HMM’s Diwali Celebrations


HOUSTON: Houston Maharashtra Mandal popularly known as HMM, a non-profit organization celebrated their annual Diwali event on Sunday, November 12 at the University of Houston, Student Center. This year’s Diwali celebration comprised of Traditional Faral, Art gallery, Magic show for kids and a Marathi 2-act play. It was a day of entertainment, camaraderie and joy for the whole family.

The guests were welcomed at 1:30 PM with traditional “Faral” (snacks) comprising delicious food items like Chiwda, Ladu, Chakli, Karanji without which Diwali celebration is not complete for a Maharashtrian. As the taste buds were being satisfied, the Art Gallery was a treat for the eyes. Art gallery displayed selected fine art exhibits by many local artists. The artists were available to converse with the viewers. There were quite a few interesting conversations about the medium used, style of paintings, nature photography etc.


HMM volunteers had nicely organized the event by separating the Diwali drama program from the snacks/dinner hall and kid’s entertainment. The kids enjoyed a great Magic show and movie screening. With babysitting services for the kids being available, the adults watched the drama with a better peace of mind. This was a win-win situation for each family.

The on-stage events commenced with the publication of the Diwali e-magazine “eSneh”. The contents of this magazine are contributed by HMM members through articles and poems in Marathi, the language spoken by most of the members. The variety and the depth of topics indicate that the diaspora retains the connection with their roots even today. Mrs. Arundhati Joshi and Mrs. Pooja Gokhale, members of the editorial board shared the experience and challenges faced by them.


Main attraction for the Diwali program this year was popular Marathi drama named “Chhoo Mantar”, written by very famous writer Vasant Kanetkar. Local artists under the direction of Chaitrali Thote performed this comedy. The artists worked hard for the last 3-4 months to attain this level of perfection. Shirish Khandekar, Sadhana Kamat, Veena Watwe, Ram Watwe, Kshipra Kulkarni, Abhishek Bhat, Akshay Deshpande, Samir Karandikar and Viju Bhadkamkar kept the audience on the edge of their seats with the chucklesome plot of “magic gone wrong”. The audience went riotously hysterical with the climax when a spiritual character got transformed into an aggravated bandit. The sets were designed and built by art direction team of Samit Gokhale, Swapnil Saraf and Ashish Chougule. Even the events related to Harvey, could not waver the determination of this team. It is incredible to keep the Marathi theater alive in America at this professional level.

The students from Graduate Indian Student Organization were closely involved in volunteering for the show and HMM thanked them for that. At the end Anjou Sathe Keller, HMM President, appreciated her current year team members for their dedication and devotion and introduced the 2018 HMM team. Cherry on the cake was the full course authentic Indian dinner served by many volunteers without any chaos and hassle. An awesome event to end the year.