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  Arts & Living
Zealous ISA@SNU Celebrates Diwali Night Successfully
Indian student association at Seoul national university members are celebrate their Diwali night on 28 Oct, 2008.

"Itne dino se main bhukha tha, ab kuch dhang ka khaana khaya" (read: After so many days I am getting to eat something worthwhile) spoke the jovial face of Rahul Bhondwe, an Indian, at the Diwali Night organized by Indian Student Association at Seoul National University (ISA@SNU) on 28th October 2008.

The colossal success of Diwali Night-2007, Ganesh Utsav-2008 and Gandhi Jayanti-2008 had impregnated every ISA member with immense enthusiasm that celebrating Diwali was inevitable. Diwali Night was attended by around seventy Indians and a few foreigners from Seoul and suburbs, a commendable presence given the fact that it was being celebrated on a weekday, and the theme was ‘Home away from Home.' Apt to the theme, this gathering made us celebrate the festival with same fervor as done by folks back home.

Diwali or Deepavali is the festival of lights signifying the victory of good over evil. Legend has it that Lord Rama returned home after spending fourteen years in exile after defeating Ravan. This festival is celebrated by most of the religions in India and in every nook and corner of the country. Diwali is celebrated over a period of five days with each day having certain significance.

Indian student association at Seoul national university members are celebrate their Diwali night on 28 Oct, 2008.

The most significant part of Diwali is the ‘Lakshmi Pooja' as on this day, according to a legend, Goddess Lakshmi emerged from the ocean of milk. Hindus in every corner of the world worship Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess of money and wealth, for financial well being throughout the year. This period is considered to be very auspicious for purchasing gold.

Such an auspicious day it is that the Bombay Stock exchange (BSE) which had seen gigantic slump in past few days, after the Wall Street debacle, closed with a gain of 500 points. Indeed it brought cheers on to the investors. With so much positivity associated with this festival, how could ISA@SNU stay behind?

The avidity to worship, pray and enjoy the evening emanated from the faces of the guests. The event began with the pooja of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha, thereafter an aarti was performed. Any aarti is carried out by all the members of the family, and ISA@SNU being one big family gave an opportunity to everyone present for the same.

After the aarti panchamratam and prasadam were served. Diwali has always been associated with fun and enjoyment, and keeping up to the tradition the game of Bingo (commonly called Housie) was organized. The effortless and impeccable jocularity of Jeetu Pandey, ISA member, aggrandized the fervidity of the festive mood. Boy! This man definitely knows how to entertain the crowd.

The attraction of the prize made even the not-so-enthused folks to participate. Six prizes were at stake, and a few times there was a tie between the winners. The tie-breakers definitely amused the crowd to the fullest extent. After waiting for ages a friend of mine, Syam Mulpuri, finally was able to grab a prize.

Diwali Night in an alien land and no Indian food, how could this happen? ISA@SNU in collaboration with Namaste Restaurant, Dongmyo, organized for a sumptuous Indian dinner. I guess every Indian out there would have echoed the sentiments of Rahul Bhondwe.

The volunteers made an extra effort to see that no guest leaves without having the dinner. A few foreigners and Koreans couldn't stop praising about the food and so did many Indians. In fact most of them were amazed and invigorated to see a handful of volunteers managing immaculately.

There was more waiting to entertain the guests. A game of musical chair was organized after the dinner and even the stomach-full of food couldn't deter the guests and ISA members to indulge themselves in the game. Peppy dance numbers from Bollywood and enthused crowd, what more could you ask for? Everyone was enjoying the flow of music and was dancing while playing the game.

Finally after lot of free falls and a bit of friendly tiffs between the players, the winner managed to grab the prize. More than the music it was the sheer enthusiasm shown by crowd that kept entertaining everyone. How could one not fire crackers on Diwali? Finally the entire crowd moved to the amphitheatre near the SNU dormitories and burst a bunch of crackers.

So much for being conscious, we took care to not to make any loud sound while bursting the crackers, back home firing crackers with loud noise is a must for Diwali. Finally the event came to an end and the guests bid goodbye to the volunteers. They thanked the ISA@SNU for indeed making them feel ‘Home away from Home.'

ISA@SNU is thankful to the all volunteers and the guests who made this Diwali Night a memorable one. Even a working weekday could not deter the guests to show up for the event. Without the enthused guests and ever charged up ISA@SNU volunteers, it would not have been possible to organize such an event. ISA@SNU hopes to make every festival memorable for Indians in Korea.

Abhishek D Joshi
Indian Student Association
Seoul National University

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