“About 12 years ago [the Portland State Indian Student Association] started with 60 [people] and [we] now have 182 people,” said ISA secretary Srinath Reddy of India Night 2016. “[Our mission is] to show Indian culture to people from other countries, come taste India’s food [and] meet some Indian people, for all students. Last year we had 600 people, we expect 650 [this year].” India Night took place on May 14 in Smith Memorial Student Union.
The Vanguard met up with Madhavi Lukalapu and her family waiting in line for the dinner served by Urban Masala. Lukalapu is from Andhra Pradesh, India, and is currently a substitute teacher at Westview High School. When asked why she came to India Night, she replied, “Just to keep the tradition, because this is the next generation, [motioning to her daughter and son],” Lukalapu said.
This year Lukalapu’s daughter had a dance solo, “It’s been 6 years [since] we’ve been coming here and my daughter’s first performance here [was] in 2011 [when] she was six.”
“Indian classical dance, the students organizing, [it’s all] very good, and the audience [is] increasing year by year, I really appreciate [it],” Lukalapu said.
“In 2011 only one quarter of the amount of people [were involved with ISA],” Lukalapu said. “Before it was only PSU students and now it is [an entire] community. It shows the efficiency and passion for the tradition. In fact my son wanted to dance but we were told we registered too late because of the amount of participants, that shows [how much the event has grown]. I really appreciate the students,” Lukalapu said.
Attendee Joel Jacob recorded friends dance performances, “I am from India and this is one of those nights, where we get to perform. [I‘m not performing] this time but my friend’s are so I am here, [to] be [in] support [of] them.”
“We[‘ve,] [Jacob and friends] looked forward to this event since last year. [During] the course of [getting] a Master’s degree, it is quite strenuous and hectic. This just gives a feeling of being back home–sometime [to] relax with people and to meet Indian [people] from all over Portland.”