THE FLAG OFF!
It was yet another flag off for me, but this was a very special one and a memorable one, as on this occasion my two children Priyam and Aaarush joins me on extremely unusual expedition (Plastic Free Expedition) through the Arctic Circle, 14 Counties, in 20 days covering 10,000 kilometres.
The flag off was organised only in about 10 days preparation and many missed out on being invited. Some received invitation just few days prior to the big day. This is because until I am given a green signal by my care provider we were not able to finalise the plans, as I only over two months post-operative for the cancer surgery. In order to avoid hostile weather condition, we are left with no option but to embark on an extremely tight schedule.
The flag off was organised at the prestigious venue the Luton Temple and Community Centre. My supporters and well-wishers assembled in large numbers from various parts of United Kingdom and locally, despite extremely tight notice and being busy with Navratri festival. We worked strenuously in last few days for this event, which is supported by the Luton Temple, MP Mr Kelvin Hopkins, Deputy Mayor of Luton Mr Mark Rivers, Cllr Racheal Hopkins and various community leaders, faith leaders, community organisations, MPs, local politicians, Peers in the House of Lords and local citizens.
A bright day, to start off with, the event started around 10.30 am with the arrival of dignitaries and distinguished guests. It was a very busy day with lots of greetings and good will wishes pouring in from people all over the U.K.
The Flag-off ceremony commenced with Aarti, traditional Pooja performed by Pandit ji. Pandit Ji blessed me, my children, my husband Subodh Kamble and the car with strength, courage and good health to enable us to complete our mission successfully. Everyone sat with peace and quiet listening to the Hindu holy service performed by Pandit ji.
I am very grateful to the Luton Temple for giving us the venue at extremely short notice without any charges for the Flag off event, and also providing voluntary service in supporting the flag off event. As always, I am grateful to the Hindu mandir Luton and its committee members for providing their support and encouragement throughout. I am grateful to Mr G B Guniraj Vyas and Mr Ashwin Soni for their enormous support for putting me in touch with various organisations and people who then offered enormous support to this mission. I am grateful to Mr Kamal Acharya and team of Diverse FM for supporting me since I convey them the mission, including providing sound system for the flag off event. I am grateful to Maheshbhai and Meenaben (from my native place) for their continuous support. As always, grateful to Mr Mahendrabhai Jadeja- President of various organizations and great grandson of Maharaja Ranjtsinh Jadeja, Ranjit Trophy is dedicated to maharaja Ranjitsinh. Grateful to Sulekhaben Sulekha Davda for always standing by and providing her ongoing support. I am grateful to Geetaben Geeta Mehta for her enormous support including preparing food for us to take away with us. I am forever indepted to Supriya Fulareya and Chandan Dudhal for their enormous support for always standing by. Grateful to Harsha Jani for always standing by.
I feel very blessed to have the support and encouragement by several Indian and overseas organisations, Gujarati community and religious leaders from all over the U.K. and India to help me achieve my mission drive. After detailed and careful planning, supported by various community leaders, faith leaders, NGO's, local politicians, MP's and Peers in the House of Lords - time had come for us to say good bye to everyone in UK until mid November 2018. There were scenes of emotions, excitement and jubilation with people shouting slogans of “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”. Mayor of Luton and the Mayor of Ampthill finally waved British and Indian flags to signify the importance of Indo-British ties.
Finally, with the waving of the Indian and British Flags by the Mayor of Luton, and the Mayor of Ampthill, we embarked on our mission drive with a royal send off by several dignitaries, community leaders, corporates, friends and families. It was indeed an elated moment, filled with lots of excitement, emotions and happiness all together.
Everyone said final goodbye to us and I slowly drove off from The Luton Temple blowing horns.