The graduate Rochester Indian Association celebrated its flagship event, Diwali, in the May Room of Wilson Commons on Saturday night.

Arnab Kar, a research associate who celebrated his eighth Diwali at the University this year, explained that Diwali is “a festival of lights.”

“It’s celebrated in India,” he said. “In a way, it’s a celebration of the victory of good against evil.”

Adil Khan, a fourth-year graduate student and president of the organization, said that his favorite thing about the holiday is the camaraderie.

“People are so busy that they don’t get time to mingle with each other very much,” he explained. “But during festive times, you get together with friends […] it’s an easier time to relax and have some fun.”

Outside the event was a Rangoli, or sand painting, depicting a Diya, an oil lamp. Inside, the May Room was filled with lights, and the Indian Association sold samosas and a drink called mango lassi, a type of a mango smoothie.

There were a series of performances celebrating Diwali, beginning with two soloists singing traditional Indian songs. Then, the six-piece band “Hazaaron Khwahishein” (which roughly translates to “A Thousand Dreams”) performed four Indian songs—a mix of traditional and modern Indian music.

Later, a seven-person dance troupe called “Saptak” took the stage, beginning with a solo breakdance before moving to a Bollywood-themed number. The six-piece acoustic band “Saras” followed, until, finally, the two-person dance group “Titli” ended the dance sequence an energetic, modern piece.

The last performance of the night was a comedic play titled “The Mistake,” which featured the misadventures of a pair of graduate students involving a Viking-themed underworld, thinly-veiled parodies of this year’s presidential debates, and the untold power of fortune cookies.

The night ended with a dance party, with the music provided by DJs Sayak and Karan. For its attendees, this was a Diwali to remember.


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