It was a beautiful silver-themed Diwali this year for the Australian Hindi Indian Association (AHIA), as it marked its silver anniversary.
Long-time friends within the AHIA family gathered at the Croatian Club Punchbowl to wish each other Happy Diwali and enjoy a fun evening with fine food and festivity. Coordinated by Preeti Thadani and Sushma Ahluwalia with support from Channa, Kalra and Sachdev families, the evening also provided opportunities for a walk down memory lane, as well as to honour long-serving volunteers.
MCs Preeti Thadani and Benny Manuel guided the evening with elegance.
Entertainment provided by the Seven Sirens was wonderfully diverse in its presentation, including elements of many different genres.
The Diwali feel came from a skit written and performed by Mandeep Keith and Hemant Malik, centred around celebrating Diwali in a land far from home.
The stand-out event of the night though was Jai Ho: a group dance jointly presented by an eclectic group of AHIA members of all ages. Gentle in its choreography and execution, the dancers clearly enjoyed every minute of it, smiling their way through and finishing with a flourish. It had the audience up on their feet cheering wildly.
Earlier, President Yash Bhasin outlined the achievements of AHIA in 25 years, including the large-scale celebrations of Indian festivals, social justice programs in the mainstream, music and literary events and family-centric programs.
It brings out a monthly newsletter in Hindi. But its most consistent activity has been its Seniors Forum, which caters to the social needs of our elderly. This forum has benefitted many hundreds of families in 25 years and has inspired the birth of many other seniors’ platforms in the community. At its Diwali bash, three Seniors’ coordinators Bindu Kalra, Dr Rakesh Sachdev and Santram Bajaj were felicitated for their selfless service in this area.
A stunning pair of diamond earrings, donated by long-time supporter Sanjay Kalra of Twinkle Diamonds helped raise much-needed funds for this longest-serving of Indian associations in Sydney.
The warm send-off with candied nuts was just as special as the welcome at the beginning with traditional mithai.