Oswego, Ill. Telugu Association of Greater Chicago (TAGC) celebrated the Diwali and Dasara celebrations on November 1st at Oswego East High School, Oswego, Illinois. The festivities were attended by 1200+ Telugu speaking people, Lt. Governor Shiela Simon, Governor Quinn’s top Indian aide and included performances by Artist Abhinay Krishna and Indian Idol Fame Karunya and Hima Bindhu.
The venue was located within the Chicagoland area; parking was plenty and TAGC Executive committee did a wonderful job in providing appropriate instructions for all attendees. Visitors registered in an outer lobby which housed several booths for platinum sponsors and vendors for food, clothing and other knick knacks. All attendees received a wristband with an allocated seat number which made it convenient to find a seat in the packed auditorium.
Once inside the inner lobby members of the Youth Committee helped attendees purchase raffle tickets for the Grand Prize for the night. The raffle was led by Youth committee volunteers organized by Vandana Reddy and Uma Katiki. All attendees were greeted with traditional Indian sweets. Both the inner and outer lobbies were decorated in traditional Telugu decorations and the art work from Late. Bapu Garu a renowned artist in Telugu community. By dinner time, all seats were sold out. Registration was planned and coordinated by Ram Ade, Hari Raini, Srinivas Chada, Krishna Mushyam and Ramesh Garapaty, Ramu Billakanti. The stage was decorated with artistic banners depicting Diwali, an idol of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Krishna and beautiful art work led by Malleswari Pedamallu, Pavithra Karumuri, Malathi Damaraju, Kiran Mattey and Radhika Garimella.
The cultural and entertainment program was coordinated by Sujatha Appalaneni and Siva Pasumarti. It included traditional, Tollywood, Folk and Fusion dances, Keerthanas (devotional chanting), skits, and various other performances. The fashion show done by the youth committee was a place to be to see our youth in traditional Indian and Telugu clothing. Kids were ushered in by Malathi Damaraju and Kiran Mattey.
A meeting of Chicago Area Telugu Seniors (CATS) was held in an adjoining room where members discussed various matters. The meeting was facilitated by Bhargavi Nettem, Jagan Bukkaraju and Ramesh Garapaty and was attended by a number of distinguished seniors from the Chicagoland Telugu community. The seniors discussed various issues faced by the community and commended the efforts of TAGC in bringing the needs of seniors to the forefront.
Dinner was served during a break in the performances and was catered by Cool Mirchi of Schaumburg. Items included many delicacies and reminded of Telugu traditional food. A traditional Telugu dessert called Kova Puri was served and thanks to KSN Reddy (TAGC BoD) for sponsoring and bringing them from India. Planning and execution of dinner was coordinated by Raghav Jatla and Dinkar Karumuri and supported by Anji Reddy, Jagan Bukkaraju, Narender Chemarla, KSN Reddy, and other TAGC BoDs. Adult and Youth Volunteers were very helpful in assisting to manage the crowd and food serving.
Communications Committee Chair Dinkar Karumuri talked about the coming elections and the importance of getting out and vote, and introduced Prashanthi Rao Raman, top Indian aide in Governor Quinn’s office to give the address from the Governor Quinn himself as he was unable to make it to the event. Prashanthi had fond memories of TAGC as she grew up as part of TAGC and was pleasantly surprised by the sheer turn out of people and the tremendous growth. Dinkar then introduced Mr. Raja Krishnamoorthi who is no stranger to the Chicago Indian community and Governor Quinn’s appointee as Vice Chair to the Illinois innovation council, he talked about the greatness of such an event and introduced Lt. Governor Sheila Simon and her husband Perry on to the Stage. Ms. Simon talked about the significance of Diwali of being the pursuit of good over evil and talked about the significance of her elections to the Illinois community, and requested everyone to get out and vote. TAGC President Srinivas Pedamallu and ATA President Karunakar Madhavaram presented Mrs. Simon and Ms. Raman with a plaque showing appreciation from TAGC’s members. Krishna Bansal an Indian Candidate was invited on to the stage to address the crowd, Krishna talked about the importance of Education and the reforms that are required in the state of Illinois, and related to the importance of Education in the Indian community. He is currently running for State representative from District 84 in Illinois.
The Grand Raffle was sponsored by Regal Jewelers and was presented by Jay Shewakramani. Two lucky winners won a 10 gram Gold Coin and a 5 gram Gold Coin.
All the wonderful pictures were covered by our TAGC BoD Murthy Pisipati and all the Youth Volunteers were planned and coordinated by Vandana Reddy. Our Sports Committee lead Pradeep Kandimalla led the trophies presentation to all the winners from TAGC Tournaments such as PingPong, Basketball, Volleyball, Cricket, Tennis and Badminton. All the trophies were presented by TAGC Platinum Sponsors.
The highlight of the night was entertainment provided by Abhinaya Krishna who bought together the audience and everyone enjoyed the program. The musical entertainment by Telugu Indian Idol singer Karunya supported by Hima Bindhu. Both of them brought their many talents to the stage in singing, dancing, engaging the crowd and providing a jolt of energy to the event. The songs they performed included nostalgic numbers as well as the latest songs. They showed their versatility in singing songs ranging from melodies to fast dance numbers.
Being the last event for 2014 under the leadership of Srinivas Pedamallu, all the highlights of 25 events that were held in 2014 were showcased. Remarks were echoed by the audience sentiment as how much everyone appreciated the events and the new energy in TAGC. Srinivas Pedamallu acknowledged Past President from 2013 Ramesh Garapaty and graciously acknowledged all the 2014 Board of Directors, executive committee, volunteers and importantly all the sponsors who make these events possible. Our platinum sponsors include – Professional Mortgage Services, NY Life Agent – Krishna Rangaraju, NorthGate Dental Center – Dr. Surekha Sakala, John Greene Realtor Dr. Dakshaini Anand, Viceroy of India and various other sponsors – Air India, Masala India Restaurant, Ind Soft, eAlliance, Bhimas Masala, TeluguStop.com, Senryo Technologies, Inc., Indian CPA- Roy Vargis, V2 Financial group, and Dimonda Chiropractic.
Then he welcomed President Elect Jagan Bukkaraju and he introduced new board members that joined/renewed for 2015 – Ram Ade, Raghav Jatla, Anji Reddy Kandimalla, Bhargavi Nettem, Ram Billakanti, Krishna Mushyam and Sai Gongati, and then introduced the President Elect Pradeep Kandimalla. Jagan also introduced his Executive committee and indicated that a poll would be sent to solicit feedback from the TAGC members on how to improve and asked for continued support.
The night concluded with the singing of Jana Gana Mana - the Indian National Anthem.