Seniors pray for global peace on Diwali Day
(Left) Darshan Kaur singing at the Senior Citizens Program's Diwali celebration.
Diwali—one of the largest festivals and most significant religious observances around the world for Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, South Indians, North Indians, Nepalese, etc.!
Rama is the hero of Diwali, with its story of the triumph of good over evil, righteousness over treachery, truth over falsehood, and light over darkness. Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity, is also associated with Diwali, which marks the beginning of the fiscal year in the western parts of India. In Sanskrit, Diwali literally means a row of lights. For children, Diwali is lighting candles, and having fun with fireworks and sparklers!
So what was Diwali this year for the elders of Georgia? All of the above! The Senior Citizens Program (SCP), in its 24th year, celebrated its annual Diwali with great joy and enthusiasm at the Ashiana Banquet Hall, Norcross, GA on Sunday, November 3, 2019. The stage was elegantly decorated with flowers, diyas, and a picture of Goddess Laxmi.
After the diya lighting and an uplifting aarti of Goddess Laxmi, Executive Director Raj Razdan welcomed all, especially thanking Vikas and Dolly Verma for their financial support every year since the inception in 1996, from a membership of 30 seniors to a mailing list of 600 with average attendance to its monthly events of over 150!
Harry Mehra (on right) being felicitated by Raj Razdan and Vikas Verma, after his presentation on retirement and insurance planning. (Photo: Tracy Marshall Productions)
Dance by Pallavi Patel and Hina Ferrell. (Photo: Tracy Marshall Productions)
Harry Mehra and Karen of North Point Wealth Management/ForeCare gave a program about retirement and insurance planning. Then it was show time! While attendees enjoyed appetizers, Ramanbhai Patel, Shobhnaben Shukla, Kalpanaben Dave, Ramesh Shah, and Darshan Kaur, took turns to entertain with nostalgic Bollywood hits, uplifting bhajans, poems, and jokes.
Pallaviben Patel and her student Hina Ferrell teamed for in a scintillating dance to the song “Taal se taal mila.” Hina recited a poem in praise of her dance-guru and close friend Pallaviben.
Yoga practitioner Rajveer Singh, a farmer from India, demonstrated and explained benefits of a few pranayama asanas like Anulom/Vilom, Kapalabhati, and Ujjayi pranayamas and their importance for good health, especially during golden years!
Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation's representative Ranchhodbhai Lakha gave an overview of coming EVF events.
A cake was cut as the gathering cheerfully sang “Tum jeeyo hazaron saal” to mark birthdays and anniversaries of SCP members born in November, including Sharad Shah, Ranchhodbhai Lakha, K.C.Shah, Mansukhbhai Patel, Aswinbhai Patel, Swarn Arora, Bhulabhai Patel, Sumanben Parikh, Divyaben Panchal, Shantaben Patel, and Bhartiben Amin. Sharad Bhai’s wife Anjana read a poem, and wished happy Diwali to all.
Ravindra Dave, Dr. Subhash Joshi, Hemantbhai Shah, and Harshad Shah (who also managed the sound system) regaled the audience with more popular and evergreen songs.
(Left) Felicitation of Mahadev Desai by Dolly Verma. (Photo: Tracy Marshall Productions)
(Below) Felicitation of Tracy Marshall by Dolly Verma and Raj Razdan. (Photo: Tracy Marshall Productions)
Raj and Dolly Verma gave bouquets to Atlanta journalist and SCP’s longtime member Mahadev Desai and Atlanta photo/videographer, mental health advocate, and social worker Tracy Marshall for their outstanding service to the community.
The program ended with a sumptuous Diwali lunch. In the tradition started by Vikas and Dolly Verma, seniors were presented with mouthwatering ladoos for Diwali.
SCP provides seniors a free forum for camaraderie and exchange of knowledge. Monthly events include picnics, movies, celebrations of Valentine Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, India’s Independence Day, religious events like Mata ki Chowki, etc. SCP’s devotion and service to the community is indeed appreciated!
Diwali was full of high spirits and undiminished resolve to spread the light of goodness, generosity, and above all, the triumph of righteousness.
Website Bonus Feature
(Left) Dolly Verma, Ujjagar Singh Wassan, Vikas Verma, Raj Razdan. (Tracy Marshall Productions)
Raj thanked dedicated long time volunteers Shashi Sidhaye Isha Goyal, Chinti Bali, Minesh Modi, Dolly Verma, Nivedha Dave, Nikki Dedani, Madhu Gupta, Darshan Kaur, Mahendra Shah, Nalini Gandhi and many others for their commitment and devotion in service of the elders of the Georgia community.
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