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Los Angeles, April. 25, 2022 KP Singh/ Ramesh/ A.Gary Singh

This all happened at the emerging vibrant courtyard of cultures: The Global Village Welcome Center, on Saturday as several Asian organizations, 70 colorful displays with carefully prepared spreads of information, iconic cultural displays reflecting traditional insights, festive and fabulous Asian fashions, and the spirit of Asia was being "Heard" and their "Indiana Experiences of more than Century" took center stage.

Each participant showcased their best before a record 3,000 Hoosier friends of many cultures, faiths, ethnicity and nationalities that had gathered to celebrate the annual Asian America and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in Indianapolis.The audience and performers included a multi-generational, multicultural, and scores of amazingly gifted dancers, musicians, and included a world-class celebrity -singer, songwriter, and dancer, Anita Lerche who also served as a Master of Ceremonies along with Marlon Alfonso, President of the Nationalities Council of Indiana, Inc. that organizes the annual International Festival; and many distinguished guests - Mayor Joe Hogsett, Deputy Mayor Judith Thomas, Head of the City-County Council, a surprise visit by the former Mayor and Mrs. Greg Ballard, and leaders of several Asian American Organizations. The event was spearheaded by Rupal Thakker Thanawala, the dynamic President of the Asian American Alliance, Inc. and the AAAI Board members, and was supported by the City of Indianapolis, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage, and others; and several generous sponsor, some for these friends very first time.

The highlights of the non-stop five hour MELA - festive, fun, and enchanting afternoon was an amazing feast of a 15 magnificently choreographed and colorful performances that reflect vibrant diversity in the Hoosier Heartland: A parade of fabulous fashions, a delicious treat of colorful Asian dances by multi-generational stars, beautiful cultural displays taking our mind and spirit to the distant lands with fabled cultures and cherished traditions and pastimes.

There was incredible pioneering-energy and joy that comes from feeling a sense of belonging; and the sheer happiness of being in a welcoming City and State, and a Nation that is our home. We felt proud that we were in a hospitable State where our presence, cultures and traditions and our concern, opportunities and contributions matter, and we can be valued partners in shaping our shared future.

For many in attendance, the outstanding children's performances, the Chinese Dragon and Lions dances, the magnificent ribbon twirlers, Filipino Bamboo dancers, exotic sounds and rhythms of music with ancient instruments, and the presence and participation by our new recent friends from Afghanistan offered introductions to our wonderful Asian world and stole the show. The crowning triumph belonged to the beautiful singing of a Hindi Bhajan (hymn) and SIMRAN (sacred Sikh chant) by Indiana's own Danish-Punjabi-Hoosier international celebrity, Anita Hjorth Lerche, and then changing the tempo to the robust and rocking Punjabi Bhangra Dance and inviting the guests to join on the dance floor. Among those who joined - Mayor Joe Hogsett.

As I reflected upon what had just transpired: I saw the dream of the late Dr. Robert Nelson, the visionary Founder of the International Center; KP Singh, a tireless and passionate advocate for over half-a-century of opening Indiana's window to the world and the world's interest in Indiana, who often reminds the farsighted and enlightened leaders in Indiana the beautiful words from the sacred Upanishads - "I want the windows of my house open so that the winds of culture may freely flow through them;" the famous challenge of English poet William Blake: "Clasp hands and know the thoughts of men (people) in other lands;" and the dream of Dr. Albert Chen - the Founder and guiding light of the Asian American Alliance, Inc. and an Indiana Living Legend who exemplifies for Asian Americans and all Hoosiers: To serve our State and lead with our talents, commitment, and investments.

We saw that dream and lessons alive. The Hoosier Asians and our leaders working together, making giant leaps to welcome and include the best that the recent generations of daring and dedicated pioneers have to offer. For me and countless others, that is a cause for celebration and a call to determination to strive even harder to be trusted partners going forward in all that matters. That best defines the true meaning and spirit of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This celebration was made possible because thousands of voices and friendly teachers generously guided the Hoosier Asian communities, embraced our hopes and concerns and took us under their wings. They are today leading us forward for a rightful place for our talents, cultures, and generations. A Big THANK YOU to all who made the 2022 Asian Fest a memorable milestone at many levels. Each photo included in this Prayerful Reflection has a story of what we saw and what some missed.

Respectfully, KP Singh (KP Singh Designs) - Indianapolis, Indiana USA - May 21, 2022.