Sunday, April 17, 2011

"Don't forget about where you came from..."

"Gotta go, I have dance practice!" I told my dad over the phone as I rushed into one of the Multipurpose Rooms in the AFC (Aquatic Fitness Center).
I could sense the surprise in his tone, "For what?", he asked.
"I'm performing for India Day," I answered.

The University of Virginia has a wide array of student organizations as you probably are well aware of - and quite a handful have already been covered by my fellow bloggers from service, to sports, from Greek life to a capella. One of the organizations I am part of is the Indian Student Association, a very large cultural student group.Quite honestly, in high school, I wasn't really aware of how important the Indian culture is to some. I sort of brushed it off to the side and once in a while, I would be involved in performances. I was too busy with school, extracurriculars, volunteering, and other activities. My parents didn't really force me into anything although they encouraged it.

One of the student meetings I attended my first year was the ISA meeting (which included a free dinner). I instantly clicked with a few people and from then on have been involved in the organization. Yearlong, ISA holds various events - some are for service like Gandhi Day where members engage in many service projects around the Charlottesville community and more social ones such as Curry Cook-Off(where different organizations have a cooking competition) and themed parties. All of these events are open to the University student body and many many attendees participate!

However, hands down one of the biggest events held by ISA is their annual India Day. India Day takes place on a Saturday evening, usually in the Martin Luther King Performing Arts Center in the Charlottesville high school which accommadates over 1,500 people! This event is followed by a catered reception by a very popular restaurant called Milan. All of this free and shuttles are provided from Grounds to the event! As a result, this drives not only the UVA student body but also those in the Charlottesville community! The evening is full of performances ranging from dances performed by each year to Ektaal (the first and only co-ed South Asian acapella group) to various competitive dance teams such as Sharaara and UVA Di Shaan to a cultural fashion show! Although I was involved more last year, I performed with my fellow second-years this year. We had practices almost every day - which was pretty tough trying to coordinate a large number of busy second years. Here is the link, in case you were interested:

The Nation-Wide Renowned UVA DiShaan Competitive Bhangra Team (on the right)

If like me, you wanted to learn more about your culture and stay in touch with your ethnicity and roots, there are an endless number of outlets that you can immerse yourself in!

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