Senior Citizens Program (SCP) Inc.held befitting Fathers Day Luncheon/celebrations for Fathers at the Bhojanic Restaurant on Sunday, June 25.
As the seniors began arriving, they were greeted at the entrance by the volunteers Arunaben Patel, Shashi Sidhaye, Jyoti Dama, Mona Bhandari, Poonam Datta and Minesh Modi, and then were escorted to be seated. The response was so overwhelming that the dining room was packed and some elders also sat at the tables near the entrance. The Executive Director Raj Razdan extended a hearty welcome and a Happy Fathers Day to all the Fathers. She went on to recognize and thank the sponsors of the Luncheon, Mr. & Mrs. Surinder & Poonam Malhotra and Mrs. Nirmala Arneja, of the Bhojanic Restaurant. The Malhotras have sponsored Fathers Day Luncheons annually.
After relishing the tasty snacks served by Bhojanic, the Fathers were requested to participate in a Fashion Parade.
Fathers, clad in traditional Indian outfits, Western casuals, colorful turban and hats, assembled to compete and be judged by designated Judges, Surinder Malhotra, Shashi Sidhaye, Jyoti Dama and Mona Bhandari.The contestants (fathers) were asked to step up to the Judges to display their talents.
The Fashion parade elicited lot of fun, mirth and applause as Vinodbhai Patel, Mansukhbhai Shroff, Nanubhai Parekh, Sharad Shah, Vinaykant Doshi, Rajnikant Parikh, Ujagar Singh Wassan, Samir Mitra, to name a few amidst many present, faced the tough Judges (and their amused spouses) and displayed their hidden talents.
Then it was the turn of the ladies to challenge the Fathers! Mrs. Shail Sharma spoke about the significance of Fathers Day. She said that in Western society, parents feel unhappy because their children are indifferent and busy in earning two meals a day for their own nuclear family. Thus, the Parents are remembered only on Fathers Day or Mothers Day. But it is not so in Indian culture where Indian children believe in matru devo bhava and pitru devo bhava-mothers and fathers are like Gods and deserve all the respect, love and caring Children appreciate the untold sacrifices made by their parents and grandparents in raising them and they reciprocate by taking care of their elderly parents and grandparents, day in and day out! However, with economic development and westernization, the value system in India also is changing. Following her talk, the Mothers (spouses) enjoyed themselves and even provided lot of entertainment with jokes, bhajans and reflections to celebrate the Fathers Day.
Then the time of Judgment. The prize for best dressed Father went to Dr S. Mitra, a Sociology Prof. at Emory University. He sure looked handsome to even make a few feminine hearts flutter! He had donned a dhoti, a silk vest and a pair of traditional slippers. He narrated that this was his wedding outfit and that he had even saved his shoes all these years, and went on to amuse the seniors by explaining the art of wearing dhoti, its design, etc.
The prize for best speech went to Dr Bharat Singh who hails from Faizabad near Ayodhya; the birthplace of Lord Ram.He initially practiced as a Surgeon and later served in the Indian Army and Navy for over 40 years as a medical doctor. His daughter Deepa Dharamrup who is an entrepreneur lives in Georgia.
The complimentary prizes in the Mothers group went to Mrs.Shail Sharma and Mrs.Sushilaben Parekh respectively for being sporting with their extempore efforts.
Once again, Raj Razdan and the devoted group of volunteers exemplified caring service of, respect and hospitality for the elders of Georgia.
Annual Sponsors Surinder & Poonam Malhotra and family were also recognized for their philanthropy. Mrs. Janu Wassan, a participating senior, also complimented the Malhotra family for sponsoring the Fathers Day Luncheon and all the Senior Citizen volunteers for their dedicated service to the seniors.
Senior Citizen program, which started in 1996, is gearing to celebrate its 10th anniversary this year with a bash. Raj encouraged the seniors to participate in the cultural program which will be held in October. She requested the seniors to suggest how and in what way they would like to participate.
Meanwhile, Raj Razdan, the Executive Director exhorted the Seniors to put on their swimsuits, sun tan lotions, and goggles for the next event- an outdoor picnic at Lake Alatoona on Sunday, July 30 sponsored by the family of Dr Jayprakash and Rekha Desai. She encouraged the seniors to invite all their friends to come along and enjoy the picnic.
Post script: The author is a Senior Citizen himself who has been attending this program since the inception of the Senior Citizen program in 1996. The love and affection that the volunteers have bestowed on us elders and the philanthropy of the sponsors will remain memorable for us Elders for time immemorial! Needless to add, we elders have a bright future!