Bijoya, the victory of good over evil, and Diwali, the festival of lights is celebrated at DI in its very unique signature manner each year. This year the much awaited Diwali and Bijoya Sammelani finally took place on the evening of Saturday, 2nd November. Unexpected late October rains before Diwali certainly put a dampener on the celebrations planned for 26 October. The DI responded to the call of the weather and rescheduled the event. The wonderful 2nd November weather was perfect for the celebrations ahead.
7 pm was the slated time. Everyone could be seen arriving wearing traditional finery. Nitya and Ishrat welcomed the guests with a tika and a warm smile. Beautiful festive rangoli and diyas greeted all as they walked in. (The enterprising and innovative entertainment team had raided Diwali fairs last month to source the rangoli stencils). The beautiful rangolis certainly showcased their efforts. Every event has it's selfie corner these days and at DI we had a Puja special selfie corner which beckoned all who walked in.
The courtyard was adorned with festive yellow and orange marigold flowers and lights. Musicians could be seen setting up the stage. Chairs were lined up facing the lawn. The lawn, the stage for the fireworks, had been cordoned off and had its very own protective covering. Children were seen running to take the much coveted first row seats. The sound of the Dhaaki playing the Dhaak added to the festive spirit of the evening.
The festivities started with Kumar, the MC for the evening, introducing the Dhunuchi naach.
The traditional Dhunuchi naach was beautifully performed as audiences looked on.
Soon after the Dhunuchi naach, a Rocket took off signalling the start of the 45 minute long fireworks display. A delightful green garland of light lit up the dark velvet sky. One after another rockets zoomed up and colourful garlands adorned the sky. Gorgeous tubris formed spectacular golden Christmas trees, perhaps quietly signalling the next round of festivities coming up. As the audience gasped in appreciative joy, our MC Kumar asked the audience 'Hows the josh' invoking claps from the audience as they responded with the inevitable 'high sir'.
Sharing the history of this special signature DI night, Kumar introduced Badal and his team. They have been doing the fireworks at DI for several decades now, since 1987.
The red, green and white sparkling and whistling trees wowed the audience as did the Chakri trees.
The 60 shots shooter had the audience both gasping with delight and covering their heads in case some debris fell. The 43 crore debota firework installation was a marvel to wittness.
Soon it was time for the great big phanush to be lit. The paper balloon filled up with hot air and rose up high in the sky. The orange orb enthralled all as it suddenly lit up further in the sky and had garlands of green and red light flying with it. The whistling anaar tree was a delight to watch.
Niagara falls formed the grand finale of the fireworks and the waterfall of light was breathtaking. The traditional lighting of 'Happy Diwali from DI to all its members' sign was lit. The last Phanush marked the end of the fireworks for the evening.
Now it was time for the musical part of the evening to start.
Jiten Kalwani and his band took stage. One melodious song followed another. Choosing to start with slow melodious hit numbers first, Jiten built up the mood of the evening. After a short break, Jiten sang faster feet thumping numbers which had the dance floor filling up. One superhit song followed another and everyone could be seen enjoying in their own way - some dancing to the feet thumping music, some sitting and swaying to the music .
Announcements for the buffet dinner from Sanjha Chulha were made with first preferences for those above 60. Succulent fish and chicken kebabs along with the ever favourite butter chicken and naan along with other delicious items awaited those who opted for non-veg. The Sarson fish just melted in the mouth. The vegetarian fare comprised delicious tandoori aloo, Paneer hariyali, malai kofta among several other things. The soft Rasmalai was the perfect dessert to follow the splendid meal. The buffet counters, laid out beside the pool, were very well managed and people didn't have to wait long.
Popular numbers such as 'roop tera mastana,' invoked several whistles from the appreciative audience. Little Zoya, was spotted dancing with her graceful and spirited grandmother. Her grandmother could be seen teaching her the steps that come naturally to those who enjoyed the 80's and 90's.
Vikram, enjoying with his family said 'this event in DI is special because we all come together from different cultures and here we can celebrate these festivities together with our family and friends'. This truly summed up the wonderful pot-pourri of cultures that DI is.
The festive evening came to an end, but the memories of the joy this evening brought to us will remain.
[Photos by Sahil Shah, Kshitiz Shah, Christabel D'Gama]