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Senior Citizens Start 2012 With ‘Mata Ki Chowki’ At Global Mall


The Senior Citizens Program (SCP) got off to a flying New Year start with a spirited “Mata Ki Chowki” at the Global Mall in January. 

Many see January as a time for new beginnings. Making New Year’s resolutions is a time-honored tradition and for many a yearly ritual. Lot of us make resolutions (weight loss, exercise, smoking cessation and better money management) and probably break them. January also reminds us of our beloved Civil Rights champion Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (birth anniversary) and Gandhiji’s (death anniversary) and their messages of Peace and Non-violence. So, when this writer asked the SCP leaders about their New Year Resolutions, he got an unhesitating reply that this year being their (SCP) 15th anniversary, something big is being planned. Knowing their track record and the festive 10th anniversary celebrations (five years ago), SCP will undoubtedly exemplify once again.

At the “Mata ki Chowki”, hosted by SCP volunteer Chinti Bali in the lead and sponsored by Sunanda & Varjinder Sharma and Global Mall owner and philanthropist Shiv Aggarwal, over 200 seniors were treated to spiritually uplifting bhajans, some with popular ‘filmi’ drum beats adapted to devotional songs. 

The gracefully decorated stage with diyas (lamps), stringed lights, fresh fruits and prasad (offerings) wore a festive look in its ornate finery with Mataji’s dazzling framed picture in the center of the Puja platform, with colorful fresh flower garlands, together with pictures of Shiv Parivar, Goddess Durga Mataji, Hanumanji and Ganeshji- various forms/manifestation of the Supreme God Brahman. Shiv Mandir’s learned priest Pandit Gyan Prakash Upadhyay blew the conch and performed the Swastivachan (mantra for the well-being of all and for peace to prevail everywhere) , soddso upchaars, (Mantras to drive away evil ) Ganapati Vandana , (worship to the remover of all obstacles) and aahavanam (invitation) to “Divine Mataji (Sherawali Ma) who symbolizes the holy trinity of Goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. 

The congregation sat in rapt attention listening to melodious and elevating bhajans (divine songs) and praises of Mataji Vaishno Devi, in mellifluous voices by Reva Handa, Saroj Kaushal,Harjeet Sharma, Kamlesh Chugh, Meera Sinha, Madhavi Dave and Kshama Kakade to the accompaniment of Neera Bahl and Rajen Sharma on (harmonium), Harjinder Pal Sharma (drums) and young Nikhil Sharma (cymbals). As the fervor picked up with clapping and singing, congregation joined in the rousing chanting of ‘Ma aaja,ma aaja,ma aaja;’ ‘rang barase, rang barase’;’Ma, murad puri karde ; halwa batoongi’, amongst the plethora of bhajans, generating intense euphoria with transcendental vibrations. The grand finale for this spiritual high was the “aarti”, followed by prasadam (offerings) of Halwa (sweets), Chhole (chick peas), fruits and dry fruits et al followed by a sumptuous luncheon. 

Shakuntala Ahuja explained the significance of “Mata Ki Chowki”and urged the congregation to have faith in the power of prayer and of the light within.
All the above sponsors were presented flower bouquets by volunteers Arunaben Patel, Isha Goyal, Nalini Bhindi, and Minesh Modi. 

Raj Razdan, ebullient Executive Director of SCP, encouraged her group of seniors to get involved and help donate for the charity supported construction of the Shiv Mandir, which is underway in Sugar Hill, Georgia. No sooner was the appeal made by Razdan, then the seniors collected over $2000 for the Shiv Mandir in a jiffy from their own pockets. The Temple groundbreaking was done in May 2010 and the plans of construction are progressing well.
Razdan expressed her warm welcome and New Year greetings to all, stating, “Such frequent events and undertakings do not happen without the support and hard work and philanthropy of all the volunteers. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Atlanta’s well respected Attorney and our sponsor Neera Bahl for being a proud recipient of ‘Glory of India’ Award. My special thanks to ever supportive and big-hearted Shiv Aggarwal and his wife Anushi Aggarwal for allowing the use of this spacious hall of the Global Mall for the event. “She further complimented the spirit of giving by her seniors for the cause of Shiv Mandir. 

Razdan reminded the gathering to be ready with their Valentines for the forthcoming February 19 event at Palace Restaurant.

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