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Valentine Day Special: Seniors Lead The Way To Romance!


After enjoying the intermission theatrics, song and dance by Madonna at this year’s February Super-bowl, the Georgia community prepared for the traditional celebration of the Valentine’s Day during which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering candies and sending greeting cards. Well, the seniors did not want to be left behind either and had fun wooing their Valentines by singing and dancing to romantic songs at the Valentine Day Luncheon, hosted by Senior Citizen Program (SCP) with joy and cheer at Atlanta’s popular upscale Palace Restaurant, on Sunday, February 19. 

The banquet hall of the restaurant was packed with over 200 seniors clad in their red and pink best to prove that age is no bar when it comes to celebration of love. Executive Director, Raj Razdan, and the SCP’s dedicated team of Chinti Bali, Isha Goyal, Shashi Sidhaye, Minesh Modi, Arunaben Patel and Nalini Bhindi, extended a hearty welcome and wished a Happy Valentine’s Day to all the members present! 

The mood of all the Seniors was in essence, one of romance, exemplified in the celebration of Mahashivratri, in veneration of Lord Shiva who wooed Goddess Parvati. Ajit Dave, a senior himself, briefly spoke on the significance of Maha Shivratri Festival in honor of Lord Shiva. He then sang one of the immortal songs, ‘Nahin Chand hoga’. Ramesh Shah, another senior, sang ‘Kabhi kabhi’-a song with heart-tugging lyrics. Gunvantbhai Naik sang Rafi’s song, ‘yeh reshmi zulfein’ from the movie ‘Do Raaste’. Saroj Bahri followed with Lata’s song, ‘aa ja sanam madhur chandni mein hum’ from the movie ‘Chori Chori’. 

Rajnibhai Parikh regaled the audience with a few jokes, “Gulab ka phool ko Chameli ka phool mat samjho, apni patni ki saheli ko apni mat samjho (laughter)”. He added, “An old couple was celebrating Valentine Day and the husband was admiring his wife saying, ‘tum aisi lagti ho, tum aisi lagte ho’ and the wife expecting a compliment asked, ‘mein kaisi lagti hoon’ and the old man quipped, ‘Meri maa jaisi’! 

Krishna Narula recited a very moving and heartfelt poem dedicated to her late husband, in which she thanked him for sharing a loving life with her.

Mrs. Anjana Shah told an anecdote with the message that one should always remember that it is not the price of the gift but the feelings of love and gratitude behind it that counts.

Ujjagar SinghWassan, a noted shaiyar could not resist chiming in with a couplet about roses and thorns, “log kaanto se bachke chalte hai, humne phoolon se zakhm khaye hai”. The gathering of seniors also cheered and saw Ujjagar and JanuWassan dance for their 51st Wedding anniversary to the catchy song, ‘haule haule’, from the movie ‘Rab ne Bana di Jodi’. 

It was now the turn of Atlanta’s famous singer Alibhai to entertain the audience with a medley of old Bollywood favorites of Mukesh like ‘Ek pyaar ka nagma hai’, ‘Awaara hoon ’ , and Rafi’s rendition on beauty of Waheeda Rehman, ‘Chaudhwin ka chand ho’. Ujjagarji and his ever sporting wife Janu, Sharadbhai Shah and his wife Anjana Shah and yes Raj, et al soon caught the Valentine Day mood and all got on the dancing floor to heighten the celebratory mood.. 

The grand finale was celebration of the many Valentine Birthdays and wedding Anniversaries with cakes to add to the fun and gaiety of the occasion. First cake was for the birthday boy Vinodbhai Patel.. Razdan admired the selfless and dedicated service of both Vinodbhai and Arunaben adding, “Vinodbhai has been a mentor and fatherly figure for our family and Arunaben has been a dedicated volunteer of the SCP since its very inception….” All the other seniors whose birthdays were in February joined in as well to make the birthday celebrations a memorable affair. Vinodbhai cut the cake amidst ‘Happy Birthday’ singing by the audience.

The next cake was for two couples who were celebrating their wedding anniversaries - Mr. and Mrs. Ujjagar Wassan; and Mr. and Mrs. Rajen Sharma. Five more couples who also had their February wedding anniversaries also joined in the cake cutting ceremony.

Raj recognized and thanked Atlanta’s well-known and respected philanthropists Arun and Manju Kothary of the Palace Restaurant (Arunaben Patel presented the sponsors Arun Kothary and Manju Kothary and family - Sonu, , Bhakti Kothary, Nina Arora with symbolic red roses), Atlanta’s versatile singer Alibhai for entertaining the Seniors with an assortment of nostalgic and memorable filmi songs (Shashi Sidhaye presented bouquets to Alibhai), Vijay Tandon for the acoustics management, and last but not the least the long serving and steadfast team of SCP volunteers. 

Elder, Mrs. Shanti Nanda, who has been an ardent member of SCP reciprocated on behalf of SCP elders acknowledging the SCP volunteers for their selfless service for the welfare of the seniors. 

At this Valentine Luncheon not only did I (a senior myself) experience the joie-de-vivre but also got impressed with the capability of seniors in delighting their Valentines with a sense of humor rather than by ‘popping the Valentine’s eye-balls by wrapping a frog inside a gift box’. Voila! A right blend of nostalgia and paean to love can do wonders! 

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