Chicago IL: The great festival organized by the Punjab Sports and Cultural Club, Chicago, on July 7, 2019, at the Bussee Woods, Elk Grove, Illinois, was significant not only due to the huge community turnout, but also the thrilling Kabaddi competitions and heart winning music, as well as the delicious and sumptuous food. Thousands of festival attendees whole-heartedly enjoyed the Punjabi delicacies all through the day
Many of the festival goers had come from far off places like Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, New York, California, and various cities of Illinois. Beginning of the celebrations was marked by reciting ‘Holy Ardaas’ by Bhai Parminderjit Singh, Head Granthi of Sikh Religious Society (Gurudwara Palatine). The Club Members and the numerous guests released the colorful balloons in air.to mark the excitingl inauguration of the Mela.
The Punjab Sports Club, Seattle were declared the First-place winner in the famous Kabaddi competitions, followed by Punjab Sports Club, Chicago as Runners-up. A total of four teams namely, the Punjab Sports Club, Seattle: Sher-e- Punjab Sports Club, Chicago India Asia Kabaddi Team and North Sports Kabaddi Club participated in the Kabaddi tournament. The Sher-e-e Punjab Sports Club, Seattle, was sponsored by Baretty Gill Mohna Seattle Sandip and Varinder.
The first match was played between She-e-Punjab Sports Club, Seattle and India Asia teams, in which the later outplayed the former by 28 to 20 points.
Love Nagra dominated his bout with Jalalpuria. A tough bout was fought between Jalalpuria and Neki. Many tricky moves were applied. Finally, Neki outplayed the opponent in points scored. In another match, Daljit won the contest against Ranjit
In the second match, the Punjab Sports Club Chicago team was winner with 37 points against North America Sports Club score of 31 points. Yaad won the match with Bachitar. Raider Ravi won the public applaud by grabbing the ankle of Daljinder and stopping him. Likewise, in his contest with Jatinder, Bal rightly won the audience cheers by escaping from the former’s tight cross leg. Bachitar vs Khushi; Kale vs Yaad; and Harkhowal vs Bhinder also strongly locked horns.
The first semi-final was played between North America Sports Kabaddi Club and Sher-e-Punjab Sports Club. Jalalpuria successfully trapped Bachitar into a strong cross-leg hold. The tussle between Sandeep and Jatinder was fierce; but Sandeep prevailed. Sethi clearly dominated over Lovely. Dalli won over Jatinder; Sandeep won over Harkhowal; Pale prevailed over Kale; Karambir won over Bunty; Sethi prevailed over Bhupinder; Dule won over Jatinder; Sandeep prevailed over Daljinder: Karambir won over Harkhowal; Dule prevailed over Harkhowal; and Sandeep won over Jatinder and scored the points for their respective teams. Sher-e-Punjab Sports Club Seattle won a place to contest in Finals after defeating North America Sports Kabaddi Club.
In the second semi-final, Punjab Sports Club Chicago remained winner with 32 points whereas. India Asia Club became the runners-up with 32 points. Gauri and Gurwinder fought a tough bout leading to a point victory by Gurwinder. Aman Dasuya dominated the fight with Manna. Love Nagra won over Chattha after a tough fight. A fierce bout between Nagra and Bhupinder saw the victory going to Nagra.
The Final was held between Punjab Sports Club Chicago and Sher-e-Punjab Sports Club Seattle. Dulla was the winner in strong fight with Yaad. Yaad applied a powerful cross-leg hold on Sandeep which the later counter very skillfully and won the wide applaud from the fans.at large.
Khushi and Dulla were a great match for each other, but victory went to Dulla. When Khushi made Daljeet look helpless with a reverse cross leg hold, the audience burst into a loud, hearty cheers. Ravi scored fast points over Jalalpuria. Bhupinder won over Dulla in the power struggle. Between Ravi and Lovely, Lovely won the bout.
Pala Sahota, Ravi, Yodha, Aman Dasuha, Ranjit, Manna and Bhupinder won the admiration for their impressive Kabaddi skills. When the players grabbed the opponents’ wrist, applied the leg locks, clasped around their mid body area, or pushed them outside the circle to score the points, the fans would burst into cheers and rewarded the winner with cash rewards to boost their confidence. Makhan Ali kept the atmosphere alive manifolds by his witty commentary of Kabaddi matches. He sprinkled his comments with poetic couplets full of cultural wisdom. He extolled the youth, “My dear ones! Refrain from the substance addiction and nurture youir lives with high values”. He further high-lighted, “Punjabis have carried Kabaddi with them to where ever they have settled in the world, they have been in love with kabaddi since ages. When they carry raid (in Kabaddi) the earth moves and their great bodies shine, the whole world watches in awe”. They believe in working hard and that the victory would come to them.
Dhavi Khushi, Yaad Kotli, Pehlwan Kahalwan, Bhinder Chadha, Raider Ravi, Pali and Manna representing the Punjab Sports Club Chicago, put in their best to bring honor of victory to their team. They tried many powerful moves of grappling on the opponents, but barely missed grabbing the top position. However, Raider Dule, Sandeep, Daljit Dullee, Karambir Johal, forward Pala Jalalpuria, Sinder Kalasanghia, Lovely and Lucky of Sher-e-Punjab Sports Club Seattle, jointly succeeded in earning the top honors of winning Kabaddi Cup for their team.
Manna Balnu was adjudged the Best Raider; and Pala Jalalpur as the Best Stopper. Amolak Singh Jakhal and Iqbal Singh Gakhal also offered the cash rewards of $500.00 each for the Best Raider and Best Stopper. Regal Jewellars offered gold coins to reward the Best Raider and Best Stopper.
Milwaukee businessman Darshan Singh Dhaliwal, honoring the memories of his father Subedar Kartar Singh, sponsored the first prize. The second prize was sponsored by Ghuman Brothers of Indiana, in memory of their late brother Harbhajan Singh Ghuman. Raja Talan, Raja Bhandal, Dilbag Hothi and Neelon acted as the Refrees. Raghwinder Singh Maahal performed the duties of Scorer.
Volleyball competitions were held among four teams, namely, Bhagat Singh Sports Club Chicago, Volleyball Chicago – B Team, Madison Volleyball and Milwaukee Volleyball. The Bhagat Singh Sports Club, Chicago secured the first position, whereas, Milwaukee team won the second place. Randeep Singh Sanghera, Shaan Sanghera, Mathew, Tony Sanghera and Philips were notable for their excellent performance. Among Milwaukee team, Raj, Gopi, Bhupinder, Vicki, Dharam and Ravi were the outstanding performers. Many competitions were decided on a very narrow margin. Volleyball Tournament was dedicated to the memories of late Harbhajan Singh Gakhal, Harjaap Singh Sangha and Major Singh Mauji. The reward money for Volleyball winners was sponsored by Lakha Dhindsa and Amarjit Dhindsa. The management honored the sponsors by offering them souvenirs.
There were great arrangements for sumptuous food and beverages stalls at the Mela. People fully enjoyed sizzling hot tea and vegetable fritters, ‘jalebis’, ‘Gulab jamun’, ‘samosa’, ‘gol gappa’ efficiently catered by India Café, Milwaukee. The Mela comers whole heartedly enjoyed all these mouth-watering delicacies from the very start till conclusion of event. Event Management Committee had made effective arrangements to maintain the cleanliness throughout the event area. For the music segment, Gary Sandhu arrived attired in Kurta-pajama and specially designed black eye wears, and remarked, “I have come to England after eight years, but arrived in Chicago for the first time.
He started the renditions with famous number “Ek Tera Shara Mil Jaye, Dunia Di Parwah Nahin Karada”, followed by “Banda Baan Jaa, Dilan De Jania”. To strike friendly cord with the listeners, he said ‘I am son of a Jat, but am in love with music. I came to England when I was 19. There immigrants without documentation are referred as ‘Fauji’. And he broke into another number ‘Koi Mourd Liyao Ni, Fauji Mera Bhaj Giya’;(It is noteworthy that Gary Sandhu was deported from England). Gary recited many Punjabi and mixed language songs. He prompted the people with humor, “Give me the Cheer ups to keep me going even when my time portion is over”.
Referring to his co-singer Jasmine Sandels, Gary said that she did not want to sing the duet as ‘Bhabhi’, but we sang the number, it scored a hit. ”Bhabhi Suun Meri Gal, Mainu Ek Kurri Naal Pyar Ho Giya”.We composed a song “Aa Jaa Gallan Kariya Pyar Dian” And then we had a fight “Huun Bolian Vi Nahin Boldi”. He said in a lighter but sarcastic tone that “some ‘Khasamkhana’(scoundresl) filled her mind with arrogance. But I cconfronted her after ingesting two drinks, and scared her with my first ‘Lalkaar’ (challenge), followed by a song dedicated to mothers -”Duniya Wich Ek Cheeze Avali Maa” For the truck drivers’ brotherhood he sang, :Sarak Te Chit Nahin Lagda”; a rap number “Jihri Aa pasand”. He made the people dance on their feet with his number “Hauli Hauli Naach Mitra”.
Gary Sandhu also seemed smitten with the cricket bug of World Cup He showed it as soon as he stepped on the stage imitating a bowling move, instead of offering a bow to the platform. At the conclusion also, he left the stage imitating a swing as if hitting a ’four’ or ‘six’ in cricket. Most of his songs were revolved around his love story. It so seemed that he just presented his love story to the audience as was evident from his selection of songs. He himself narrated that, he fell in love with a girl; they had a fight’ she dumped him; she asks from more time to think about a patch-up; he went to her after drinking two shots; she got scared upon the first confrontation; His shared his realization that “romance is not everything”; now she does not respond to calls; some scoundrel instigated her; let us forget the grouses; let us meet again; I love you; you don’t lose anything if you respond; my beloved. Though Gary did not mention any name, but many in the audience could be heard mentioning a name.
Starting with saying ‘Sat Sri Akal’, the 6th Chicago District Congressman Shan Costine expressed his great happiness for participating in the kabaddi and cultural program. He praised that Punjabi community has made noteworthy progress not only in Illinois but all over the U.S.A. Congressman met with the players. He visited the various tents to greet the visitors and posed for photographs. He was accompanied by Balwinder Shaukar, Laddi Singh, Thakkar Singh Basati and Master Khan. Congressman Raja Krishnamurti also paid a visit at the event. He said that he is very much impressed with the Sikh community and his association with the community goes back a long way. Punjabis have earned a special recognition as result of their resilience and social acumen.
The newly elected Mayor of Schaumburg, Tom Daley, also participated in the festivities at the event. The hopeful for position of Supreme Court Judgeship, Gerry G. Rice, was also seen socializing with the people and distributing his business cards among them. The past contestant for Mayor of Schaumburg, Rehman Nawees was also present. The Counsel General of India could not make it, but was represented by his representative. Jessi White also could not attend the event.
The Secretary of State Jessi White’s famous tumbler team of 19 young gymnast boys and girls performed amazing acrobats including high jumps and long jumps and earned high praise and cheers from the overwhelmed onlookers. Weather was very pleasant. The playground was swaying among soft breeze with scores of artistic buntings of Indian and American national colors. Parking lots were filled to the capacity. The police were seen guiding the tardy arrivals to park their cars outside the forest preserve.
There was an impressive crowd of shoppers around the booths at the Mela selling ladies suits, Punjabi-style shoes. Ladies were also getting the complimentary artistic henna tattoos. Some men folks also had fun of getting the henna applied on their hands. The Desi Kulfi seller also had a hay day with big sales.
Ample quantity of drinking water bottles was available. However, many people had littered the ground floor with used bottles. The cleaning crew were busy filling their boxes by collecting these bottles. A white American Sikh was also seen participating in the cleaning services by collecting the soiled plates and bottles from the floor.
The event was so filled with the people that someone was heard complementing, “Besides the attraction of Kabaddi and melodious music, there is definitely some magical personality in this organization who is successful in attracting such a large crowd from far flung areas with his goodwill”.
Due to the huge crowd, many visitors had to find the parking at far off parking spots. Lucky Sahota, the owner of Safe Way, provided free shuttle service for the comfort of people to ferry them from their parking spots to the area of festival activities. Kabaddi Tournament was very impressive. National players exhibited very competitive kabaddi.
Jaskaran Singh Dhaliwal had enthusiastically made efficient arrangements for all the Kabaddi teams. Star foods had provided Paranthas, Mixed Aalloo, and Dahi for players’ breakfast, which they thoroughly relished.
Once a while, we saw the heated exchanges of words over the award of points, with the referee. Upon which, the commentator had to intervene to calm down the situation. Technical Committee had to intervene in the field and finally, the organizers had to declare that the Referee’s decision would be deemed as the final word.
This time, besides Punjabis, a large score of people from Gujarat, south Indian states, and the Muslim community also attended the event. There was a special arrangement for ‘Moon Walk” for the children, which they thoroughly enjoyed. However, this smooth fun had a bump when the generator ran out of gas causing walk ramp to go limp. This was a unique entertainment experience for the children. Soon enough, the management and Lakhbir Singh Sandhu arrange the gas and succeeded in re-starting the generator.
The stage was handled by Happy heer, Dr. Harjinder Singh Khaira and Gurmukh Bhullar. Lakhbir Singh Sandhu and Pal Dhaliwal had been busy assisting the organizers since morning. In addition to the contributions of scores of people, Chairman Love Minhas, Chief Rajinder Singh Dyal, Meet Chief Amritpal Singh Sangha, and club members happy Heer, Narinder Saraan, Harwinder Singh Billa, Jaskarn Singh Dhaliwal, Lovedeep Singh Dullat, Dr Harjinder Singh Khaira, Gurmeet Singh Bhola, Lakhvir Singh Sahota, Hardip Gill, Midha Mahilpuria and Yadwinder Singh Grewal also gave their best to ensure a successful meet.