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Diwali, the Festival of Lights celebrated by Gujarati Samaj Chicago

By Suresh & Usha Bodiwala

Chicago IL (Oct 28, 2014): Gujarati Samaj Chicago organized a Diwali Gala Dinner and a live musical concert by from 6:00 pm until midnight on Saturday, October 18, 2014 at India House Banquet located on 1521 Schaumburg Road in Schaumburg, IL. The evening was attended by more than 600 guests.

Diwali, the festival of lights, was celebrated with religious fervor and gaiety by people of all ages. The evening started with a social hour featuring a variety of delicious appetizers and soft drinks intended to neutralize the sting of traditional spicy dishes.

MC for the occasion was Manish Pandya, Cultural Secretary, who kept the crowd actively engaged for the entire length of the program. The MC welcomed all to the Diwali celebration and recognized President Mr. Suryakant Patel and his fellow members for working tirelessly to bring the best Diwali celebration for all.

The program began with two prayers sung by Alka and Sunny on Lord Ganesh. MC Manish then introduced Suryakant Patel GSC President and invited him to say a few words to the crowd. Suryakant Patel delivered a very short speech thanking all supporters and wishing a Happy Diwali.
“Under the leadership of Suryakant Patel, GSC has been adding 15 to 20 new life members every year. GSC had a positive cash flow for each of the four years and has been getting a lot of support from local vendors and businesses. Besides four mains events - Bowling, Summer Picnic, Navratri and Diwali Party, they introduced Mix & Mingle and achieved great success. GSC's reputation is growing and a number of other Samaj have shown desire and support to work together for future projects and programs. They have refreshed GSC’s website and are still planning to improve it for everyone's benefit including the vendors and sponsors" said General Secretary Jayesh Parikh.

Jayesh Parikh, General Secretary, introduced the event’s Chief Guest and delivered a short speech.   “As GSC’s General Secretary and on behalf of the entire Board, I wish you all a very Happy Diwali and New Year. Hope the New Year brings good health, wealth and lots of happiness in everyone lives. Today, I am both honored and privileged to be able to introduce a role model and a distinguished individual – Mr. Chhotalal Patel, who graciously accepted our invitation for tonight’s event as chief guest and hope we get a glimpse of his great character and personality. On behalf of everyone here, I wish him and his family a Very Happy New Year and would like to invite him on the stage to light the “ Deepawali Diya” and say a few words”.

Mr. Chhotalal Patel then spoke saying "I thank Gujarati Samaj and wish everyone Happy Diwali.” He further inspired Gujaratis narrating few incidents including his experience with security personnel upon entering and also advised to learn good aspects worth accepting without forgetting the Gujarati Spirit. His speech was thought provoking and high-spirited.

They then lit the “Deepawali Diya” in presence of President Suryakant Patel and his wife Urvashi Patel. Suryakant Patel and Manish Pandya  invited all of the sponsors on stage and recognized them. Each of the sponsors also lit the “Deepawali Diya”.

Manish introduced the orchestra team as Sunny Jadhav who is popularly known as the “Voice of Kishore Kumar” and is a very well-known talented artist. He has performed numerous times in the U.S. and also shared the stage with T.V Stars such as "Bhoomi Trivedi" and Bollywood artists including "Bappi Lahiri" amongst others. Alka Thakur who is a very versatile singer and has a wide range of work from Asha and Lata to all recent Singers like Alka Yagnik and Sunidhi Chauhan. Kanwarlal who is a true entertainer and an excellent mimicry artist and anchor with a wide range of poetry and shayari’s. And finally, Kalpesh Kharwa (KK) (X-Factor Fame) who is a young and talented singer featuring the latest songs of artists such as Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and also specializes in Mohammed Rafi songs. The above artists were accompanied by accomplished musicians who compliment the group with their skills in Tabla, Congo Dhol - Prasad Shirgaonkar, Dholak, Octopad - Sanket Patel and Keyboard - Anurag Badsey.

Anand Chaudhari anchored the Entertainment Program on behalf of the Bollywood Dream Group. Singer Sunny started singing a famous song, ‘Ek Anjani Hasinase Mulakat Ho Gayi Phir Kya Hua…’ Then onwards the program continued inspiring all age groups to dance with flurry of songs sung by talented artists - Sunny, KK and Alka, who kept the audience zooming past midnight.

Everyone enjoyed the Diwali Gala Dinner Party. In addition to the appetizers served by Saffron Chat House and the main course dinner served from India House, there were also traditional Diwali treats such as Mathia, Gughraa, Chora-Phali and an abundance of additional sweets.

After dinner, Manish Pandya invited Mrs. Urvashi Patel on stage and introduced her as GSC’s new President. All of the other members of GSC’s Executive Board were also invited on stage and introduced.  The music program continued until late in the night.

At the end of the music program, Kamlesh Shah gave a final vote of thanks. All dispersed at late in the night cherishing sweet memories of the program attended.

Gujarati Samaj of Chicago, formed in 1972, is the oldest and largest community of Chicago. In today's world, networking and personal connections are very important. GSC is one of the few organizations in the Chicagoland area that provides an excellent platform for socializing among all age groups as well as personal and professional networking.

The following members are part of the 2014-2015 Gujarati Samaj of Chicago Executive Board: P:resident-Urvashi S. Patel; Vice President-Kamlesh Shah; General Secretary-Jayesh Parikh; Jt. General Secretary-Bhavesh Shah; Cultural Secretary-Manish Pandya; Jt. Cultural Secretary-Nirisha Shah Treasurer-Sandip Shah; Jt.Treasurer-Dakshesh Modi; Board Members: Vibha Dave; Payal Shah; Nikunj Baxi; Ashok Shah; Chandrika Shah; Devang Desai.