By Shree Nadkarni
Traditional Indian music and food, such as Gulab Jamun dessert, samosas pastries and naan bread, stole the show at the Indian Student Association’s (ISA) celebration of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.
“The Diwali dinner is a great way for students of all cultures to take part in the heritage that they have grown up with,” said Ankit Parikh, treasurer of ISA and a junior marketing major. “It also fosters a sense of multiculturalism and diversity on the TCNJ campus.”
ISA members served hearty helpings of Indian food all night long on Tuesday, Nov. 15, in the Business Building Lounge, and encouraged attendees to take seconds and thirds.
“It was a great way to end a stressful day,” said Sanjana Saksena, a sophomore biology major. “When you finish an exam and come to see home-cooked food, it makes you glad to be a part of ISA.”
In addition to the dinner options, the event also featured a photo booth for students to commemorate the Indian holiday. Before taking their photos, students could choose from a variety of signs, including “I got 99 problems but a Rishta ain’t one” and “I just came for the paneer.”
Freshman biology major Jasmine Mahajan said the Diwali Dinner was an opportunity for many students at the College to appreciate the heritage and values with which they were raised.
“This was just another way that I reconcile my heritage with my status as an Indian-American in the U.S.,” Mahajan said. “It’s great to see cultural organizations host events like this because it makes everyone feel at home and underscores the diversity that TCNJ offers.”
Other students at the event echoed similar sentiments. Sophomore biology major Lovejot Singh said ISA and events such as the Diwali Dinner have made him feel at home at the College.
“The Diwali Dinner and the friends that I’ve made at TCNJ are worth it,” Singh said. “In my heritage, I’ve found people who share the same values as me and through the myriad (of) cultural groups at TCNJ, I hope to meet other cultures who do the same.”