Passage to India: A Cultural Feast at Home

Passage to India is an annual celebration benefitting Easterseals, typically held at the Peoria Civic Center that is widely recognized as a premier cultural event in Central Illinois. This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing guidelines, we pivoted to a virtual event, titling this year’s celebration “A Cultural Feast At Home”. This new approach provided guests with an authentic and unique cultural experience from the comforts of their own home, benefitting Easterseals Central Illinois.

Several guests enjoying their meals at home in a small group setting.

Thanks to the generosity of the restaurant Indian Tadka and our Passage to India Culinary Committee, participants received a delicious meal to be enjoyed in their own homes. In addition to the authentic cuisine, participants were also able to view a life virtual program featuring traditional Indian music, an exciting dance performance, presentation of the prestigious Banyan Tree award, and a fashion show featuring several Easterseal Ambassador Families.

Left to Right: Helen & Chris Chadwick (Passage to India Co-Chairs), Mo & Steve Thompson (Easterseals President & CEO), and Kris Maillacheruvu & Regina Gross (Passage to India Co-Chairs).

Longtime volunteer and owner of PJ Dance Academy, Prasanna Jeer, choreographed a fashion show featuring several past and present Easterseals Ambassadors. The full fashion show can be viewed here:

We also enjoyed live performances from musicians across the country! Indro Roy-Chowdhury, an international artist, played the Sitar live from New York City. We were also joined live from Los Angeles by Suman Laha. Laha plays the Veena (a stringed instrument) and has earned an international reputation of considerable distinction in the world of Indian Classical Music. We were also joined locally by Manpreet Bedi and Subhasis Mukherjee who both played the Tabla.

We were thrilled to present the Banyan Tree Award to two very deserving winners, Rajiv L. Gupta and Dr. Mehmood Khan.

To view the musicians’ performances and watch remarks made by the Banyan Tree awardees, watch below.

Thank you to everyone who made Virtual Passage a tremendous success! We look forward to seeing everyone in person next year at the 15th Annual Passage to India.

To stay up to date on what events we have coming up, visit

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