Westwood Nasha Club: An Indian Cultural Experience

Srilekha Cherukuvada, Dreamcatcher Editor in Chief

Photo By Srilekha Cherukuvada
The Westwood Nasha club will be holding their next meeting on Friday, Nov. 1 during Flex in Mrs. Riusech’s room, C1305.

Loud Bollywood music pumped through the room as the first Westwood Nasha club meeting began. The excited officers took the stand to begin their first meeting. Last year’s idea for a Bollywood themed Indian cultural club had finally sprouted into an established club. 

“Last year Bollywood club was a very ‘underground’ kind of project. It didn’t really fruit into what it is right now. We wanted the huge Westwood Asian population to have their safe place with people who are like them,” President Divya Chhotani ‘20 said. “Nasha means to be overcome and lost in emotions and we want people to be entranced and putting their all into dance.” 

The first meeting consisted of a slideshow discussing what Bollywood is and its roots. The turnout for the meeting was diverse, with many people from different backgrounds in attendance. During the meeting, the officers also released the information for the auditions for the dance team portion of the club and later created a planning committee for homecoming festivities. The club hopes to also provide outreach opportunities for its members.

“Personally, it’s really exciting to see all of these other fellow Indian Americans step up and learn about our culture,” Chhotani ‘20 said. “Although I’m cultured, I really don’t have a place to go to really express myself so I wanted Westwood Nasha to be a place where Indian Americans can express themselves fully and be their true authentic selves, but also have those fun components.” 

The club just wrapped up their Diwali season, in which no performances were held, but opportunities were given to attend garbas, which are Indian dance festivities. Nasha is looking forward to a club showcase this semester and members are preparing for a performance at the Black Light Pep Rally. 

“I think, hopefully, it will have a really good impact on students who are trying to find their place and who are new to Westwood and have come from India,” Chhotani ‘20 said. “Since Westwood has a huge Indian population I hope that people can feel like they can freely express themselves, talk in their native language, and just spread positivity all around.” 

They are also getting ready for the next holiday season, with the annual Indian festival of Holi, and hope to do a collaboration “Battle of the Asia’s” with the Kpop club. In addition, Nasha will be holding a “Let’s Chaat” event, in which the traditional North Indian appetizer chaat, and other Indian dishes will be served as an Indian version of Thanksgiving. The event will be open to everyone, not just club members.

“My favorite part is seeing the teamwork,” Chhotani said. “I’m North Indian and it’s really nice to connect with people all around India, not necessarily from my region. I feel like this club really gives an outlet. We have people from at least eight or nine different regions and speaking at least 15-20 different dialects of Indian languages.”

Nasha strives to promote tranquility through dance and embraces the idea of dance bringing people together. The club hopes that through not only dance, but also through learning about Indian culture, members can become more aware of the cultural diversity around them and become their true, authentic selves.

“Everyone is welcome to join. This isn’t just for Indian Americans; we want to make this inviting for the Westwood community as a whole,” Chhotani ’20 said. “And yes, we have free food.”

The next meeting will be on Friday, Nov. 1 during Flex time in Mrs. Riusech’s room, C1305. For more information, visit Westwood Nasha’s Instagram page @westwood_nasha.