United Punjabis of America (UPA) celebrated Vaisakhi with a grand mela on Saturday, April 14 at the Sant Nirankari Mission in West Chicago, Illinois. The grey and drizzly day was brought to life by the vitality and energy of the mela.
Sharing the duties of the MC for the event, Om Dhingra and Pratibha Jairath welcomed the attendees and started the program with Lamp Lighting. The dignitaries and guests of honors invited for Lamp lighting included Vice Counsel RP Singh, Congressional candidate J Divankar, Congressional candidate Sean Casten, Grand sponsor Anil Loomba, Krishna Bansal of the Indo-American Business Council of Naperville, FIA founding president Sunil Shah, FIA current president Neil Khot and Mr. Anil Oroskar & Dr. Asha Oroskar, and Mr. Brij Sharma, chairman of UPA..
Shammi wahi and kumkum Kumar welcomed everyone at the Registration desk, while Girish Kapoor, Atul wahi , Vishal Dutt and all UPA team was thrilled to receive all the dignitaries and start the show. “Wow the colorful backdrop and flowers around the stage look great for Vaisakhi theme but stage looks even better with young dancers wearing zazzy outfits” exclaimed Rosey Bhasin.
The audience had a chance to see some amazing dance performances with children from various dance schools performing to Punjabi as well as Bollywood songs. The performers were apparently fired up to do their best in their age group category. The panel of judges included Ratna Kapoor, Shammi wahi, Kamal Man Arora and Yogesh Kamal. The winners in three different categories were from ‘Mayuri Rajesh’ School, ‘Rhythms & Grace’ school and the ‘Dwance’ school. DJ Sid was well organized with all the performance tracks and did an awesome job with sound as well.
“We are gratified to see performances representing not just Punjab but every part of India,” exclaimed Ramesh Malhan, UPA president, as a trio of young women performed a lavni dance, unique to the state of Maharashtra.
In addition to group dance items, there was a singing segment by Pratibha Jairath and Raju Bankapur that brought audience to floor with some new and old popular foot taping numbers. “Yes, Delar Mehndi songs still motivate people to come to floor’, said Madhu Uppal, a trustee of UPA.
Anil Loomba of Home Mortgage Solutions was received “UPA’s Distinguished Punjabi Entrepreneur Award” and Dr Surinder Nand received “UPA’s Distinguished Punjabi Community Service Award” for nearly four decades of service. Dr. Harjeet Singh unveiled his forthcoming book, “Smart Patient Smarter” and presented a copy to the UPA Chairman, Brij Sharma.
It was nice to hear few words from Congressman Raja Krishnamurthy who was able to attend the event in the later part of the afternoon. “This event, or any event of this size, would not take place were it not for the hard work of our executive team and the generous sponsorship of our sponsors like Anil Loomba of Home mortgage solutions, Amrit Mittal of NY Life, Sunil Shah of FIA, Anuja Gupta of Veranda, Luis Garcia of State farm, Jigar from Sai Saffron, Geetanjali and Abir Maru from Raag & Rock, Moin Haque group and many more” noted Dharam Punwani, a trustee of UPA.
Food stalls did brisk business throughout the afternoon as the attendees enjoyed traditional Punjabi foods like saag and makki roti and chana bhaturas, to be washed down with delicious lassi or chai. “I can’t wait for the next mela,” remarked a young woman as she shopped for the latest design in sarees on sale there.