board was awarded hosting the 2005 national conference which will be in Atlanta. Ashish Mistry, NetIP Atlanta President, and Corporate Relations and Strategic Partnerships Chair on the NetIP national board, said, "Planning an event like the Diwali Gala's magnitude could not be possible without the hard work and dedication of the [NetIP Atlanta] board."
The Diwali Gala, NetIP Atlanta's largest fundraiser, was a rousing success. "It was NetIP Atlanta's best event to date both in size and the venue's uniqueness," Mistry stated. Partygoers danced well into the night culminating into a frenzy with the highly requested "Aap Jaisa Koi" from Quarbani. As the adage goes, all good things must come to an end? so, as the clock struck 2 am, security guards escorted the crowd into the warm night.
- Neha Shah
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