Indo-Pak Charity Event: Bangles and Tikki Masala

With a steaming three-course Indian meal, ethnic dancing and good music, donating to charity could not get any better. Last Friday, students, faculty and parents eagerly crowded into the Underwood Room to support Indo-Pak’s annual charity dinner, the proceeds of which will go to the Khanpur Medical Camp in Pakistan. The space took on the aura of an upscale restaurant as audience members sat at round tables decorated with piles of colorful bangles. Intricately-patterned fabrics adorned the normally bare brick walls. Members and volunteers of Indo-Pak waited on each table, bringing water and dishes tirelessly. The meal began with a plate of appetizers containing samosas, which are stuffed turnovers, and pakoras, vegetable clusters fried in chickpea batter. For the main course, diners enjoyed plates of raita (whipped yogurt with potatoes and herbs), spiced chickpeas, fresh naan and rice, chicken tikka masala and vegetable paneer made with spinach and homemade cheese. All dishes were contributed by the families of Indo-Pak members. Dessert featured a light, whipped mango ice cream, one of the most popular dishes of the night. Throughout the gourmet meal, Indo-Pak members entertained the audience with lively music and dancing. Zahra Bhaiwala ’10 and Rohan Malhotra ’12 made up for a long wait at the beginning with a musical performance. Bhaiwala began with a mesmerizing voice solo of “O Paalanhaare,” a song from an Indian movie. A few seconds later, Rohan entered playing tabla, a popular type of drum. Because copies of the lyrics were distributed on each table, audience members soon began singing along with “O Paalanhaare.” Next, Malhotra played a solo on tabla that showcased a complex yet catchy rhythmic pattern. Malhotra’s hands deftly slapped down on the tabla, and he was able to manipulate an unwavering, almost hypnotizing beat. John Ingram ’11 said, “It was cool that [Malhotra] could play that fast.” The final act was a dynamic dance portraying a battle of the sexes between six female dancers and three males. The girls were dressed in vividly colored sarees, and the men wore kurtas with jeans and scarves. By the end of the performance, spirits were up, and audience members chatted and laughed for the remainder of the meal. Bhaiwala, one of the coordinators for the event, said that the charity dinner is a longstanding Indo-Pak tradition, but they experimented with new ideas this year. She said, “This is the first year that we’ve had entertainment with it, and this is the first year we’ve donated to a Pakistani charity [instead of Indian], which is nice.” Of course the dinner and show required copious amounts of planning and advertising in the weeks beforehand. Bhaiwala said, “I think it turned out really well. I think because it was a long weekend, we could have had more people, but in general it was pretty full.” Instructor in English Tasha Hawthorne and Instructor in History Christopher Jones said that they attended on Bhaiwala’s request. “It’s nice to see our students perform in different venues from what we normally see,” said Hawthorne. Ingram said, “I’ve been to past Indo-Pak activities, and there have always been good performances and good food.” Manisha Jain, parent of Supriya Jain ’12 and Saloni Jain ’13, came to watch her daughters dance and to support charity. She was impressed that the students contributed so much time and effort to organizing the charity dinner despite their busy schedules. She said, “[The event] was an exceptional job done by kids … It was clear that they were really enjoying what they were doing.”