The Geetanjali Hit Parade Keeps Rolling till Midnight!


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By Jawahar Malhotra

HOUSTON: If you ever doubted that you could hold a huge party on a Sunday evening and get a full house, you haven’t encountered the charm and persistency of Shoba Joshi, the popular host of the Geetanjali radio program. She not only brought in so many well-wishers to her second annual fundraiser this past Sunday, February 21, many of them were still dancing away till the wee hours of Monday morning, work be damned!!


“This was our second time to put the fundraiser together after last year,” said Hiren Joshi, Shoba’s son and co-host of his own radio segment “and we’re still learning a lot about organizing it.” But apparently, the Joshi’s – Shoba’s husband Rakesh, who works just as hard behind the scenes, included – knew they could count on their loyal listeners and advertisers to come out on what turned out to be a drizzly Sunday evening to the Sterling Hall on Beltway 8 near Tanner. By their own count, almost 300 people came to the event that started at 6pm.

Once the party got started, Shoba showed why she has earned her spot on the radio dial for the past 23 years. “Last year, we had so many people who wanted to perform during the event,” gushed Shoba as she relaxed two days later. “And this year it was no different. They approached us on their own but we had to turn several people down.” The rising costs of the radio show has prompted Shoba to try a different approach to funding Geetanjali, she explained to her guests.


The appetizers and dinner for the evening was catered by Madras Pavilion, whose co-owner, Mahesh Shah ran around though he was suffering from jet lag after a trip to India. The music and sound system was coordinated by Darshak and Mona Thacker of Krishna Sounds and the photographer of the evening was Asit Patel, newly arrived from India.


Shoba opened up the program by honoring her biggest advertisers and sponsors of the evening, and a lighting of the traditional diyas by community leaders. The “show” started with the self-confessed amateur Dr. Vivek Sharad Kavadi, an oncologist who tried his hand at a bit of humor.  He said he grew up here and learnt all his Hindi from watching desi movies and made his point by asking the audience to identify the character, actor or director from the dialogues he laced into his commentary. Winners shouted out the answers and were rewarded with small prizes. A raffle was held for other items that were donated by local jewelers and merchants.


Then the night rolled through with performances by Dolly, a two-year transplant to the Bayou City doing a Kathak dance; Leena and Swati doing a Bollywood dance to “Jhumka gira reh”; Ashish and Taruna doing an energetic pop dance, Suresh Shenoy singing a melodious number, Sharda singing a delightful song and other local artists performing onstage. Shoba’s older brother Bansi Chabria (who came to town with his wife Sarla), much admired for his voice, serenaded the audience with a medley of songs. And all of this was before dinner!! There was much more later!