PSA hosts ‘Junoon Night,’ teaching guests about desi food and music

Farah Javed

Baruch College’s Pakistani Student Association hosted “Junoon Night,” a South Asian festival that truly lived up to its title’s meaning, mania, on Nov. 13.

While the DJ blasted “Uptown Funk,” a dhol — a large, barrel-shaped drum — was played. Students of all ethnicities entered in their most lavish and
colorful shalwar kameezes, or a pairing of a tunic top with loose trousers.

From the start of the night, each attendee was given a green ribbon to tie around their wrist, already giving a festive vibe, as half of the Pakistani flag is green.

The multipurpose room was decked out with green, white and red streamers, banners and glow sticks. The Pakistani flag and a photo of the club’s e-board was hung highly and proudly for all to see.

The night started off orderly, with appetizers provided by a local Indian and Pakistani restaurant, Haandi. Desi staples were served, such as pakoras, kebabs, chicken tikka and chutney.

Desi refers to the people and culture of the Indian subcontinent, mainly India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

After the long line of attendees got their food, the actual event started. The DJ introduced the E-Board members, and the president spoke of how the night was meant to “spread the livelihood and culture of Pakistan.”

Next, the PSA secretary delivered a poem in Urdu, which received applause and praise from the crowd.

The more thoughtful atmosphere quickly changed to an upbeat and lively one as performers came out, like one group from the International Student Organization.

With the overly crowded room, small dance floor and neon lights, the dancers were hard to see, but the cheers from the audience were deafening. The last group of performers gave an energetic Punjabi tribute and their own version of Bhangra.

For most attendees, the performances were the best part of the night.

“There [was] really good music and the food [was] really good, but the performances were by far the best part since they were able to represent different cultures,” said Tasnia Chowdhury, a freshman at Baruch.

For the remainder of the night, the DJ blasted a remix of Spanish, American and Punjabi songs, catering to every ethnicity in the room.

Though dancers were clearly enjoying themselves, the dhol
player seemed to not be as enthusiastic.

Since the music was so loud, his playing was virtually inaudible,
and at some point he stopped playing. 

The music switched over to pop songs like “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran, and the dancing moved from bhangra to twerking, no longer representing the Pakistani culture.

To add to the ensuing excitement, an insulin pen was found but was never claimed, and a phone went missing.

After about thirty minutes of dancing, officers called attendees into the hallway for dinner. It included a blend of daal, or lentils, rice, roti and biryani, a blend of chicken and rice. 

Once the meals were eaten and photos were taken, the crowd of students began to thin out.

When asked about the night as a whole, one student, Manahel Khan who is a senior at Queens College, said she really enjoyed it.

“I love how everyone is dressed culturally and it seems like the whole community came together and had a blast. I absolutely loved the dance performances,” Khan said.

Overall, amidst the freezing temperature outside, the warmth from the passion and Pakistani pride at “Junoon Night” was welcomed.

“There are a lot of South Asian clubs people aren’t aware of, but this event is one way to spread awareness of the culture,” Jaspreet Kaur stated.