Incredible India

Nov 092005
Authors: ennae Mendoza

Jai Singh, a CSU freshman and member of the Indian Students Association, practiced for a whole month for India night, an event showcasing Indian culture, dance and music.

He was preparing to participate in the ethnic show, he said, which projected different dresses from India's different states.

As the crowd filled the seats and lined the walls in the Lory Student Center Theatre Saturday, Singh reclined in a seat outside the doors, appearing calm among the crowd.

Some of the audience came in casual attire, while others came adorned with bindis and bright silk robes. Some, like Amol Amin, president of the Indian Association of Northern Colorado, even sported a fancy pair of India's golden slippers.

"This festival," Amin said, "is called the 'festival of light.' We want to give peace, happiness and prosperity tonight to everybody in the world – nothing more."

Amin said Western society and CSU are accepting of Indian culture. The only thing he asks is for people to "listen and learn more of our history and geography – that's it."

Life in India is very different, Singh said. "There are much harder schools there."

Keeping a 3.9 grade point average at CSU is simple for Singh. However, he said U.S. culture is different and hard to describe.

"The U.S. didn't exist more than 500 years ago," Singh said. "Their history is not very rich."

As the theatre lights dimmed, a slide show displayed details of Indian culture and history. Images of white-pillared villages off the ocean's edge, golden cathedrals, India's leaders, baseball players and India's people praying, dancing and attending universities, a burst of whistles and excited shouts rang from the audience until the show was over.

Even through an entertaining dance, Indian culture is exemplified. Cheers and whistles from the crowd grow louder as Aravind Sampadh and a dress-alike partner emerge on stage with an India leg tie, heightening the crowd's enthusiasm.

"They all love what we do and we just give it to them," Sampadh said.

After the dance curtains slide out once again to reveal the fashion show. Singh stands among royal-like robes embellished with gold and silver, the men wrapped in silk suits and scarves and the women jeweled with nose rings, colorfully stacked bracelets and golden headpieces. Each dress is different – holding symbolism and culture behind it.

"In India," audience member Dheyli Mythili said, "the dress and customs and food are very, very different. Everything is very rich and diverse. There are different states and each state has its own culture. They have different functions, different occasions."

Another slide show ended the celebration after the guitar playing, singing and dancing left the stage. Even a map of India caused emotional shouts from the audience.

"My favorite was the slide show. I could feel the spirit of India," Mythili said.

Though a world away, the event brought India's people a little closer to home.

"I felt like I was back in India again," Mythili said smiling.

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