The second attempt as I discovered today, of starting an Indian students association under the Chalmers Student Union happened today at Lindholmen campus.
About 60 Indian students, administrative representatives from Chalmers and few Indian alumni from Chalmers attended the event.
The event conveniently started 30 minutes late, to accommodate the Indian students, including myself who still have not inculcated punctuality, and reached late. Nonetheless, everyone seemed okay with it. That’s a trait one can live with in India, and no wonder we have our time zone the Indian Standard Time dubbed as the Indian Stretchable Time. I promise, I am getting better.
I myself have wondered at the plenty of Indian students who are at Chalmers. India being a vast country, there is no equal representation, of course. A polarised group mainly from southern part of India, primarily speaking Kannada and Tamil were part of at least today’s gathering. This southern majority in Chalmers by itself is intriguing. Maybe not so intriguing because Chalmers too focuses on many southern cities when attracting Indian students. For instance, even this year’s Swedish Education Day will happen in Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad – all three cities in southern part of India. This could in turn be a response to the ever-increasing demand of aspiring young engineering undergraduates in these cities. Bangalore, the city I come from has 120 engineering colleges – each on an average churning out 500 undergraduates every year, which is about 60,000 fresh undergraduate students per annum. That’s a pretty pessimistic approximation mind you.
Nevertheless, getting back to today’s event, the organisation is being floated as I said for the second time, and the organisers are hoping this will help in sustaining the support to incoming students from India, who will at least stay for two years to complete their graduate studies. Already this help is extended to Indian students before coming to Chalmers. A structured and organised approach could prove beneficial to both the students and Chalmers. Other objectives of the organisation seemed vague, as yet.
Abhilash Ram, from the Communication & Marketing team at Chalmers, also a student here has been appointed the Chairman of the group. The board that will consist of other office bearers and teams will be elected soon was the information given.
Folk music – both dance and songs are a big tradition in India, and an apt performance by ‘Team India – Gothenburg’, a dance troupe performed some refreshing Indian folk dance. This was followed by the performances of two first year Indian students (they were also my travel partners from India to Gothenburg). They performed to Hindi cinema music. Concluding the gathering was when we sang the Indian national anthem, which finally made me nostalgic!
And as Swedish gatherings do not end without at least a Fika, Indian gatherings to be memorable cannot disperse without meals! From the Lindholmen campus, we strolled in the persistent Gothenburg drizzle to the near-by Indian restaurant to create commotion in the hall, to feast on authentic Indian food. The Indian food there would have been a relief to many of my peers from India, for, many were already home-sick because they were missing home food more than homes! I exclude myself from the group, as I get along with Swedish food, and I cook moderate Indian food myself, which is palatable.
I wish the Indian association at Chalmers does well. I will try to contribute to this initiative, in whatever small way I can. Mostly will start with suggesting the group some sensible name!