Dec 12 2016
Diwali Celebrations for All
In November, close to two weeks after my parents, peers, and friends back home had celebrated the auspicious day, I realized that Diwali is about more than just fire crackers and gifts.
I hail from a Delhi-based family, where the tradition of Diwali is celebrated with great zest every year. From cleaning and re-painting the home and office to distributing gifts to all friends and relatives—Diwali brings with itself a lot more than a week’s hustle. It all leads up to the final night, where me and my sister and younger brother decorate the house with small diyas and finally indulge into the fire-power showdown. Buying and adorning ourselves with new clothes is another fringe that we bill to the festivity of Diwali.
Now, during my first year at Johnson, roughly five months into the program, and yes, two weeks beyond the actual date of Diwali—though the spirit of festivity is the same—we celebrated. The hard work and labor of the South Asian Business Club has brought this mega event to fruition. It’s one of the hallmark festivities on our Ithaca campus.
The key elements, though, have shifted from tradition: diyas are replaced by LEDs, gifts have been replaced by an Indian meal, and fire crackers have now taken over the stage in form of breathtaking, stunning dance performances. It was not just the students who were enjoying the beats, but also Dean Nelson and other members of faculty, too—their Indian charisma had bubbled up. What had remained traditional was the spirit and the embroidery-adorned dresses that lit up the occasion.
With performance after performance, from solo to duet to group dance, the audience was focused on the stage and couldn’t help but ask for one more. And what better way to conclude the gathering than opening the stage for all so that we could immerse ourselves in the spirit of merriment…and shake a leg or two to the Indian pop numbers.
For those who thought the end of the night had come, think again! The party actually concluded in the early hours of the morning away from Sage Hall. All the cheerfulness left me to exhaustion and a long day of sleep. I woke with a smile on my face—I had found a family away from home. It’s a family that will create bonds to last the rest of my lifetime.