Last week, members of Ventana by Buckner, a Buckner senior living community in Dallas, celebrated Deepavali, or Diwali, an Indian festival of lights. There are five members living at Ventana who are from India who wanted to share one of the most joyful Indian festivals with their friends and neighbors.
"Deepavali is the biggest, happiest festival so no matter where we are, we make sure it happens,” said Rekha Mehendale, a member at Ventana. “We wanted to showcase Indian culture to our friends here at Ventana.”
Rekha and her husband Hari have lived at Ventana since February 2020. They came to America in 1968 for her husband’s job as a scientist and have not been able to visit India for the last 15 years, so celebrating Deepavali is one way to bring a little piece of home to where they are living.
“We came to the United States almost 52 years ago and have made it our second home,” Rekha said. “Living in America brings the fun of participating in traditional American holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Independence Day. At the same time, we continue to celebrate our Indian festivals as in India. So you see, we are indeed blessed with the best of two worlds.”
Due to scheduling issues, they held the celebration last week, a bit later than it is traditionally celebrated in India. Members gathered to enjoy authentic Indian music, dancing, henna art, saree draping, diya and a delicious three-course meal.
“This was a special celebration of love and friends,” said Lauren Saloom, director of lifestyle services at Ventana. “It’s truly breathtaking the amount of effort, hard work and dedication that went into this evening. It was very special and it was so special to me because it’s special to them. We really wanted to create opportunities for all our members to learn more about their neighbors.”