The Daily Herald writes how South Asian Student Society of Saba University School of Medicine (SUSOM) hosted its annual Diwali show and dinner to celebrate the Hindu Festival of Lights at Princess Juliana Sports Field in The Bottom on Saturday. The students treated the community to a show of traditional and spirited modern dances and an array of sweet and savoury dishes. They blended performances in tribute to Saba in appreciation of their host island’s culture.
Dr. Pranaya Mishra of the university’s faculty welcomed attendees to the show that began with a steel pan rendition of the Saba anthem by Karel Sorton. Student Javali Shruti gave an explanation about Diwali and highlighted the fact that over the years it has become tradition to share the celebrations with the students’ “Saba family.” A prayer to sanctify the event as a diya, a special lamp for Diwali, was lit. All SUSOM faculty members – despite varying religious backgrounds – went on stage in celebration of the diversity brought by the university to the island. Shruti performed a classical dance from the Tamil Nadu region of India. SUSOM faculty lightened the mood with whimsical dance performances though faculty organizer Dr. Dheeraj Bansal asked the audience not to compare the faculty’s last-minute improvisation with the choreography and dance skills of the students. First and second-semester students put together the night’s first modern dance medley which started with a student playing a song on the guitar. Instead of the usual fashion show with traditional Indian wear, students of all nationalities and backgrounds took part in modern dance performances. SUSOM student choir, the Synaptic Clefts, sang “Seasons of Love” from the Broadway musical Rent. Twenty fourth-semester students presented a second performance, a medley of East and West influences blended with modern and traditional dance moves. They concluded with Bollywood funk rhythms as they flowed from the stage into the audience. Dr. Bansal sang a traditional song about enjoying every moment to the fullest. He was followed by Bob Morgan who entertained with traditional Caribbean rhythms singing about the beauty of The Bottom, Saba’s capital. The celebration concluded with the serving of traditional spicy desserts.