“The colourful mist of culture, food and the diversity of India which had descended over the HEC Paris campus over the last week was slowly disappearing. The sound of the “Bhangra music” and boisterous singing greeted the air as we walked towards the Piano Bar, the on-campus socialising hotspot for MBA participants. As we walked, I reflected on the wonderful week that had just flown by.
The India Week is annually organized by the Indian participants of the HEC Paris MBA program and the Grand Ecole. This year it was held a few weeks following “Holi”, the Indian festival of colors. Although Indian food and Bollywood music are well known to everyone, the MBA and Grand Ecole students wanted to show the true meaning of being Indian, beyond food and music, – that is to say, “dive into the culture of a billion people, come and explore the true India”.
The Air India – India Week 2012 commenced with the celebration of Holi, on the HEC Campus. With special colours or “Rang” brought over from India, Holi was celebrated by both international and Indian students whole-heartedly.
However, this special week was not only intended to showcase the Indian culture but also the business enterprise of Indian companies in the form of Air India, the event’s main sponsor, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), InFact Group and India House. It was an honor to be associated with such illustrious names from the Indian business world and I, on behalf of the organisers, would like to thank them for their contributions.
InFact Group accepted to give a short presentation about their business and also discussed potential job opportunities in Paris. As a double delight, a Bollywood treat in the form of the internationally acclaimed movie, “Monsoon Wedding”, was screened on the campus along with snacks and specially prepared “Masala Coke”, a concoction of Indian spices and Coca-Cola.
A highlight of the Air India – India Week 2012 was the “Cultural Booth” held during the noon break between lectures. A unique opportunity for international students was presented in the form of the “Pani-Puri Workshop” by the Indian MBA students. Students and staff alike enjoyed the wonderful sweet and tangy flavours of the Pani-Puri’s that left the taste-buds craving for more. The “Photo Booth” was also a big hit with students – a photo opportunity to be an “Aladdin”, a “Maharaja” or a beautiful Indian “Maharani” (Queen) or Princess was too good to resist for many. Mouth-watering samosas and Choley Masala were also served as accompaniments to the amazing Pani-Puri.
For the Grand Finale, the Gala Night was THE standout of the whole Week. Commencing with a showcase of the various languages of India, the night began with a harmonious demonstration of the Indian percussion instrument, the “Tabla” by Anshuman Sarangi (MBA Graduate 2012). This was followed by an explosion of Indian folk dance and music, the Bhangra, demonstrated by the famous Indian Dance troupe from Paris called “Waris Punjabi De”.
As part of the organizing team, I felt happy that the Indian community at HEC Paris was so enthusiastic and willing to spare time in contributing towards this event in spite of the demanding schedule. A successful event cannot be achieved without great teamwork and I would like to thank each one volunteer and participant for their great work. Well, enough of reflection …….now is the time to “turn the light bulb, pat the dog” and sing out loud – “O Balle Balle!!”
Kartik Kadle, HEC MBA Full-Time Participant, Class of 2013
Photos contributed by: LoVern Van Tonder and Shubham Bhattacharya