By Tate Luckey

If you want a chance to witness Jalsa, be prepared for a showcase of passionate theatrics from U of L’s Indian Student Association (ISA) performers. The event, which is November 11th at 5:45 p.m. in the SAC Ballroom, is a celebration of the holiday Diwali. While the exact meaning of the holiday can vary depending on where celebrators are from, it’s generally a time for families to decorate their houses with diyas and rangolis, dance to good music, and spend time together.
For Jalsa Director Sarayu Alli, it’s a way for her to be able to foster strong connections within her community.
“Every year, I’ve seen more inter-grade relationships build and it’s honestly so fun to hang out with people across ages. Just this year, our committee includes people from freshmen to those pursuing their Master’s Degrees,” she said.
In the past, skits were loosely based on pre-existing plots from both Indian and American movies, but this year Jalsa enjoyers can expect cultural performances that are totally original. Attendees may even see a bit of a self-described “mysterious twist” during the show.
“We wanted to shift gears towards a more suspenseful show this year, hoping to get more audience engagement with the content. As for this “mysterious twist”, I can’t give too much away but it is something that our script crew has been working on for months so we’re all very proud of the results,” Alli said.
Along with these connections, Jalsa also helps foster pride in Indian culture. U of L’s ISA is one of the largest RSOs on campus, and President Joel George is excited to spread the culture to the U of L community.
George began his involvement with the ISA while he was at duPont Manual High School, continuing once his college years began. Working first on Jalsa’s tech committee, he handled executions of lighting, music cues, and video. Lots of time is needed to both coordinate the on-stage and behind-the-scenes elements.
And of course, the food. This year, Jalsa’s dinner is catered by Apna Bazaar Cafe and Heine Brothers. For the early arrivers, George and Alli want you to dress as colorfully as you can.
“It could be just more colorful or if you’ve got a friend that has Indian clothes, ask to borrow them! We love seeing all the beautiful Indian clothes during Jalsa. Also, be well rested; the show will run from roughly 7-10pm so you’re in for a long night of suspense, drama and comedy,” Alli said.
Tickets for the 2023 Jalsa can be purchased here. If you like to learn more you can contact U of L’s ISA via their Instagram.
Photo Courtesy // Rachel Klotz