BY MAHADEV DESAI
Photos by Vinod Devlia
Atlanta,GA: The 13th Global Mela was a major success attracting over 16,000 community members at the Global Mall inNorcross,Georgiaon Saturday October 4th and Sunday October 5th 2014. The mammoth Mela has become the largest free carnival event for the South Asian community in the Southeast, with over 35 booth vendors and attendees from all over the Southeast. The two-day event was kicked off with a Lord Ganesh puja and a lamp lighting ceremony by dignitaries, Global Mall owner Shiv Aggarwal and his family.
Sadhana Mandir’s pundit Acharya Ved Joshi performed the Lord Ganesh puja ceremony, followed by a few words from the chief guests. The chief guests included the Consul General of India inAtlanta, Ajit Kumar, Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson, Executive Director of Gwinnett Village C.ID. Chuck Warbington, GA House of Representatives Candidate Amreeta Regmi, Mrs. India International 2012 Shaveta Jain, as well as the Head of Atlanta Chapter of the Sant Nirankari Mission forNorth America, Kapil and Sunita Bhandari. Shiv Aggarwal recognizedAtlanta’s well-known and respected Mustafa Ajmeri, who has supported and been dedicated to Global Mall and the Mela since its inception in 2001.
Shiv Aggarwal welcomed all, recognized the dignitary guests and media representatives. Responding Ajit Kumar said he felt honored and happy to attend one of the biggest melas in the South East. Mayor Johnson lauded Shiv Aggarwal and his family for promoting business and enriching the vibrant cultural mosaic through the ever popular annual Global Mela. Warbington remarked, “I feel honored to be here. My family settled here way back in 1826 and I represent a seventh generation Norcross resident. I am very impressed with the energy and enthusiasm of the people present here.”
Nepalborn Amreeta Regmi, who is a resident of Peachtree Corners since 1993, informed that she is running for Georgia Legislature for House District 95. Amreeta Regmi, who is a democrat, with an impressive academic, professional and social activism track record appealed for a vote to the audience, so that she can bring positive change to her district and inspire other officials follow suit.
Nritya Natya Kala Bharati, an Indian classical Kathak dance school in Global Mall, presented two scintillating dance performances. Swenyi Kania performed a classical Kathak dance and then a Rajhastani Ghoomar dance with Nisha Patel. Rishi Gowda also had the audience cheering and clapping as he spiced up the entertainment with energetic, fast-paced moves to a remix of three vibrant Bollywood songs.
Dj Arsin from XrtaHotDJs and his team heightened the mela ambience with throbbing, pulsating music and the latest Bollywood chartbusters! Live dhol players intensified the atmosphere. At the entrance of the mall, inflatable obstacle courses, slides and a bounce house were set up for the children to play on the perfectly breezy October weekend. People were welcomed with the aroma of Ashiana’s delectable chat, samosas and pav bhaji stall downstairs, while Diptiben served mouthwatering pani-puri and vada pavs upstairs. The Global Mall food court was bustling all weekend with guests waiting in lines for the Chinese Dhaba, Sri Krishna Vilas, Dawat, Mumbai Masala, and Curry on the Go! Global Mall and Legacy Jewels sponsored a handful of free treats and activities for children and some young-at-heart adults, including free popcorn, cotton candy, face painting, and balloon artistry. On the second floor, booth vendors were setup along the hallways of the mall, ranging from Indian apparel, jewelry, toys, arts and handicrafts, services such as travel, insurance, education, health and medicine, and non-profits. Sangi’s Beauty Salon had set up free mehndi for all guests over both days.
On Sunday evening, the Global Mall family ran the Mega Prize Raffle, a 32” HD flat-screen television donated by Global Mall, along with two Google Chromecasts, etc. Ladlee Clothing Boutique sponsored over 25 gifts on Sunday alone, ranging from elegant kurtis, salwar kameez and jewelry for all ages.
The weekend-long cultural show was an added treat for the visitors! Lively entertainment was provided on both days by the young and talented students from various Dance andsongAcademieswho performed a variety of dance, songs and music items. Sheila Devlia, Olivia Owens and Hema Vishwanathan performed an energetic and riveting Zumba dance to ever-popular songs from Bollywood moviesTaal, Ram Leela, etc. A Bokwa team came in to get the crowd, especially children, dancing to choreographed dance steps. Shaan Atlanta Di, a group of 6 young, robust dancers, kept the crowd clapping and cheering as they danced to a number of popular Hindi and Punjabi tracks. Magic Shows added to the entertainment and fun, especially for children. The magician on Saturday had the crowd at the edge of their “seats” and speechless as he performed a handful of tricks and illusions; he even turned a bird into a rabbit! On Sunday, a juggler and comedian entertained the children as he involved the crowd in his sword juggling. Later, he walked on stilts and gladly took pictures with the guests.
Sant Nirankari Mission’s Atlanta Branch hosted its very first ‘Festival of Oneness ‘cultural show in the Ashiana Banquet Hall.
Ladlee Clothing Boutique and Kiian Jewelers presented another magnificent fashion show. Shaveta Jain, the former Mrs. India International and a sought out participant in the Fashion Show commented, “The fashion show is the flagship item of Global Mall’s signature annual Global Mela. This year, it was my great pleasure to participate in the show- the most glamorous, most awaited and the concluding item of the two day event.” The fashion show was choreographed by Kiran Bedi Sethi of XtraHotDJ’s. The outrageously beautiful fashion wear was sponsored by Ladlee, the biggest fashion store located in the heart of Global Mall. The fashion models were accessorized with the trendiest and one-of-a-kind jewelry by Kiaan Jewelers. The models including Nikita Jain, Shaveta Jain, Louai Drissi, Anita medepalli, to name a few, did a fabulous job showcasing the outfits and accessories with confidence, grace and style.
Well known and respected 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. I established Global Mall in order to bring the South Asian community together under one roof in a unique community 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 media-T.V.Asia,IndiaTribune, Wownow.com, Atlanta Dunia, Khabar, NRIPULSE, Jan Darpan, Desh Videsh, and Saathee. My special thanks to Vinod Devlia of Photography by Vinod, for his photography services in recording the entire event;Mayoor Patel, Lynn Rich, Kelsey Gore, Doc McAlpine, Aarti Aggarwal, Vandana Aggarwal, and Vishal Aggarwal for ensuring smooth running of the Mela; Global Mall staff and volunteers. The Police also deserve compliments for manning the parking lot and handling the large crowd. Finally, I would like to thank my entire family for their unbounding help and support in organizing this event. I am happy that the attendance at the Mela is increasing each year and we are able to make Global Mela the cornerstone for future events!”
For more information about the Mall and to view photos of the event, please visit www.amsglobalmall.com or the Facebook or Twitter Page for Global Mall.