Press Release – Vaisakni Raat 2004

The Punjabi Cultural Society of Connecticut celebrated Vaisakhi Raat 2004, an evening of cultural activities, to a packed hall at the Farmington High School Auditorium on Saturday, April 3rd. The festivities traditionally associated with the harvesting time are anintegral part of Punjabi and Sikh cultural milieu.

Starting with delectable appetizers set the tone for the evening – a desire to have more – full but not satiated. That is part of the culture – yes food; especially if it is good makes up for a lot of other things. The organizers did seem to recognize that and it speaks volumes for them knowing their clientele!

The opening village scene could have been an idyllic setting of an afternoon in the plains of Punjab. The damsels out filling water at the well; some working the spinning wheel at home; others running errands and in their midst young spoilt males walking inanely looking at the joy that God had bestowed to a land of plenty. The colorful attires, the cheerful demeanors, the seemingly authentic stage setting was nostalgic.

There were items by the toddlers, the teen groups and the adults. While the elders were a delight to watch with their well choreographed and rehearsed presentations of Gidda by women and Bhangra by men, there would be other memories too that might abide. It was great watching a young boy of six who confidently and with tremendous flourish and ease brought the finale to their item playing at the dhol almost twice his size. Again the little five year- old girl who played the lead in her group danced with so much grace and rhythm – a sheer delight.

There was also some singing; lots of anecdotes and jokes and an array of MCs – lots of them in the making made one feel secure that there is depth in the group to provide continuity. They did explore some higher planes – recitation of some poems; one by a visiting Poet and another a lovely rendering of Shiv Batalvi’s work.

The stage settings were beautiful though the change over from an item to the next sometimes seemed to drag. The DJs job by no means ever easy seemed to have been more difficult for some reason for the person handling it.

The food was good but I did not ask those who brought up the rear because those who got there first did not leave much for them. Now that is some compliment to hearty Punjabi appetite! The organizers, Ritu Zazzaro, Minnie Randhawa, Inderbir Randhawa, Hargurpreet Singh, Vapinder Singh and several others deserve congratulations.

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