ROLLING MEADOWS, IL
Thousands of Chicagoland residents came to enjoy Desi Talk newspaper’s eagerly awaited Diwali Mela celebrated at The Meadows Club in Rolling Meadows, Oct. 8.
This year was the second Desi Talk Diwali Mela, organized at the initiative of Parikh Worldwide Media, the New York-based publishing house that brings out multiple weeklies in English and one in Gujarati.
According to organizers, more than 8,000 people attended the much-awaited festival and the hype and anticipation from last year’s program was a major pull for the crowd. The program did not disappoint in the variety of entertainment.
More than 30 vendor booths featured food, clothes, jewelry and much more. Attendees also received useful information from businesses dealing in money transfers, phone services, health care, and non-profit organizations.
The Chief Guest was Consul General of India at Chicago. Neeta Bhushan. Bhushan gave Karwa Chauth and Diwali wishes to all the guests.
Chairman and Publisher Dr. Sudhir Parikh, recipient of India’s Padma Shri award, wished everyone a very happy Diwali and added, “We are proud and honored to join the community of Chicago to celebrate this festival and the whole idea is to empower our next generation and to teach about her (India’s) heritage that will help to make our community stronger.” A documentary on Dr. Parikh’s life was played at the event. Bhailal Patel, executive vice president of Parikh Worldwide Media thanked everyone for joining the celebration and wished everyone a very happy festive season.
Parikh Worldwide Media is the largest Indian-American publishing group in the US. The group publishes five periodicals including Desi Talk in Chicago, a weekly newspaper serving the Greater Chicago area and the Midwestern states; “The Indian American,” a national bimonthly feature magazine; Desi Talk in New York for the Tristate area; News India Times, a national weekly; and the Gujarat Times, a Gujarati language national weekly newspaper. The combined circulation and readership of these publications make the media group among the most influential in the ethnic Indian market.
Rohit Joshi performed the Vedic rituals to start the program followed by a variety of performances. Ilyas Qureshi, the COO of Parikh Worldwide Media, was the emcee for the daylong, well-organized event. There was nonstop music and dancing all day to entertain the audience.
The Desi Talk organizing team worked throughout the day helping the vendors and artists get settled and provided any assistance that was needed. The dances interspersed by the breaks kept the program flowing and the crowd interested and participating, despite the day-long event. Many attendees arrived at 11AM and stayed till the end of the event at 8 PM.
There were featured giveaways and a raffle that kept the crowd enthused. “I personally came to shop for jewelry and clothes, which did not disappoint”, said Sahiba Gupta of Schaumburg. The Air India raffle received a huge number of entries and the winners were announced by Consul General Bhushan.
Inspite of fasting for Karva Chauth on the day of the event, Bhushan stayed till the end to cheer on the attendees and present awards and certificates to the performers.
More than 140 participants of all ages performed on stage. The dance items were performed by Bolly DanceFit, choreographed by Deepthi Chiruvuri; Taal Dance Group, choreographed by Garima Singh; and the Indian Dance School, choreographed by Gauri Jog.
The show was kicked off by the Awaaz Group with music by Waheed Gul and songs by Dr. Effat Jabeen. Seema Gadre did “Lavani”, a song/dance combination from Maharashtra. Cyenthia Vijaykumar danced the Tarana, Adi Yogi and Bikram Ghosh dances. The dance items also included performances by Team Ghunguru (choreographed by Sridevi Pandala), Bollywood Groove (choreographed by Ajanta Chakraborty), Sahaja Yoga Meditation (choreographed by Sarawati Udar and Misha Goel), Indian Dance School (choreographed by Gauri Jog), Team Taal (choreographed by Garima Singh) and Bolly DanceFit (choreographed by Deepthi Chiruvuri). Mehul Adhikari was the superb Dhol player at the event. Winners of the best dance performance were announced amidst much anticipation by the crowd and participants alike. The first prize went to Bolly DanceFit and the second prize to Team Ghunguru. Certificates were given to all the participants.
“These types of events help to keep our culture alive and encourages participation of children who grew up here in the States,” Pankaj Sharma of Naperville told Desi Talk, adding, “That helps to preserve our culture and creates interest of their heritage in our children.” He came with his whole family – his wife, two kids and his in-laws.
All the sponsors and supporters were acknowledged on stage. The major sponsors of the event were US Bank and Western Union. Syed Nizam from US Bank and Ved Sarvottam from Western Union were honored with plaques. Other supporters that were honored were Star Plus, Air India, Radio Dil, YUPP TV, Hakka Bakka, Chataka Masti, Care For Soul Inc, TV Asia, Factory Plaza, Joyalukkas Jewelers, Royal Basmati and Sunil Shah of New York Life. The publishing group’s COO Quraishi, along with Executive Vice President Bhailal Patel and Office Manager Muslima Shethwala, also presented plaques and certificates of appreciation to honor the sponsors and participants.
Several guests speaking to this correspondent, expressed appreciation and praised the 2017 Desi Talk Diwali Mela, and said they were already looking forward to next year.