A Piece of the Punjabi Countryside Right on the Sam Houston Tollway!

By Jawahar Malhotra

HOUSTON: It was the Vaisakhi Khed Mela, after all!

All the food vendor booths were just too tempting and took you back to a time long ago in a Mother country so far away! Gol Gappey! Chole Bathure! Fruit Chaat! Pakore! And what brought it all together was the Ganne da Rus (sugarcane juice) straight from the press mounted on the bed of a truck where three men squeezed the long stalks till they were dry and then tossed them in a stack!!

And you thought: when was the last I ate all this all at once? Followed by: damn the diet for one day!! After all, the Mela brought together not only about 3,000 people on a beautiful, blue sky day with mild temps, it also offered a gastronomical festival from a dozen booths serving food cooked on the spot! Jalebis! Dosas! Dahi bhalle! Pizza! Cotton Candy and ice cream!!

The night before it had rained, so the big maidan in the middle of the ground was soaked so a large blue tarp covered it and the races were held off  to one side! The volleyball competition between a few teams played out on the other side.

This was the 8th annual Khed Mela held by the Sikh National Center on their vast 20-acre property on the West Beltway across from the Sam Houston Racetrack and was much better organized than in years past. The roped off lawn and the vendor booths and seats to eat hugged the perimeter and brought everyone together. What would have helped would have been long tables so you didn’t have to balance the Styrofoam plates while eating.

The completely free event was open to the public, as in previous years, and there was plenty of paved parking in the two lots that frame each side of the main gurdwara building, which is a few months away from being completed.

The mela was sponsored by the generosity of Dr. Hardam S. Azad, Harjit S. Galhotra, Jitinderpal Singh, Gurbir S. Boparai, Jagmohan S. Koonar, Baljeet S. Purewal, Gurmeet S. Saini, Shamsher Singh, Gurcharan S. Dhaliwal, Tirath S. Khera, Amrik S. Banwait, Jarnail Singh, Dhian Singh, Avtar Singh, Bakshish S. Josan, Satbir K. Cheema, Sukhpal S. Dhaliwal, Gurlal Singh, Amrit Singh, Ruben Bains, Divjyot Singh, Rinku Sandhu and Preetinder Singh.