BY MAHADEV DESAI
Photos by Vinod Devlia
Atlanta, GA, November 9, 2017: The 16th Annual Global Mela was hosted by Global Mall in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday, September 30 and Sunday, October 1. The spectacular two-day fun-filled family carnival attracted over 18,000 people to the Global Mall. The Mela has become the largest free carnival event for the South Asian community in the Southeast, with 60 booth vendors from all over the Southeast and 30 retail and service stores located inside the Global Mall. It continues to grow and get bigger and better with each passing year! This year the Global Mall team introduced new attractions like a 40-foot cricket batting cage, added more activities like day-long Health and Wellness workshops and brought in 20 more booth vendors! The 2-day event was kicked off with a warm welcome from the owner of Global Mall and host of Global Mela, Shiv Aggarwal, his family members and emcee Kiran Sethi with Xtrahotdjs Entertainment and Marigold Invites.
A number of community dignitaries joined Aggarwal and his family in a Lord Ganesh prayer and a lamp lighting ceremony by Sadhana Mandir’s pundit Acharya Ved Joshi. The dignitary guests included Deputy Consulate General of India in Atlanta, D.V. Singh, Georgia State Senator Curt Thompson, the Gwinnett Village CID Executive Director Marsha Bomar, Gwinnett County Commissioner Lynette Howard, Executive Director of the Lilburn CID, Emory Morsberger, Mrs. India International 2012 winner Shaveta Jain; 2017 Georgia pageant winners – Miss India Georgia, Miss Teen India Georgia, and Mrs. India Georgia and media representatives.
Shiv Aggarwal warmly welcomed all. The dignitary guests also responded briefly thanking Aggarwal family for hosting the mammoth Global Mela every year and for inviting them.
Atlanta’s premier Indian Dance and Music Academy, Nritya Natya Kala Bharati’s Founder/Director Kumud Savla presented her dance students who enthralled the dignitaries and the audience with two scintillating dances, followed by a riveting classical-fusion solo dance-an invocation prayer to Lord Ganesha, by Sridevi Ranjit,Founder/Director of ‘Laasya School of Dance,Atlanta. XrtaHotDjs team heightened the mela’s ambience with throbbing, pulsating, foot tapping music and the latest Bollywood chartbusters!
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 sunny fall weekend. A 40-foot cricket batting cage, organized and managed by Atlanta Cricket Zone, attracted children and adults cricket-lovers to try their swing at India’s top sport with a live- cricket playing experience. Walking into the mall, visitors were welcomed with the aroma of Ashiana’s delectable chat, samosas and pav bhaji stall downstairs alongside cool and refreshing free ice cream served by Global Groceries.
Heading upstairs, the Global Mall food court was bustling all weekend with guests waiting in lines for food at Chinese Dhaba, Sri Krishna Vilas, Dawat Express, Mumbai Masala, and Curry on the Go! After eating in the food court, people capped off their meals with sweet flavored shaved ice golas and an array of paans at Amdavadi Gola and Global Paan House, respectively.
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, which brought big smiles and excitement to children’s faces! On both the first and second floors, booth vendors had set up their tables and wares along the hallways of the mall, ranging from housewares, toys, arts and handicrafts, and services such as travel, insurance, education, health and medicine, radio and TV and non-profits. Special attraction this year was the ‘Global Bazaar’, which brought the streets of India into Global Mall with over 25 clothing, jewelry and accessory booth vendors set up inside Ashiana’s banquet hall on the 2nd floor of the mall. Throngs of visitors enjoyed the look and feel of South Asian street shopping in the Global Bazaar and through the hallways of the mall.
The guests were courteously greeted by the entire Global Mall family, staff and volunteers at the welcome table. Every year, Global Mall & Legacy Jewels sponsor free raffle tickets and free entrance gifts to all attendees. Raffles were run every hour around the clock, and attendees got a chance to win prizes sponsored by Global Mall and Global Mall tenants including Legacy Jewels, Ladlee, Basuree, Unique Touch, Marigold Invites, 5th Season, Glamour World, Kiann and others. This year the Global Mall family ran the Mega Prize Raffle on Saturday and Sunday evening giving away a free large flat screen TV on both days!
The weekend-long cultural show is always the highlight for visitors! Lively entertainment was provided on both days by the young and talented students from Global Mall’s dance studios, Prem’s Dance Studio and Nritya Natya Kala Bharti, and Atlanta based local artists who performed a variety of dance, songs and music items. The Gaudiya Vaishnava Association’s volunteers and children serenaded the crowd with beautiful religious medleys. The crowd was regaled more with new performances including a foot-tapping Irish dance performance by Drake Irish Dance Company and many lively dance performances by local young artists to the top Bollywood chartbusters! That was not all! There was a captivating magic show on both Saturday and Sunday followed by a special kids-only raffle with fun-filled goody bags of toys and sweets and kids prizes. This year the Mela entertained the attendees and Facebook followers with not just one but two magnificent glamorous fashion shows by 5th Season and Kiian Jewelers. As in the previous years, this year’s Global Mela’s fashion shows were once again a super hit, with beautiful fashionistas displaying elegant and one-of-a-kind fashionware and jewelry.
New this year, Global Mall organized a free Health and Wellness program with workshops and seminars running all day both Saturday and Sunday. Visitors enjoyed free yoga classes conducted by Sunita Joshi, meditation workshops for adults and kids hosted by Science of Spirituality with speaker Arvind Naik, Nutrition and Body seminars focused on South Asian diets and diabetes conducted by Saira Gillani with Thrive Health Systems and Nilam Desai with Emory St. Joseph Hospital, and a Diabetic Foot Seminar with Vinay Matai from Kaiser Permanente. Co-organizer of Global Mela, Aarti Aggarwal stated “The goal of introducing a Health and Wellness component is to help focus on providing free workshops and seminars that can reduce stress in people’s lives and help them learn ways to live healthier lifestyles.”
Well known and respected Global Mall owner, social activist and philanthropist Shiv Aggarwal commented, “Global Mela is dear to me as I consider it as my small gesture in giving back to the South Asian and Atlanta community. To see families come together and smile and enjoy themselves during this culturally festive weekend is why Global Mall hosts Global Mela free for all every year. I want to thank my family and Global Mall’s staff and volunteers for making this event possible through their hard work for months prior to the event. I wish to thank the media – including India Tribune, Atlanta Dunia, NRI Pulse, Desi-Express, Rashtra Darpan, Khabar, Desh Videsh and Saathee. My special thanks to Vinod Devlia of Photography by Vinod, for his photography services in recording the entire event. I wish to thank the Norcross Police Department with well-deserved compliments for manning the parking lot and handling the large crowds. I am happy that the attendance at the Mela is increasing each year and we are able to make Global Mela the cornerstone for community events in the future!”
For more information about the mall and to view photos of the event, please visit www.amsglobalmall.com and the Facebook Page for Global Mall.