It is 11:30a.m., and a group of spirited girls wearing decorative bindis cluster in a circle in one of the Upper School math classrooms, room C205. Suddenly, a boom echoes from the SmartBoard and the girls begin doing a dance inspired by a song called “Nach Baliye” from the Bollywood film Bunty Aur Babli.
This year, a new group on campus is all the rage: Indian Club, founded by Suhauna ’14 and Ashna ’14 last September, has attracted more than 28 members from the Classes of 2013 and 2014, only three of whom have South Asian heritage. The Club aims to foster a sense of community between those with South Asian heritage and those interested in learning about the rich culture of the Indian subcontinent.
Suhauna and Ashna said that they created the group on a whim. One day, while sitting at lunch, they became inspired by the idea of learning more about their heritage.
“Both Suhauna and I are half Indian. Plus, we are also both Muslim, not Hindu,” Ashna said. “Yet there are a lot of historical and cultural aspects of India that we are not familiar with. So, we decided that we wanted to bring awareness for our own benefit and introduce a new perspective in the Marlborough community.”
Since Suhauna and Ashna founded the group after fall Club Fair—an annual event where club leaders provide snacks and information about their activities in an attempt to attract new members—Indian Club is categorized as an “interest group” instead of a “club.”
“Our goal for next year is to become an official club, since we are already working like a club as opposed to an interest group,” Suhauna said. “Also as a club, we will probably expand our education to include more South Asian countries, not just India.”
According to Ashna, there were only nine members last October. However, over the past few months the group has doubled in size due to Ashna and Suhauna’s vigorous promotion.
“Though the club is mostly sophomores and a few juniors, we send out e-mails every week asking people to come to our meetings,” Ashna said. “I guess that’s been effective, but it’s so amazing to me how popular our club grew in such a short time!”
Since fall, Indian Club has met every Thursday at lunch in math instructor Alison Moser’s room. At these meetings, Suhauna and Ashna screen Indian films and serve traditional Indian dishes.
“At first, we showed more Americanized Indian movies like Bend It Like Beckham, but now we have progressed into more authentic Indian movies, such as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, which means, ‘something happens,’” Ashna said.
Club member Sabrina ’14 said that she joined because she wanted a good study break and has always been fascinated with Indian culture and food. According to Sabrina, the club’s activities have proven to be not only entertaining but also edifying.
“A few weeks ago, I went to a bonfire with my friend, Steve, and he had some friends who had just moved from India,” Sabrina said. “Instantly, we were talking all about the movies I had watched in Indian Club, and it was awesome to feel so connected to a foreign culture!”