Category Archives: Articles

Did you sign the petition to stop Ikea in Dublin?

no-ikea-in-dublin-ca-2016If not, it’s still not too late. The more I have thought about this, the more it makes little sense to have an Ikea open up in this area. If you tend to agree, do something, do your bit, at least be heard. One way is to petition here:
https://www.change.org/p/dublin-city-council-say-no-to-ikea-in-dublin-california
If you know of another way, please do share. I signed because an Ikea does not seem like the best way to use this prime land. Dublin and adjoining cities are places for families, not the kind of places that need the kind of furniture Ikea sells (go near a university!). It seems Ikea is just using this parcel’s location near a major interchange to get people from afar come and shop at this Ikea – it will bring traffic, pollution, and more cars that will start driving into the neighborhoods and could cause security issues (if you know the burglaries that have occurred in Dublin Ranch, and more recently in Pleasanton areas since Outlets opened). It has nothing positive for the residents of the area. They are not really going to find this store of much use after a visit or two – rather they have to live with the traffic and chaos on the road that will follow. Dublin Blvd and 580 are becoming such a pain to drive on, anyway. And more importantly, with this, the residents loose an opportunity to get some other retail or other stores to open on this piece of land, which could have been more in line with the needs of the residents. Or maybe this area could have just been left alone. The big Ikea warehouse will be a sore sight forever.  Ikea has tried to bribe the residents a lot with its free bags , but really? Is that what it takes? The city could lament a loss of some tax revenue; but Council, have a soul! Dublin is developing into a fine city with great schools, and you can do better than a big box warehouse in two colors!

Tri Valley Desi Population – on Map for the first time

What’s a better testimony than numbers? That the Tri Valley Area is undergoing a demographic transformation can be generally seen, but is clearly depicted in this Racial Dot Map produced by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service based on 2010 Census data. The RED dots represent Asian Population, and its easy to see how the area looked like almost four years back.  If anything, the density of the red may only be increasing in this area; in fact rather drastically over last couple of years.

Granted the red dots represent the Asian population as a whole, not people from Indian sub-continent as such. But going by what one may be observing see on the streets, stores and schools, and anecdotal data, it may not be an over statement to say that the desi Indian population is almost exploding at least in some specific areas.

The Dot Map below from Cooper Center has been over laid with specific local areas/streets to help easily identify the areas under focus.

Tri Valley Desi Asian Population in Bay Area, CA - Racial Dot Map
Tri Valley Desi Asian Population – Racial Dot Map

The Map provides a good picture of which Tri Valley Areas are popular with the Asians or Indians. What really comes as no surprise is the Windermere, Gale Ranch, Camino Tassajara area of San Ramon, along Bollinger Canyon Road. Its known to be thickly populated with Indians and Chinese. On some streets and roads you will only find Indian households door to door, one after the other. Some people says its much of a South Indian microcosm. The schools of the area present the same picture – and have excellent scores. Next in San Ramon are some older areas in west San Ramon along Alcosta and Marketplace. Particularly apartments there are high density Indians. Coming down south, the Pine Valley area has some desi population, and further south, the area between Alcosta and Village Parkway in Dublin is again heavily dotted with red.

East Dublin is the other major desi area. Especially the last couple of years has seen a major influx of desis moving from all over the Bay Area into the Dublin Ranch neighborhood, including Positano and other new construction going on in the area at fast pace that supposedly provides some of the best value in the entire Bay Area. The prime area surrounding popular  Emerald Glen park is pretty multi racial, but still reasonably desi as well. Especially towards the north of it. Dublin Boulevard from Hacienda to Village Parkway provides the best desi shopping experience with multiple stores and the Regal Cinema at Hacienda is always on with the latest Hindi release from Bollywood. The schools in the area are getting better every year – that is a no brainer. The Brigadoon area on the far west has a few desis living as well, and so do the apartments along the Dougherty Road. The apartment/condo living next to Bart in Dublin again has a good concentration of desi folks.

Pleasanton is where this Dot Map helps to give a more definitive picture than is generally known. The area between Owens Drive, Avalon Apartments and Stoneridge is heavily red. This has probably even gone higher in last year – especially with the apartments in the area. As Stoneridge meanders to the east, the homes around it are again pretty Asian, going up drastically around the south western end of Stoneridge. While West Pleasanton over all has a sprinkling of Indian population, the central business district goes quite opposite, and then again increases along 680, and showing high around the apartments south of Stoneridge Mall.

Asians are generally sprinkled over all of Tri Valley area, and Livermore shows the same pattern. The Indian population shows a little higher numbers around the Livermore Temple, kind of expected.

Check for the actual numbers from the 2010 Census for Asian Indians in Tri Valley Area with Percentage.

If you are aware of specific areas that are significantly growing in Indian Desi population, please feel free to comment below.

Sign up to stop more housing East of Dublin

Doolan Canyon is a virtually pristine open space located on east of Dublin – think of between Dublin Ranch housing area, and Costco in Livermore.
There are proposals to turn that area into more and more housing, which destroys this natural area, and raises the question on what is the need to create a glut of new housing in the area at the cost of nature, and creating pressure on existing resources.

Dublin Open Space Initiative of 2014 is a volunteer effort to collect signatures to put this on poll, and stop this.
What Can We Do to Protect it from being re-zoned as residential or commercial by the City of Dublin?

Sign up to support this and possibly help as a volunteer here: http://form.jotformpro.com/form/30947672600960

What is DOOLAN CANYON?
Doolan Canyon is a virtually pristine open space located adjacent to and east of the current eastern Dublin urban growth boundary.
It has been and is currently zoned as agricultural, and is under the jurisdiction of the County of Alameda.
This property creates an open-space buffer zone between Dublin and Livermore, as well as habitat for endangered species and a lovely visual resource for the Tri-Valley.

Why is it threatened?
Certain developers have approached the City of Dublin and requested that Dublin study a plan to annex the area called Doolan Canyon to the City of Dublin and to re-zone this open space from agricultural to residential, and permission to build a residential development.

If approved, this would:

  • Add to traffic on the main streets of Dublin;
  • Exacerbate the water situation;
  • Burden the City with the cost and responsibility to provide infrastructure as well as fire, police, and medical services;
  • Essentially destroy the canyon forever, and further reduce the rural quality of life for all of us in the Tri-valley area.
  • Impair visual resources for the area;
  • Kill or remove endangered species;

Per Around Dublin Blog, Pacific Union Homes is currently proposing to build 1,990 homes, dozens of other buildings, and a network of roads on 1,450 acres in Doolan Canyon. The site is immediately adjacent to the Doolan Canyon-Tassajara Hills Regional Preserve, which is owned by the East Bay Regional Park District. Expansion beyond Livermore’s Urban Growth Boundary and the boundaries of the unfinished Eastern Dublin Specific Plan not only threatens the stunning beauty of Doolan Canyon but also poses a significant danger to the unspoiled majesty of North Livermore Valley.

More details on this can be seen here:
http://morganking.com/save_doolan_canyon.htm

Hindi movie Race 2 at Regal Hacienda Crossings in Dublin

Bollywood movie Race 2 is playing at the Regal Hacienda Crossings in Dublin starting this Friday 01/25. Its an anticipated sequel to 2008 suspense thriller Race featuring mainstream actors and is first major release of the year.
Looks like Regal at the Hacienda Crossings may be trying to see what kind of a response does a Hindi movie elicit in Tri Valley area. This may be an extension of the trend from other Bay Area theatres like Century in Union City and Fremont, AMC Mercado in Santa Clara, UA in Emeryville where the mainstream theaters find good business in showing Bollywood releases. This is apart of Big Cinemas in Fremont that exclusively shows films from different languages in India.
With increasing Indian origin population in the Tri Valley area, perhaps its a good chance for folks to flock there, and demonstrate that indeed there is a market. If this trend continues then, it will be one less drive to Fremont or Union city.

Happy Holi, and too bad no Holi colors this year as well

Happy Holi!
After the grand Holi Dhamaal in 2010 organized by TVIA in the Emerald Glen Park in Dublin, we saw no one coming forward to organize one last year, and of course not this year as well. Holi sure is a fun time. Its one time when even strangers from the community can come together and get playful with each other. Bonhomie, dance, music is in the air. The fun is unique in itself, and sets up a good, interesting instance of an Indian festival for children.

If we don’t see an impromptu gathering in the Emerald Glen park, or elsewhere in the Tri Valley Area on the weekends of 10th/11th March, or even the next one, lets see if some of us would like to step up in ensuring we don’t go without one next year (2013).
Please participate in the poll below, if you can. Please provide an update for others if you or some group you know plans to get together to throw some colors for this year as well.

[polldaddy poll=6017680]
Please contact admin[a]trivalleydesi.com if you would like to help organize next year.

Local student on Christmas and Holidays

The ‘melting pot’ that is America is at no time more evident than during the holiday-season. It reaches the crescendo at Christmas, when, whatever your ethno-religious background, you just don’t want to NOT be a part of all the revelry. What does it then mean for non-Christians, especially as you see yourself doing more for Christmas, than for your own festivals?

Shalaka Gole, a budding student of journalism from California High School in San Ramon lays it out rather nicely in an article posted on December 23, 2011 in San Ramon Patch .

An All-American Christmas, the Hindu Way:
There is nothing like the voices of Dean, Bing, Ella, Frank, and Judy to ring in the holiday season. This year, I started listening to Christmas music on Nov. 28. Our family’s old prelit tree stands decked out in the corner as early as Dec. 4th. And I was planning Christmas presents to my friends before Thanksgiving.

This is all pretty standard American stuff, but I did all this disregarding the fact that I was raised as a Hindu in an Indian house.

I wholly subscribe to the American idea of Christmas, along with my immigrant parents and little brother. We do dress up and cook for Diwali, every year. But Christmas presents are also the norm, decorating the tree is a major event and Santa came for my little brother for 10 years. We have been willingly sucked into the commercialism and culture of the season, and I’m not terribly sorry.

I used to feel guilty about liking Christmas and felt like I was trying to fit myself into an idea of Christianity that I don’t believe in. I wasn’t sure of what it meant for me to love Christmas, a holiday that wasn’t really mine to celebrate.

But I’ve started thinking of Christmas as a culturally American time, where different kinds of people can come together for many different reasons. To some it may rightfully mean the celebration of the birth of Jesus, but to others like me, it means the mood and actions of all those around me.

There is something about the feeling of the holidays that makes the cold air less biting and puts everyone in a better mood. People smile more, sing more, count their blessings, and give to others. At school, I see Jews, Christians, Hindus, and religiously confused teenagers alike talk about how much they love the atmosphere. It’s cliché, but I think the cliché stems from truth.

I think Christmas can be said to embody America, commercialism and a profit-driven mentality mixed in with charity and good feeling, shared by those of all ethnic backgrounds. It has become a holiday anyone can celebrate, and include or leave out the pieces they wish.

This year, I’ll spend Christmas weekend eating a home-cooked Jewish meal, opening presents, listening to Sinatra and sharing with my Jewish, Chinese, Indian, Filipino, and Christian friends, making it a truly American holiday.

Karvachauth – Tradition and Fun

Its Karvachauth time, again. If you live in the Tri Valley area, this year (2011) as well you can head out to Livermore Temple for the Karva Chauth Puja / Katha. There will be three sessions on Saturday, Oct 15, 2011 – including at 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM. The pooja sessions can be joined only in the beginning, else one would need to wait for the next session.

Within Bay Area, Sunnywale, Fremont Temples typically have huge gatherings of women coming coming in the evenings for Thali Puja. In the Tri-Valley area, the Livermore Temple is slowly but steadily becoming a nodal point for this north-Indian style puja as well (even as its predominantly a Venkateswara temple). Karvachauth Moon View 2011

Mehndi/Henna – Putting Mehndi on the day, or the day prior, is also a big part of the tradition. Can’t see someone professional catering to the Tri Valley residents. So its either Do-It-Yourself, or there are other places in Bay Area to head to for about 25 bucks: Lovely Sweets-Tisha (Fremont) – 510-396-7501, or Sadia Fashion House (Fremont) – 5109968062, and probably many others.

There is special food for this festival too. Most of the grocery stores or “Sweet Shops” (like Cafe Tazza) in Dublin/Pleasanton will carry the stuff – Matthi (mostly sweet), Phenia-Jalebi, Cocunut, etc. is traditionally required.

At least in northern India, this festival has become a big fun (and big money and more!) event (beauty treatment and spas in Ludhiana, botox for Karwa Chauth in Delhi,  and and even a Karvachauth mobile app that turns the screen of your phone into a ‘sieve’ / ‘chalni’, through which one can see the moon). There apparently are no big events or get-togethers that have caught up here, but don’t be surprised to see desi women, probably traditionally attired, in movie theatres in Hacienda and elsewhere during the day this time around! Get togethers in the evening to watch the chand (moon) together has become quite common, followed by dinner pot lucks.

The last thing is the big wait for the moon – that, especially on this day, seems always to play hide and seek. Moonrise on Oct 15 this year is slated to be at 8:38 PM for San Francisco.

About: Karva Chauth is an annual one-day festival celebrated by Hindu and some Sikh women in North India and parts of Pakistan in which married (and some un-married) women fast from sunrise to moonrise for the safety and longevity of their husbands (or future husbands). The fast is observed in the states of Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat. The festival has become a big deal with Indian diaspora, including in US.

Rising Tri Valley Asian Indian Population

According to 2010 Demographic Profile Data, 11.3% of San Ramon, 7.4 of Pleasanton, and 6.8% of Dublin population is now of Asian Indian Origin.
This is a reasonably high concentration of Asian Indian population in one valley area. And if you live here, its not a surprise anymore if you see an even higher percentage of your desi brethren once you are driving in the shopping catchment area of Dublin, living in a residential cluster like Windermere, or even shopping in a place like Costco, or Babys-r-us (that tells an even different story!)

  • Dublin has 3,116 Asian-Indians, i.e 6.8% of total population
  • Pleasanton has 5,214 Asian-Indians, i.e 7.4% of total population
  • Livermore has 1,578 Asian-Indians, i.e 1.9% of total population
  • San Ramon has 8,179 Asian-Indians, i.e 11.3% of total population
  • Danville has 745 Asian-Indians, i.e 1.8% of total population

In San Ramon, where public schools are excellent and quite some new housing has been built in the last decade, Indians skyrocketed from 1,463 in 2000 to 8,179 in 2010, a jump of 459%.
City of Pleasanton, with good housing and schools, shot up 175.29% from 1,894 Indians in 2000 to 5,214 in 2010.
Dublin, a smaller city really came up from behind, with only 672 (2.2%) of its residents from India in 2000, to a new number of 3,116, an increase of 363%. This is attributable again to good schools, new upcoming housing, and better connectivity.

The numbers reflect the demographic patters of some other dynamic parts of California economy.
Indian Americans now constitute 22.6% of the population in Cupertino, 18.08% in Fremont, 15.52% in Sunnyvale, 13.64% in Santa Clara and 11.46% in Union City. By numbers, the state of California, San Jose remains first with 43,827 Indians, followed by 38,711 in Fremont and 32,996 in Los Angeles.County Population Asian Indians USA 2010
Aaccording to Census 2010 data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Indian American population in California rose from 360,392 residents in 2000 to 528,176 in 2010, an increase of 46.4%. In Counties, Alameda (from 47,194 to 72,169) and Contra Costa (from 13,376 to 18,255).

Pleasanton, Dublin redistricting may result in Indian-American winning US Congress seat

Last week, Pleasanton, Dublin and Danville have been redistricted in the Congressional electoral map. And this suddenly creates a possibility that we may see the third ever Indian-American getting elected to the U.S House after Dalip Singh Saund (1956)and Bobby Jindal (2004).
So what’s the scoop, and who are we talking about here?

A young Indian-American is now challenging established norms in an audacious bid to win a seat in the U.S House of Representatives. Ranjit Gill, a law student at University of California in Berkeley is just 24 (he’d have crossed the qualifying age by election day), but he’s drummed up a war chest of nearly $ 500,000, the third-highest in the country for a Republican challenger, forcing the party leadership and political pundits to take notice. If Gill can pull it off, he will be the youngest U.S Congressman since 1797.

Ranjit Gill (Ricky) makes an audacious bid for US Congress seat

Gill, known locally by his nickname Ricky, is aiming for the Ninth Congressional District in California, which is currently held by Democrat Jerry McNerney, 60, an engineer from Pleasanton now serving his third term. Normally, few would have given the Indian-American upstart any chance, considering the monotonous regularity with which incumbents, riding on the odds stacked against challengers in terms of raising money and nursing constituency, are re-elected.

But a growing anti-incumbency mood coupled with lucky breaks in constituency redistricting offers Gill a sniffing chance. An electoral map approved this week by California’s bipartisan Citizens Redistricting Commission will include more of San Joaquin County, where Hispanics outnumber whites, while cities like Pleasanton and Dublin (McNerney strongholds) have been moved to other districts. Local pundits say the changes have dropped areas that Gill knows nothing about (read Dublin, Pleasanton) and constituents who know nothing about him. McNerney has already said he would move from Pleasanton to San Joaquin County.

A first generation Indian-American whose parents are both physicians, Gill is pumped up in an area which has a large Sikh community involved in farming and agriculture and a big Hispanic labor force. His forbears hail from Ropar in Punjab but he was born in a town called Lodi, California (not related to the dynasty or the town from the sub-continent; it’s a town most famous for Zinfandel wine) and speaks both Punjabi and Spanish. Gill has staked out positions on major issues for the agricultural industry, including his support for diverting water to the San Joaquin Valley and the creation of a guest worker program.

Much of his campaign contributions are believed to come from alumni supporters at Princeton and UC Berkeley, and Indian-Americans in the medical, agricultural, and academic fraternity. California’s large and pedigreed Sikh community and the nearly 15 per cent Asian-American population in the district has already lined up to support him. His parents, both obstetricians who moved to the area in the 1970s, are well known in the medical community and are plugged into a sprawling fund-raising network for local political causes, which Gill has tapped into from his campaign headquarters at the Flag City RV Resort near Lodi.

Gill will turn 25 — the minimum age required to be a member of the House — a month before the June 2012 primary. He was 17 when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger chose him to serve as the student member of the State Board of Education. He attended Princeton University, graduating in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in public policy.

So Dublin, Pleasanton, Danville residents don’t really get to vote for Ranjit Gill. But the fact that voters in these cities are not part of his contituency now simply increase his chances of winning.

Dublin based Tri Valley Cricket Club back in action

The Tri Valley Cricket Club (TVCC) has been successful in restarting the club after sitting out 2010, thanks to some new recruits moving into the tri-valley area and availability of a great indoor practice facility.

The season play starts up next saturday (April 30, 2011) and runs till end of August. The club (within Tri Valley Cricket Foundation) will be playing T30 format under NCCA, which is the oldest organized cricket association in northern california.

This year the club was not able to secure the Dublin Emerald Glen park ground from the City.

Dublin Emerald Glen Park Cricket Pitch
Dublin Emerald Glen Park Cricket Pitch

So they will be playing out of Tracy (which is a “batsman’s paradise” – located at Krohn Road, Tracy, CA 95377).

Tracy Cricket Club Players
Tracy Cricket Club Players

However, they are hoping to get back to playing in Dublin next year. To qualify to play in the grounds, the club needs to attain the non-profit status 501(c)(3). However if they cannot attain the status on their own, the Club plans to look towards some Dublin based organization to sponsor them. The status requires that the organization’s membership is open to public, serves Dublin community, and membership must be ideally 51% Dublin residents (though there are ways around that). There are additional rules and insurance requirements.

The club is always open to new recruits. According to Paul Singh of TVCC, the club conducts formal practices on Wednesdays from 6:30 – 8:00 PM at Hit’N Sports in Pleasanton. Interested folks can always join them then, and can also contact the club at: [email protected]

Indian population

According to US Census Bureau American Community Survey 2009 –
The City of Pleasanton has a total foreign born population of 13,665 (20.6%), out of which 2,862 are from India.

  • i.e – 4.31% of population of Pleasanton is of Indian origin. Indians are the top Immigrant group in Pleasanton.

The City of Dublin has a total foreign born population of 9,220 (21.7%), out of which 896 are from India

  • i.e – 2.10% of population of Dublin is of Indian origin. Indians are the 5th largest immigrant group in the city.

The City of San Ramon has a total foreign born population of 13,032 (26.6%), out of which 2,621 are from India

  • i.e. – 5.35% of population of San Ramon is of Indian origin. Indians are just behind Chinese as the top immigrant group.

By comparison, about 16% of population of Fremont is of Asian Indian origin.
These numbers may look on the lower side, but well this is the statistic as of now. More current and detailed numbers are expected to be released by end of this year.

Rough ride for Holi celebrations in Tri Valley

With the number of Indian immigrants settling in Tri Valley increasing at the rate it is, if anything, one would imagine increasing community organization and participation.
So its almost not heartening to know that Holi celebration in Tri Valley this year (2011) is not on a smooth ride. The TVIA (Tri Valley Indian Association) did an excellent job organizing Holi at the Emerald Glen park in Dublin last year (2010). The event was well organized, and was a hit. There was music, dance, games, color and a lot of bonhomie, and participation. However, from there on, first the TVIA Diwali plan last year went awry (lack of participation/interest – read tickets not sold), and then this year no Holi because of lack of volunteers to organize it.
Sure, the community needs helping hands!

In any case, there is some ray of hope. ‘Art of Living Tri-Valley Center – Pleasanton/ Dublin/ San Ramon’ was apparently up to something, and they have announced holding a potluck – ‘Festival of Colors (Holi)‘ on March 19th, 2011 at 11:30 AM, and they invite friends and family to join. The location is

Limerick Park
2833 Bethany Road
San Ramon, CA 94582

If you may want to go, please contact the center (925-336-1203, 510-593-5858, sanramon[a]us.artofliving.org) for participating in the food potluck.

Other than this, surely some groups of friends may be getting ready for celebrating Holi. The official Holi date actually is March 20 (Sunday) – so don’t be surprised to see brethren from India in colors of holi in parks during the weekend of March 19-20. If any groups are forming, please spread the word around. The more the people, the merrier and colorrier!

If you are willing to drive 25+ miles, there could be other good options:.

  • Asha Stanford Holi 2011 Saturday, April 2 · 10:00am – 1:00pm Sandhill Fields Oak Rd Stanford, CA
  • Holi Garba-Raas Party – March 12, 2011 8PM – Jain Temple Milpitas
  • SEF UPMA Holi Mela 2011 Mar 19 2011 Time: 11:00 AM
  • Holi Celebration & Mela at Sunnyvale Hindu Temple Mar 20 2011, Holi Dahan on Friday March 18th @ 07.00 PM
  • Janyaa presents Holi Cupertino, CA 2011 Mar 13 2011 10:00AM
  • BAYVP Holi Garba Celebration Mar 26 2011
  • GCA Dhuleti Celebration Mar 19 2011 11:00AM
  • Rajasthani Holi 2011 Mar 19 2011 9:00AM

For details, google the events.

Diwali Celebrations this year

How is it like celebrating Diwali in bay area this year 2010? There’s been Dandiya dances all over in October. The desi stores are decked up with Diwali mithai and puja stuff. You could be planning get-togethers with friends and family. And now there are Diwali festivals being organized all over the bay area, and you could decide to attend one of those.

Happy_Diwali
There is general festivity in the air. Even the stores in the malls and elsewhere are beginning to show that holiday season is not far away. So if you would like to do any new purchases on occasion of Diwali – the Dhanteras Tradition, its not a bad time either.
The lead this year, like others, for Diwali celebration is being provided by the temples of the region.
The Bay Area Youth Vaishnav Parivar is organizing what they call ‘Diwali Celebration like back home in India‘ for five days from Nov 2 to 7 in Milpitas.
The Sunnyvale Hindu Temple is organizing Diwali Mela 2010 from Oct 29 – 31. The Livermore Hindu Temple is organizing special puja on Nov 5 and 6. The Fremont temple has the big festival going on on Nov 6. The Sikh Gurudwaras have a huge Diwali celebration and langar on Diwali as well.

Diwali at Fremont Gurdwara
Diwali at Fremont Gurdwara

Adding to the festival calendar during this time, especially for the kids, is Halloween. If adults want to indulge, there is Halloween Party + Miss India Norcal at an event organized in Milpitas.

The businesses and other associations have been active as well. Cupertino Chamber of Commerce & Asian American Business Council organized Diwali Festival on Oct 8, and IIT Foundation had their cultural competition on Oct 2 in Campbell.
The Tri Valley Indian Association is also organizing their Diwali night on Nov 13 at the Hart Middle School, Pleasanton. So if you are in Dublin, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Danville – this could be your local Diwali festival. (UPDATE Nov 4, 2010 – the Pleasanton event stands cancelled).

Private parties and potlucks on Diwali are common – then there are Diwali Meetups like this one if one is interested in for San Ramon Pleasanton area for Nov 6.

And finally, for the day of Diwali, plan on dressing up, lighting up your house, do rangoli, puja, eat a lot of mitthai but refrain from any fireworks.

Dandiya hee Dandiyaa

Well, next in the calendar is Navratri, and Dandiya or Garba nights that come with it.
Garba is an Indian form of dance that originated in the Gujarat region. It is more similar to Western folk dance than to the presentational style of Indian classical dances such as bharatanatyam and odissi. The name garba comes from the Sanskrit term Garba (“womb”) and Deep (“a small earthenware lamp”).
Modern garba is also heavily influenced by raas. Raas or Dandiya Raas is the traditional folk dance form of Vrindavan, India, where it is performed depicting scenes of Holi, and lila of Krishna and Radha. Along with Garba, it is the featured dance of Navratri evenings in Western India.

There is a huge interest in Garba amongst the youth of the Indian and in particular Gujarati diaspora in Garba. Garba and Dandiya Raas are popular in US where more than 20 Universities have Raas Garba Competitions of a huge scale every year with professional choreography.

What to wear:
Both men and women usually wear colorful costumes while performing garba and dandiya. The girls and the women wear ghaghra choli, a three-piece dress with choli on the top and ghaghra as bottom, made of cotton with beads, shells, mirrors, sitars, and embroidery work, mati, jhumkas, necklaces, bindi, bajubandh, chudas and kangans, kamarbandh, payal, and mojiris and dupatta tucked in the Gujarati manner. Boys and men wear kafni pyjamas with a kediyu – a short round kurta – above the knees and pagadi on the head with bandhini dupatta, kada, and mojiris.

In Dandiya Raas men and women dance in two circles, with sticks in their hands. In the old times Raas did not involve much singing, just the beat of Dhol was enough. “Dandiya” or sticks, are about 18″ long. Each dancer holds two, although some times when they are short on Dandiya they will use just one in right hand. Generally, in a four beat rhythm, opposite sides hit the sticks at the same time, creating a nice sound. One circle goes clockwise and another counter clockwise. In US, people don’t form full circles, but instead often form rows.

Participate, and enjoy Dandiya in the Bay Area. For Tri Valley folks, there is one on Oct 16 in Pleasanton!

Vibha Dandia 2010
When: Saturdays, Oct 2nd, 9th and 16th
Where: Centerville Junior High School , 37720 Fremont Boulevard, Fremont, California 94538
Cost: Early bird tickets: $10, • Regular price: $13 • Kids aged 10 and under: FREE • Door price: $15 (if available)
Others: • Free Dandia/Raas/Garba lessons will be provided by experienced dancers to all ticket holders • Dandia sticks, Food and beverages can be purchased at the venue

vibha dandia 2010 bay area
vibha dandia 2010 bay area

SEF Dandia 2010 Sankara Eye Foundation
When: Oct 9th and 23rd 2010 (Santa Clara) ; Oct 16th 2010 (Pleasanton) – 7:00 PM
Where: Santa Clara Convention Center, Alameda County Fairgrounds, Pleasanton
Cost: $15
Others: FREE: Dandia Lessons for ALL, Entrance For Kids Under Age 5, Parking. Also, complimentary Check-In Service for Your Dandia Sticks, Special Dancing Area For Kids providing them Extra Safety, Free teak dandia sticks for first 500 tickets per event

SEF Dandia Bay Area
SEF Dandia Bay Area
SEF Dandia 2010
SEF Dandia 2010

Small Steps Diwali Dandia 2010
When: Oct 30 2010, at 7:30pm
Where: Address :Centerville Junior High School in Fremont – 37720 Fremont Boulevard, Fremont, CA
Cost: Early Bird (Until Oct 10th) :Adult – $10, Child (5-12) – FREE, Regular (After Oct 10th) :Adult – $13, Child (5-12) – $5, At the Gate :Adult – $15, Child (5-12) – $5
Others: Free Dandia Lesson during 1st hour

Small Steps Dandia 2010
Small Steps Dandia 2010

Sewa Dandia 2010
When: Oct 8 2010 8:00PM
Where: Sunnyvale Temple Hall, 420 Persian Drive, Sunnyvale, CA
Cost: General Admission $10 (FREE For Kids Under 10 Years)
Others: Subsidized food; All proceeds will go towards Sewa International service projects. Free lessons for Dandia.
Sewa Dandia 2010 Bay Area

IFDA Navratri Hungama 2010
When: Oct 24 2010 6:00PM
Where: East Valley YMCA Gym, 1975 South White Road, San Jose, CA
Cost: :$10 Current IFDA Students and immediate families, non-IFDA attendes under the age of 12. $15 – non-IFDA attendees above the age of 12.
Others: Lessons; Celebrity Guest Ganesh Venkataraman; bone-marrow drive
IFDA Navratri 2010