CHICAGO: Showcasing the Holi festival by the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) heralds a cultural phenomenon for the Indian American community, which is associated more with academic excellence and entrepreneurial spirits.
The softer side of the diverse Indian culture was aesthetically purveyed without the religious overtones at DuPage County Fairgrounds. Togetherness was evident in every snapshot.
The festival of color and spring sparked animated gaiety among the organizers, performers, sponsors, and thousands of ebullient spectators. “By organizing Holi as a cultural icon, we promote the ambience of togetherness, mutual respect, happiness, and joy,” said Sunil Shah, founder President FIA. Current President Bhagwakar said “We must try to remain united, working together for the benefit of our next generation.”
The near four hours event attended by prominent Chicago businessmen and community leaders also got a boost from sponsors like Nakul Chand of Air India, Mafat Patel of Patel Brothers, Suketu Amin of Vinakom, Neal Patel of Medstar, Santosh Kumar of Metropolitan Asian Family Services, Anil Shah of World Money Exchange, Stuti Mehta of Best Brains, Jasbir Suga of Suga Builders, Anila of AA Salon, Yogi Divine Society, and others.
The event was also special because the stalwarts of another FIA joined the festivity. Senior FIA Trustee Dr. Bharat Barai and most distinguished Indian community leader was elated to see the elegant gathering. About two dozen vendors were busy in interacting with customers looking for spicy foods. Fun-filled revelers were enjoying sumptuous cuisines sold by Big Suchir, Sai Saffron, Godavari, JaganThakkar’s Rangoli, and many more.
The entire FIA team was present, including Executive Vice Presidents – Mukesh Shah & Neil Khot; Vice Presidents – Moon Khan, Shital Daftari, Hitesh Gandhi, Manjeet Singh Bhalla and Ali Khan; Treasurer – Payal Shah; Secretary – Khaja Moinuddin; Joint Secretary – Shalini Saxena; Directors – Ninad Daftari, Mona Bhalla, Nirav Shah, Gaurav Arora, Shree Gurusamy, Deepali Aul, Subash George, Kanan Desai, Ila Patel Chaudhari and Jaimini Patel, and Founding member – Sunny Kular.
On the stage, emcees – Swapnil Shah, Shalini Saxena, and Mona Bhalla – were meticulously presenting dozens of artists that were lined up by FIA Treasurer Payal Shah.
Artists who stole the hearts of the audience were RinkuTalati, Jitu Bulsara, Megha Ramanathan, Ishaan Ahmad, Shahid Lateef, Shahzad, Muzaffar Qurreshi, and Ritika Somu. Captivating group performances were given by performers from Madhura, Gauri Jog, Dwance Studio from Vernon Hills, Naperville High School District 204 students, ” Mastani” dance team, Junoon, and a special shout to Mona Bhalla “Kudi Bindaas” for involving the entire audience into the joyous mood with her song and performance.
The climax of joviality and vivacity got replicated and magnified after 3 PM when the crowd dashed outside the building and began patting, padding, stuffing, and painting each other with colors and creating a new image and persona of their friends.
Six prominent community leaders have been appointed to the FIA’s prestigious Advisory Board. The appointees are Syed Hussaini of Wintrust Bank; Manish Gandhi, CEO of Power Plant Services; Dr. Asha Oroskar, CEO of Orochem; Brij Sharma, CEO of Power Volt; Neal Patel, CEO of Medstar and Aishwarya Sharma, President of Reliance Global Logistics USA.