NEW YORK – Many people from all walks of life came to see the colorful India Day Parade held Aug. 19 on Madison Avenue. Walking down the several blocks on Madison Avenue, admiring all types of Indian cuisine, activities, and performances, onlookers shared their impressions with Desi Talk.
The floats, the Bollywood personalities, the political and community leaders, all drew attention to the achievements of India and Indian-Americans.
One doorman at 230 Madison Avenue said that he had witnessed many parades and events over the years and the India Day Parade was always one of the biggest, most exciting features of the city because of its cultural importance and the pride he saw fellow Indians demonstrating openly through their support of the local Indian community.
Many of the pedestrians spoke to News India Times, some of them visiting New York City for the first time. They enjoyed interacting with other Indian ethnic groups like Gujaratis and Keralites, and above all, sharing space with so many people of Indian origin.
“I really enjoyed the camaraderie and satisfaction [people like us] experience when walking with our own countrymen and women, supporting Indian meals, Jainism, and the BJP,” said one individual in the crowds who did not want to be mentioned by name.
There were also many non-Indians, including Caucasians, African-Americans, and Hispanics, who had never had this extent of exposure to the Indian community. They delighted in the food, danced, and embraced as the parade continued.
As an eight-year old girl began to sing patriotic Indian songs, the massive crowd watched; Some joked that it disrupted traffic and prevented them from meeting up with their friends. But they still planned to return to the parade in the future because of “the cultural and religious elements of the event.”
“It was a great parade though people were apprehensive about the rain,” said H.P. Singh, one of those attending the parade. “People were having a lot of fun. People did not leave until the whole program was over – they were there till the very end,” Singh added.
People were very enthusiastic according to some of those present. “So many non-Indians waved at the floats. It was really nice. Such a diverse crowd,” said Sonia Lalwani, “Every booth and float was made so tastefully. And every float had dancers.”