As, the whole of India lit up in celebration of the festival of Diwali, Indians at the HEC Campus rejoiced and celebrated the grand festival with higher spirits, miles away from home.
November 5th 2010, was a very busy day for not just many Indian students at the HEC Paris campus, but also for a large number of non-Indians who were busy draping sarees and wearing kurta pyjamas (traditional Indian wear). After weeks of preparations, residents of Residence Expansiel, celebrated Diwali with great pomp and show.
The name “Diwali” is a contraction of “Deepavali” (Sanskrit: Dīpāvalī), which translates into “row of lamps”. Diwali involves the lighting of small clay lamps (diyas or dīpas) filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil. During Diwali, all the celebrants wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks with family members and friends.
Diwali celebrations had been a talk of the town since weeks. E-mail teasers, posters and flyers were all over the place. Soon, the most awaited night of Indian festivities had arrived. As the clock struck 6, the Piano bar was adorned by beautiful ladies in traditional Indian sarees and salwaar, men also matched them well, by donning their kurta pyjamas.
The festivities began with a traditional Pooja (Worship) by members of Expansiel, led by partners of MBA participants. The pooja rituals were performed and Bhajans were sung in praise of the gods. The proceedings gave participants from different countries an idea about the rich Indian mythology.
The prayers were followed by food. Vegetarian and Non-vegetarian delicacies were offered to all the attendees and everybody relished the famous Indian samosas, chicken tikkas, kababs and sweets. For the first time in the history of Piano Bar, alcohol was beaten in popularity by the famous Indian yogurt-based drink – lassi.
The surprising fact was the arrival of other people interested to attend the festivities, notably Indian from Jouy en Josas and primarily the HEC Campus. Many of the non-Indian attendees were interested in understanding the in-depth meaning behind the traditions. They loved the food, with most of them preferring the Indian Lassi (tasting it for the first time in life) than other drinks.
No Indian party is complete without Bollywood dancing, after all, the heavy Indian food has to be digested. So, the floor was thrown open and one after the other foot-tapping numbers compelled everybody present to let their hair down. Indians on the floor were facing a tough competition by non-Indians, who learnt Bollywood steps and danced to their hearts desire until wee hours of the morning.
Diwali is a personal, people-oriented festival when enmities are forgotten, families and friends meet, enjoy and establish a word of closeness. This Diwali, succeeded in bringing the entire HEC community closer and once again filled the lives of the people with light and joy.
Jeev Sahoo & Ankita Sayal, MBA September 2011