Students at John Adams High School in Ozone Park held their annual Diwali Show on Dec. 2, treating fellow students, family members, and alumni to a night filled with truly authentic aspects of Indian culture — dancing, singing, smiling, and simply having a good time.
The stage of the Queens school’s auditorium sparkled with colorful lights as students from Vejay Verma’s Hindi Club observed the Hindu holiday by performing traditional Indian dances for the audience of 50. The female dancers wore an array of colorful sarees (a length of fabric elaborately draped around the body), and performed to music spun by a DJ.
Thanks to the students’ energy and commitment — and the audience’s continuous cheering and clapping — the event soon became a celebration.
“The show went very well this year,” said Verma, who has been coordinating the annual show since 2008. “In my Hindi language class, I not only have Indian and Asian students, but Guyanese, Spanish and African-American students, as well. For me, as the director of the Hindi Club, this year’s show was very satisfying. The students gave excellent performances.”
Within the Hindu religion, Diwali, also known as the “Festival of Lights,” is celebrated by paying respect, honor and homage to Mother Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity, by lighting “diyas,” or lamps. The purpose is to attain her blessings and to signify victory over evil.
“I was nervous, because I didn’t know exactly how things would go. But in the end, it was a memorable night,” said 12th grade student Tiffany Naidu, a first-year participant in the show. “Everyone had fun, and that’s really what matters.”
Members of the audience couldn’t agree more.
“The Diwali festival was quite entertaining,” said English teacher Marguerite Lamothe. “One could see that the students put a lot of effort into it. Although the audience was small, the energy of the performers was huge, and the audience enjoyed the show.”
Sherlana Rooplal is a senior at John Adams High School, where she is also a reporter for its newspaper, the Campus.