Members of the students for Asian Indian cultural awareness organization dance to lively Bollywood music

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An electric Bollywood beat infected audience members as they clapped along to the dance performances at the annual Mela carnival on Friday.

Mela, which means carnival in Hindi, included food, games and Henna tattoos in addition to the dancing. Hungry visitors devoured the samosas, pastries – with meat or vegetables – and the mango lassi. Hannah Devotta, a junior biology major and the president of the students for Asian Indian cultural awareness organization, said the mango lassi is her favorite.

“It’s essentially the Indian version of a mango milkshake,” she said.

The students for Asian Indian cultural awareness organization held Mela to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights that started on Thursday. “It’s a great way to bring your community together – your family, your friends,” said Devotta.

Carnival-goers enjoyed exciting games at Mela

Devotta said she hopes to have more festivals than previous years.

“I want to celebrate Holi again,” she said. “We celebrated only once before in TCU history.”  Holi, the festival of colors, is celebrated with vibrant colored powder like those in color runs, Devotta said.

Muffy, an 11-month-old toy Yorkie, attended Mela

Celebrating Indian culture is both fun and a comfort for members of the student organization. “It’s kind of like our way of bringing it home with us,” Devotta said. Nalvika Ramesh, a senior biology major, and the organization’s vice president said the food and dancing reminded her of her family.

“The BLUU food is ok, but it’s not like home cooking,” Ramesh said. “It really just made me feel like I was at home.”

Devotta said she also enjoys the opportunity to engage with international students.

“I really enjoy connecting with them and helping them find a place – a niche on campus.”

The students for Asian Indian cultural awareness group is always looking for new members, Devotta said. “Here at TCU, all of us international students just want to share our culture with the rest of the TCU community.”