Thanks to the support from the community and the phenomenal event planning by the Lokvani@10 team, the Lokvani@10 Gala event received rave reviews from attendees. The event was held on Sep. 9 at the Westin in Waltham, MA. The gala was a celebration to mark the uninterrupted 10-year circulation of the bi-weekly e-magazine Lokvani.com. A fabulous team of nine including co-chairs Dr. Manju Sheth, Anu Chitrapu, Eshani Shah, Sangita Joshi, Sumi Manwani, Drs. Mohan and Meera Subramanium, Sudha Lakshmi Rao and Ruchika Arora worked on the event planning and management and created an event that was classy and really fun.
After a lovely social hour when attendees could enjoy a lovely “Loktini” specially created for the occasion, the doors to the ballroom were opened. The audience walked into an almost magical setting created by the décor from Alankar Decors and brilliant lighting by DJ Yogi. Models featuring clothes by Choonri Collections welcomed the Lokvani@10 team with lamps.
Co-chairs Anu Chitrapu and Manju Sheth served as event hosts. They began by welcoming the Lokvani team as they danced their way into the hall to a variety of rocking tunes. Anil Saigal shared the Lokvani story with the audience. “We started with 3 articles and 30 subscribers. We have now written over 7500 articles and grown our subscriber base to over 45,000” said Saigal. “We are overwhelmed with the support we have received for today’s event. We thank you all and hope to continue on this journey together with you for many years to come.” During the event Saigal also thanked all the longstanding sponsors and presented token of recognition to Sushil Tuli of Leaderbank, Trupti Patel of Trupti N. Patel and Associates and Saluni Fadia of the Prashant H. Fadia foundation. Gala sponsors were also thanked and a special shout out was given to Mr. Subu Kota, who was the grand sponsor for the Gala.
Following the story, the entertainment program started with a lovely Guru Vandana by Odissi dancers Mouli Pal and Shamoyita Mukherjeee who picked a composition of Rabindranath Tagore to mark the 150th anniversary of this great Indian. Later Sudha Lakshmi Rao presented a wonderful multilingual musical rendering of A.R Rehaman’s Chinna Chinaa Asai.
The Lokvani team had endured the devastating loss of Chitra who died while covering a story about the Tsunami in the Andaman Nicobar islands. “We are honored today to have in the audience Chitra’s husband Vinod Muralidhar and his mother,” said Saigal. Nirmala Garimella paid a touching tribute to the memory of Chitra saying "we owe a lot of Lokvani's success and enduring presence in the community thanks to our dear friend and founding partner". Dr. Meena Sundaram's rendition of the song “Khilte hain ghul yahan” was very touching. One of the highlights of the event was the honoring of the winners of the Lokvani Spotlight on Excellence Awards. Leading dancers, musicians, visual artists, South Asian small business owners, mentors and community catalysts were presented with awards. “These are people who always work with a desire to excel,” said Ranjani Saigal as she invited the awardees to come up to the stage. She also applauded the nominators who took the time to recognize excellence in others.
A leading community member, Mr. Puran Dang was invited to present the voice of the community. Anoop Kumar, in his introduction referred to him as the “fabric that knits the Indian community together.” Dang was very complimentary of Lokvani and said “it is the vehicle that brings the community together.”
Based on the recommendation of Kumu Gupta, the Governor's office presented a citation to honor Lokvani's 10 years of service.
The entertainment for the evening continued with a lovely “chand” presentation by Dr. Mohan Subramanium, a duet by Mohan and Shraddha Aggarwal and another duet by Raghu Saranathan and Sudha. Lex Leher under the direction of Dr. Sumi Manwani presented a lovely dance medley. The piece-de-resistance of the evening was a Qawwali medley featuring young singer Anusha Kulkarni, Mohan Subramaniam and Shradda Aggarwal. Following a fabulous dinner the guests danced the night away to the fabulous music of DJ Yogi.
“The secret of our success is simple. We are part of a terrific community that features a large number of phenomenal individuals. More importantly it is a community that comes together, works together and does great things together. To be the voice of such a community is a true honor and we are grateful for the opportunity,” said Saigal as he thanked the audience for coming and sharing in the celebrations.
The event has received rave reviews. Here are a few samples:
“It was what a remarkable experience to feel the vibrancy from all on your 10th year anniversary celebrations. Rabindra Sangeet to Lord Shiva’s blessings, dance to films and classical music and all the wonderful recipients of awards, respect from you and your readers and sponsors all made great impact. We were blessed to be able to attend and what a crowd from all sectors of Indian Americans to complement wonderful team and founders of Lokvani" - Dr. Dinesh Patel , Orthopedic Surgeon.
“One of the best run and fun events. Carry on the amazing work. You have very talented team and they are so humble and great...I loved it. I also got to meet so many young and talented people” - Shobha Shastry, Event Planner and Decorator.
“I want to congratulate you for putting on such a grand event on Friday to celebrate this magnificent milestone for Lokvani. I was humbled and honored to be included with the wonderful group of people on stage. I hope you have had a chance to recover from your tireless work in putting this incredible production together” - Raj Melville, Founder TIE-Social Entrepreneur Special Interest Group.
“I wanted to thank you for organizing such a wonderful event last weekend. I really appreciate your commitment to the arts in the Boston area” - Bhuvana Ganesh, Carnatic Musician.
“It was great event. All the attendees including me will remember this event forever, until you replace with another one” - Jayashree Mahapatra, Odissi Dancer.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the event. It was a lovely celebration" - Dr. Praveen Chaturvedi, Entrepreneur.