Diwali-Eid Festival Raises Funds for Pakistani Flood

Indo-Pak’s fifteenth annual Diwali-Eid festival featured a night of tradition and current trends, mixed with comedy, dance and music. The night celebrated the Islam holiday, Eid, which signifies the end of Ramadan, and the Indian festival, Diwali, also known as the “Festival of Lights.” The festival kicked off with a scrumptious food bazaar in Kemper Auditorium, full of popular Indian dishes prepared generously by local families. “I am really glad they included Indian food. It [was] delicious,” said Givens Parr ’11 after enjoying a hearty plate of food for seven dollars. Sahil Bhaiwala ’13, Hemang Kaul ’13 and Nikita Lamba ’11, the MCs, ran onto the stage, introducing the night’s events. They pleased the crowds by constantly making jokes with references to shows like “Dora the Explorer” and rapping, stirring up laughs from the audience. A few Juniors confidently started the evening’s festival with Muslim and Hindi readings. Rayan Faiz, a Andover faculty child, filled Kemper with his loud and clear songlike voice as he performed the Muslim call to prayer. “I used that time to reflect and do my own prayers. [It was] the perfect moment,” said Oscar Chim ’13. Afterwards, to get the festivities going, Supriya Jain ’12 and Saloni Jain ’13 performed a graceful and upbeat Indo-fusion dance. The two sisters started with a classical Indian dance, then transitioned to a current Bollywood style. At the end of the dance, the audience cheered, struck by the impressive and thoroughly rehearsed performance. Lamba hosted an entertaining and competitive trivia show with a chance to win a twenty-five dollar gift certificate to Bollywood Grill. It tested the audience’s knowledge of Indian and Pakistani culture. The trivia show was a huge success, arousing cries of excitement from kids to adults. It also kept the festival interactive and diverse. “I loved the quiz because there were questions that were from popular culture, politics, and from geography. Nikita said it was an opportunity for people to learn something [about India and Pakistan], and I think a lot of people did,” said Rebecca Sykes, Associate Head of School. Next Rohan Malhotra ’11 performed pieces on his tabla, a type of Indian drum. His steady rhythm and dexterity amazed the crowd. “[Malhotra] had his own Indian drums…Even [though] he lives in America, he still learned to play the tabla,” said Rhea Lewis ’13. “It’s really thinking about music in a global sense,” she continued. Next came a boys’ dance and a Bhangra dance. The two performances generated loud cheers and applause from the audience. The Diwali-Eid festival took on a more serious turn when Scherezade Khan ’12 explained the recent flood situation in Pakistan, reminding the audience of the night’s fundraiser. Following the informative presentation, Aazim Jafarey ’11 performed “A Prayer for Pakistan,” an excerpt from his new song, “Turbulence.” The song brought up issues about the flood and the lack of aid and relief in Pakistan, giving a modern approach to the serious issue. “[The rap] kind of made me cry because of the injustice that the people have to suffer, it was the truth you know. It struck me the most,” said Chim. The finale of the Diwali-Eid festival was a burst of color and shimmer as all the performers strutted down the aisle and onto the stage in Indian and Pakistani traditional clothes for the fashion show. The fashion show featured students of all ethnicities, with faculty members and their children participating. “The music was the bomb,” said Parr. All of the audience joined in and danced, enjoying the festivities. Thoroughly impressed with the Diwali-Eid show, Sykes said, “The performance and bazaar both illustrated how excited the members of Indo-Pak are to share their culture with the rest of the community. It [was] an opportunity for them to do something that is a link to home and their families.”