A Taste of the East

All the hype over SACC’s sold-out Indian wedding banquet has made me wonder: Is Colgate’s Indian population this semester’s hottest dating pool?

Considering America’s Asian Indian count has doubled in the last ten years, the Indian representation in American culture has been disproportionately small. Aside from The Simpson’s infamous Apu, Bend it like Beckham and the ongoing popularity of the Kama Sutra (which I’m sure Cosmo has completely bastardized), it’s still looking pretty white in mass media land.

Fortunately, Colgate has a more colorful outlook. For starters, there is no comparison between SACC banquets and their closest American counterpart, the frat party. Like any other college kid, I like my beer and my Kanye, but does it really compare to ethnic food, culture, and legitimate entertainment? The SACC folks have also brought two years of “Bhangra fever” to CAH, and we all know how starved for success the Broad Street Initiative is. In terms of ongoing campus contribution, two words: club cricket.

If I wasn’t already in a happy relationship I would so go after an Indian man. My soft spot formed the summer after sophomore year when Jash Datta and Mehul Malik cooked for me. The duo, from Calcutta and New Delhi respectively, are the first people from India I had ever met. It was also the first time I ever had curry.

That any man besides Dad made me dinner was an event in itself, but more so because I hardly knew either of them back then. We were acquaintances, class friends who all happened to be spending the summer in Hamilton. As I continue to meet more Asian Indians on campus, my belief is reaffirmed that their generosity and amiability is culturally tied. And they dance well, too.

Of course, it’s no coincidence that the Asian Indians who live abroad are remarkably smart and well-rounded because admission is super competitive for international students. I also recognize that my fairy-tale view of Indian men overlooks many of the relationship realities of life in India, where I’m pretty sure “Minus the City” wouldn’t be such a hit (though all 80,000 copies of last month’s inaugural Maxim India did fly off the shelves in just ten days).

Campus culture, it seems, exists in a vacuum: we get the banquets, the music, and the spicy food, but a faint grasp of what real life is like. Rather than write that off as some flaw of the Colgate bubble, it’s supposed to be a challenge – to ask questions, to form friendships. To date.

My decision to write this column was partially inspired by a write-up I did of the SACC banquet for the Colgate homepage. I contacted club officers to get more information and was so impressed by the details of the event, their willingness to give me insight, and their honest appreciation for the publicity.

And seriously, what says “I’m not afraid of commitment” like staging a mock wedding? “Our wedding culture is so different from what people are used to in the West,” Anand Kapur told me. “Normally, it’s looked at as a marriage of two families rather than just the wedding of two people.”

Now there’s a guy you can bring home to mom.