2012 – Maitri – Celebrating Unconditional Friendship – by Remitha+
Last Saturday, the 20th of October 2012, all roads in this part of North Carolina, lead to only one place – the beautiful Koka Booth Amphitheater in Cary, to celebrate the Indian festival of lights, Diwali. From the impressive turnout, there is no doubt that Cary Diwali is fast turning out to be one of the most popular events in the multi-cultural Triangle area.
Even the weather which had been playing spoil sport for a while decided to don its best face in honor of Cary Diwali and the day turned out to be a crisp, clear, bright and sunny day. Just perfect weather for a day to be spent outdoors!
The event started off with the traditional lighting of the lamp by the dignitaries, the Mayor of Cary, Harold Weinbrecht Jr., the Mayor of Morrisville Jackie Holcombe and Town of Cary Councilman Ed Yerha. What could be a better way for the commencement of the day, since Diwali is the Festival of Lights and celebrates the victory of light over darkness – in effect, the victory of knowledge over ignorance.
Cary Diwali 2012 underscored the theme Maitri – Celebrating Friendships, highlighting India through the lens of friendship and harmony. Maitri means ‘loving kindness’ or ‘unconditional friendship’ and this bond of friendship was the essential feature running through the events of the day.
President Meena Jeyakumar warmly welcomed the gathered guests before handing over the dais to the assembled dignitaries, who felicitated the event and expressed their happiness in joining the Indian community on this occasion.
Then followed a colorful potpourri of cultural events like only a country as diverse as India could offer, each one distinct and adding a bit to the expression of the colorful bouquet that is India. And if anyone had any doubts if the events were in keeping with the theme of the day – Maitri – you did not have to look further than the stage where the cultural events were taking place. Most dances had participation from diverse communities, which truly represented the spirit of the day and the spirit of the Triangle area. That is what building bonds of friendship is all about.
Despite the colorful lure of the events on stage, the exhibition stalls held their own with the interesting displays they had for the visitors. Live art demonstrations of folk art forms like Warli and Madhubhani and the more modern Zentangle, by Hum Sub’s Visual Art Workshop’s participants introduced the arts to novices and enthralled enthusiasts with their displays. They also held an exhibition of ‘Rustic Motifs’, displaying their fabulous work done through the year.
In India, sidewalk chalk art has another name: Rangoli! These colorful designs while being symbols of auspiciousness are also great fun to draw out, as the kids who visited Cary Diwali found out. There was a whole sidewalk, just for the kids to come explore their creativity and create some fun rangoli designs with chalk.
That was not all that the kids had in store for them. They could make Goddess Lakshmi’s footprints in the Children’s Activity Tent, make paper luminaries or lanterns and also get all artistic with their rangoli designs on paper plates.
Local student entrepreneur Marissa Heyl celebrated the spirit of Maitri by weaving her own bond of friendship and helping block print artists and weavers back in India keep their art thriving. Her inspiring talk titled, “Weaver to Wearer” kept visitors engaged.
In another end of the exhibit tent, a collaborative canvas portraying Maitri- The Friendship Circle was being painted with several visitors eager to leave their mark as a token of friendship. This painting was later raffled off and the lucky winner Rohan Kapoor.
An all day exhibition celebrated the bonds of friendship between the US and India through time in fields as varied as Education, Science and Technology, Entrepreneurship, Agriculture, Arts and Culture. It reminded people that the two nations have more in common than either realizes and that we can achieve more by building on these ties and working together in a shrinking world.
Meanwhile, over in the crescent area of the Amphitheater, stalls selling ethnic Indian clothes, jewelry, handicrafts, books and miscellaneous accessories, not to miss out, India’s hottest export – spirituality – did rip roaring sales, if one could judge by the crowds milling around the stalls. There were several stalls donating all proceeds to charities. There were also stalls by local businesses, banks, real estate agencies, tutoring centers etc.
Up here was also Triangle’s own artist Vimalkumar’s display of beautiful acrylic and digital paintings and pencil sketches. This is the gifted artist whose striking paintings formed the stunning arch welcoming you into the exhibition hall.
And then of course the food! How can any festival be complete without the enticing offer of food. And when the festival is Indian, food becomes an important ritual in itself. For a place that has so many diverse cuisines to offer, festivals are a means of celebrating the delectable cuisines of each region too. So naturally what was put up there was a veritable smorgasbord of culinary delights by the local restaurants. The aroma wafting from the food stalls offered stiff competition to the cultural offerings on stage, in enticing the crowds.
As the sun began to set on the beautiful Koka Booth Amphitheater, the excitement was palpable in the air as the crowds eagerly settled down on blankets, lawn chairs and cushions all across the arena, filling up any space available. The turnout was unbelievable as there was barely any place left vacant as the people eagerly awaited the grand finale of the day.
Hum Sub had a rocking treat in store for Cary this year by bringing the acclaimed dance troupe of Shiamak Dhavar International (Canada) to the Triangle. Shiamak who put India on the world map of contemporary dance, uniquely fuses the old and the new, Indian and western, classical and folk to offer a scintillating medley that is bound to invite even the most reticent to shake a leg.
So when the troupe took to the stage with an energetic number dedicated to Lord Ganesha, the evening simply erupted in a welcoming applause. Soon they were on their way with tributes to the bygone legends and living legends of Bollywood and its reigning kings and queens. As ‘Shammi Kapoor’ boogied to ‘Zara Paas Aao To Chain Aa Jaaye’, the joy of the crowd knew no bounds. Several pulsating rounds later, which saw Shahrukh Khan, Krithik Roshan, Amithabh Bachchan, Rani Mukherji, Madhuri Dixit et al, strutting their stuff on stage in glittering costumes in the midst of eye popping props, the curtains came down (well, figuratively that is) on the cultural events of Cary Diwali. And what a performance it was! Something the Triangle will not forget in ages.
The day wasn’t done yet. What was Diwali without the fireworks? In keeping with tradition, yet another memorable Cary Diwali concluded with a dazzling display of fireworks.
Yet again, the Hum Sub team had put on a wonderful display of India’s myriad colors and in the process, raised the awareness of India’s rich and varied culture and heritage, not just among the different communities in the Triangle area, but also among the younger generations, thus playing an invaluable role in molding them into knowledgeable, appreciative, responsible citizens of tomorrow.
Hum Sub offers its sincere thanks all volunteers, vendors, visitors, performers, guests and sponsors for helping make Cary Diwali 2012 a resounding success!
2011 – Sanskriti – Culture Transcending Borders – by Anand Narayanan and Dipak Prasad+
“When the history of Booth Amphitheatre is written, Diwali might just turn out to be its most epic chapter.” – Cary CitizenThe above accolade sums up the success of Cary Diwali this year’s event with an apt theme of ‘Sanskriti – Culture Transcending Borders’. Eleventh year in running, team Hum Sub working with Town of Cary and Community at large pulled off yet another fabulous episode of Cary Diwali 2011. This year’s event was held on October 22, 2011 at Booth Amphitheater in Cary and attracted crowd of gigantic proportion from such a diverse population in the Triangle area. People came in droves with great fervor to celebrate Diwali despite colder than usual weather during the event day.
Ever beautiful Booth Amphitheater, the venue maintained by Booth Amphitheater staff working with Cary Town Parks and Recreation, in a picturesque backdrop provided a perfect platform for what was to come in a bright and sunny Saturday morning. Lighting of holy lamp by Cary Mayor, Harold Weinbrecht and Don Frantz, Town Council Member marked the beginning of festivities.
This was followed by an impressive roster of performances from the local community members – from little children to grown-ups, as well as performances from NCSU and UNC Dance Groups and a Turkish Dance group.
There was an incredible Exhibition themed ‘Establishing Roots, Culture Transcending Borders: The Asian-Indian American Diaspora in the US’ exemplified important contributions by citizens of Indian origins to the community at large including the Triangle area. As always, exhibition is one of the key components of Cary Diwali and its getting better every year. This year’s exhibition also included unique Indian folk art that’s very much functional in everyday life by artist Ms.Sampada Agarwal and fabulous art work by Mr. Vimal. There were also kid’s activities to learn decorating Diyas, make Rangoli and luminaries in the exhibition area. Another unique activity included painting of umbrellas that were to be given away in a raffle.
Crescent area of Amphitheater was filled with vendors selling beautifully crafted Indian Jewelry, excellent array of Indian art, clothing and other artifacts. There was a wide variety of food vendors where attendees could get authentic Indian food and beverages. There were Non-profit organizational in various forms and shape and other services in representing various facets of the community. Triangle area’s incredibly talented Indian community portrayed variety of Indian dance and music from different parts of India with participants of age 7 through 70.
Russian Dance Ensemble – Mayuri epitomized this year’s theme in how a Russian dance school in remote places of Russia was able to foster, highlight and share Indian artistic traditions across geographic borders, Led by Evgrafova Vera Ivanovna. This incredibly talented group of 18 beautiful Russian women showcased Indian traditional and modern dance styles with such aplomb.
Their mastery of various Indian dance forms, from classical to folk and modern Bollywood, along with their elegant yet energetic performance had the audience spellbound and mesmerized. As a fitting finale, the event wrapped up with a colorful display of fire works.
Congressman David Price, Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, Cary Town Council member Don Frantz and Minister Mr. N.A.Prasad from Embassy of India, Washington DC were few of key dignitaries to grace Cary Diwali this year. Key sponsors of the event included Himanshu Shah of Shah Capital Management and major corporations in the Triangle area.
The Fall line-up of Hum Sub’s offerings also included an outdoor movie event at Booth Amphitheatre on Aug 18th and Garba Night on Oct 1st 2011. Hum Sub sponsored the screening of “Outsourced” as part of the “Movies by Moonlight” Series. The festivities started with a small skit, culminating into a Bollywood dance number – appropriately setting the tone for the rest of the evening. The movie itself, starring Josh Hamilton and Ayesha Dharker, presented an interesting look at the differences and similarities between Indian and American culture. The chilly weather on Oct 1st did not stop attendees from enjoying Garba in an open venue with live music. An energetic show by accomplished artist “Tanwer Mian” had people dancing to his melodies late into the night.
Once again the Hum Sub team put together a string of amazing events, fulfilling its mission of raising awareness of Indian cultural traditions in the Triangle area. The Hum Sub team sincerely thanks all volunteers, vendors, performers, visitors and sponsors for their continued support.
2011 Exhibition Highlight:
Each year, Hum Sub puts together an exhibition that highlights some aspect of India and its culture in line with that year’s Cary Diwali theme. An immense number of hours are spent on the content and presentation of the material so that it is visually appealing and mentally stimulating. We strive to offer something new to each visitor, no matter their country of origin.
This year, as part of Cary Diwali’s 2011 theme – ‘Sanskriti – Culture Transcending Borders’, there was an exhibition titled ‘Establishing Roots, Culture Transcending Borders – Becoming a ‘global’ citizen’ which highlighted the contributions of persons of Indian as well as non-Indian origin to the country’s economic, cultural, and scientific progress in various fields of study. Ten different areas of study were chosen and more than 90 personalities were presented. Visitors were delighted to see this unique exhibit that educated and inspired both young and old. A number of parents were seen taking their children along while reading and re-reading all the material presented. Each and every personality could be identified as a role model for the young. All were thrilled to see the success of first and second generation Asian-Indians over time which helped make them a notable part of our global society. Non-Indian attendees were engrossed in Indian culture which was a delightful experience. This exchange of culture and ideas is what makes the American society so rich and diverse.
We strongly felt that the purpose of the exhibition (to highlight the symbiotic and collaborative sentiments fostered by each group and the portrayal of how everyone has benefited and grown to become a true “global citizen”) was most definitely served. The fantastic response from the visitors was testament to the success of the exhibition.
Along with imparting such contemporary information, the exhibition also highlighted an Indian tribal art form called “Warli”, which hails from the Thane district of the state of Maharashtra in India. The Warli are a tribe based in the otherwise affluent state of Maharashtra. It is indeed amazing that just a few kilometers away from the bustling metropolis of Mumbai, this tribe continues with its rudimentary methods of farming and still lives in mud huts. Warli art is characterized by abstraction of the natural world. The primitive style of rendering is reminiscent of cave paintings of early man but they have a rich wealth of folklore to draw from which gives them a storyboard appearance at times.
A bench, a shelf, and an umbrella embellished with the Warli art form was put up as a means to educate everyone about this wonderful and simple art form. The response to this section of the exhibit was very positive. A hand–painted Warli umbrella, raffled off at the end of the day, also garnered a lot of attention.
On another end of the exhibition, one more umbrella was stationed for anyone wanting to try their hand at painting it. This collaborative artwork was a definite crowd pleaser. We were encouraged to see quite a few who had not ever held a paint brush or had not done so in years enjoy themselves with abandon. The final painted product was spell-binding! It was hard to imagine that something so pretty could result from such an uncommon way of painting. A lucky winner took home this painted umbrella at the end of the day.
Everyone appreciated the brochures and leaflets available for reading or taking, courtesy of the Indian Embassy in Washington, D.C. A TV, setup on one side, was showing the famous documentary The Story of India, where Michael Wood embarks on a dazzling and exciting journey through today’s India, “seeking in the present for clues to her past, and in the past for clues to her future”.
The central area of the exhibition showcased the rich heritage of textiles from India in the form of saris. The rich and vibrant colors, smooth silks, and traditional weaves of the saris put on display were dazzling. There was also a smaller section where different styles of hand embroidery on saris were highlighted. In the end, it was a wonderful smorgasbord that was a feast for the eyes and for the senses.
We hope to see more collaborative work done with the community in the years to come and welcome ideas and participation from one and all.
2010 – Jashn, Celebrating 10 years of Hum Sub – by Sridevi Jagannath+
The 10th Anniversary celebrations of Hum Sub catered to the entertaining needs of a wide genre of audience. The celebrations comprised of a variety of events ending with an evening filled with color, dancing and food.
Hum Sub created a unique opportunity for the artistic audience in the Town of Cary on September 24th 2010 at the Cary Town Hall with ‘Jharoka – A glimpse of India’. The attractions of the evening were exhibitions comprising Anita Yoogin’s paintings on “Joys of Indian Womanhood” on display at Page Walker, Cary and Savitha Ravishankar’s display of hand made dolls at Cary Town hall depicting the scenes from Ramayana. The highlight of the evening was the phenomenal presentation by Dr. Prem Sharma (author of Mandalay Child) – “The Day I met Mahatma Gandhi”, describing the defining moment while meeting the revered leader. The presentation attended by more than 300 people left the audience mesmerized and reminded the seniors about stories of India’s struggle for freedom.
Garba night held on October 2nd, 2010, was a mesmerizing evening filled with music, dance and colors. The event was very well received by a wide gambit of audience including little kids all the way up to experienced campaigners in Raas and Garba. The event provided for expert Garba and Dandiya teachers who made this event a joyful learning experience for the newcomers. The live band DSquare from New Jersey accompanying the dancers contributed to an awestruck experience for one and all. Following the authentic Gujarathi tradition a central lamp stand with more than 30 small flames lit the amphitheatre lawns. An audience of more than 700 danced in spirals around this central lamp filling the amphitheatre with the vibrations of their enthusiasm.
Hum Sub also created a new movie going experience under the starry skies at the Koka Booth Amphitheater for the entire family on October 8th 2010. A very popular Bollywood movie, Munnabhai M.B.B.S. was screened starring Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi and Gracy Singh. It is the first film in the popular Munna Bhai series. It went on to win not only the 2004 National Film Award for Best Popular Film, several Filmfare awards, including the Critics Award for Best Movie, Best Screenplay, but also became the fifth highest grossing Hindi film of the year. The movie was enjoyed by more than 300 people. Indian chai/tea and other goodies kept the attendees warm on a chilly fall evening.
Hum Sub’s 10th Anniversary celebrations culminated with ‘Jashn’ – Celebrating 10 Years of Hum Sub. “Jashn”, a celebration of an auspicious event or festival nurturing a feeling of communal warmth, and its merrymaking as highlighted in India’s tradition was very well received by 12000 residents in and around the Triangle Area. The stage of the amphitheatre was rocked by more than 650 local artists with vibrant performances and bright colors of traditional ethnic wears. The exhibit “Festivals of India” displayed the seasonal, religious, regional and national Indian festivals celebrated with rituals, songs, hymns, dances, fasts and feasts. A handpicked collection of spectacular photographs highlighting some of the Indian festivals like harvesting of crops, welcoming of spring, wedding celebrations etc. intrigued visitors and the Honorary Guests, Town of Cary Mayor, Harold Weinbrecht; North Carolina Secretary, Elaine Marshall and Congressmen Price. Artifacts of Indian festivals of Rakhi and Holi caught the eye of photographers. Diya decoration and rangoli making activities in the exhibition area kept the little kids busy and entertained through the day.
2009 – Padharo Mhare Des – by Shaila Gupta+
Padharo Mhare Des was this year’s theme of Cary Diawli. On October 10th, almost 12,000 people attended the celebration of Diwali at the Koka Booth Amphitheater in Cary, NC. HumSub, a cultural group based in Cary, NC, put on the 9th annual Cary Diwali festival, one of the largest open-air festivals of its kind in the south-eastern United States. This year’s theme focused on the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Rajasthan.
The day-long festival started off with breath-taking classical as well as Bollywood dances and inspiring musical performances. Kids, adults and people of all ages in between shared the stage on this day to display and embrace the spirit of Diwali, most in Rajasthani style. Altogether, more than 600 performers including many from outside the local Indian community performed. The celebration opened with a proclamation by the mayor of the Town of Cary, designating Oct 10 as the Ninth Cary Diwali Celebration. Also in attendance were U.S. Congressman David Price, Mayor of Cary, Harold Weinbrecht and Town of Cary Council Members, Julie Robison, Erv Portman, Jack Smith and Dan Frantz.. The highlight of the festival was a spectacular evening program featuring Indian Idol 2006 Sandeep Acharya and runner-up Aditi Paul. The two brilliant singers filled the open air venue with pop and classical tunes. As Sandeep Acharya finished his astounding act, fireworks leapt into the night’s sky, providing a wondrous ending to a fantastic day.
Aside from the day-long cultural program on the main-stage, the celebration included a unique exhibition on India, a handicrafts bazaar, and a variety of Indian cuisine. About 80 photographs of Rajasthan’s people, palaces, and landscape by noted Indian photo artist Prof. Shivnarayan Joshi were on display. People from both near and far and of all sorts of different ethnic background came together to enjoy the festival celebrating the triumph of good over evil.
2008 – Santulan – by Seena George+
The curtains have come down the 8th annual Cary Diwali celebration held at the Koka Booth amphitheatre on October 11th 2008. The event was put together by the Hum Sub organization in conjunction with the Town of Cary Parks Recreation and Cultural Resources. The theme for this year’s event was “Santulan – An expression of harmonious equilibrium”. It was yet again another successful and entertaining year with over 12600 people from all walks of life in attendance experiencing the delicate balance that was India in all aspects of the event.
This year the inauguration of the event was conducted by Ms. Mary Jean Eisenhower who lit the lamp and then addressed the crowd. Other dignitaries that were present during the morning inauguration, in addition to the Hum Sub board and volunteers and Town of Cary dignitaries, were Ms. Jennifer Weiss and Mr. Don Frantz, both of whom addressed the crowd with Mr. Don Frantz reading the declaration from the office of the Mayor of Cary declaring October 11th as Cary Diwali and urging all citizens to attend the event. The crowd was kept enthralled for over 5 hours with cultural programs that were put together by local choreographers and schools. This year saw the emergence of young talent with many first time choreographers demonstrating their excellence in putting together shows that showcased the theme of this year’s show “Santulan” and depicting the balance that exists in and is India. There were also several performances that were put together by non Indian artistes reinforcing the fact that Cary Diwali is a place where cultures meet.
The other big draw at this years Cary Diwali celebration was the exhibition that showcased the cultural diversity of India. Put together with the help of the Indian Embassy contributions and a host of dedicated volunteers, the exhibition showcased pictures from the two states of Kashmir and Goa and the city of Benaras in India. Each of these places have a different primary religion and the pictures on display managed to capture the delicate balance that existed with people from different religions and walks of life co-existing.
Attendees were also able to sample food from various parts of India as five different local restaurants vied for business with delicacies from various parts of India all in one place. Vendors with other Indian artifacts, clothes, decorations also made part of the “mela” that was going on in the background. This year saw a rise in the number of vendors proving how successful the event has grown to be over the years. The whole setup brought back memories of being in India.
The highlight performance of the evening was by VJ, actress, model turned singer Raageshwari who kept the crowd entertained and wanting more for the two hours she sang. She was accompanied by dancers from a local school of dance and the crowd joined in the singing of their favorite songs. The feet tapping numbers were mixed in with songs that were patriotic and filled with expressions of love.
Sadly all good things have to come to an end and so did Cary Diwali 2008, but not before a spectacular showcase of fireworks lit up the night sky for over 10 minutes. As the crowds left and vendors packed up their wares everyone applauded at another successful celebration and looked forward to a better one next year.
2007 – Triangle Residents Celebrate Diawali – by Alka Srivastava+
The theme for Cary Diwali 2007 was Kalanjali – A Tribute to Art. Congressman David Price inaugurated the festivities by lighting the traditional lamp. In this family event, visitors enjoyed an array of art from India , including dance and music presentations by local youth and artists throughout the day. There was also an exhibition of artwork from India , a handicrafts bazaar, and a variety of Indian cuisine for the visitors to enjoy. In a manner befitting this year’s theme, the exhibition was a tribute to India’s rich artistic heritage. The exhibits included a hand-painted jhoola, unique paintings, classical dance costumes and jewelry, sculptures, and clothes from different parts of India . One section was devoted entirely to elephant statues and cleverly displayed many different ways in which elephants are decorated in India .
A record number of vendors participated in the handicrafts bazaar, giving visitors of all ages an opportunity to shop for clothes, jewelry, and artwork. In a change from past years, there were a total of five food vendors – Bamboo Garden , Bombay Grille, Saffron, Sitar India Palace , and Spice N Curry – all local Indian restaurants. In addition to increasing the variety of food offerings, this helped keep the food lines moving faster. The mouth–watering food items up for sale included samosa, chat, biryani, chili chicken, dosa, tandoori chicken wrap, and many other traditional favorites.
The morning show consisted of a cultural program in which a large number of local artists displayed their dancing and singing skills. In a significant increase from the previous year, the morning program showcased the talents of 412 performers and 48 choreographers. The audience was amazed and thoroughly entertained by the array of talent displayed. The artists were talented Triangle-area residents ranging in age from five years to adults in their fifties. Seven charismatic emcees kept the show going and had the audience engaged and enthusiastic all day long.
The chief guest for the evening program was Congressman Bob Etheridge. The highlight of the evening program was a foot-tapping performance by India’s first and only boy band, A Band of Boys. The Mumbai–based band consists of Karan Oberoi, Chin2 Bhosle, Siddhaarth Haldipur, and Sherrin Varghese, all four of whom hail from music and showbiz backgrounds. The Band started the show by performing many of their original hits, including Nain Katari, Meri Neend, and Gori, all of which had the youngsters in the crowd on their feet. The Band went on to rock the night by singing and dancing to Hindi movie hits of the 70s and 80s. The audience was particularly entertained with their performance of some Amitabh Bachchan super-hits. Following the band’s performance was a spectacular display of fireworks. The lake-side fireworks lit up the night sky and amazed young and old alike.
2006 – Vividhata+
On Saturday October 14, 2006, over 11,500 people passed through the gates of Cary’s Regency Park to attend the annual Cary Diwali festival. The theme for the festival was Vividhata – Unity in Diversity. Highlights of this theme could be seen throughout the event, from the various dance numbers performed by the local talent to the posters seen in the Exhibition Tent. Also shown in the Exhibition Tent was Eternal Ghandhi – a collection of 50 photographs of Mahatma Gandhi from the time of his birth in Porbander to the time of death in New Delhi. These pictures were provided by the Indian Embassy in Washington,DC. In the Exhibition tent, festival attendees watched televised interviews with various Indian dignitaries including Dr. Manmohan Singh, Ratan Tata and Shabana Azmi.
During the sunny autumn afternoon many of the attendees enjoyed delicious Indian food and drink, including samosa, idli, chicken biriyani, gulab jamun, mango lasi, sugar cane juice, and masala tea. There were plenty of shopping opportunities in the crescent area with many vendors selling beautiful framed pictures, colorful saris, silwar suits, and other Indian apparel. Children enjoyed participating in the activity booth provided by CRY (Child Relief and You) America . Another charitable nonprofit group, Two Cents of Hope, manned a Chai booth. From 1:00 to 4:00 pm, audience members enjoyed watching the local groups perform on the Regency Park Amphitheatre stage. This included over 45 talented acts featuring a variety of Indian dance and music in both classical and modern styles. Also for the first time, Cary Ballet participated in the Cary Diwali event and gave a magnificent performance. Another memorable dance routine was performed by the students of Ligon Middle School .
Shortly after 6:00 pm, Rajiv Satyal ‘the funny Indian’ took the stage, told a few jokes to get the audience warmed up, and then proceeded to introduce the featured performers of the evening – Neena, Veena and the Ishq dance troop. These performers impressed the jam-packed audience with a wide variety of dance numbers including graceful, classical Indian dances in addition to upbeat, energetic Bollywood numbers. The twins performed an amazing sword dance, where they both managed to balance large swords on their foreheads, hips, and shoulders, while dancing in synch to the accompanying music. Neena and Veena also performed one of the belly dances for which they are famous, both moving perfectly in harmony with each other. Also, one dancer performed an incredible fire–eating routine and another dancer did an amazing aerial dance, which displayed an impressive amount of strength and coordination. While the dancers were changing their costumes and preparing for the next numbers, Rajiv Satyal continued to entertain the audience with his humorous stand-up routine. In summary, the professional program with its unique blend of electrifying, diverse dance numbers, colorful costumes, and fun and humor definitely helped make Cary Diwali 2006 an event to remember.
All good things, however, must come to an end, and so did Cary Diwali. Around 8:45 pm, the evening concluded with a dazzling display of fireworks that filled the evening sky with color and lights, and heralded the end of a memorable day.
2005 – Pragati – An Ode to Modern India+
On Saturday Oct 15th 2005, thousands of local residents gathered together at Kokabooth Amphitheatre at Regency Park , Cary to celebrate the 5th annual celebration of Cary Diwali organized by Hum Sub and Town of Cary . Hum Sub highlights one aspect of India in Cary Diwali every year. The theme for Cary Diwali-2005 was “Pragati” – meaning progress. The theme “Pragati” was showcased in the informative exhibit put together by the Hum Sub team. The exhibit highlighted India ‘s contributions in areas of science, math, economics, social reforms and more. Along with the informative displays, there were information brochures and videos on “Incredible India”, the innovative Endogenous Tourism Program of the Indian Ministry of Tourism. These brochures and videos were gathered from the Indian Embassy by the Hum–Sub team.
“Pragati” was also seen in the progress Hum-Sub has made with Cary Diwali, which started as a small event, in the Herb Young Community Center in downtown Cary , just four years ago. It has grown from an attendance of few hundreds in its first year to above eight thousand this year, justifying the larger venue, Koka Booth Amphitheatre.
The event was a grand success and the audience enjoyed the classical and folk music and dance shows put together by 300 local Triangle performers and artists. A group of dancers from Ligon GT Magnet Middle School performing to Indian film music, showed the assimilation of Hum-Sub with the local Triangle community at large.
Attendees enjoyed Masala Dosa, Idli Sambar, Chicken 65, Chana Masala and lots of other Indian flavors at the food stalls of local Indian restaurants. The completeness of an Indian meal was added by “garam-chai” (Indian tea) and “mango lassi”.
The full day of enjoyment included visiting the bazaar full of Indian jewelry, clothes and arts. Women flocked to these stalls to buy Punjabi suits, breezy skirts, tops and colorful saris. While women enjoyed shopping, the men relaxed in the cool lake breeze at the yoga booth. Teenage boys ran around in the lush lawn of the amphitheatre playing impromptu games and forming new friends.
Headlining this year’s festival was the sensational Indi-pop artist, JOSH, picked by MTV India as the BEST NEW ARTIST 2004. Their album “Kabhi” is the longest running pop album on MTV world charts. Their bhangra inspired tracks, which are ripping up the MTV World Chart Express, got the crowd moving and on their feet.
To sum the event in the words of News & Observer reporter who covered it, this was a Day of Light and Cary Diwali festival celebrated both the past and the future under the theme “Pragati”.
2004 – by Rubina Ahmed+
The day started out chilly and bright, quickly turning into a beautiful fall day under gorgeous North Carolina blue skies. Congressman Price lighted the symbolic diya to inaugurate the event. People started trickling in towards noon. By the time the cultural program celebrations took off the arena was buzzing with hundreds of people – families strolling in the amphitheatre’s green lawn, vendors selling everything from jewelry to Indian food; and families and spectators milling around the stage to watch the lively programs. Indian culture enthusiasts visited the artfully done exhibition area which displayed posters show-casing various facets of Indian culture and history along with traditional clothes and objects. They also were able to attend hourly scheduled demos of Indian musical instruments like the Sitar and the Tabla. Kids were kept entertained by the clown, face painting, moonwalk and slides. Cary Diwali’s 2004′s theme – “Taal – the beats of India” was reflected in everything from the artful decorations on the main stage, to the performances and the exhibition. As the evening set in and the time for the main event approached, the crowds swelled, eagerly waiting for Panjabi Hit Squad accompanied by our local singer Gunjan Singh’s main performance.
Gunjan regaled spectators with old Indian melodies sung to Panjabi Hit Squad’s fusion beats. Panjabi Hit Squad had people from the audience on the stage in no time dancing to their ‘desi beats’. The young and old alike swayed to Panjabi Hit Squad’s blend of Indian and hip hop beats to hits like ‘hai-hai’. A dazzling fire works display, reflecting over the amphitheatre’s lake marked the end of an eventful day reminding us of the traditional celebration of lights – Diwali.
For Hum Sub’s Cary Diwali team, and scores of volunteers, it was a day when their months of tireless planning and preparation came to fruition. Hum Sub works with the Town of Cary to raise awareness about the Indian Culture and traditions in the Research Triangle park area. Admission to Cary Diwali is kept free of charge and Hum Sub’s volunteer board raise part of the cost through sponsorships and vendor fees.
Now that Cary Diwali 2004 is behind us, it is time for Hum Sub to begin preparations for Basant Bahar – A festival of spring. Hum Sub has come a long way, starting out Cary Diwali at the Cary downtown’s community center attended by a few hundred people to planning an event attended by thousands – Indian Americans and locals. We thank you for your continued support and we hope to see you at our next offering – Basant Bahar – Details coming soon on our website!
2003 – by Nilanjana Dutta+
Hum Sub’s October 18th celebration of Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, ended with fireworks. The dazzle of the ten–minute shower of lights perhaps captured the sparkling nature of the daylong festival itself. After a brief spell of shower the night before, the sky above was a true Carolina blue and the grass under feet a still vibrant green on Saturday. The wide expanses of Cary’s Regency Park amphitheater comfortably accommodated nearly 7,000 people throughout the day who ate, shopped, and socialized against a backdrop of throbbing beats of Bollywood and folk music. Dancers decked out in colorful costumes performed on the raised stage on one end of the arena from midday till five in the evening. As the sun dipped into the horizon and the stars began to come out, the stage lights came on to shine on Penn Masala, a youthful group of acapella singers from the University of Pennsylvania . The eleven members of the group sang popular Hindi film songs as well as their own compositions, perhaps the best known of which was “Show me the meaning of being Desi.” The chemistry between the performers and the audience was unmistakable. It was, simply put, a two-hour long love affair, intense and immensely satisfying. It was the crowning glory of a day planned around the theme of “Swagatam” or “Welcome”. Everyone who attended left with the feeling of having been treated as a beloved guest of Hum Sub. This warm memory of this day well-spent will take us through the coming months of winter until we meet Hum Sub again in spring, for its much awaited spring festival.
Cary Diwali makes history by record attendance of 6000 people throughout the day