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IANH Holds Diwali Celebration


The India Association of New Hampshire held its 2006 Diwali Festival on Oct 14 in Nashua. More that 600 people attended.

In his welcome address, Prithvi Kumar, president of the association reminded the audience of the spirit of the Diwali festival, which lay in “caring for one another.” He stated the association operated in a similar spirit of service and caring. Cooking in the various area soup kitchens, restoration of an apartment in downtown Nashua and an annual cultural event to entertain senior citizens are among the activities that the association undertakes. Tony Epaphras, member of the Executive Committee, next expressed his views on participating in the political process.

The cultural events of the evening took off with “Khusiyon Ke Deep”, a vocal presentation by the students of Jyoti Sharma. They also sang a poem, “Diwali Aye”, a prayer, “Oma, Tmaso Ma” and a tarana, “Shubha Ghadi”. Amrita Hosur, Kritika Hosur, Ishsita Agarwal, Ashi Agarwal, Puja Kher, Neil Shah, Mayank Dubey, Rahul Vaswani, Neha Bhatia, Pankhuri Sangal, Aneena Patel and Mitali Shenoy participated in the singing while Akshay Navaldi provided accompaniment on the tabla.

Up next was “Jahan kadam kadam pe”, a dance from the movie Fanaa performed by Sanjana Vasudevan, Anisha Purohit, Shivani Dixit followed by “Aye Malik tere bande,” a song from the film Do Ankhen barah haath, sung by Rajesh Saluja and Tarang Saluja.

“Dhoom Macha Le,” a dance number from the movie Dhoom performed by Ananya Jha and Shivani Shresta was followed by educational announcements by Thilak Radakrishnan, chair of the education committee of the association.

This was followed by “Gajra Banake le Aah,” a ghazal performed by students of Sandhya Sridhar, with Asish Andhavarapu on flute, Bhradwak Parakala and Nilita Srinivasan on tabla; “Chale Jaise Hawaein,” a dance choreographed by Neha Parikh and performed by Anusha Gopal, Ilina Shah, Kaushik Anantha, Shravani Balaji, Smriti Rao, Srivatsan Senthilkumar, Shreya Eapur, Srinikita Gunampalli and Varsha Gopal; and “Hulla Hulla Re,” a dance choreographed by Jasmine Shah and performed by Shivani Patel, Shefali Mangtani, Sumanya Kumar, Tamanna Asarpota, Aditi Nadkarni, Nidhi Patel, Pradhi Patel, Bhoomi Shah, Ankita Devasia, Nisha Devasia, Avni Agrawal and Meera Patel.

Barinder Ahluwalia, chair of the public service committee came on to the podium next and outlined the association’s active participation in several local public service events. She reminded the audience of the Nashua Soup Kitchen cooking planned for the day after the Diwali celebrations.

Energetic dances and soulful songs resumed in full swing after this brief intermission: “Theerada vilayattu pillai” performed by Lekha Nair and Meera Nair, both students of Sandhya Sridhar; “Sun Lo Tum,” a dance from the movie Kisna by Amritha Mangalat and Anjana Mangalat; and “Rang de Basanti,” a dance choreographed by Jasmine Shah and performed by Reena Schrubb, Rajal Schrubb, Shayna Patel, Sateja Paradkar, Nikita Yarram, Alisha Shah, Saniya Shah, Ashruti Patel, Samta Patel, Anisha Mistry, Sidhi Salvi, Sarena Patel, Monica Gandhi, Neomi Patel and Chahiti Asarpota.
Neha Parikh, the featured artist of the evening showcased three Bharatanatyam pieces. Her performance got off to a great start with "Ganesh-stuti" – an aarati in praise of Lord Ganesha in Marathi. Her expressive face exhibited her mastery of abhinaya . The next item was Madhurashtakam - the famous composition by poet Vallabhacharya on Lord Krishna in Ragamalika ragam. This was an enthralling presentation and Neha executed this piece with grace and depth of feeling. For her final piece Neha chose "Ashtapadi" from Geet-Govinda by the poet Jayadeva. Neha brought alive the intricacies of the composition with her emotive skill along with her beautiful stage presence.
She moved the audience to experience rasa, bhava and abhinayam . Her performance was faultless in rhythm and well etched in adavus. Her passion for perfection and involvement in Bharatanatyam was very evident her performance.

Jasmine Shah’s “Garbo Raas,” a dance performed by Alisha Patel, Purnima Patel, Aashini Ruwala, Richa Ruwala, Tanvi Wattal, Spruthi Jonnalagadda, Nitika Sachde, Janki Patel, Krishna Patel and Saloni Mahapatra followed.  

In rapid succession came “Des Rangeela,” performed by Kuhu Wadhawa, Aamukta Porikha, Jaanhvi; "Dheem ta daare" choreographed by Neha Parikh and performed by Ambika Menon, Mahima Balaraj and Lasya Thilagar;" Rang De" choreographed by
Jasmine Shah and performed by Aayushi Patel, Vibhuti Patel, Janki Patel,  
Niti Patel, Janki Patel, Maya Dave, Pooja Malvia, Sama Kadakia, Sesha
Kadakia; "Devuda Devuda" performed by Lahari, Kasyup, Bhargav,Rishi,Yashaswani , Siddhardha , Gurby and  Kabir, choreographed by Mani Eapur; “Rock and Roll Soniye,” performed by Avvinash,Vignesh,Hershil, Anji; and “Kajra Re,” co-ordinated by Nita Shastri and performed by Nita Shastri, Shikha Bajpai, Priyanka, Kaavya, Praharshita Chetan, Subhashini Vatakutty, Meena, Falguni Desai.

For the final event of the evening, the duo of Uma and Shankar sang some popular songs from Bollywood films.

Mr Sasi Kumar, consul in the Indian consulate in New York, expressed his admiration for the standard of the performances by the children. He felt that the children would be better acquainted with their roots after exposure to cultural events such as the ones performed during the Diwali festival.

Tej Dhakar, secretary of the association, provided the closing address and the vote of thanks for the evening’s events. He thanked all the people involved, especially the youth volunteers and the emcee for the evening, Seema Kumar, members of the cultural wing of the association and the children and their parents for their endeavors.

The cultural events of the evening were followed into the night by a vigorous dandia dance with the music arranged by Ravi Singh.

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