Cary Diwali 2015 – Mahotsav
By USHA SANKAR
Saturday, Oct 10, 2015, started as any other beautiful early autumn morning in Cary. Clear skies, crisp air, and the promise of a glorious day. Spirits were high in the tightly-knit Indian American community of Cary, for it was the day of this city’s signature event – Cary Diwali, now in its 15th glorious year. There was nary a trace of what was to come.
As the morning progressed, the sun hid behind the clouds and soon the pitter-patter of rain resounded through the Koka Booth Amphitheatre. Furtive looks, a quick glance at the skies, and a gentle wringing of hands betrayed the anxiety of the organizers. Would the crowds show up?
Not that any of this stood in the way of the day’s proceedings moving along with clockwork precision. More than 750 participants in the cultural programs took to the stage with gusto, twirling, twisting, turning, pirouetting, and gyrating to popular Bollywood and classical numbers, their colorful costumes defying the gray skies. The crowds that trooped in came in dribs and drabs at first, and then in a steady stream, their umbrellas forming a sea of inverted boats bobbing up and down in the lawns of the theater. The final attendance count clocked in a whopping 9,000 plus people.
Cary Diwali had worked its magic, yet again!
This year, it hosted 35 vendors of everything from handicrafts and jewelry to clothing and home décor, besides six food vendors. Despite the relentless rain for most of the day, both vendors and attendees accommodated one another in the spirit of the Festival of Lights, waiting their turn patiently and without letting the rain get under their skins. It was difficult to see anyone with their hands free that day. If one balanced an umbrella, the other cradled the spoils of a successful shopping spree!
As in other years, Cary Diwali attracted people of various ethnic origins, who sampled the food, checked out the goodies on sale, and took keen interest in the displays and photographs at the festival-themed exhibition. They included Congressman David Price, Mayor of Cary Harold Weinbrecht, and Mayor of Morrisville Mark Stohlman.
Just as inexplicably as the rain started that morning, the skies cleared by 6 pm as if to reiterate the faith of a now packed theater, in an extraordinary evening of music from the renowned Kavita Krishnamurti Subramaniam, ably supported by the talented Shurjo Bhattacharya, and by violin prodigy Ambi Subramaniam. The crowd broke into rapturous applause as Kavita touched the high notes of popular songs in pitch-perfect unison with Shurjo, backed by dancers from three Triangle-based dance schools.
As the clock’s needles marked 8:30pm, a young man surged ahead of the rest to flutter a giant Indian Tricolor as Kavita’s full-throated voice rang out loud, “I love my India.” The crowds rose as one to their feet – Indians, Americans, Indian-Americans—some clapping, some back-slapping, some sniffling, some simply swallowing, too overcome with emotion for speech. Such was the moment. A moment that found its cathartic release in the burst of fireworks that marked the end of Hum Sub’s Cary Diwali 2015!