Club of Indian Women Celebrates Valentine’s day

Lombard IL: With red and pink heart-shaped balloons at the entrance of the banquet hall, over 200 guests gathered for a vibrant Valentine celebration on Sat., Feb. 23, 2013 at Viceroy of India, Lombard, according to a press release. Sponsored by the Club of Indian Women (CIW), the event was chaired by Pratibha Jairath, SaReGaMa Orchestra led by Hitesh Master and Kafi Khan provided the music. The singers were Pratibha Jairath, Raju Bankapur, and Hitesh Master joined by guest singer, Shaila Khedkar. The program was emceed by Madhu Uppal and Jairath.

The evening peaked with Jairath singing love songs like Agar Tum Mil Jao, Aiye Meharban, Yeh Sama, Ajeeb Dastaan Chikni Chameli, and Yeh Mer Dil. . The dance floor filled up in no time and stayed that way when Raju Bankapur continued the singing with Sochenge Tumhe Pyar, Chand Sifarish, and Bachna Ae Haseeno. Later, the show continued with Master’s melodious numbers of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Khedkar’s rendering of Kaisi Paheli and Parda Parda. The singing and dancing continued till midnight. Just about every lady guest at the Valentine celebration was in glamorous red or black and red attire and men in their best red tie or bow.

Many creative classic and fusions dances were presented. The spellbound audience sat through the whole program. A Bharat Natyam dance was performed by Vidya Pandekar, a teacher in her own right and a student of ‘Padma Shree’ award winner Guru Adyar K. Lakshman. Students of Dance Petals School presented a Tarana in Kathak style and Gurmeet, also a dance teacher, performed a Bharat Natyam piece. Finally, students of Mudra Dance Academy presented a Fusion and Bhangra dance. The level of talent and training was impressive, the release added.

Guests participated in couples’ games, quiz on Bollywood movies, and bought raffle tickets. They enjoyed delicious dinner and, having danced to live music, went home in a romantic mood.

CIW President Prem Sharma compared the Club to a child’s ‘comfy blanky’ for the feelings of security, support, and confidence it has provided members for the last 35 years through bonds of friendship and teamwork. Recapitulating its growth since inception in 1978, she recounted how it has addressed women’s and family issues, recognizing the need for an Indo Crisis Hotline, which eventually led to the establishment of Apna Ghar to give shelter, support, and guidance to victims of domestic abuse or women in dire need of help. CIW had in the past also arranged activities for seniors and held seminars for working women to get better adjusted to the corporate culture and the American business world.

Expressing full confidence in the future of CIW, Sharma said, “We are continuing our efforts to empower our community through grassroots educational outreach, spotlighting cultural events, and promoting financial programs such as scholarships and endowments. These programs will help us help others, and will be our legacy for generations to come,” the release noted.

The key planners of this Valentine event were Jairath and CIW board members. The Club thanked Anil and Asha Oroskar for their generous donation and appreciation of Jairath’s efforts. Indu Sehgal poured her ‘heart’ into the heart-shaped Mylar balloons at the entrance and on the tables. Anita Sarang and Urmilla Chawla left no stones unturned when it came to selling raffle tickets. Pramilla Malhotra, Suman Mohlajee, Vandana Bankapur, Madhu Uppal, and Priyam Sood helped at the reception desk.

Known as the Kishore Kumar of Chicago, the versatile Raju Bankapur has been performing in the United States for more than 15 years. He has sung on stage with many Bollywood singers and recently was lead male singer with the legendary Kavita Krishnamurthy when they performed for an audience of 7000 people in Florida.

A talented singer with a beautiful voice, Pratibha Jairath performs on karaoke and with live band at parties across Chicagoland. Hitesh Master, who led the orchestra, has performed with renowned music directors from Bollywood, such as Shankar Jaikishen, and visiting singers from Bollywood. Having received his Master’s degree in music from Gandharva Vidyalaya in Ahmedabad, he was Director of Music at the international school of Zambia. Rythmist Kafi Khan has provided computerized music for 20 plus years on stage with the SAREGAMA orchestra.