“Bollywood Dance and Food!”. Is this the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word India? Yes, Of course, and we are proud of our food and entertainment industry. But here is a group of students from KTH who are showing Sweden that India is much more than spicy food and filmy dance. I am here today to meet the Indian International Student Group of KTH who call themselves Flavours. The first thing I see when I enter the auditorium is the fun-filled environment and people practising hard on their performance. Their faces and attitude making me forget for a moment that I was in Sweden until the next second a wave of chilly breeze set in on the skin bringing me back to the present. They are preparing for their India Day performance. Follow on to find out what this hustle is all about from the President himself, Sameer Manickam, President of Flavours.
What is Flavours for you? What is the best thing you see here?
It is home away from home. Flavours is a student association under THS, with an aim to showcase the vibrant and diverse culture of India. We are here to build a strong community and provide a home-like environment to all international students.
The best thing for me here is an endless list of learning about my own country. I get to meet different people and most of them end up as great friends and I get to experience the culture of their state. We want to showcase this aspect of the Indian culture apart from the normal Bollywood Dance and food which we are already known for. We started Flavours as a Diwali celebration, and now it is growing with people and culture.
What are the events that you guys organise every year?
We have our signature event – India Day coming up this week on December 5th. It is about showcasing Indian culture through various forms of art like poetry, different forms of dance, culture show of different states and many more interesting and creative forms of expression.
We also organise Holi – The festival of colours, Diwali – The festival of lights, screening cricket matches – Apparently the festival of the entire nation.
How is the response of international students to these events?
They just blend in and enjoy it a lot. They seem to love the Indian beats and dance well to it. I have received a lot of interesting comments. Once, after the Holi celebrations, a guy commented that he had never seen anything so colourful ever. We also have a lot of international students working in Flavours. So, it basically a cross-cultural environment.
I can see you moving around a lot and putting in efforts for the India day event. How are you planning it to be this year?
We have come up with an interesting theme this year to aptly exhibit the cultures of India, and what best than saying it through the Festivals celebrated in India. We have included different forms of traditional dances from the corners of India including Silambam, a thousand-year-old martial art form.
What is the most challenging thing which you face while organising such events?
My main aim is to have fun and make all the students have fun too. My greatest challenge is getting everyone on the same page. And it’s actually becoming easy for me. Students become proactive and do the groundwork in organising such a big event. Although we need to put in a lot of efforts to make the event. We started preparations for India Day in July while Holi takes around 3 weeks to prepare, Gasque would take us about a month. I have in fact enjoyed organising these events. Last year, I got to dance in 6 songs and learnt various dance forms like Garba and Kuthu.
We share a great relationship with the Embassy of India. We mutually support each other since we share a similar vision.