India Student Association celebrates Diwali at TAMU-CC


Jonathan Garcia/ISLAND WAVES – Veterans Memorial High School sophomore Sunidhi Kulkarni performs for a group of many in attendance at the Diwali festival, getting in touch with her roots.

The India Student Association at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi brings Diwali, otherwise known as the Festival of Lights for an evening of celebration.

Diwali is a festival that celebrates the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair. The event was held in the University Center Anchor Ballroom C, and those in attendance were treated to a slice of Indian festivities and culture for one evening.

“We want to share our culture,” said ISA Vice President Navya Reddy Velverthi, “We want to share how we do the dishes, dress our attires — We want to make people aware of how the Indian tradition and culture is.”

Velverthi, the ISA and 75 other Indian students in attendance at TAMU-CC gathered in one house to plan this festive event from the food to the decorations.

“We gathered in a house to discuss about the food and what items we needed to order,” said Velverthi, “We also started discussing about the performances like classical dance and western dance.”

Many performers from the ISA and Corpus Christi Independent School District schools such as Baker Middle School and Veterans Memorial High School all danced some traditional Indian and Bollywood style of dancing, entertaining the crowd.

The event also immersed people in attendance with some popular Indian dishes that had a distinct feature to it that sets it apart from American cuisines.

“Indian food is mostly a mixture of different types of spices which gives it a spicy taste to the food,” said ISA member Santhosh Yellalla. Yellalla also mentions in his presentation that India is the largest exporter of different types of spices which gives it the kick it needs.

Many gathered to get a taste of Indian cooking as they are treated to spicy and flavorful foods from India.

Of the many dishes served at the festival were biryani, chicken tikka masala, naan and butter chicken masala which was a favorite of Velverthi and others.

“Even my supervisor likes it,” said Velverthi, “We went to each and every cabin and let them know about it — they said they wanted to know how the dish was, they said it was too spicy and they ended up liking it.”

Velverthi was very happy to see Provost Dr. Clarenda Phillips and Vice Provost Dr. Amy Aldridge-Sanford attending the Diwali festival. “We didn’t expect them to be here, but they were here and we were happy that they came,” said Velverthi.

In addition, Velverthi was also excited that the event was a success as it set to educate people about Indian culture and traditions. “We are really loving that everyone is interested in our dances and our culture,” she said.

Velverthi concluded that Diwali festival wasn’t just a celebration for Indian people but it was for everyone of all nationalities to join and celebrate.

India Student Association member Rutvi Keshwani gets the crowd excited for her dance, embracing her Indian culture.