India Home’s seniors take the lead for Diwali celebrations

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The Gujarati Samaj Hall decorated by our members

Every year, India Home plans a celebration for Diwali, one of the most important holidays for Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. This year, however, a group of seniors, spearheaded by our members Dinesh Parmar and Bharat Patel, took the lead to plan, execute and carry out the Diwali event. The celebration was held at the Gujarati Samaj Hall on the Horace Harding Expressway in Queens, a spacious venue with an excellent stage and sound system. The women’s committee donated traditional lamps and runners and “showed up early in the morning at 7 a.m.,” to decorate the place, Niruben Hansoty said.

Movers and shakers were seniors 

Dinesh Parmar and Bharat Patel, the movers and shakers behind the event, welcomed the audience with a traditional lamp lighting ceremony or deep pragatya. Then the members honored India Home’s Executive Director, Dr. Vasundhara Kalasapudi, Deputy Director, Lakshman Kalasapudi and other staff of India Home, the President of the Gujarati Sama (who donated the space) and Mukesh Mehta, a Board Member of India Home.

The band played on

After the speeches, it was time for fun. Well known New Jersey-based singer Varsha Joshi and her band sang Bollywood hits and Gujarati traditional songs. Our seniors got down on the dance floor, dancing the garba and other folk dances with vigor, breaking only for a fabulous lunch from Usha Foods.

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Our members love to dance the vigorous Garba

India Home Honored by Scott Stringer, New York City Comptroller

India Home was honored with a Commendation by Scott Stringer, New York City Comptroller for outstanding services to the city of New York. In his speech on the occasion, Comptroller Stringer, congratulated us for the “culturally sensitive social, nutritional, psychological, recreational” programs we provide to South Asian seniors, as well as the opportunities we give our elders to develop “leadership and engage in self-advocacy.” We were honored alongside two sister organizations providing crucial services to South Asian communities: Indo-Caribbean Alliance and The Sikh Coalition. The event was also a Diwali celebration and was attended by 200-300 movers and shakers from New York City’s South Asian community. We were thrilled to have so many of our members join us and dressed in their traditional best to show their support and joy! You can see more photos by clicking here.

Dr. Vasundhara Kalasapudi, our Executive Director receives the commendation for services to NYC from Comptroller Scott Stringer

Dr. Vasundhara Kalasapudi, our Executive Director receives the commendation for outstanding services to NYC from Comptroller Scott Stringer

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East meets West: India Home’s seniors celebrate Diwali around New York city

Sunnyside Community Center celebrations

Diwali may be celebrated for only a few days in the year in India, but for our seniors the festivities have lasted all month long.  The Festival was launched with a grand celebration at Sunnyside Community Center. Our member Usha Mehta, spearheaded the planning and execution with a little help from her friends. We had  fun decorating the space with traditional diyas and hangings.  

Over 65 of our members attended the event, which featured among other events, a vigorous garba dance in the main hall of the Sunnyside Center. India Home’s seniors, Chandrakant Sheth and Hasmukhbhai, explained the socio-cultural and spiritual significance of Diwali to the members of Sunnyside Community Center.

Hasmukhbai explains the significance of Diwali

Hasmukhbai explains the significance of Diwali

Seniors from various other cultural backgrounds like Hispanic, Chinese and Eastern European listened avidly as India Home’s members talked about Ram’s defeat of Ravana and his triumphant return to Ayodhya. The speakers drew connections between all cultures and the significance of light vanquishing darkness. India Home’s seniors distributed platters of  homemade Diwali sweets to their American friends, enjoyed a wonderful vegetarian Diwali meal and ended the day with music and dancing.

Kew Gardens Center: Parallels drawn between Hanukkah and Diwali

Usha Mehta, one of our most active members, took the lead to bring the bright lights of Diwali to a multicultural crowd at India Home’s Kew Gardens Center. It was interesting to hear the comparisons drawn between the Hindu festival and the Jewish festival of Hannukah, and the significance that light holds in both these ancient cultures.

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“We strive to bring light into the lives of our seniors with the support of all our elected and government officials.” Dr. Vasundhara Kalasapudi said at the City Hall Diwali celebrations.

City Hall Honors India Home

The celebrations ended with an invitation to City Hall. Councilman for District 24, Borough of Queens, Rory Lancman (dressed up in an Indian kurta for the occasion) presided over a program of Indian dances. India Home’s Executive Director, Dr. Vasundhara  Kalasapudi, was awarded a citation from the city for outstanding service to the senior community in Queens. The celebration and India Home was featured in the Indian Panorama.

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India Home in the media