Diwali Dhamaka – Houston Celebrates the Festival of Lights
Diwali, the Indian Festival of lights, has become quite a popular celebration here in the United States. Its popularity is not just restrained amongst Indians but people from various cultures are also enjoying it.
Several celebrations are carried out in the Houston, Texas area to mark the significance of Diwali. This year the festivities started with several ceremonies at the different temples in Houston: The Meenakshi Temple, Swaminarayan Temple, Arya Samaj, Durgabari and many others.
The fun part are the social events. Sugar Land, Texas hosted their Diwali extravaganza last Friday at the Texas Safari Ranch with a houseful attendance. The highlight of the event was the bollywood dance performance by Rhythm India, a colorful array of fashionably dressed Sugar Land movers and shakers spreading the light of happiness and breaking all cultural barriers. The event was successfully organized by Himesh Gandhi, an attorney based in Sugar Land and who is now running for City Councilmember for Sugar Land, Texas.
Present at the diwali gala event Farah Gandhi, Manisha Gandhi Mehta, Reji Joseph, Abraham Joseph, Harish Jajoo, Sunil Thakkar, Amy Mitchell, Tracy and Jim Shaw, Tanaz and Chelsea Choudhry, Jacquie Baly Chaumette, Teresa Cox Reading, Vijay Bhuchar and many others.
During these festive moments often Indians with families abroad experience solitude. “The good thing is that our traditions and cultures are so deeply ingrained, unique and exquisite that we find ways to celebrate our festivals whichever part of the world we may reside,” says Smita Jha, the President of Indian Students and Scholars Association (ISSA) and student from Baylor College.
At Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) a Diwali celebration was organized by the Indian Students and Scholars Association (ISSA) on October 22, 2011 with such energy and expression that the feeling of home away from home was self evident and all pervasive.
The event was held at the Main Baylor building with beautifully decorated walls creating a festive ambiance with soft Indian classical music that set the tune for the Diwali celebration. The event started with Ganesh and Lakshmi Puja followed by prasad distribution to all the attendees. Present at the event Surender Talwar, the Vice President of India Culture Center graced the occasion with his very kind and encouraging words for the youth and commended ISSA for its role in bringing people together and celebrating the Indian festival.
The first cultural event was a dance performance by Surabhi Gaur, Geetali Pradhan and Parineeta Galgalikar that represented the various festivals of India to the tunes of Bollywood music. Followed by a breathtaking performance by the Rice Bhangra team from Rice University. However the show snatcher was a witty skit performed by students and researchers from BCM and MD Anderson Cancer Center that had the audience in splits right from the beginning.
Altogether a memorable celebration with the best yet to come on November 5, 2011 – the Club 24 Diwali Celebration at the Parikh Residence. Lights Camera Action team will be there to bring you all the details.
Story input by Neha Parikh