One of the hallmarks of the event Deepavali Milan, has been the fact that it is family-oriented.
Indeed, this was the main focus when it all started in Sydney’s North Shore nine years ago, launched by Kamini and Varinder Sahni with their family and friends.
This year, this trademark aspect was taken a notch higher as it was blessed by the seniors of AHIA (Australian Hindi Indian Association). The grand celebration at Hornsby RSL Club on 15 Oct saw whole families from grandparents to little kids come together to celebrate as one.
The venue oozed the true spirit of Diwali, tastefully decorated by Venita of VIP Decorations, with an awe-inspiring rangoli at the heart of it put together by Sunanda Kalra, breath-taking stage and the attractive photo booth.
The festive lamps on the tables, and the themed music set the Deepavali mood perfectly, making the guests beam with joy as soon as they entered. They were welcomed with the traditional teeka ceremony by lovely little girls Kyra, Nikhita and Avika. Kids received special snack and lolly hampers.
The celebrations commenced with the traditional arti on stage. Mantras were recited by Shay Patel and Aditya Arora.
MCs Nitin Madan and Sakshi Kapoor took the floor with a special surprise to start with: Pehli Diwali (first celebration) of newborns and newlyweds. There was much cheer in the crowd at this wonderful innovation – and exciting surprise for the families involved. The young couple Divya and Gurjap, and babies Meera and Sarah, received special gifts.
The entertainment included classical and Bollywood dances; kids and mums’ dances; bhangra, and not one but two fashion shows involving mothers and daughters in one instance, and young kids in the other. Talent Club members were wonderful ambassadors of their art (superb rendition of Katy Perry’s Rise by Tanaya, and Friend Like Me from Aladdin choreographed by Lauren McKinnon.) The children from the audience dashed to the stage when the MCs invited them to participate in the final act of this performance. They danced away to glory on the beats of DJ Bali.
The AHIA Deepavali Milan organising committee was headed by Yash Bhasin, V K Sahni, Kali Gupta, Subhash Grover, AHIA President Tilak Kalra, Secretary Jagdish Dua, and Treasurer Gurdeep Sekhon. They were joined by Rakesh Sachdeva, Rajinder Channa, Sant Ram Bajaj, Kamini Sahni, Deepa Arora, Vikram Arora, Punam Wahan and Gabby Aurora.
Volunteers Shashi, Bindu, Subhashini, Charan, Bala, Nalina, Gayatri, Seema, Khushi, Ziya, Sunanda, Ghazal, Sejal, Sasha, Mira, all helped to look after the guests. Among the 425 guests, dignitaries Consul General of India (Sydney) B.Vanlalvawna, Gurdeep Singh and old AHIA members were present to grace the occasion.
Great care was taken in making the occasion special for the children as well as adults. The announcement of raffle winners and presentation of surprise gifts by Sarita Sachdev and Jagdish Dua added to the fun and amusement.
Last but not the least, sweets were handed to all families as a token of love and Diwali wishes from AHIA. An awesome night, it turned out to be a joyful beginning to Deepavali week.