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Diwali 2019

Pooja Salhotra
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Vivian Viswanathan, Sonia Chilukuri, Sage Chilukuri

Vivian Viswanathan, Sonia Chilukuri and Sage Chilukuri, all students at St. John’s School, show off the mehendi they had done at the Diwali celebration. (Photo: Diego Ramirez) 

About 400 community members gathered at Bellaire-Zindler park on Saturday, Oct. 12 to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. The evening included a jam-packed entertainment program including a Bellaire Bollywood Karaoke group and a tabla player and culminated with an open dance floor, where even members of the Bellaire Police Department were spotted showing off their dance moves. 

“Everyone was having a good time,” says Priya Bhosle, a Bellaire resident who helped organize the community event. “I think the kids who performed were so excited. Performing really helps them showcase their talents and become more self-confident.”

Group of ladies

Devina Bhojwani, Preeti Shah, Lubaina Latif-Dubey, Manpreet Kaur, Pooja Talreja, Priya Bhosle, Girija Patel, Vinita Bhagia-Jethani, Ravneet Nagi, Megi Alapat and Maneishi S. Sinha. (Photo: Diego Ramirez) 

The park was decorated with diyas, oil lamps traditionally lit on Diwali, along with Rangoli, an Indian art form, and the stage had a colorful backdrop made with bright saris stitched together. 

Performances included a group of kids – the “Bellaire Bollywood Shakers” – who ranged from age five to thirteen and danced to a medley of popular Bollywood songs. Kids as young as five also performed an invocation prayer to open the night, and West U resident Sharan Thind sang both the U.S. and Indian national anthems. 

Adults were also part of the entertainment lineup. Two separate groups of adult singers sang both old and new songs, and Kajal Desai helped teach attendees how to do Raas Dandiya, a form of Indian folk dance. 

Proclamation from Bellaire mayor

Bellaire Mayor Andrew Friedberg issues an official proclamation declaring Sat. Oct. 12, 2019 “Diwali Day” in the City of Bellaire. Pictured with him is Yogesh Shah, who helped organize the event. (Photo: Diego Ramirez) 

“My favorite act was the Bellaire Bollywood Mommies dance crew,” said Annum Sadana, referencing a dance performance by three Bellaire moms and one soon-to-be mom. “They were so fun and adorable.” Annum also served as the emcee for the evening. 

The Bellaire Diwali party has taken place for more than 10 years and is organized by a group of Bellaire residents who seek to share the cultural and social heritage of South Asians. 

  • Amar Raval, Mala Sharma, Bharat Raval

    Bellaire residents Amar Raval, Mala Sharma and Bharat Raval attend the Bellaire Diwali festival every year. (Photo: Diego Ramirez)

  • Pooja Talreja, Amaya Talreja

    Mom Pooja Talreja applies lipstick on daughter Amaya Talreja before Amaya performs a group Bollwood dance. (Photo: Diego Ramirez)

  • Children saying a prayer

    Bellaire resident Pramila Raval (not pictured) taught this group of children a prayer to perform as the invocation for the evening. (Photo: Diego Ramirez)

  • Rangoli

    Rangoli, an Indian art form where designs are made using materials such as colored sand, rice and flower petals, adorned the floor of the gazebo area at Bellaire-Zindler Park. (Photo: Diego Ramirez)

  • Sharan Thind

    Sharan Thind opens the evening by singing both the Indian and American national anthems. (Photo: Diego Ramirez)

  • Aditri Singhal

    Aditri Singhal performs a Kathak style dance. Kathak is a beautiful classical dance style of North India. (Photo: Diego Ramirez)

  • Ajeet Nagi

    Ajeet Nagi, an eighth grader at Pin Oak Middle School, performs a piece on the tabla, a traditional Indian percussion instrument. (Photo: Diego Ramirez)

  • Sanya Misra

    Sanya Misra, a seventh grader at Pin Oak Middle School, sings a prayer song. (Photo: Diego Ramirez)

  • Diwali festival

    More than 400 people gathered at Bellaire-Zindler Park to celebrate Diwali on Sat. Oct. 12. (Photo: Diego Ramirez)

  • Gina Goswami

    Attendees enjoyed an Indian dinner from Madras Pavilion. Pictured here is Gina Goswami. (Photo: Diego Ramirez) 

  • Marlene Spolane

    Marlene Spolane practices Dandya Raas. (Photo: Diego Ramirez)

  • Kajal Desai

    Kajal Desai, who teaches dance at the West U Rec Center, helped lead attendees in Dandiya Raas, a folk dance originating in the Indian state of Gujarat. (Photo: Diego Ramirez)

  • Aditya Upadhyaya

    Aditya Upadhyaya enjoys Dandiya Raas, a partner dance. (Photo: Diego Ramirez)

  • Amar Raval, Mala Sharma, Bharat Raval
  • Pooja Talreja, Amaya Talreja
  • Children saying a prayer
  • Rangoli
  • Sharan Thind
  • Aditri Singhal
  • Ajeet Nagi
  • Sanya Misra
  • Diwali festival
  • Gina Goswami
  • Marlene Spolane
  • Kajal Desai
  • Aditya Upadhyaya

More photos

Amar Raval, Mala Sharma, Bharat Raval

Bellaire residents Amar Raval, Mala Sharma and Bharat Raval attend the Bellaire Diwali festival every year. (Photo: Diego Ramirez)

Pooja Talreja, Amaya Talreja

Mom Pooja Talreja applies lipstick on daughter Amaya Talreja before Amaya performs a group Bollwood dance. (Photo: Diego Ramirez)

Children saying a prayer

Bellaire resident Pramila Raval (not pictured) taught this group of children a prayer to perform as the invocation for the evening. (Photo: Diego Ramirez)

Rangoli

Rangoli, an Indian art form where designs are made using materials such as colored sand, rice and flower petals, adorned the floor of the gazebo area at Bellaire-Zindler Park. (Photo: Diego Ramirez)

Sharan Thind

Sharan Thind opens the evening by singing both the Indian and American national anthems. (Photo: Diego Ramirez)

Aditri Singhal

Aditri Singhal performs a Kathak style dance. Kathak is a beautiful classical dance style of North India. (Photo: Diego Ramirez)

Ajeet Nagi

Ajeet Nagi, an eighth grader at Pin Oak Middle School, performs a piece on the tabla, a traditional Indian percussion instrument. (Photo: Diego Ramirez)

Sanya Misra

Sanya Misra, a seventh grader at Pin Oak Middle School, sings a prayer song. (Photo: Diego Ramirez)

Diwali festival

More than 400 people gathered at Bellaire-Zindler Park to celebrate Diwali on Sat. Oct. 12. (Photo: Diego Ramirez)

Gina Goswami

Attendees enjoyed an Indian dinner from Madras Pavilion. Pictured here is Gina Goswami. (Photo: Diego Ramirez) 

Marlene Spolane

Marlene Spolane practices Dandya Raas. (Photo: Diego Ramirez)

Kajal Desai

Kajal Desai, who teaches dance at the West U Rec Center, helped lead attendees in Dandiya Raas, a folk dance originating in the Indian state of Gujarat. (Photo: Diego Ramirez)

Aditya Upadhyaya

Aditya Upadhyaya enjoys Dandiya Raas, a partner dance. (Photo: Diego Ramirez)

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