Students experience Indian culture at Mela Carnival

Students and faculty ate spicy food, dressed in saris and danced to Indian music at the Students for Asian Indian Cultural Awareness Mela carnival on Saturday.

More than 110 students and faculty members attended the carnival, said Nitesh Kalwar, the organization’s president.

Kalwar said the booths with henna tattoos and authentic South Asian dress were the most popular attractions.

The carnival also had booths with foods from different cultures, cricket demonstrations and rangoli, a popular Indian art form, he said.

The carnival closed with two group performances of Bollywood dances. Anannya Mukherjee, a fashion merchandising major, sang a song accompanied by Akmal Marikar, a junior electrical engineering major, on the guitar. After the performances, attendees gathered on the dance floor and the dancers taught various Bollywood dance steps.

Rovina D’Souza, vice president of SAICA, said her favorite part of the event was the open dance floor and the other interactive parts of the carnival.

“Everyone learned something new about the South Asian cultures, and didn’t just attend an event,” D’Souza said.

Chad Sluder, an international communications major, is a member of the Bollywood dance class that performed at the carnival. He said there were more people in attendance than he expected. He said he had thought the general student body was apathetic toward learning about different cultures, but was pleasantly surprised by the turnout.

He also agreed that the open dance floor was the most successful part of the event.

“We all danced for about an hour after the performances were over… Some people were pretty good and showed the rest of us some sweet Indian-style moves,” Sluder said.

SAICA plans to donate $200 to Child Rights and You America, an organization that advocates child’s rights in India, Kalwar said. Donation money came from the ticket sales. The carnival featured a booth where SAICA members educated attendees about CRY America. Attendees were also able to make their own donations at the CRY America booth.