By Eiman Zuberi–
The Indian Student Association celebrated the Indian holiday Diwali with the fourth annual Jalsa. Students were able to gain a sense of Indian culture by eating the traditional Indian food, seeing people dressed in colorful garb and watching live performances.
“This year, we tried to give it more of a Diwali feel than the year’s past, by improving on decorations and food,” said Indian Student Association President Gargai Gavuji.
The event began at 6 p.m., and by 6:15, the line to get in was wrapped all the way around the SAC. The official count of attendees reached well over 1,000 people—selling out the show. Guests included students, parents and community members. Namaste Indian Cuisine and Bar catered the food, and there was a variety of options for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.
On stage, Poonum Haldankar and Lekha Devara emceed the show. They played two best friends feuding over a boy, played by Ruhi Kulkarni. They announced the upcoming acts, while playing along to their dramatic love triangle.
The show began with the American national anthem, sang by Ramya Kondaveeti, and the Indian national anthem, sang by Mahathi Gavuji. After that, there were a medley of performances. Amongst the most anticipated were Trap Ranis (a group of U of L girls dancing to classic songs), Dakota Waldecker (a student singing a fusion song) and the infamous Cardinal Bhangra team, who closed the show with their vibrant and enjoyable dance. Other performers were the Bollywood Dance Louisville team, Big Bollywood Nation from the University of Kentucky, Bollywood Belles from Dupont Manual High School and Manshree Sengupta, who danced solo.
“The entire ISA Executive Council did an amazing job. I am proud to be part of such a wonderful show and am hyped for the next one already,” said Sajan Patel, freshman outreach officer.
Gavuji, beaming with pride at the turnout, said, “I hope Jalsa will have a positive lasting impact on the university to where, once we graduate, people are still excited every year to experience the diverse cultural experiences ISA has to offer.”