There was a riot of colors and festivities inside Corning-Painted Post middle school on a generally grey November evening. The STICA community had once again come together to celebrate Diwali/Deepavali — a festival of light and good-will — there was love in the air, affection in our hearts, and smiles on our faces.
At the onset, there was arrangements for delectable vegetable rolls, seriously mouth-watering cauliflower 65, and the most satisfying cup of steaming hot chai. It was ensured that guests would not go hungry during an hour long show. A teenage performer was anxious. For the first time she was performing for a crowd where she knew everybody. She was performing on home turf amidst apne log, naa prajalu, or our own people. Very quickly she realized that this audience was her best friend. The emcees knew all along. They welcomed their friends, beautifully weaving in the thunderous applause, tongue twisters, and the trivia within the talent showcase. Even the dad jokes were a hit. The audience did not disappoint — it was the most loving and cheering crowd, admiring the little ones, appreciating the hard works of all, and engaging in a way that a small, yet only a strong community can.
Classical Bharatnatyam dance performers both opened and closed the event, raising our expectations of what’s to come, and at the end satisfying the ever-enthusiastic crowd. In between the opening and the closing act, it was all a riot. Our very own Blazing Star boys and Dancing Diva girls stole the show with Bollywood energy, Masakalies wearing their beautiful Rajasthani ghagra-choli wowed us with an out of the world rendition of Ghoomar, the young ones on piano and the violin mesmerized us, the sultry singing took us down the memory lane and the sizzling Sridevi tribute warmed our hearts. We must give a shout out to Mr. Satyendra Nagar — the one and only fearless man to grace the stage on “Chandni, O meri Chandni” with his own beautiful Chandni. The ladies’ group, true to their name brought about a paradigm shift by pushing their talents to come up with outstanding choreography and captivating performance on Swalla Jathi and Carnatic version of Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You. It was bang on with the vibe of the evening. Ladies ruled the stage, the entertainment, the event, the food and the energy. Maybe in the years to come we will see more men join the ladies on stage. We can trust the STICA community to love that and to whoop and whistle and clap as much if not more.