Marwaris celebrate Deepavali by giving

More than 450 people attended the Diwali Ball, organised by the Marwari Mitra Mandal (MMM) at the Ritz-Carlton Millennia last Sunday.

The event was based on the theme Jaipur 2 Singapore - which conveyed the idea of how people migrate from Rajasthan (a state in India that Marwaris call home) to Singapore and settle down.

Members from the community, who are generally known to be highly successful in business, donned the actors' roles in Marwar Express 2, which told the story of Chagan and Kajal, who arrive in Singapore after their wedding in India.

While Chagan gets busy with his photography career, Kajal is left to adjust to her new life in Singapore on her own. Demands of a hectic, modern life take a toll on their relationship, increasing the frequency of their tiffs and arguments.

A long-overdue honeymoon never materialises. Unexpected guests from India only add to the complications.

Matters get out of hand, until Chagan's parents and the arrival of the festival of love and commitment - Karwa Chauth - make the couple realise the true meaning of a partnership for life.

Kajal and Chagan reaffirm their mutual love during Deepavali.

"Every year we try to do something new with the objective of letting our community travel back to its roots," said Mr Praveen Kumar Jain, MMM's president.

"Marwar Express was a mesmerising in-house skit that allowed us to express societal, cultural and familial values which brought plenty of smiles and laughter throughout the night."

The MMM has been organising the Diwali Ball every year since it was incorporated in 2005. Some of the themes in recent years have been Diwali Milan, Marwar Express - A Journey of Love and Togetherness and Diwali Dhamaka.

This year, at the Diwali Ball, the MMM also contributed $2,100 to the Food From The Heart (FFTH) charity, which fights hunger in Singapore through bread rations and food packs.

This was on top of the 500kg rice and 500kg oil that MMM donated to FFTH at its open house.

"What struck me especially this year is MMM's efforts in raising funds for Food From The Heart and that is really a good sign because it shows that they care for those in our midst who are of low income and less privileged," said Mr Lim Biow Chuan, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, who was the guest of honour.

"In my speech, I thanked the president and members of MMM for their generosity in making a difference in the lives of others."

The MMM, which has about 320 family-members, organised several other events this year, including holi celebrations, Gangaur and Teej festivals, badminton and bowling tournaments and a blood-donation camp.

"The MMM's aim is to bring Marwaris in Singapore together, maintain the community's social and cultural heritage and help them integrate with the larger Singapore society and the Marwari community throughout the world," said Mr Jain.

"This Diwali event was special because we not only celebrated but were also able to donate to the less fortunate. Everyone was in a festive mood wearing traditional outfits and it was a wonderful evening with participation by the entire community."

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