On Saturday, August 27, the Indian Association of Greater Tulsa hosted their annual “Discover India” event. The event showcases Indian culture and history while also allowing visitors to experience it for themselves, with dances, food, and shopping available.
Several booths offered learning experiences for visitors. Topics ranged from Bollywood to religion to cuisine. One even showed tourist destinations for those so inspired by the festival they wanted to visit the country for themselves.
Each station was extremely detailed, with information boards and physical examples, if possible. One station about a traditional festival featured Barbies dressed in facsimile clothing in a miniature version of that festival’s main event.
The cuisine table had various spices typically used in Indian cooking, as well as desserts. While they weren’t for eating, it was one of the most tempting areas.
Vendor stalls also abounded. Many sold clothes and jewelry and seemed to be constantly swarmed by people. One woman sold her pottery, and demonstrated her process on a throwing wheel as people eagerly crowded around. A large henna station decorated many a person’s hands and body.
For food, visitors could choose from several dishes from the local Indian Palace restaurant or Himilayan-based cooking. Of course, being set in the Expo Center, popcorn and soda were also served, which clashed with the rest of the experience.
Anyone not familiar with that style of food might have found themselves wondering what to buy. Most dishes were simply labeled as “vegetarian combo” or “meat combo” and lacked detailed explanations, but looking around, one could judge for themselves what might suit their taste buds.
The main event was on stage, where different acts passed through. Dancing groups performed. While it was unclear, to me at least, what was happening lyric-wise, it was clear that the dancers were experienced and having fun. One duo lept around the stage to cheery, bouncy sounding-music, doing complicated moves to a story I’ll never be privy to.
A fashion show served as one of the last acts of the night, with both men and women showing the fabrics and colors of their culture. The clothing looked comfortable but beautiful, with complementary jewelry or other embellishments adding a distinct radiance to the outfits.
While this event has already passed for the year, the Indian Association holds other events, such as an Indian kite festival and Hindi classes, where people can get a taste of a different place.