- Atharva Desai
India Independence Day in New York
Updated: Oct 2, 2022
India celebrated its 75th independence day on August 15th in New York. While the Indian country celebrated its independence day in its home country, the Indian community in the United States of America came together to celebrate a flag hoisting event in Times Square, New York. Both the American and Indian flags were hoisted on a pole in this event.
Flag hoisting event in Times Square
The event was organized by the Federation of India Associations (FIA) which carries out these events every year. The FIA committee invited me as a VIP guest to the event where they would promote me as not only a driver but pride of India and America together. Along with myself, other VIP guests attended along with the mayor of New York City. I had the honor of meeting Indian singer Shankar Mahadevan, Sambit Patra, Kailash Vijayvargiya, Indian film composer Devi Sri Prasad, and astronaut Raja Chari. I attended the event in my full race suit along with my racing helmet and I spoke out on the podium and addressed the community and the achievement that was created on that day. I spoke out about my background as an American with close Indian heritage and Marathi parents. Racing for pride has always been my goal of becoming a racing driver and I poured out my heartfelt words for the pride of my motherland (USA) and my heritage (India). After watching both the United States and Indian flags hoisted and respecting each national anthem, I started taking news interviews from TV5 news and various other Indian channels based in the US. After taking pictures with the fans, the 15th August Independence day flag hoisting event was finished and the FIA started putting the 21st August parade into action.
Atharva Desai along with the FIA committee and Indian astronaut Raja Chari
The day of the 21st August Independence day parade was where I received the most exposure to the Indian and American crowds. For this special event, I brought a formula car to my stall along with posters displaying myself as a formula driver. I organized a stall for myself where people came and took pictures of the car and me. I engaged in conversations and marketed myself to the community.
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Atharva4Racing Stall presented at the Indian Independence day Parade in New York
Within the conversations, I started making great impressions and I started asking the community to support me on my Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter on @atharva4racing. The opportunity to inform the Indian community about my racing background and bring news that I will race in the India Formula 3 Regional Series under the Indian flag. I created flyers for people to take home as it will create a memory for them. While I received strong impressions from the community at this stall, I took it a step further and I attended the parade as a celebrity. Being a VIP guest, I was put on the celebrity float and brought awareness to more people.
Atharva Desai waving to the crowd on the parade float
My interview was put out by ITV gold on my presence at the events and speaking about my promotion as an Indian driver born in the United States known as ‘Atharva4Racing’. As I proudly wave the Indian flag down the parade. The parade acted as a huge promotional event to make the announcement that I will be competing in the Formula 3 India series. The experience was wonderful and the pride of celebrating my heritage in my motherland was a true moment of patriotism. I wish to bring this same pride when I win the Formula Regional Series in India this November 2022.