Seniors Shine at “Savoring Sixties” Program
The second annual Gujarati Samaj Senior Citizens Program, (GSSCP) aptly titled, "Savoring Sixties" was staged on Saturday, April 22 at Sardar Patel Bhavan Hall. With over 500 attendees, the event showcased participants from the age of 59 to 78.
In his welcome address, Ashwin Shah, the chief organizer, gave a brief history of the GSSCP and its gaining popularity since its inception two years ago. "Those who are young now should think of the years ahead and regard senior citizens programs as a worthy investment," he said.
Having established an immediate rapport with the audience, emcees Rekha Mehta and Varsha Shah presented a light hearted skit where two lonely and bored widows living with their sons in America decide to attend a Seniors Program where they forge new friendships and get an opportunity to participate in life-enriching activities.
After Mohanbhai Fatania sang two uplifting bhajans, Shardaben Patel, Arunaben Patel and Champaben Patel sang a rousing patriotic song, jago juwania re Bharat deshna, exhorting the young generation to wake up and play a proactive role in patriotism. Girishbhai Desai with a few well rib-tickling jokes created a jovial mood in the audience. Kokilaben Mehta, Jyotikaben Patel, Leelaben Desai and Aparnaben Joshi (who also directed the dance) performed a riveting Maharashtrian Koli dance, which elicited thunderous applause from the audience. Prafulbhai Shekhda, a dentist by profession recited a well crafted poem he had written many years ago on his wife titled Jeevan sangeet ni vani.
The next item, a fancy dress competition, directed by the emcees proved to be the piece-de-resistance of the evening. Judging by the performance of the 14 entrants, the five judges; Amita Patel, Chirag Patel, Navin Shah, Sunny Thakker and Kumud Patel had quite a challenging task in picking the top three winners. Bhanuben Shekhda, winner of the first place, awed the audience with her role as doodhwali making early rounds of delivering milk to the homes of her customers. The second place winner, Kokilaben Mehta, dressed as Mirabai with her ek tara while she sang and danced around her idol of Krishna. Finally the third place winner Nanubhai Parekh, attired as a South Indian Brahmin, walked on stage and intoned a few sentences in a South Indian dialect.
Poetess Kusumben Sinha regaled the audience with an amusing poem in Hindi, in which she had humorous puns about Pankaj Sampat, Director of GSSCP, and about other volunteers. This was followed by a bhajan rendered by Kokilaben Mehta.
Gujarati Samaj Board Chairman, Dr. Mukesh Patel, recalled an article which cited three things that would help seniors remain happy in their golden years: remain physically active, eat moderately and stay connected with family, relatives and friends by participating in social activities. A mini-play, Sandhya na rang, written and directed by Ashwin Shah, was laced with humor and advice about coping with old age.
The diva-garbo, kumkum na pagla padya was a delight to watch under the dimmed lights. The senior performers grace and agility of the young in well synchronized moves. The next item, a raas titled ‘O dholida', was full of bounce as the seniors, clad in black and orange beaded dresses, weaved in and out of circles to the pulsating music. The audience soon began tapping their feet and clapping in unison with the beats of the drums and dandiyas. ���
The show had an imaginative amalgam of items with cultural, spiritual and patriotic flavor which was appreciated and enjoyed by young and old alike. The performance and talent of the seniors belied their age.
- Mahadev Desai
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