By Ravi R Ponangi
Atlanta, GA: After lighting a lamp marking the inauguration of the two-day Global Mela here on October 27, Mayor Bucky Johnson of Norcross City remarked: “It is great to have you all in Global Mall. You bring a lot of energy, entrepreneurship and economic development to our area. I am honored to be part of Global Mela. You always give me a warm welcome. I feel very much at home at Global Mall because it is a cultural, religious and social hub of the community. It is home for learning centers, banking, shopping, tasty cuisine, social and cultural gatherings — all under one roof. I thank Shiv, his family and staff for giving back to the community through this Global Mela. My best wishes to you all.”
The 11th Global Mela attracted over 15,000 people not only from cities across Georgia but also from neighboring states on October 27 and 28. The mammoth Mela, which has become the largest free carnival event for the South Asian community in the Southeast, was graced by the presence of the chief guest, Consul General of India in Atlanta Ajit Kumar; Mayor Bucky Johnson of Norcross city; chairman at Morsberger Group and visionary re-developer based in Lawrenceville Emory Morsberger; chairman of Gandhi Foundation of USA Subash Razdan; Atlanta hotelier and immediate past chairman of Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) Chandrakant (CK) Patel; consulate staff and several prominent community members.
The dignitaries accompanied by Global Mall owner and host Shiv Aggarwal and his family, greeted and mingled with each other and the Mela visitors. Shiv Mandir’s priest Pandit Gyan Prakash Upadhyay performed Lord Ganesh pooja chanting slokas to invoke God’s blessings. Ajit Kumar, Bucky Johnson, Emory Morsberger, Subash Razdan and C.K. Patel flanked by Shiv Aggarwal, his wife Anushi, son Vishal, and daughters Aarti and Vandana lighted the traditional diyas (lamps).
Aggarwal welcomed all, recognized Ajit Kumar and said: “I feel very happy and honored to welcome you to the Global Mela. We assure the Consulate which has been inaugurated recently, of our full support.”
Responding Ajit Kumar said: “This is a first occasion for me to attend the biggest Mela in the Southeast US. We just inaugurated the Consulate in Atlanta. Our basic purpose is to serve you all. Today, Eid is being celebrated in India. I wish you all a Happy Eid. Festive season is ahead and I would like to wish you a Happy Diwali, Halloween and Christmas.”
A section of the parking lot was festooned with balloons. Outside, near the entrance to the Mall; the children had plenty of fun and frolic on the giant inflatables run by Jumping Panda. Inside the Mall, restaurants in food court and Global Groceries did a brisk business. The visitors were greeted by the Shiv family, Global Mall staff and volunteers. Harvadan Chokshi, Mayoor Patel and Global Mall staff manned the free raffles desk, and gave out over 200 free prizes over the weekend every hour around the clock. Mega Prizes included a flat-screen TV, tickets to Mika Singh Concert and Vonage Phone donated by Global Mall, Ladlee Clothing Bouti-que and Legacy Jewels respectively. Global Mall and Legacy Jewels had sponsored free popcorn, snow cones cotton candy and fun activities like face painting, balloon artistry, arts and crafts for the kids.
DJ Bobby and dholis Simba, heightened the Mela ambience with throbbing, pulsating music and latest Bollywood chartbusters. The booth vendors selling Indian apparel, jewelry, toys, arts and handicrafts and services like travel, insurance, education, health and medicine, and not-for-profits like Ekal Vidyalaya, Art of Living Foundation, Radha Madhav Society and Gaudiya Vaishnav Association re-mained busy dealing with the visitors. The cultural show was an added treat for the visitors. Lively entertainment was provided by artists from Hare Rama Hare Krishna; Absolute Fitness; Academy of Kuchipudi Dance; Nritya Natya Kala Bharti, Prem’s Studio of Performing Arts, and Swarnad School of Music. The young and talented students of Nritya Natya Kala Bharti, who performed a variety of dance and music items choreographed by Kumud and Sandeep Savla, directors of NNKB, were the highlight of the Global Mela.
Performing on both the days, the young artists danced to the Disco Wale Kisko while the senior group danced to a classical fusion. The NNKB music students gave scintillating singing and keyboard performances. Very young artists performed on keyboard, while vocal group wowed the audience with a medley of latest Bollywood hits. Drusso’s Magic House entertained children and parents with a riveting magic show. In a jewelry show, emceed by Kiran Sethi and presented by Kiaan, several young women showcased latest jewelry designs to the huge audience. The piece-de-resistance Fashion Show, by Hayat of Ladlee Clothing Boutique, was participated by beautiful models wearing the latest in bridal wear, saris and Indian costumes strutted with great poise, elegance and grace. Global Mall owner, social activist and philanthropist Shiv Aggarwal commented: “Global Mela is our way of thanking the community for supporting Global Mall and our Indian cultural center. It is my passion, my vision and my goal to make everyone aware of our rich Indian culture and heritage through such melas. I would like to thank all the tenants, the vendors and the Raffle-Prizes donors. I wish to thank the Global Mall staff and volunteers for ensuring smooth running of the Mela.”