(As published in India Currents)
True to its motto to unite, serve, and celebrate, the India Community Center’s “New Year Gala” promises to bring together generations and serve up a heady mix of activities, entertainment, eats, and drink to celebrate the coming of 2010.
“We like our members to have a fun time with their entire family—kids, parents, and grandparents,” says Seshan Rammohan, ICC executive director. He adds that this year extra attention has been paid to children by designating a few rooms as kid-friendly zones with their own dance floor and music. There is also a magic show planned and assisted craft activities.
Helping the 21-and-over crowd ring in the New Year will be a hosted daiquiri bar, a seemingly perfect choice being that it has some masti (rum), some khatta (lime), and some meetha (sugar or fruit). And given that food is the road to many an Indian’s heart, Dosa Place will be serving up hot dosas and delicacies from many Indian regions at live cooking stations.
Food will not be the only thing sizzling that night; Bollywood grooves will heat things up with some 20 dancers of the Mona Sampath Dance Company, which recently had actor/heartthrob Shahrukh Khan as their lead at The Fairmont Hotel in San Jose. Sampath herself has several notches on her Bollywood belt, having performed with film stars such as Akshay Kumar and Karishma Kapoor. She also had the opportunity to choreograph for Himesh Reshammiya, Shaan, Kunal Ganjawala, and Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman.
The dance company’s repertoire ranges from Bollywood to Western, Indian classical and lyrical styles, jazz, and modern, offering classes in many locations including San Jose, Sunnyvale, Fremont, and Pleasanton. The company also boasts fitness regimens that will get your heart pumping Bollywood style.
Also performing that night will be the only known Indian Jewish comedian with Mumbai roots, Samson Koletkar. A software professional when in front of the computer and a comedian when faced with a mike, Koletkar began his affair with stage by emceeing ICC events in the years past.
He considers the stage his world, and everything in it as part of the funny world. “When you crack a joke and no one laughs, you can either tell yourself, ‘I am not funny,’ or you can go back home, edit the joke, and try it again until you get the laugh,” Koletkar says.
When not performing himself, he showcases other comedians on his show, “Comedy Off Broadway Oakland,” in Oakland every Thursday and Friday night.
There will be some homebrewed entertainment as well in the form of the ICC karaoke band, which will be performing Bollywood hits from the golden era to present.
Spinning the tunes will be DJ Andy Atta, one of the first Bollywood DJs in the Bay Area, and dhol player Paul will keep the adrenalin rushing through the countdown to 2010, the balloon drop, and champagne toast.
“This is the only place where I can celebrate it with my family, unlike clubs or big convention centers.” says Fremont resident Shobha Madegowda, who has attended several ICC New Year’s events. “I dance all night, and so do my kids.”
All in all, the ICC New Year party will compel one to feel warm and tingly (there will be an all-night bar, after all), lively, and part of the family—your existing one and the one you’ll make at the party.
Thursday, Dec. 31, 7 p.m.-1 a.m. ICC, 525 Los Coches St., Milpitas. $79 general advance, $29 children 2-12 advance; $99 general after Dec. 15, $39 children. Tickets: www.IndiaCC.org.