On its 2nd Anniversary, Chai & Just Chat goes global
(Left) Nazeera Dawood at the 2nd anniversary of Chai and Just Chat. (Photo: Suresh K Volam, Sri Photos)
On August 11, 2019, Dr. Nazeera Dawood’s usual 1.5- to 2.5-hour Chai & Just Chat session extended to a delightful 6 hours as she also celebrated her birthday, the 2nd anniversary of her nonprofit Chai & Just Chat, cut the ribbon for her new business, Vendorship, and gave attendees a soulful Sufi concert.
Chai & Just Chat facilitates open dialogues about the most controversial and unspoken issues. Each month a critical topic is identified and experts are gathered for a discussion followed by Q&A with attendees, who are invited free of cost. There is always Chai (tea) and refreshments at these Chat meets.
After her work at Fulton County, Nazeera realized that the best way to serve the people at large—which is her passion apart from healing sick patients—is to organize this dialogue series to collectively arrive at solutions or considerations for elected officials to take notice of.
(Right) Nazeera Dawood at the 2nd anniversary of Chai and Just Chat. (Photo: Suresh K Volam, Sri Photos)
This year the anniversary happened to be on the auspicious day of Eid and Ekadashi. The event at Johns Creek Event Center began with a reception of tea and appetizers. Then Global Organization for Divinity, an international nonprofit, was the first to participate in the celebrations. At their Namadwaar in Cumming, GA, people come to chant the Mahamantra, a universal prayer that transcends man-made barriers of nationality, race, and religion. Their belief is that universal peace can be brought about by inner transformation, achieved by the chanting of the Mahamantra, which invokes Krishna Consciousness. Carnatic singer Gayatri and her team of a mridangam player and a harmonium player presented some devotional Krishna songs.
Speakers: Patricia Jackson, Prashant Kollipara, Cathy Murphy, Lt. Benjamin Finley, Dr. Gulshan Harjee, with moderator Nazeera in the back. (Photo: Suresh K Volam, Sri Photos)
The Chai and Just Chat session was titled “Believe in Yourself: Never Ever Give Up on Your Dreams.” Panelists were experts who had participated in previous sessions: Dr. Gulshan Harjee, General Practitioner; Patricia Jackson, community advocate; Prashant Kollipara, a successful audio-video entrepreneur (ByteGraph productions); Lieutenant Benjamin Finley, Forsyth County Sheriff’s office; and Cathy Murphy, Outreach Director at Summit Counseling Center. Answering Nazeera’s questions about “belief in themselves,” “leadership,” and “success without ego, arrogance, and/or selfishness,” they spoke eloquently and inspired attendees to believe in themselves, believe in others to enable others’ success, and thereby to empower their own.
(Left) Ribbon cutting for the vendorship: Roland Washington, Nazeera Dawood, Veni Nanjundiah in yellow, Kent Davies, CEO of Johns Creek Chamber of Commerce at the mic, and Vivek Furtado. (Photo: Suresh K Volam, Sri Photos)
Nazeera also launched Vendorship Inc. (www.vendorship.net) as a business venture but also as a funding source for Chai and Just Chat, which is going global starting this year! Vendorship is born as a solution for minority and small business owners to access government’s vendorship and procurement needs. For example, when IT companies were asked why they were not expanding into the government sector to secure grants and contracts, the response was typically Too much paper work - Did not know the process - Didn't trust the government contracting, etc. Vendorship Inc. will address these questions for IT and other companies. Officers and contractors include Nazeera Dawood, Rajan Luthra, Veni Nanjundiah, Roland Washington, Milena Manzanilla, and Vivek Furtado.
Sufi Music Group: Anjaneya Sastry on tabla, singer Sukhwinder Shah, Gurinder Negi on acoustic guitar, Sohail Ali on keyboards (not pictured: Ram Singh on octapad drums). (Photo: Suresh K Volam, Sri Photos)
The evening closed with “Jashne Ruhaaniyat,” a two-hour recital by Sukhwinder Shah, a trained Sufi singer and teacher, with Sohail Ali on keyboards, Anjaneya Sastry on tabla, Gurinder Negi on acoustic guitar, and Ram Singh on octapad drums. Sufi music (Islamic devotional music) has taught her to be one with God, she says, through singing and enjoying music without ritualization of prayers, etc. Music has a devotion of its own, and words and sound have a healing power of their own. Her renditions included popular songs from Bollywood films, her own original compositions, and famous ghazals and nazams by renowned artists from India and Pakistan. She performed the following numbers to name a few, to thunderous applause: “Mere rashke qamar,” “Dama dam mast kalandar,” “Sochta hoon ke woh kitne masoom the,” and many more.
The upcoming Chai and just Chat will be in India and attendees here may be able to screen it live. The soft launch of chaiandjustchat.com will be up and running soon.
Website Bonus Feature
Album 1 - Bytegraph
Album 2 – SriPhotography, Suresh Volam
Video at the event:
For videos of past Chai and Just Chat sessions:
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