The Association for the Development of Interest in the Indian Subcontinent put on its annual South Asian Expo on Sat. in Douglass Dining Center. This free event featured food catered by the local Indian restaurant Thali of India, informational booths and performances by both UR students and guest groups.
From the start, Douglass was packed with both UR students and members of the local community. This year, special efforts were made to get more community involvement. Children’s dance teams from Rochester were invited to attend and perform.
“This year we had both kids’ Raas and kids’ Bhangra, so we got their teachers, parents and grandparents to come,” ADITI publicity chair and senior Nisha Puntambekar said.
ADITI was excited to hold their event in Douglass Dining Center this year.
“It was good that we had it in Douglass – all of the people couldn’t have fit in the May Room,” ADITI member and senior Marianna Kuttothara said.
The new location also afforded a fresh look at preparations.
“The change in location allowed us to get more creative this year,” ADITI President and senior Amita De Souza said.
During the breaks between performances, Expo-goers were encouraged to visit the various booths set up around the room, each detailing some aspect of South Asian culture and geography. One set of booths had information on the geography of the region – with maps of all the countries and various facts. Another looked into South Asian fashion, with pictures and magazines highlighting the latest in clothes and designs from the area. The sports booth had details on popular sports in India such as cricket, field hockey and tennis.
While many people may have gone to the Expo for the performances, the goal of the event is to teach people about South Asian culture.
“The whole idea is to get the message out about South Asian culture beyond just the basics and to show the every day life of South Asians” De Souza said.
Newly formed, the UR Raas team performed a traditional dance from the Indian state of Gujarat, replete with colorful costumes and a unique percussive sound from the sticks hit together during the dance. Although new, UR Raas is moving quickly and will be in the Mukabala competition at the University of Buffalo performing arts center this Saturday.
During one of the more somber segments, in a rap entitled “Just Chill,” senior Sirish Kondabolu rapped about the growing cultural tensions in American society and their negative effects on people today.
Closing up the show was the UR Bhangra Team; Bhangra is a dance originating from the state of Punjab but is very popular all over the world. The dance started with a live dhol duet by alum Karthik Rajasekaran and senior Gurshawn Singh, but then transitioned into their usual dance. The Bhangra team will also be competing in Mukabala this coming weekend.
“They took first home last year and hope to bring first back again, either Bhangra or Raas,” De Souza said.
The whole Expo was a success, drawing in tons of students and community members.
“It’s nice feeling that you are being supported from the community,” De Souza said. “The turnout was phenomenal, and we couldn’t be happier. So many people came and so many stayed.” Freidman is a member of the class of 2007.