Abu Dhabi: India Fest, a three-day annual festival, ended in the capital on Saturday night with residents appreciating the opportunity as a rendezvous of Indian expatriates from across the country and their friends of various other communities, including Emiratis.
Hundreds of residents attended the eighth edition of the festival at the Indian Social and Cultural Centre (ISC), despite the forecast of unstable weather during the weekend.
Joy Thomas John, honorary president of the ISC, said participation of Emiratis and other communities along with Indians was noteworthy. “This reflects deepening friendship between Indians and Emiratis. We find this increased Emirati participation in several activities of the ISC and another example is the upcoming UAE Open Body Building Competition to be held on December 22.”
John said around 30 per cent of already registered participants for the competition are Emiratis. He said African drummers and dance performance by Filipino, Spanish, Russian and Samba artists gave a different experience this year, attracting the participation from several other communities.
A resident said he was happy to see children and elderly people from various Indian states enjoying the festive mood. “It was wonderful!” said Kamal Dutta, 58, a quality and HSC manager from Pune.
He said he happily spent a lot of time at a bookstall in the commercial area and picked up three books that were otherwise not available in the UAE. The food offered by various Indian communities reflected culinary varieties of India.
“I was happy to taste the food from my home state, offered by Maharashtra Mandal [a community organisation of people from the state],” Dutta said.
Abhishek Nevagi, 27, a traffic engineer from Mumbai, said he was enthralled by live musical programme of Bollywood singer Aditi Singh Sharma and water drum performance by Sonu Sebastian. “It was a different experience,” he said.
M.A. Salam, honorary general secretary of the ISC, said cultural programmes performed by various Indian regional community organisations gave a glimpse of India’s diverse culture.
Jayachandran Nair, honorary vice-president of the ISC, said specially arranged light and sound system and live display of events on LED screens made a spectacle.
A raffle draw based on the entry tickets to the event gave away 20 prizes on Saturday evening. The mega raffle draw for a Chevrolet Aveo car and 500 grams of gold will held on March 29, 2018 at the end of the ISC’s golden jubilee celebrations.
Several other entertainment programmes will also be held in the coming weeks on the ISC premises as part of the celebrations.