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Wondrous Diwali celebrations by Seniors Citizens Program

BY MAHADEV DESAI

Photos by Mahadev Desai and Vinod Karia

Atlanta, GA, November 23, 2022: The cold and windy weather failed to dampen the spirits of seniors who attended the annual Diwali celebrations organized by the Senior Citizens Program, (SCP) Inc., at the Impact Center, Global Mall, Norcross, Georgia on Sunday, November 13, 2022. SCP is in its 27th continuous years of existence and in service of elders.

The stage and the tables were elegantly decorated with flowers, diyas (lamps), and a picture of Goddess Laxmi mata. The volunteers greeted the seniors at the entrance with Diwali and New Year greetings and courteously accompanied them to their seats.

The program began with the auspicious diya lighting and pooja (prayer) ceremony of Goddess Laxmi performed by the sponsor Vikas Verma, together with SCP’s Founder/Executive Director Raj Razdan, volunteers Shashi Sidhaye, Isha Goyal, and Minesh Modi. Ajit Dave added a unique flavor to the pooja by chanting of the mantras.

Raj then welcomed all, and wished all the seniors a very happy Diwali and New Year especially thanking generous sponsorship of Vikas and Dolly Verma for their unflinching financial support every year since the inception of SCP in 1996. Vikas Verma was felicitated with a bouquet of flowers. He thanked Raj Razdan and SCP volunteers for carrying out their duties unflinching for 27 years in service of seniors. He also thanked all the seniors for joyfully and enthusiastically participating in the Diwali celebrations and expressed his Happy Diwali wishes to all. He assured Raj of his ongoing support to the senior citizens program. He mentioned his inspiration was the realization that parents (including his mother) felt very lonely as their children and the grandchildren were extremely busy in fulfilling their own respective duties and obligations outside of their homes.

It was showtime hereafter!  Raj welcomed, introduced and thanked Atlanta’s popular singers Rohan Ullal and Chandrika Narayan for supporting the seniors program and their philanthropy for nearly three decades. They had entertained the seniors on Zoom medium even during COVID times. She thanked them for their dedication in entertaining the seniors.

Rohan Ullal and Chandrika Narayan regaled the seniors with a medley of vintage Bollywood songs. Rohan Ullal began with ‘Chand si Mehbooba ho meri’ song. Chandrika reciprocated singing ‘Maine payal hai chhankai’. Both singers then sang duets ‘Mai ek badal awaara’ and ‘Sawan ka Mahina, pawan kare Sor’. While they regaled the seniors with a number of hit songs, the volunteers went around and served tasty snacks and soft drinks to all. The nostalgic feast of music included ‘Pal pal dil ke paas’; ‘Rahe na rahe hum’; ‘Dil ki nazar se’; ‘Na tum hame jaano’; to name a few! One or two popular numbers immediately beckoned few seniors to the dance floor. Raj Razdan and  Darshan Kaur encouraged the seniors to come to the dance floor. Soon some responded and had a jovial time with their dancing shoes.

Pallaviben Patel, a senior and a well-known dancer performed a scintillating dance to the song ‘Mere Banke Bihari Laal Tum Itna Mat Kario Shingar’.

The program ended with a sumptuous Diwali lunch served by the volunteers. In the tradition started by Vikas and Dolly Verma, seniors were presented with a box of mouthwatering laddoos for Diwali festival.

Raj felicitated Rohan Ullal, Chandrika Narayan with bouquets of flowers and thanked dedicated long time volunteers Aruna Patel, Shashi Sidhaye, Dolly Verma, Isha Goyal, Chinti Bali, Minesh Modi, Sonia Singh.

Special thanks also to Volunteers  Darshan Kaur, Harshad Shah. Jyotsna Patel, Dr. K.C Shah & Mayuri Shah, Mahendra Shah, Mayur Patel, Nalini Gandhi, Nikki Dedani, Prakash & Madhu Gupta, and  Rohit and Meena Patel et al for their commitment and devotion in service of the elders of the Georgia community.

Special thanks to Tarun Sirohi family and the webmaster Saurabh Shukla for the ongoing  support of the Website. The Sirohi family have supported the website for the past 2 decades. It is being revamped and soon all will be able to see many more pictures on the website.

Raj further thanked Vinod Karia for his awsome photographs for our website, and veteran feelance journalist Mahadev Desai for his commendable media coverage of the SCP events. 

The SCP also wishes to thank Shiv Aggarwal family for the generous use of the Impact Hall at the Global Mall. Special thanks to Ricky Walia of Ashiana for the delicious menu for the lunch!

SCP provides seniors a free forum for camaraderie, fraternity, networking and exchange of news. Monthly events include religious events like Mata ki Chowki, celebrations of Valentine Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, India’s Independence Day, picnics, movies, etc. 

SCP’s devotion and service to the community is highly commendable and indeed appreciated which is reflected in it’s growing membership.

Despite its rich religious connotations, the global journey of Diwali rekindles high spirits and undiminished resolve with the hope of spreading the light of goodness, generosity, the triumph of righteousness and above all, fraternity, love and friendship.

Message from the Executive Director, Raj Razdan:

“As we get closer to the end of the year, I take this opportunity to thank you all for your ongoing support to SCP, especially during the pandemic and COVID  crisis.

We would like to thank all our sponsors and speakers who supported the seniors program thru COVID. We would also like to thank the community for the support and good wishes thru our journey.

We will be amiss in not acknowledging our sponsors and participants for our programs year around and as follows:

Special thanks to Drs Vijay and Darshan Vyas for supporting the program with Zoom links. Drs Jayprakash and Rekha Desai for the music program, Kamini & Anil Bhargava for giving us an excellent talk about Gardening experiences.

Musical Performers : Tanweer Mian, Shelley Chinnan, Rohan Ullal and Chandrika Narayan.

Speakers: Darshan Kaur, Dr. Pamposh Kaul, Shobha Swamy and Dr Akil Taher. Sushmaji Velu from Chinmaya Mission. Dr Hari Har Singh.

Yoga Instructors Kailash Purohit and Anil Bhagat. Jennifer L Jones.

Play: Sandhya Bhagat and team 

Our Sponsors whose support we have enjoyed all these years.

Mata ki Chowki Sponsors : Sunanda/ Brajender Sharma , Chinti Bali, Datta and Shailly families.

Mr. Surinder Malhotra & Poonam Malhotra, & Mrs Arneja.

Dr. K.C. Shah & Mayuri Shah

Drs. Annapoorna and Subramanium Bhatt

Mr. Vikas & Dolly Verma

Mr Sharad Shah & Anjana Das

Mr.Anil & Sonjui Kumar

Dr. Rajiv and Neera Mathur

Mr. Anil & Shubra Kathod

Mr. and Mrs Pramod Mathur.

Dr.Jaimini and Madhavi Dave

Mr. Kirtan Patel, Mr Sanjiv & Diwya Sharm

Mr. Raj & Bhavna Shah”

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