Record Breaking Crowd at the Masala Radio Holi

Masala Radio crew with pop star Raghav (front, center) at the Holi Mela at Seabourne Creek Park on Sunday, March 30.

Masala Radio crew with pop star Raghav (front, center) at the Holi Mela at Seabourne Creek Park on Sunday, March 30.



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By IAN Correspondent

HOUSTON: “Itna mazaa kyun aa raha hai,” Houstonians reveled in sheer ecstasy at Masala Radio’s sun-kissed Holi on Sunday March 30, despite the inclement weather postponement from the original March 23 date. 10 days prior, Facebook and Twitter followers were a flurry with “WHAT? WHY DID YOU MOVE HOLI? BUT WE MADE PLANS!!”

The perfect day packed Seabourne Creek Park to the rim at the 7th annual Aapka Colors Houston Holi 2014, also presented by MTV India and Tara Energy. Crowds danced at three different Live DJs and Dholi’s and rocked as Mercedes Benz of Sugarland presented pop star Raghav crooning his Storyteller hits “Angel Eyes”, ‘Teri Baaton Mein” and recent Bollywood hit “Ishq Shava” to a frenzy of fans both teen and not-so-teen-but-screaming-like-they-were-teens. Youths witnessed for the first time in their lives a real matkiphod sponsored by New York Life. Matkiphod, a traditional event in India where a clay pot containing maakhand (yogurt) is suspended high in the air, and dedicated teams build a human pyramid to break the matki (as Lord Krishna did in his childhood to reach the forbidden maakhand). The audience held their breath when the three-tier Masala Crew team – after two huge falls – finally broke the clay pot containing color powder. Besides mouthwatering food lineup, everything was free. Free parking, Free entry, Free brand new Keemat Kids Rides, Free bags and spices from Aapka Colors, Free iced Deep juices and bottle water from Tara Energy, Free Chat Pat snacks and balloons from House of Spices, Sonu Nigam ticket giveaways, 200 Free perfumes thrown by W Perfumes, and hundreds of Free T-shirts from Masala Radio, the movie JINN, and Fiesta, and Free mesmerizing Bollywood Entertainment hosted by Sunil Thakkar with his “DOSTI KE RANG” themed Bullet Motorcycle entry. The “FREES” were made possible by the generous major sponsorships of Alings Hakka, The Dosa Factory, Amit and Arpita Bhandari, Gopal and Urvishi Savjani, Jugal and Raj Malani, Keemat Grocers, Mercedes Benz of Sugar Land, New York Life, Skai Foundation and Chat Pats. Rosenberg Police could not define the sheer number of people, summarizing the count as “way more than the 17,000 we estimated last year.”

Tune hava mein bhaang milaya,” Indeed, the God-given air-conditioning breezes were intoxicatingly distracting from the Equinox Sun beaming from a clear sky as thousands reveled in Holimadness. And while the ancient official drink of Holi, bhaang was clearly missing, crowds feasted on exotic Dosas like the bean, cheese and salsa dosa of The Dosa Factory, Golas, Kulfis, and Faloodas from Baloch, cookies and brownies from Great American Cookies, heavenly chaat from Mirch Masala and Kurry Walah, Potato Stix and Indo Chinese from Sagar Indian Cuisine, South Indian fare from Madras Pavillion, and Nizam-style cuisine from Hyderabad House and North Indian cuisine from the new Signature India Restaurant. The Chatpat Jhatpat eating contest had the audience rolling in laughter as Sunil T had six random contestants race to eat the most Chatpats in one minute.

Balam pichkari jo tune mujhe maari” ICC’s sold-out pichkaris, and the Aling’s Rain Dance crew’s eight new 6’ high sprinklers added a new level of water play to Holi. Of course the natural side effect was a fresh mud pit which hundreds fell victim to. Amee Patel, president of the Gujarati Samaj of Houston ordered double the Holi colored powder than last year in six vibrant colors, and as promised kept the Holi revelers supplied to the end. Holi Pragtya, the official lighting of the HOLI bonfire started with a stage pooja by Priest Parimal Joshi with all major Holi Sponsors, followed with a Jaganath Chariot procession and finished with prayers and coconut offerings to the growing fire. The Chariot held Lord Jaganath, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who in the story of Holi comes to rescue Prahlad from burning to death while in the lap of his evil aunt Hollika. Young ISKCON devotees from ISKCON chanted “Hare Krishna, Hare Rama” throughout the festival, and invited all to the grand opening of their incredible new ISKCON temple on May 17.

Haa Jeans pahen ke jo tune maara thumka,” Masala Radio’s Sunil Thakkar introduced mesmerizing Bollywood dances by Houston’s leading dance schools. 3-5 year olds stole the audience’s hearts. The mesmerizing performances were by Nuppor Dance School, Bollywood Shake, and UH’s Jannat. The change of date prevented two Holi stalwarts Dancing Starz of Katy and Shivangai Dance Schools for performing. But Rhythm India wowed the audience with over 65 performers some in stunning neon costumes and precision moves. The finale act by Naach Houston blew everyone away with over 100 performers in non-stop blast of Bollywood hits with surprise Pichkaris, vibrant costumes, unbelievable energy, and of course synchronized “thumkas!”. The crowds jumped from their seats to finally get to dance themselves as MTV India presented the Battle of the DJs. Bollywood (DJ NISH) vs Bhangra (DJ GEO). MTV India declared it as a tie as the audience were equally screaming during both sets.

Toh lattoo padosan ki bhabhi ho gayi,” Even the most serious and the seedha saadha caught Holi Fever. Houston Holi was a joint community event organized by Sunil and Sandhya Thakkar of Masala Radio, presented by Aapka Colors, MTV India, and Tara Energy, with partnering organizations such as Gujarati Samaj of Houston, India Cutlure Center, and Hindus of Greater Houston.
Masala Radio thanks the immeasurable contributions of over 120 sponsors, 12 restaurants, 55 booths, 20 vendors, and over 115 volunteers from surrounding schools including UH ISA, Austin High School, and Hightower. 36 Masala Crew members led by Event Directors Munira Vejlani, Ruchir Patel, and Rinku Gosh included: Shah, Charliebhai, Ninad, Chiragbhai, Malav, Sunny, Amir, Sameep, Devan, Devangi, Shivani, Shreya, and Sara. Stage Masala Crew managed by Preanka Desai and Dilip Kanabar included: Rajoo, Pankti, Sandeep, Natasha, Priti, Krupa, Ina, Mayur, and Keval. Masala Radio Jockeys promoting the event for 2 months were: Preanka, Rajoo, Dilip, Alka, Bijuria, Kashmira, Priya, Naina, Ajay, Sushil, Priti, and Ina.

Indeed, there was a record turnout of non-Indians, from mounting publicity and interviews. Channel 39 News covered the event, and featured it on their Sunday evening prime time news.

For photos by Meedu Photography, Carlos Pena and Winston Hsu visit,, or facebook .com/HoustonHoli. Edited Video compilation coming soon on YouTube under HOUSTON HOLI 2014.