Cary Diwali 2016 – Yaatra

By USHA SANKAR

It’s late in the afternoon on Friday, Oct 14, 2016, and a bunch of women volunteers are busy putting up the gator boards, moving tables, looking for push-pins and excitedly discussing the layout of the exhibition booth. Suddenly, one of them drops everything and says, “Hey, I need to go get my nails done for tomorrow!” “Ah, you want to flash your nails when you do the demos,” tease the others. “Of course,” she says, her eyes twinkling. “It IS Cary Diwali, you know.”

And so it was, the 16th edition of Cary Diwali, brought to the Triangle yet again by Hum Sub Inc and the Town of Cary on a glorious, sun-kissed Saturday, Oct 15, 2016. The theme this time was ‘yatra – A journey in time’ and we kept our promise to the record crowd of 15,000 plus people to take them on a journey into the very heart of Indian culture. If here our exhibition booth showcased our awe-inspiring handloom heritage, over there, two of the area’s respected yoga teachers held forth on the philosophy of this age-old practice for the union of mind, body, and spirit. More than 25 vendors brought the best of Indian personal and home accessories to the shopping arena while a mind-boggling 1000 performers in jaw-dropping costumes did their dance schools and choreographers proud with their well-rehearsed acts and flawless execution. Last but not the least, in a long line of firsts for Cary Diwali, we had sales of Diwali stamps released by USPS earlier in October and the “trio of NC Symphony” who began the evening program.

Even as a steady crowd build up through the day, with people waiting patiently in long queues to savor all their favorite foods, the clickers worked overtime as evening approached and a mass of people headed to the Booth Amphitheater to mark their territory for the evening performance by the inimitable Ila Arun and her group. Her high-energy performance, ably supported by the Triangle’s talented dancers, had the crowds on their feet in no time. So infectious was the gay abandon with which she performed that even Cary’s reticent mayor, Harold Weinbrecht, couldn’t help but give in sportingly when invited on stage to shake a leg. Read all about it in his own words here in this blog post.

It all ended a tad too soon, with the fireworks going off, as usual, on the dot at 8:30 pm. Once again, Hum Sub had brought together the Indian community to come together in a celebration of the quintessential spirit of India and America of the celebration of diverse cultures.
The group of happily tired volunteers were back at work, pulling down everything they had so lovingly put up, already planning what they would do at Cary Diwali 2017. But at least one decision was made that night. They would get those nails a lot earlier!