Diwali 2004: The Festival of Lights

Over 400 HBS students crowded their way into a full house at the Williams Room on Saturday, Oct.22nd for the annual Diwali Party organized by the South Asian Business Association (SABA).

Diwali, the Indian New Year, celebrates the emergence out of darkness and into light and knowledge. The festival of light signifies the renewal of life. The festival is celebrated on a grand scale in almost all regions of India and is considered to be glamorous and important to every religion in India. It is celebrated for five continuous days. Each day has its significance, with a number of myths, legends and beliefs. Houses and business premises are renovated and decorated. Entrances are made colorful with traditional motifs to celebrate the coming of different goddesses.

The entrance to the Williams Room was no exception – beautiful saris and diyas added to the beauty of its Georgian type architecture. The theme of Diwali was captured in a program full of Indian music, dance and food.
The evening started with sumptuous Indian dinner. “The food was delectable, the Chicken Tikka Masala was especially mouth watering, ” commented Manish Goyal (OH), an EC student and one of the dance performers.

Mona Mahajan (OB), the Diwali function organizer, started the cultural program by describing Diwali and requesting everyone to wish each other “Happy Diwali” or “Shub Deepawali”. John, a RC student said “I thought the best part was that they were willing to share so much about their rich culture”.

The introduction was followed by an hour long cultural show which started with Bharatnatyam, a traditional Indian dance. Next, South Asian diversity was on display during the fashion show which featured clothes from around the region and modern fusion jewelry by Mousumi Shaw (OF), an EC student and jewllery designer. “It was an awesome show that truly managed to display the full array of Indian culture,” remarked Faruk Abdullah (OI), one of the choreographers for the EC dance.

Other performances included a Bollywood dance, candle dance, and bhangra. The program ended with two high powered dance performances – one by RCs and the other by ECs. The dance numbers got the crowd excited and everybody was on their feet, truly enjoying the show. “Participation in the show made me feel more in touch with my roots and gave me more appreciation for my culture” commented Sheela Hegde (OJ).

The cultural program was followed by a fun-filled evening of Indian music and dance. Everyone was energized by the awesome performances of the evening and took the opportunity to display their own dancing skills.
The evening was truly a memorable one for all those who attended the function. Monisha Kapila (OH), SABA Co-President and Diwali Party organizer remarked, “This year’s Diwali Party exceeded everyone’s expectations. Over 70 members participated in the cultural show and their hard work was visible by the amazing performances. The decorations, food and dancing made this a truly memorable event.”

Added Mr. Jai Nagarkatti (AMP), “It was a wonderful and very enjoyable evening. I was equally impressed at the talent of our younger generation who could put on such a fabulous show in addition to keeping on top of a demanding HBS schedule.”

The evening can be captured up in words of Mark Kahn (NA), an RC student who participated in the fashion show. Coming off stage, he commented that “I love how the Diwali show gives HBS students a chance to experience Indian culture. Oh, and next year, I’m joining the Bhangra act!”

November 2, 2004
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