Desi Vibes 2.0 Creates Space for South Asian Students to Congregate

Seeking comfort and solidarity, South Asian students of the Claremont Colleges came together at the Motley for the event Desi Vibes 2.0 on Nov. 12. With a showcase of South Asian student art, music, and poetry, the event took on a mournful tone in the wake of the presidential election.

Still, the organizers of the event, Claremont Ekta, utilized the opportunity to congregate and, consequently, created a space that would allow students to find refuge and comfort in the performance art and Indian food provided.

Both Desi Vibes events have been hosted by Ekta, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to increased representation of South Asian issues and the creation of a South Asian community on campus. The Desi Vibes events specifically work towards increasing representation of South Asian individuals in the arts, a field in which they are severely underrepresented.

“I wanted to give an outlet to the South Asian community on these campuses to show their artwork, to perform their music and poetry, and other things very broadly encompassed in the field of ‘art.’ Any kind of creative expression is encouraged,” Ekta member and performer Saloni Kalkat SC '17 said. 

At Desi Vibes 2.0, Kalkat, alongside Manu Kondape HMC '18 and Yashas Hegde '18 performed a cover of "Weary" by Solange Knowles.The lyrics struck a chord with many individuals in the room in the wake of the results of the presidential election, as they sang, “We are weary of the ways of the world.”

Desi Vibes 2.0 had a different vibe than the initial Desi Vibes. Ekta president Pooja Patel PZ '18 commented on how the results changed the purpose of the space. 

“After recent events on campus, we thought it would be a better idea to create a safe space where people could talk about how the results would effect the South Asian community, and what we can do as a community to grow and get past what has happened," said Patel. "We’re hoping that this—the Indian music, the comfort food—helps people.”

This sentiment was shared by Kalkat.

 "We want people to walk in and feel the presence of a community on campus," she said. 

Ekta hosts many other events on campus aside from Desi Vibes, including a retreat for freshman bonding, weekly chai and chills, and a de-stressing event held around finals time. They plan to host their first party on Saturday, Nov. 19.