Monday, October 12, 2009

Diwali 2009.

So Diwali is starting, super exciting fun holiday in India. I believe it lasts 10 days, as most Hindu festivals do.

Last Saturday the school got all decorated and had a huge party on campus. The decorations are still up actually since Diwali lasts so long. The entire building is done up with lights and the canteen has the cutest more colorful decorations up.

Anyway...back to last Saturday and the party, the students organized the music and DJ side and the faculty organized all the equipment and food. It was such a fun party, I cannot even describe it all. I thought (as did Remi) that it wasn't going to be good, usually from experience during Indian festivals on the streets they play really cheesy techno music, popular American pop songs remixed to a faster beat, it's just horrible. From the sound of the INSANELY loud bass we already were dealing with in our apartment while getting ready to go downstairs, Remi turned to me and said "If the music is really bad I'm not staying." However when we did finally head down, the music was totally different. I guess they were just warming up for the event because the students took over the music and a lot of the songs were actually stuff you might hear in San Francisco clubs. Some hiphop, house, and my personal favorite even some electro beats! All the men immediately got their heads wrapped in some sort of traditional Indian turban (reserved for special occasions). I got lots of photos of it. All night Remi's students kept calling him "Indian Brad Pitt" which is funny for 2 reasons: ONE, in town he has already been mistaken for Brad Pitt (especially when he wears his sunglasses), and TWO, in SF a lot of the girls in our friends group nicknamed Remi "the French Brad Pitt". Of course Remi loves it but he won't admit it. :P

They had also free mehndi (henna tats) given. I got one done on my hand with Charlotte (my newest friend and neighbor here), they also had face/body painting, and hair braiding. I'll give you a brief insight into Indian culture that I've learned so far. They truly want you to experience their life, their festivals, and their food. They never let you leave a buffet table without trying everything, they made every French student or teacher get the head wrap, they pestered me until I got my mehndi. Not in a mean way (am I making it sound mean?) it's a really sweet way. Like they REEEEEALLY want you to understand them and their culture, they wish to share with you. It's truly unique and it's universal here.

So, after some food, and several Kingfisher beers (really strong Indian beer) we got to dancing. The American in me kept thinking it's too weird mingling with students, drinking with them, dancing. It was like at first I couldn't relax. I didn't want to let go because Americans are professional, Remi is a teacher here, I am his girlfriend, his bosses are watching as well as students and it would be unprofessional to relax.

Which lead me to think this...Americans never relax, period. We are always worried about being proper or professional...(but thats another thought for another day)

Indian faculty members were the first to dance. Sharma was totally wasted (the dorm warden) kissing students cheeks and shaking everyones hands 20+ times like he always does. The accounting department kept pulling Remi and I to the dance floor encouraging us to dance to the bhangra style music. The students were cheering Phillipe (Remi's boss) on when he finally hit the dance floor. Guillaume was drunk, so was Petra, everyone was smiles and laughter, and just having an amazing time.

I just don't think this type of party is possible in the U.S. Of course maybe you have a few cool teachers in your life who maybe you go out with on occasion...but I'm talking about an entire schools faculty gettin' their groove on shamelessly.

Remi and I were all smiles all night long, it's like we were in constant amazement at everyone enjoying themselves. Everyone had fun, not 1 person left early, not 1 person said it was boring, not 1 person didn't dance, where else does that happen I'd like to know? Seriously?!


Mary's Travels (so far!)