Senior Citizen Program Celebrates 10th Anniversary with Gusto
Senior Citizen Program (SCP), Inc. celebrated its 10th Anniversary at the Palace Restaurant on Sunday, December 3, 2006. Raj Razdan, Executive Director, introduced emcees Ashok Dave, retired officer of Indian Air Force, and Mrs. Kusum Sinha, acclaimed poetess. (In SCP tradition, seniors are both emcees and among the performers.) The splendid program showcased a rich mix of shairis, poems, a fashion show, a comedy skit, classical and Bollywood dances, and memorable songs, as well as an exhibit of paintings by Ujjagar Singh Wassan
"Like King Vikramaditya," said emcee Dave, "may you all set new records and strive for new accomplishments. Just as you all are looking after the elders, may your children grow up and take care of you in your sunset years." Sponsors Drs Naresh & Asha Parikh, Dr. Sanjay & Bina Patel and Arun & Manju Kothari lit the ceremonial diya, and a cake-cutting ceremony marked the 80th birthday of Mrs. Shashiben Parikh.
While the attendees were relishing appetizers followed by a delicious lunch, talented and melodious singers Amit Dave, Dr. Jaimini Dave, his wife Madhavi Dave, Dr. Prakash Desai, Chandrika Narayan, Harinakshi Bhatt, and Beena Kumar all took turns to entertain them with vintage Bollywood hits of yore, like, ‘Lehron pe leher,' ‘tere mere sapne,' ‘rahe na rahe hum,' ‘lag ja gale se,' ‘ajeeb dastaan hei ye,' ‘dilki nazar se' and ‘duniya mein aisa kahan naseeb,' among others.
Ebullient Raj Razdan related that in 1996, while on the Indian American Cultural Association's Board, Chairman Vikas Verma entrusted her with launching the SCP to provide get-togethers and entertainment for seniors, presentations for their health and welfare, as well as to advances the importance of the elders of our community. The first event, sponsored by Rakesh Kaushik and his wife Kiran (also present at the 10th anniversary) attracted 20 members. Now, SCP is a robust organization with over 400 seniors in its database.
The Hon. Greg Pridgeon, Chief of Staff to Mayor Shirley Franklin, spoke: "Seniors are a bridge from our past to our future, providing a strong foundation of support for those who come across. Their experiences give us shortcuts to a clearer path for improving the quality of life for our society and we should reciprocate by giving back to those who come behind us. Indian-Americans are particularly good at maintaining a strong bond between generations though love, respect, and rich tradition. The entire American society should learn and pattern itself on this admirable role model of Indian Americans. If we drink from the cup of friendship and taste the spirit of peace and harmony, reach out and live together as a people, a nation, and a global community with respect and love for each other, then that will be a world worth living in. All our seniors, we salute you. Remember that you may have silver hair in your golden years but the combination is priceless! You are the jewels that will create the bridge between the past and the future," he declared.
With businessman Jayant Bhindi, Pridgeon then presented awards to highly respected seniors Sudarshan Bahri, Mahadev Desai, Giriraj Rao, Ujjagar Singh & Janu Wassan, Kusum Sinha, Vinod & Aruna Patel, Ashok Dave and Mansukhbhai Shroff for outstanding community service.
Reeva, Tina and Reena Anand enthralled the audience with their riveting dance to ‘Dus bahane karke le gaya dil' and even more popular ‘kajra re' song, which got the seniors on their toes, clapping and whistling.
A comedy Hindi skit, Sureelee Behainai was presented by Sandhya & Anil Bhagat, Nitika Ahuja, Anuj Jain, Hema Jain and Suchi Khanna.
Astha Sharma and Shalu Purohit dazzled the audience with a fast paced and well synchronized dance to the song Man Mohini.���
Dr. Monica Gupta, a dentist, performed a spiritual dance ‘Aum Amar Hai,' which was much appreciated by the audience. Young teenagers, Hetal Bhatt, Tulsi Patel and Heena Arora performed a captivating dance to a song from Fanaa.
Lifetime Sponsorship Awards were presented by much loved and respected Lilyben Desai and Shanti Nanda to Dr. Jayprakash Desai & Rekha Desai; Sandeep & Sapna Gauba; Surinder & Poonam Malhotra of Bhojanic Restaurant; and Beena & Sanjay Patel. For their pro bono services, Bhupendra and Veena Gouri received a special award. Vikas Verma was joined by Mrs. Usha Thacker, a famous social worker of India on visit to Atlanta, in presenting plaques to each volunteer for contributing to the growth of SCP, and for being a role model and catalyst for launch of similar programs in other organizations.
Mansukhbhai Shroff concluded
"For SCP, it has been an exhilarating walk down the road for the past decade. The journey continues with an upbeat spirit as we hope to be present, God willing, for the silver jubilee celebrations!"
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