Saturday, August 22, 2009

Orientation & Independence Day!!

As the 63rd Indian Independence Day unfolds, India emerges as a young nation whose dreams and aspirations are recognized by the world over. Be it politics, movies, fashion or food, India is creating waves in the International circuit and is being appreciated everywhere for its unique appeal. The attitude of India is changing too. As Amitabh Bachchan’s Lead India campaign rightly points out that the new India does not boycott foreign made goods anymore, it buys out those companies instead. The world is holding its breath and watching the show.

This year, the GISO team not only decided to celebrate the spirit of the new India but also make the people aware of the grass root level problems which have been plaguing India. There is a shining India living in the cities but there is also an India without three square meals to eat. The time has come to bridge the gap between the two.

Starting off the Independence Day celebrations was an inspiring speech by none other than the President of UH – Dr. Renu Khator. The motivational videos shown after that made the audience realize the importance of an individual’s responsibility towards our motherland. A powerful presentation by Vikram Shete on the true potential of a united India added an interesting flavor to the show. A short play highlighting the problems of India and the ignorance of people towards these problems was brilliantly presented in a simple yet effective way.

We, as students in the U.S.A. , get a firsthand experience of what U.S. offers us and what India lacks. So we are the people who are responsible to take that one small step that would make a big change in India. Several organizations like Pratham and A.I.D. serve the country by funding projects to help the kids and the needy in India. Insights into their work were presented by their volunteers and it was great to see the response from the crowd who signed up with these organizations after the show.

Well, well, there were several interesting things before the show too. Hats off to the GISO volunteers who made the tricolor come out alive with their face painting stall. The very sight of the Indian flag adorning the hands & faces of the audience instilled a proud feeling of being an Indian. Also, the thumb printing of the Indian flag at the entrance took the patriotic fervor to a new high.

This Independence Day proved to be special for GISO because it was the first time that there were two events conducted on the same day. We welcomed the new students with the Orientation program which equipped them with the basic information required to kick start their new life in the U.S.A. The curious, eager look on their faces reminded me of my days as a fresher here when everything is new and you spend your time exploring the city, culture and the people around you.

A word of advice to the new students – be highly adaptive to any situation, keep your learning spirits high and absorb the good features of the American culture in your life. I guess Time = Money seems to be good lesson to start with. There are several more which you need to discover and make them part of your life.

Last but not the least, the time and efforts of the GISO team in putting together these events are praise-worthy. Three cheers to the team and the volunteers for their hard-work and brilliance!!!