Diwali scenes across Sydney: AHIA celebrations

A quick look at the Diwali celebrations at AHIA this year. NISHAA SINGH LAMBA reports.

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AHIA: Youthful Diwali

The spirit of sharing, it is said, is one of the most significant aspects of Diwali. We exchange mithai (and good will) with our nearest and dearest, and in Oz, with our neighbours and colleagues. And so it was a wonderful gesture to see AHIA’s Diwali do at Manjit’s Concord Function Centre, start off with a bit of an Australian touch: the entertainment company 7 Flavours presenting some much-loved Bollywood dance numbers, even though there wasn’t a single Indian amongst them. It was amazing to see the youngsters embrace Indian music and dance. They certainly put the evening off to a peppy start.

And kudos to the Australian Hindi Indians Association for keeping up that tempo throughout the night for the 250-strong audience.

AHIA’S Diwali functions were all the rage at one point in time and it was great to get a sense that the association is seeing a return to its heyday. The touch of contemporaneity in this ancient celebration was wonderful to experience, and shows the efforts being made to stay relevant.

You probably know what I’m getting at, if you were there. Yup, the skit starring Mandeep Keith and Shiven Lulla as the old and the new generations respectively, trying to make sense of the significance of the festival. Written and directed by Preeti Thadani, herself an AHIA official, the little production had the audience in splits with youth-speak references to Lord Ram as ‘Dude’, Laxman as ‘Lax’, Sita as ‘Ram’s babe’, and the like.

For the Diwali meal, Manjit’s team provided a full-on silver service wine and dine, bringing in a touch of class.

The raffle draw raised funds for the new-look AHIA, and for most in the audience it was a pleasure to see the inimitable Sushma Ahluwalia in action again. Go, Sushma!

And the speeches – hats off to whoever decided to keep these to a minimum! President Yash Bhasin was the sole speaker, giving a brief and dignified welcome. Rest of the time, the lovely Preeti Thadani entertained with her words, quirky and profound in equal measure.

In the end, it made for a wonderful Diwali evening. Now if only we had some taash….

See pictures from other celebrations/melas across Sydney

CIA’s Little India Fair
FIAN Diwali mela
Blacktown Diwali mela
Deepavali Milan
South Sydney Diwali bash
Deepavali at Church
HCA Diwali