The energy and enthusiasm of the Indian-Americans are visible through the huge digital billboards on major highways across Houston welcoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Indian flags can also be seen fluttering outside their homes ahead of PM Modi’s arrival here on September 22 for ‘Howdy, Modi!’, the mega diaspora event.
According to a Houston-based non-profit body, a record audience of over 50,000 people have already registered for the event to be held at the sprawling NRG Stadium, the host Texas India Forum (TIF). ‘Howdy’, short for 'How do you do?', is a friendly greeting commonly used in the southwestern United States and is a clear representation of how the Indian-American population is feeling before the mega event.
Apart from the huge billboards on major highways, numerous yard signs have appeared in the city. Indian flags have also been put outside homes of Indian-Americans across the city as they are counting the days for the historic event in the world's largest energy capital. While on a personal level, people have been presenting their excitement on Twitter.
Moreover, various contests have also been flagged off before the event for the people to participate in and win ‘cool prizes.’
There is a wave of unity amongst the people and everyone is set to make this event memorable for their future generations, said a community member at the SEWA International Gala. According to sources, the Indian-American community feels that this event has provided them with an opportunity to showcase the unity of the diverse Indian-American community and to celebrate their accomplishments in the US.
The attendees at the event will see a cultural programme at the start of the event, called 'Woven: The Indian-American Story', a 90-minute show, that is a celebration of Indian-Americans and their contributions to the cultural, intellectual, and social landscape of the US, as per sources.
The event, titled 'Shared Dreams, Bright Future', will focus on the success of Indian-Americans and their contributions to the United States, as well as the strength of the US-India relationship. At the SEWA International's fundraising gala on Sunday, which was attended by over 800 guests, Jugal Malani, chairperson of the event, said that the event would be a grand success, thanks to the tremendous dedication of the volunteers and the financial contribution of the sponsors."
"We look forward to presenting this unique and interesting cultural show at the event, which will tell the story of our community in a way that's never really been done before. We want all the attendees and those watching from home to connect with a programme that shows the Indian-American community and understand what drives our community to be part of the larger American experience, said Gitesh Desai, spokesperson for the event. The Houston event will be Modi's third major address to the Indian-American community after he became the prime minister in 2014 and the first after his re-election in May. The previous two were at the Madison Square Garden in New York in 2014 and the Silicon Valley in 2016. Both the events were attended by more than 20,000 people.