My new adjunct professorship at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) in Language Studio/ESL comes with some very cool perks. One is enjoying the beauty and history of SCAD’s many restored and repurposed buildings scattered across the Historic District of Savannah. (Most of SCAD’s buildings are not new–more often than not, they were derelict or ready to be torn down before SCAD came to the rescue.) My office, for example, is in Habersham Hall, part of the old Savannah jail. (No more comments about finally being where I belong, please.)
Another perk is being exposed to so many unique cultural opportunities (for example, the Savannah Film Festival started this weekend). On Friday night, I ventured over to the Habersham courtyard to celebrate Diwali, or the Indian “Festival of Lights.” Diwali, or Deepavali, is a major Hindu festival that celebrates the triumph and victory of good over evil, specifically when the Hindu God Rama defeated the demon Ravana. Celebrations incorporate the lighting of lamps and fireworks to symbolize hope, restoration and joy. That’s right up my blog’s alley!
Turning the corner at the end of that mysteriously dark walk, I was amazed to see what looked like an Indian street festival in full swing. Just look!
A large group of folks, many in traditional Indian garb, hovered around the food area. And for good reason–the aromas were enticing. The music was body-swaying. Of course, I wanted to make a bee line directly to the grub, but I saw two of my students from ENGL 193 (Composition for International Students) and felt I had to pretend to be mature and say hello. Here’s Kathrine and Stefanie:
But oh gosh, the food! I can’t remember any of the specific names, except for naan (the bread), but here’s my plate:
After stuffing myself to an embarrassing degree, I finally came back to my other nongastronomic senses and saw on the other side of the courtyard in the stage area another of my students, Aakash Mani (aka Cash Money! Really!). I made my way toward him, stopping to say hi to some of these folks along the way:
I finally made it to Aakash …
… and discovered that he was one of the stars of the entertainment part of the evening! Here he is dancing up a storm!
After the performance, I asked Aakash what made him happy about Diwali and the festival. He explained that the festival itself, because of its recognition of the triumph of good, is reason to celebrate, that it’s all about happiness, and that the very smile on his face (which is almost ALWAYS present) is there because of the joy of life. He also said that dance shows happiness. (That sounds like an A+ answer to me.)
(Should I take up belly dancing?)
I was amazed at the beautiful orchestration of the evening. So much fun!
I didn’t want to leave.
I love this place!