Go Go Go… Go Pagal, Holi Hai!!


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HOUSTON: HOUSTON HOLI 2018 was an explosion of colors, energy, and triumphs of Good over Evil presented by Masala Radio, Texans Energy and Karya Property Management on Saturday March 24, 12-5PM at the brand-new Crown Festival Park at Sugar Land, featuring UK South Asian pop sensation Zack Knight.  

On this beautifully overcast morning, ABC News ventured out at 10 AM for a live interview of Event Director Sandhya Thakkar, little aware that event managers and volunteers would shower the reporter with colored powder. It was a positive omen foreshadowing a hugely successful event as the Masala Radio crew, key Sponsors, and leading Community organizations Gujarati Samaj of Houston, India Culture Center, and Hindus of Greater Houston triumphed over many, many challenges to bring our ancient culture, traditions, and sheer joy to thousands at this 11th annual Festival of Colors.


South Asian families, and an unprecedented number of mainstream families and youths of every color flocked to the oversized park. Onsite free parking, free kids rides, and eight shades of colored powder were just the appetizers. Texans Energy’s Javed & Nisha Megani, personally supervised distribution of non-stop free bottled water while adding surprise free caricature artist drawings.  Mukesh & Smita Chawla were first in line and quipped, “I love that there is always so many new things going on at Houston Holi that we feel a part of one big family.”  Next door, Swapnil Agrawal’s Karya Property team gave away free balloon animals and exciting picture ops on the Sholay-styled motorcycle side car.  Deepika Agarwal announced on stage in pure “shudh” Hindi, “Holi mein, hum subh ek ho kai nafrat ko mitate hai, ek dosoron ko pyar karthe hai, ek rang ho ke…”  (“At Holi, we all come together to destroy hate, and love one another in a unity of color.”)


Leading Radio Jockey Preanka Desai masterfully hosted the first half of Holi, including some crazy contests for hundreds of free Go PAGAL T-shirts by platinum sponsor Gulshan Enterprises and printed by PMGOA.Crowds divided in two for impromptu Tug of War, catching flying Frisbees and beach balls by Prompt Mortgage and Realty, Cricket Wireless, My Tax Filer, Medinet and George Willy PC and Toro Imports.  Arshad Ramji of Ramji Law Group sent t-shirts flying by way of cricket bat followed by a rain of Britannia Cookies by Deep Food’s Umang Mehta. Over 300 budding Bollywood and Indian Folk dance students rocked the stage from Steps for Dancing with Dolly, Arya Dance Academy Houston, Arya Dance Academy Louisiana, Bollywood Dancing Stars, US Desi Gals, USDG Lil Rockstars, Khushboo Dance Class, Prathima Dance School and finale by Infused Performing Arts.   

The second half was energized by Henna Shah, a one-woman-show, pumping the DJ Spin Offs with “Go…Go…Go Pagal” and singing hits like “Havana.”  Shilpi Paul further hyped up the color rave with Bollywood hits including “Balam Pichkari,” “Tattad Tattad” and “Lets Nacho.”  DJ Spinoffs featured DJ Nish, DJ Geo, and DJ Tamim and finale DJ Zee.  Dholi Rax livened the entrance while Dholi Toki Singh and DJ Zee kept the stage alive for five hours with Zee’s version of BDM – Bollywood Dance Music.  


The highlight of the day was Zack Knight.  And what timing – appearing live in Houston just weeks after his “Bom Diggy” graduated from South Asian pop hit to Bollywood Blockbuster featured as the opening song in “Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety.”  Fans were almost uncontrollable as he sang his own hits like “Nakhare” and “Bombae” and then rendered his take on “Tum Hi Ho.”  Infused Performing Arts dancers further heightened the frenzy of Zack’s finale BOM DIGGY performance.  

By 2PM the park was packed, and guests steadily lined up at the mouth watering Indian Street Foods booths led by Sugar Land newbies Honest Indian Restaurant, Biryani Bistro and Nirmanz Food Boutique.  Nirman Shah said “I happily ran out of all my food by 3PM.” Gayatri Bhavan fulfilled the never-ending quest for dosas, introducing their lovely Chocolate Dosa creation. New to Katy, Tandoori Grill, along with Biryani N Grill lined up a tantalizing assortment of vegetarian grill items, followed by stalwarts Mirch Masala and Bollywood Chaat. Kwality Ice Cream catered to every sweet tooth with a fusion of ice creams, golas, faloodas and the classic kulfis.  


Masala Radio thanks the dream team Masala Entertainment crew led by the invincible Rinku, new but extremely capable Bhavisha, youth leader Sonali, wiz designer Carlos, multi-talented Dhaval, and steadfast setup team of Ruchir, Ninad, and Aditi, and the amazing Radio Jockey stage management crew Preanka, Rajoo, Dilip, Ina and Amit. They also thank Gaurav, Meedu, Jesus and Nand for spectacular photo-video coverage, and exceptional extended event crew – Krupa, Sunny, Vinay, Ankit, Lauhael and newbie’s Kajal and Sampurna, and radio jockeys who put their hearts into promoting Holi: Priya, Pankti, and Swati.


Special thanks for the warm welcome by City of Sugarland’s Destination Manager Jessica and Parks and Rec Management Kimberly and Teresa, as well as the multiple department heads of Police, Fire, Environmental Protection, Building Permit, and Health for last minute accommodations and making Houston Holi as safe as it was fun.

But nothing would be possible without the grace of Lord Krishna who directed it all.