- Shwethaa Srivatsav and Aswin Chandrasekharan
- Dec 7, 2018
The joy of most festivals around the world multiplies with increased participation. Diwali is no exception to this — the Indian festival of lights sees a plethora of fireworks, colourful clothes, and food in the home country. As Diwali approached in November, to our surprise, we learned that many in our class had not even heard of it!
The ultimate joy would have been to fly all our classmates to India for Diwali, but the more practical option was to bring a little piece of India and Diwali to Ivey. This was the motivation to put together a Diwali celebration. The international senators and a few classmates came together to organize a spectacular flash mob, a short info-video on the significance of Diwali, and the most important aspect for the MBA class and the highlight of the celebration — Indian Food.
The flash mob was an astonishing representation of the Ivey MBA spirit. Typically, one would think that the Indian students in the class would organize segments of a Diwali celebration program and the rest of the class would participate as an audience. However, the Ivey MBA class is different. Right from the initial ideation to the participation and even post the successful completion, classmates who come from around the globe took initiative, contributed in one (or more) initiatives, and even led different segments from beginning to end. Members of the program office were equally excited about the show, proactively coming together to make the venue available, organize videography, and extend support for the success of the program. They even made time available to participate during the show. This is the Ivey spirit — one that comes together to celebrate, learn, and collaborate.
One of the important facets of an Indian dance show is, of course, the attire. In this aspect, Diwali is a festival of vibrant and colourful clothes. While many students in the class borrowed from other Indian students, the highlight of the show was when the class helped create a fusion, bringing together colourful clothes from their own countries and draping them to resemble an Indian outfit. This made the Diwali flash mob even more spectacular as we were now witnessing not only authentic Indian attire but also a representation of how the world would choose to celebrate Diwali, making the flash mob a unique experience for Indian and international students alike.
The next important aspect was the dance steps of the flash mob. Co-ordinating, teaching, and learning from others in the group was challenging in itself but putting together such a team only becomes more challenging when one is not familiar with the meaning of the songs and yet needs to co-ordinate steps with the rest of the group. The way this class came together to create cues, remember patterns, and simply lean on others for support will always continue to be a cherished memory for us.
As the day progressed, it was delightful to see all our classmates bringing in lights and lamps to help decorate the room we would use for the info-video, sharing the food, and a Bollywood night of music and dance. It was also heartwarming to see classmates who could not dress for the occasion in the morning take special efforts to find something colourful and bright to wear for the evening. If there is one culturally curious, intellectually vulnerable, and consistently challenge-seeking class, it is definitely the Ivey MBA Class.
As the evening wrapped up, the most awaited display (after the flash mob, of course!) — Food — was brought to the table. With a wide range of Indian breads, rice, curries, and dessert ordered to suit the preferences and tolerances of all our classmates, it was wonderful to see everyone step in to help arrange, serve, and clean. Some of the classmates also prepared Indian desserts and baked cookies for the entire class!
As we wrapped up to leave for home, we not only felt glad that we had celebrated Diwali away from India, but also felt grateful to be part of such an accepting community. This experience will always be special for us as we will remember how everyone came up to dance and groove to songs they’d never heard before, learn about Indian culture and traditions, and savour and appreciate Indian food. We left for the night with special bonds with members of our class, cherished memories in the form of videos and photographs, and an eager anticipation for the next such celebration of a festival from around the world!