on-campus event

PAKSA’s Jashn: fun, friendly, nostalgic

Stepping into the Academy Hall auditorium at 6 pm on Saturday felt like being transported to South Asia. There were fairy lights strung across the entire room, with pictures from Pakistan. Beautiful kites hung against the walls, a symbol of Pakistani culture. A photo wall with “JASHN,” which means “celebration” in Urdu, in glittering gold letters against a starry backdrop was off to one side. The aroma of delicacies native to Pakistan and India wafted throughout the space. The room was loud and colorful, filled with people reconnecting with cultures, or discovering new ones.

The fast-paced and awe-inspiring talent contest began soon after. The Pakistani Students’ Association and Indian Student Association Bollywood Dance team took the first prize for their energetic performance—bringing the entire room to their feet. RPI Ballroom performed as well, with perfect form and synchronization. These performances were interspersed with games of charades for the audience and eating competitions. Eighth Wonder, a hip-hop and K-pop dance group, brought energy with their fun dance set that left everyone singing along.  RPI Bhangra performed an impressive set, with brilliant choreography and coordination. Their formations, and the human pyramid they ended with, were the highlights of the entire performance.

There were also singing performances. The arrangement performed by RPI Swara—the South Asian a capella team—was a medley of Indian and English music and created an interesting dichotomy that remained harmonious at the same time. It embodied the spirit of the night: fun, friendly, and nostalgic.

You could hear at least five different languages being spoken around the room at any point in time. There were outfits representative of cultures from all across the world; the multitude of colors and designs was humbling. For a moment in time, you could stand there and just feel the sense of being one family, the sense of coming home. It was an amazing experience, and I can’t wait to come back next year.