Springtime in India is a season full of joyous celebrations, and the Indian Student Association (ISA) is planning to epitomize the many festivals and celebrations in a night full of traditional Indian foods, performances and good company.

This is the first year that ISA is hosting an event that will encompass the many celebrations India has across the country in the spring. The evening will display a variety of different cultures and traditions through the decor of the event and various Indian performances.

Sneha Upadhyay, a graduate student studying physics, wants the night to show attendees just how diverse Indian culture truly is.

If You Go:

What: Indian Cultural Night

When: 4:30 p.m., Sun.

Where: Baker Ballroom

Admission: $8

“We want people to just walk with us and see how these celebrations are done, and how colorful they are,” Upadhyay said. “We also want to give them a taste that it’s not just about the festivities, it’s about getting along with your family and friends and spending time with them.”

Throughout the night, ISA has several traditional Indian performances planned as entertainment. 

“We are going to open with bharatanatyam, which is an England classical dance that you learn over years and years of practice,” Upadhyay said. “So we will be having a student who will be dancing on that.”

The evening will also include two performances by assistant professor of musicology Garrett Field and an ensemble of his students, who will play carnatic music, a form of Indian classical music that is a popular genre in southern India. Along with the musical performances and the bharatanatyam dance, there will be one other student who will perform a Bollywood dance to a classical song.

“She wants to show that it’s possible you can dance along to a very different song with a very different dance form,” Upadhyay said.

With the many exciting performances planned, Upadhyay is looking forward to people coming and celebrating the diverse culture of India.

“I’m hoping people really like our designs of the space, table decorations, performances and food,” Upadhyay said. “I would love to see everyone enjoying the event as much as I have enjoyed arranging it with the committee.”

Performances are not the only element ISA hopes will bring people to the Indian Cultural Night; the group hopes the traditional foods that will be served will attract attendees as well. The process for deciding what restaurant would work best for the event took months to decide, said Prateek Kulkarni, a graduate student studying molecular and cellular biology. ISA eventually decided on having Haveli Bistro, a Columbus restaurant, cater the event.

“In the appetizer, we will have an Indo-Chinese food called gobi manchurian, which is a cauliflower food item, and pakora, a fried snack,” Kulkarni said. “For the main course we will have a vegetarian option and a non-vegetarian option, because our audience is widespread. Finally for dessert, we have something called ras malai, it’s made from milk with a soft bread soaked in the milk.”

Kulkarni is excited for people to come and experience the new type of event ISA is hosting as a committee, and hopes people of all cultural backgrounds can attend.

“We are just educating and spreading our ideas, not only to people from the U.S., but even in India,” Kulkarni said. “So it’s to make some awareness and spread some culture and joy.”

Madhulika Pesala, senior studying journalism and political science, is the opening performer for the evening. She started studying bharatanatyam from her guru when she was four years old, and is excited to share the many elements a part of the dance.

“I love sharing bharatanatyam with people,” Pesala said. “The poses, sounds of the bell anklets, mudras, the intricate costume and jewelry and the stories that the dances convey are all so beautiful and sacred to me. It also allows me to share a creative outlet that I don't usually experience in my day-to-day life.”



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