Photo by Areej Qamar
The night of May 1, just a few days before finals began for NJIT students, was not a quiet one for the Association of Indian Students (AIS) and the Pakistani Student Association (PSA). The two organizations amassed their large followings to host a “Mock Shaadi,” which had been performed at other universities with significant South Asian populations such as Rutgers and Princeton. However, the 2023 Mock Shaadi was the inaugural wedding for NJIT.
“Shaadi,” the romanized version of शादी/شادی in Hindi and Urdu respectively, is the North Indian and Pakistani style of wedding, featuring processions leading in the bride and groom, classical and modern dance performances, and henna art on guests’ hands. A “Mock Shaadi” has all of these components, besides the actual marriage. Instead, Instagram followers of the two clubs’ accounts voted on the bride and groom.
Tisha Madhok, second-year human-computer interaction major, and Ian Vega, second-year computer science major, were chosen to be bride and groom respectively. The event took place from 6–10 p.m. on May 1 in Ballroom A of the Campus Center. Presale tickets cost $7 per person, while tickets on the spot cost $10, and covered food, drinks, a seat, and henna.
The event truly kicked off at around 8 p.m., when Madhok and Vega were introduced and seated on a swing covered in flowers. Punjabi, Urdu, and Hindi music rattled through the speakers, and amenities such as a fog machine and strobe lights painted the event in multicolored shades. These introductions were followed by dance performances from classical dance organization NJIT Thillana, a group from PSA, and Brick City Bhangra.
Akshitha Singathi, third-year NJIT computer science major and the director and founder of Thillana, performed a Kathak-inspired routine with second-year Rutgers-Newark and NJIT biomedical engineering graduate student Chirag Motwani as part of NJIT Thillana. Kathak is a North Indian form of classical dance that combines traditions from various religions and cultures from the subcontinent. “We wanted to innovate with our love for classical dance by experimenting with Kathak,” said Singathi, thanking the two organizations for the opportunity to perform.
Motwani commented, “My journey with NJIT Thillana has been great — like living a dream. I feel immense happiness performing for Shri Krishna tonight, especially in Kathak, which is outside my forte. Thanks to [AIS and PSA] for the opportunity!”
Ruby Kapoor, third-year computer science major and president of AIS, commented, “[PSA] reached out around three weeks ago, so there were lots of late nights figuring out the logistics of the event. A major expense was the DJ and the food; after all, an event this size hosts anywhere from 300-350 people, and we planned to serve a full dinner to all these people.”
Kapoor added, however, “A highlight was watching the whole crowd cheer on the bride and groom together, even though they were not necessarily familiar with everyone there.” Although the Spring 2023 semester has come to a close, Kapoor encouraged attendees to keep an eye out for the organization’s Garba and Holi events in the upcoming academic year.
Lamia Saeed, third-year business major and president of PSA, pondered the difficulty of pulling together such a large event in such a short period. “With everyone’s busy schedules, along with projects and finals, it was difficult to find good times, but once everyone was together, we were able to work together well,” she said. “The entrances of the bride and groom and the dance performances were my favorite part.”
Attendees and organizers alike expressed appreciation for the opportunity to celebrate South Asian culture. “Seeing such a big desi population attending the event was very rewarding,” said Shrinivas Sai, a second-year computer engineering student and the event coordinator of the Association for Indian Students.
Second-year biology major Priya Marella commented, “My favorite part was that the event got Indian culture to come to NJIT through the henna and the dancing.” Likewise, second-year biomedical engineering major Ishika Macherla enjoyed the performances, food, and overall vibe of the event.
Madhok and Vega had the busiest night of all, and were involved in most of the festivities. When asked what her favorite part was, however, Madhok reflected, “Slow dancing with my groom.” Likewise, Vega mentioned that slow dancing with Madhok had been the highlight for him as well.
Keep an eye out for future Mock Shaadis hosted by the clubs, as well as their upcoming events during the Fall 2023 semester, by following their Instagram pages @njit.psa and @njit_ais!
Voice your opinions