SMU’s Indian Student Association hosted their “Kulture in Kerala” event on Wednesday, Oct. 20, giving students a chance to relax and de-stress halfway through the semester. Over 250 students attended, enjoying cultural food, guided yoga, and take-home bath salts.
The state of Kerala runs along the southwest coastline of India and is an especially popular tourist location, boasting a plethora of scenic beauty. Particularly popular foods in the area include dosas, crepes made from rice and lentil batter, and appam, a type of pancake made with fermented rice batter and coconut milk. To represent these foods, ISA brought a live dosa station to the event, allowing students to watch as their food was prepared fresh. Students also enjoyed a selection of chicken and vegetarian curries.
Across the Mary Hay, Peyton, Shuttles Commons (MHPS) lawn, students could engage in a guided yoga session. ISA President Surya Ramakrishnan emphasizes the importance of recognizing the origins of Western yoga practices, which can be traced to northern India over 5,000 years ago. The word yoga was first mentioned in ancient sacred texts called the Rig Veda, one of a set of four ancient sacred texts written in Sanskrit.
“Kulture in Kerala” is among one of the first events ISA put together with a new, more inclusive programming process. The organization’s executive board members pick a location, build a Pinterest board based on the location, and select food representative of that area. This is meant to represent diverse locations from both North and South India as well as South Asia as a whole, an attempt to “not make being South Asian a monolith,” as Ramakrishnan puts it.
“I know there’s a lot of students who feel underrepresented because when it comes to Indian culture, a lot of the time Bollywood caters to North Indian people, so it seems like South Indian people are just left in the dust,” Ramakrishnan said. “They were really excited their culture was being celebrated too.”
Written by Saifiyah Zaki. Saifiyah is a sophomore from Plano, TX majoring in Marketing and Psychology with minors in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science.