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Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

India Club's rangeen tamasha rules

Rangina was sandwiched between a whole weekend of partying and fun, writes Meeta Chaitanya.

india Updated: Apr 20, 2006 12:35 IST
ATLANTA DIARY | Meeta Chaitanya
ATLANTA DIARY | Meeta Chaitanya

Indian students form a sizeable portion of the Diaspora landscape here.

Nowhere does this representation find more preponderance than in the immensely popular and active students' organisation, The India Club, Georgia Institute of Technology.

This club, established over thirty years ago by Indian and American Indian students has become, over the years a colourful social entity comprising a huge cross-section of Indians from various parts of the country and is today the largest cultural organisation on the Georgia Tech campus.

With a presence as this, it is only natural to expect a blast of a performance from them when they put up their annual Holi show which has become one of the most recognised cultural performances in this part of the United States, bridging the gap between college students all over Georgia.

As usual, Rangina: GT Holi Show 2006 did not disappoint. 'Rangina', which obviously owes itself etymologically to the Hindi word rangeen meaning colorful, was the genesis of this years' event. The show which went beyond Holi, encapsulated the spirit of India and its layered legacy brilliantly.

Held on April 15, 2006, 6 pm at the prestigious Sydney J Marcus Auditorium, Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, the event played out like an unequal but enthusiastic symphony of merry tambourines against the sombre backdrop of the monolithic venue.

Organizers expected an audience of over 1,700 people from all across the region. Expectedly, the venue was thronged with supporters and enthusiasts. This year apart from participants from GSU, Emory, UGA and Georgia Tech, students from Florida University joined in the celebrations, making it a shindig worth its while for visitors from across the state's border.

The three-hour long entertainment program turned out to be a spunky confluence of folk and fusion display.

Comprising of several musical pieces, the show was an amalgam of dance, drama, instrumentals and vocals. Peppered with improvised 'acts' by the emcees for the evening, such as parodies on popular Hindi films and Bollywood themes, the show rolled on effortlessly into a pre-interval first half.

This section, consisting of dance montages by several groups such as the Apsaras, Zindagi, Sitara Karma, Bulldawg Bhangra, Hariqbal Basi and Kruti Dance Academy, was a vivacious if noisy affair with college and university supporters delivering rocking shout-outs for their respective college cultural groups.

The second half that began on a wobbly note with the G Tech band samyoga struggling to hit the right note, found redemption in successive performances.

These may not have surpassed samyoga in artistic rendition but equaled it in zealous spark. Tufaan, Nazaaqat, Azaadi, Champa and Chameli, Junoon and the zenith, Uf Bhangra remained youthful, spunky and lively.

If the bhangara theme was a bit overdone, it was only but a translation of what has caught on most effectively here in Georgia.

With its vociferous, loud, vibrant, inviting and active base, the bhangra beat seemed to bring more than just the on-stage performers to life. Of course, it didn't hurt the tiniest bit that the bhangra performers were not all from your regular, sturdy Punjabi fraternity.

A cursory glance through the event schedule threw up a slew of names that ranged from Patel to Hartford.

It is by organising events such as these that the Georgia Tech India Club has managed to spread the awareness of Indian culture and its rich multi-ethnicity on and off campus.

On any regular day, by keeping themselves busy with various activities, members of the club benefit from the diverse composition of the group and are therefore dedicated to promoting the nation's heritage through various channels.

The effort is noteworthy because it marks the alacrity and sincerity of Diaspora kids to stay attuned to the vibration of India.

Admittedly, the show could have been more professionally managed (look at what colleges in Delhi alone do with half the resources or wherewithal) and aesthetically orchestrated, but what it lacked in practice, it more than made up for in intent.

The India club invested time and effort into this event in order to take it to the next level, making it a nationally-produced non-competitive south Asian cultural event here.

Rangina was therefore sandwiched between a whole weekend of partying and fun, with students rejoicing in the joy of coming together and fostering new friendships and associations, through an age-old association with one's roots; with India.