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The Sentinel

The Student News Site of John Jay College of Criminal Justice

The Sentinel

The Student News Site of John Jay College of Criminal Justice

The Sentinel

Inside the Desi Society’s Dazzling Formal Event

Parsva Shah
Righ to left: Rafi Choudary, Frank Parizek, Jeff Mathew, Parsva Shah, Yusuf Khaled

On May 3rd, 2024, the John Jay College Desi Society hosted it’s annual Desi Formal. 

With flowers adorning the walls of the student dining hall and South Asian music playing all night, students from a myriad of backgrounds united to celebrate South Asian culture, food, and music.

Jeff Mathew, a junior at John Jay, states that this event was a great way for students to connect and enjoy themselves.

“The Desi Formal was an enjoyable experience that represented the Desi culture through dance and laughter,” Matthew said. 

Andy Veras, a senior at John Jay, explained how this event helped him connect with and learn about a new culture. 

 “I was amazed by the new culture I was exposed to,” Veras said. “Everyone was very welcoming and I absorbed a lot of positive energy.”

Similarly, many students were impressed by the South Asian clothing they saw. The women who attended the event chose to wear traditional clothing called saris, which are un-stitched woven fabrics arranged around the body as a robe, worn in most of South Asia. 

Many of the men in attendance wore traditional kurtas, which are loose collarless shirts. 

“I was mesmerized by the different colors I saw,” said Frank Parizek, a senior at John Jay. “This desi formal mixed fun with style!” 

Many of those who attended the event were Alumni. They viewed this event as a great way to connect with current John Jay students. 

John Jay Alumnus and former Student Council President Yusuf Khaled remarked, “It always feels good to come back to school and see the next generation making strides!” 

In addition to the food and music, an instrumental part of the Desi formal was the performance by Hunter College Shikari. Hunter College Shikari is a South Asian fusion dance team that performs South Asian dance styles with western dance techniques. 

Taniya Bhambra, captain of Hunter College Shikari, explains how the team enjoyed their performance at the Desi Formal.

“We enjoyed this event and appreciate the John Jay Desi Society. This was our first time dancing at a John Jay Desi Society event and we definitely felt very welcomed,” said Bhambra. 

Although attendees enjoyed the formal, setting up such a large event was no small task. The Desi Society e-board faced a variety of difficulties, including photobooth and DJ contracts not being approved in time.

John Jay Desi Society vice-president Disha Navadia explained, “Despite all the struggles we faced in the beginning, our formal ended with tons of great memories.”

John Jay senior Amina Bibi recalls her enjoyment at the event.

“Although it was students playing songs, we still had an amazing time dancing! It’s a testament to how John Jay students can always have fun, regardless of  circumstances,” Bibi explains.

Many students saw this event as an opportunity to find unity among different cultures. 

Ashley Jainarine, a sophomore at John Jay explains, “I enjoyed listening to the music, taking photos, and dancing to different genres, such as Giddha and Bhangra.” She said, “Although I am Guyanese, being able to immerse myself in Desi culture highlighted its similarities to my culture.”

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About the Contributor
Parsva Shah
Parsva Shah, Web Editor
Parsva Shah is currently a senior at John Jay College. He majors in philosophy and law & society. He’s worked previously as a staff writer within The Sentinel.  Parsva’s passion for writing is intertwined with his deep-rooted love for reading. He enjoys reading court cases, philosophy works, and political commentary. As a staff writer, Parsva enjoyed exploring different viewpoints and representing opinions on important issues that impact the John Jay community.  In the future, Parsva plans to go on to law school and serve the New York community as an attorney. Within John Jay, he is also a part of the BMI Rising Scholars of Justice Program as well as part of the Office of Student Research and Creativity. Parsva’s favorite story he has written is “CUNY Student’s Reaction to the Migrant Crisis.” Although a hot-button issue, understanding different points of view to create a cohesive article was a process that allowed Parsva to grow as a writer and a journalist.  A quote that inspires Parsva is “Journalism is history’s first draft." He’s driven by his passion for helping people express their opinions and hopes that as a Web Editor, he could mentor staff writers and help them publish meaningful articles.

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