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Seniors celebrate a traditional Diwali

By Mahadev Desai
December 2017
Seniors celebrate a traditional Diwali

 

(Left) Vikas Verma, Dolly Verma with bouquet, volunteer Shahshi Sidhaye. (All Photos: Mahadev Desai)

In Georgia, as the shadows lengthened and nights loomed longer, Diwali (Kartik) held divine enchantment as the seniors dressed in new colorful attire, the women bejeweled, all celebrated with sweets, thanksgiving, and nostalgic music!

The Senior Citizen Program (SCP) got in the swing at the Garden Plaza, Norcross, Georgia on Sunday, November 5, 2017. The Banquet hall was packed with senior energy and electricity in company of Atlanta musicians Dr. Asmita Joshi, Sunny Sachdeva, Mahesh Patel, Darshan Kaur, Urmila Mota, et al. along with the accompanists.

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Lakshmi Puja.

A brief invocation of Goddess Lakshmi by seniors Bhagwanji and Ramaben Chudasama and sponsors Vikas and Dolly Verma set the stage for show time.

The gathering was treated to glittering gems (Bollywood hits of yesteryears), interspersed with a diya dance, jokes, poems, and even a traditional ‘engagement song’ by the local team of talented singers.

Ms. Preeti Tanwar of Ekal Vidyalaya organization reminded seniors to get discounted senior tickets to programs.

Some humor followed as longtime sponsor Vikas Verma quipped that his age too had now made him an eligible member of SCP! He said, “It has been our privilege to be associated with the Senior Citizen Program from its inception. The smiles we see, the laughter we hear, and the love we feel at Senior Citizens monthly gatherings makes us proud that we were fortunate and blessed to be able to play a minor role in this major production. Dolly and I are forever indebted to Raj Razdan and countless volunteers who have transformed the dream to a bubbling reality.”

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The Senior Citizen Program (SCP), now in existence for more than two decades with the dedication of its team of volunteer and sponsors, aims to empower seniors. It provides a forum for the exchange of knowledge, camaraderie, and fraternity, free to the seniors. Monthly events include picnics, movie shows, celebrations of Valentine Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, India’s Independence Day, religious events, etc. SCP’s devotion and service to the community is indeed appreciated!

Longtime sponsor Vikas Verma, now old enough to be a member, said, “It has been our privilege to be associated with the Senior Citizen Program from its inception. The smiles, the laughter, and the love at Senior Citizens monthly gatherings makes us proud that we were fortunate to play a minor role in this major production. Dolly and I are forever indebted to Raj Razdan and countless volunteers who have transformed the dream to a bubbling reality.”

Website Bonus Feature

The Diwali Tradition!
Traditions are often embedded in religious or cultural celebrations. Deepawali or Diwali is the biggest and brightest of all Hindu traditions, celebrated in late October or early November (Kartik-Hindu calendar) around the globe. It is the festival of lights: deep means "light" and avali "a row," or "a row of lights." The Diwali festival, marked by four (or five for some) days of celebration, literally illuminates the Hindu home and dazzles all with its joy—its celebration of life, enjoyment, gambling for some, togetherness, hope, and a great ideal of victory of goodness over evil. Diwali also commemorates the return of Lord Rama (along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman) from his fourteen-year-long exile and vanquishing the demon-king Ravana. In joyous celebration of the return of their king, the people of Ayodhya, Rama’s ancient capital in Uttar Pradesh, illuminated the kingdom with earthen diyas (oil lamps) and burst crackers amidst fanfare and joy.

The Entertainment:
Asmita Joshi got the ball rolling singing the romantic, classical song ‘Ankhi yon ke jharokonse’ and followed it up with the film Madhumati’s popular ‘Aaja re Pardesi’ song in her mellifluous voice. Later she sang ‘Baiyan na dharo o balma’ and a song expressing awakenings of first love ‘Pyar hua chupke se’ from 1942: A Love Story flick.

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(Right) The Pallavi Patel dance team.

Dancers were not going to be left behind! So Pallavi Patel and her team of Niru Masse, Kundan Patel, Sucheta Mehta, and Lilaben Verma enthralled the audience with a captivating diya dance choreographed by Pallaviben.

Mahesh Patel captivated the audience with Mukesh gems of ‘Kisiki muskarahoton pe ho nisar’ and ‘Janam dekh lo mit gayi’ songs.

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(Left) Sunny Sachdeva.

Atlanta’s stage artist and zesty singer Sunny Sachdeva refreshed and quizzed our elders with the interesting anecdotes about the composers, lyricists, and musicians and also the rendering ‘Mana janab ne pukara nahi’ with Dev Anand theatrics!

Darshan Kaur, well known for supporting many deserving causes through her versatile performing arts aptitude, sang two lively numbers, ‘Saiyan dil mein aana re’ and ‘Aye dil mujhe bata de’ to accelerate the tempo for the afternoon. The audience sat in rapt attention to a medley of melodious songs sung by the gifted singers. Each song elicited wide applause. It was now Urmila Mota’s turn to sing a lilting song ‘Gore gore O banke chhore’ of 1950 movie Samadhi by Lata Mangeshkar.

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(Left) Duet: Mahesh Patel and Asmita Joshi.

Then the duets: Mahesh and Asmita sang ever popular lyrical ‘Kabhi kabhi mere dil.’ Mahesh and Darshan Kaur sang ‘Pehla nasha, pehla khumar.’ Sunny and Mahesh rendered ‘Suhani raat dhal chuki.’ Darshan and Sunny were in their element with ‘Jaane kahan mera jigar gaya ji.’ It was amusing to see both emoting so well. The seniors were enjoying it all. Seniors including Ujjagar Singh Wassan and Janu Wassan, sponsors Vikas and Dolly Verma, could not hold back from getting onto the dance floor with their own lively swings! Sunny regaled the gathering by singing ‘Mujhe duniya walo sharabi na samjho.’ Lo and behold! Senior Rajnikant Parikh added to the humor of the song by getting on the floor pretending to be a drunkard! The singers sang their hearts out to entertain the audience!

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(Below) Duet: Mahesh Patel and Darshan Kaur sing, as some seniors take to the dance floor.

Thanks:
Volunteers Arunaben Patel, Shashi Sidhaye, Isha Goyal, and Dolly Verma decorated the stage with flowers, gifts, diyas, and above all hospitality in the spirit of Diwali.

Executive Director Raj Razdan acknowledged sponsors Vikas and Dolly Verma for their unflinching financial support every year since the inception of SCP in the mid-nineties, thus helping directly with its phenomenal growth. She thanked Anupam Goyal Puri for catering delicious snacks/lunch and Rajbhog Sweets for providing Diwali sweets.

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Raj Razdan with singers, sponsors, and volunteer Rajnikant Parikh.

Raj Razdan thanked all the singers who were then presented with flower bouquets in appreciation of their contributions to the Diwali celebrations. She also thanked Mr. Ujjagar Singh and Janu Singh for being emcees for the program, Mahendra Shah, and all the volunteers for their active involvement.


 

 Remember, we have new Website Bonus Features that are not in the print magazine. Every time you see the W symbol in the print magazine, you can go to our website to see additional print or audiovisual material!

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