Association to host 54th annual show despite storm’s setback
Barodia says cultural event reminds students of India
Despite last week’s hurricane throwing off rehearsals for the Association of Indians at Rutgers’ 54th annual AIR show, board members decided the show must go on tonight at the State Theatre in downtown New Brunswick.
Morli Gandhi, president of the association, said this year’s preparations for the show were especially stressful because Hurricane Sandy pushed back practices to this week.
The program usually includes a skit, which is the main event, dances and other artistic performances, said Mohitha Sripathi, program manager for AIR.
“Every year, there is a different storyline in the skits,” said Sripathi, a School of Arts and Sciences senior. “This year’s show is titled ‘Chaarat: Crave the Impossible,’ and is about a young man who drops his ambitions to be a doctor and decides to try to make it big in Bollywood.”
The AIR show, which is held every November, is meant to bring together all the different South Asian-based university student groups through showcasing their talents and skills, Sripathi said.
Sripathi said the show usually has about 200 participants who come from various fraternities, sororities and performing arts groups.
Miraj Barodia, the association’s liaison to the University’s Class of 2014, said there are other non-South Asian based student groups that are involved in the program, who focus on the fashion show element of the night.
“It is a lot of work, and it’s hectic, but we have a lot of fun doing it,” said Barodia, a School of Arts and Sciences junior. “This is a really well-run organization and a tight knit board, in which we get along and work well with each other.”
The association prepares gift boxes for the show’s participants out of appreciation for their contributions, Sripathi said.
Barodia said the AIR show requires an extensive multi-step preparation process.
“Basically, we need to gather sponsorships, book the venues, dates and times, make flyers, do public relations work for the show and then conduct auditions, practices and rehearsals,” he said.
Gandhi, a School of Arts
and Sciences senior, said planning the show involves a collective effort.
“All 24 board members put in grueling hours to make this show a success, but the creativity that participants bring to the stage is what allows the show to continue and make this show spectacular,” she said.
The Association of Indians at Rutgers was established by a group of Indian students more than 50 years ago to raise awareness of India’s culture to the larger community, Barodia said.
He said the association was also created to bring a feeling of community to the University’s Indian students and their families.
“It helped bring to them a sense of home away from home,” Barodia said.
The association has about 150 members and is led by a general board that is responsible for preparing and planning the association’s events and activities, he said.
Within the general board is a five-member executive board, made up of the president, vice president, treasurer, secretary and programming manager.
The association conducts other events throughout the year, such as a cultural dance, Garba, and an involvement fair for various South Asian student organizations, Gandhi said.
She said the association participates in the Salaam-Namaste conference in conjunction with the Pakistani Students Association each spring to promote friendships between Indian and Pakistani University students.
“It is to show unity between the Indian and Pakistani student organizations here at Rutgers, and show that we’re friends,” Gandhi said.