8th Annual TELICA Diwali at Telfair

Telica 1in

SUGARLAND: Saturday, November 7, Telfair community once again came together to celebrate the 8th Annual Telfair Diwali Festival at Cornerstone Elementary School organized by Telfair Indian American Culture Association (TELICA). Now in its 8th year, the TELICA celebration of Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights, attracted well over a 1,000 adults and children from Telfair and other parts of Sugar Land. Rain doesn’t seem to deter the Sugarland residents from taking part in the event.

The visitors were welcomed by yet another brilliant display of Rangoli from Sangita Bhutada, who continues to amaze every year by her beautiful and intricate designs. As the crowds poured in they were greeted by engaging activities and games. Continuing their tradition of their focus on children the day started with a series of activities for children – Diwali Clay Diya, Diwali lights using cup cake liners, Dandiya sticks decoration, Origami crafts, and of course Nail Art and Henna. New this year were a Diwali Dubsmash and a Diwali Photo Booth.

The afternoon programs started at around noon with a soulful rendition of Ganesh Vandana by Shruti Ashok Kumar, student at Dulles High School . The TELICA president Ravi Ranjan kicked off the afternoon festivities by welcoming the guests along with the other coordinators for the event proceeded to light the Diwali lamp. The lighting of the lamp signifies the elimination of ignorance and victory over darkness. “The uniqueness of today’s event is having an all female coordinators which makes it even more special” announced Ravi Ranjan.

The event started with a Bengali dance and was followed by the Fashion Show which included participants from Telfair community ranging from 6 years to 65 years who were dressed in their best ethnic festive attire walking the ramp on a foot tapping background score which had the crowd applauding throughout. Clearly all their hours of preparation had been well worth it.

The Grand Sponsor of the Event, MetLife, raffled off an iPhone 6S and couple of mini iTune raffles

Ably led by Rupali Bajpai, the cultural coordinator for the show, the team did a fantastic job of putting together the event which moved at a great pace and without a hitch. There were around 25 different acts performed by well over 200 participants. The day included vocals, classical Indian recitals & dances, and Bollywood dances. A twist to the norm was a comedic skit that portrayed the lives of Indian immigrants, from their college days to getting jobs in the USA and on to the demands their US born children put on them. “This is the 5th Diwali that I have attended, and each year it has gotten better. Telfair kids are simply amazing! said Srilatha Vuttalooru, the lead coordinator for the show, .“We heard so much about the skit, people loved how much it reminded them of their own lives,” she added.

The youth volunteers led by Natasha Muppala a senior at Clements High School, were visible all over and were integral to the success of the show. “Year after year, we have so many High School and Middle School students who come here and do a phenomenal job. They make the hardest chores look easy with a smile on their face.

“I know Natasha worked very hard to put together such a wonderful team, I cannot thank you all enough!” said Ravi Ranjan, the TELICA president .

Beena Hemkar, a professional graphics designer, and the lead coordinator for the non-cultural activities, put her talents to work and  put together a new look and feel to the event. “We do this for the kids. Thanks to all the TELICA and the student volunteers, once again, we were able to put together wonderful and engaging activities for the kids including the very popular Dubsmash booth. The excitement on our kids’ faces makes it all worth it,” said Beena..

Some of the very proud TELICA volunteers are Ravi Ranjan, Satya Narendrula, Srilatha Vuttalooru, Rupali Bajpai , Beena Hemkar, Raju Muppala, Deepak Kanwar, Sanjeev Yamdagni, Jignasa Patel, Jhilmil Yamdagni, Rani Narendrula, Shankar Vaidyanathan, Vanita Ranjan, Ambuj Bajpai, Savitha Kanth, Sapna Kanwar, Sumathy Muppala, Anu Pansare, Praveen Bhavani, Sanjay Agarwal, Ravi Bommakanti, Srini Chittaluru, Prakash Shah, Sangita Bhutada, Bhagwan Bhutada, Sundar Moorthy, Pallavi Kumar, Shridhar Makkapati, Krishna Naredla.

The lead volunteers who contributed their time and energy to make this event a huge success were led by TELICA Lead Coordinator – Srilatha Vuttaooru, Cultural coordinator – Rupali Bajpai, Non-Cultural – Beena Hemkar, Marketing Lead – Deepak Kanwar.

The youth volunteers who contributed their valuable hours to make this event a grand success were led by TELICA youth volunteer coordinator Natasha Muppala.

The event was sponsored by MetLife; Schlumberger; MHS construction and Designing LLC; Cambridge Montessori; College Nannies and Tutors; Comfort Dental; IIM Academy; ICON furniture; Kyani and the College Money Guys.

Visit www.telica.org for festival pictures or to get more details about the event and organization.