Saturday, February 23, 2013

Bittersweet India - International Students Day

During my study in India, I got the chance to be the Master of Ceremony (MC) for International Students Day (from now on, I will call it “ISD”). It is an event that is held once a year for all the foreign students studying in Mysore. It is an event where the students from all the countries who are in Mysore have the opportunities to showcase their culture to the public. It could be dance, drama, songs, or other performance which are usually ended with Fashion Show.

In that event, many people would come and attend. There would be approximately 1000 or more spectators plus the performers. This event would last for 2 days. The first day would be the Cultural Evening and the second day would be the Buffet Dinner for all the foreign students affiliated with Mysore University.

For the first year I was in Mysore, I was selected by the President of FISA-M (Federation of International Student Association - Mysore) to be the anchor (MC). It was an honor but too scary for the first time. I have been an MC for small friends or family parties, but for a formal cultural evening where around 1000 students from different countries, Police Commissioner, University Chancellor, International Student Center Director, and other Heads would be there… I was darn nervous. I was not the only one though. We were a team of four members from 4 different countries (Indonesia, Nepal, Afghanistan, and one more if I am not mistaken from Sudan or Tanzania. I am sorry that I could not remember well as I was not very well acquainted with that lady).

The event started with a formal Opening Ceremony by the Vice Chancellor which was led by the FISA-M President and the rest of the evening would lie on our 4 people’s hands. The evening would be a total mess or a total success or just so-so… that solely depended on us. I was very much nervous when we rehearse the order of appearing again at the backstage. I had millions of butterflies on my belly.

I was wearing a white thin woolen top with long black skirt with a black fancy belt. I think that was the first time I appeared girly during my stay in Mysore. I remembered one of the senior who had good experience in being an MC told us right before we went on stage “Be confident, engage the audience. The rest of the evening is ALL YOURS”. I was like going to the battle. To be honest, I DO NOT see the audience and if you ask why? Continue reading… That was a marvelous experience.

The moment four of us went to the stage, the spot lights were focused on our noses. We introduced ourselves to the public without being able to see the audience as all the lights were on us. Seriously I felt like being in a White Room where I could not see anything but I had to make sure that my eyes WERE INDEED to the audience and my mouth SPOKE. That was weird and knowing that somewhere in the crowd are people who know me closely like mom, and some other college friends… that was thrilling.

The beginning was a bit difficult but thank God my MC partners were great guys. They gave good impromptu ideas to suit the situation and we played along well. I was really happy when at the end we got good remarks from friends as well as from the International Student Center Director. I was so happy that I pulled it through well

That success led to the second chance of being an MC at the second year of the ISD. I was the only MC who was repeated as the rest of my MC partners had finished their studies and went back to their countries. For the second ISD, I was wearing the Kebaya (Indonesian traditional dress) and I could not be more proud, especially when on the fashion show, as an MC, I got the first chance to do the first swing of my outfit… That made me feel like a little girl. The second time was a cake-walk. My confident level was stable right from the beginning till the end. My partner was exquisite and I could not be happier as the evening went successfully.

Being an MC for an ISD had an effect though. People got to know me. I was the girl who tried to imitate one of the African dance move after the wonderful performance from them. I was the girl who almost punched my partner on stage as he “teased” me for not having any ability to dance at all (even though in real life I am not so-bad a belly dancer). I was the girl interviewed one Student for lip-syncing his girlfriend singing in Burmese language. Yes… I was that girl.

Sometimes I got a wave from some foreign students when I walked to college. I was like “Are you waving at me?”. That made me realized that I did not even recognize them and all I could do was just wave back. Sometimes someone would just come around and say “How are you doing?” and I would say “I am fine thank you but I am sorry. Do I know you?” and they would say “No. You do not know me but I know you. You did well on the ISD”. It is maybe a bit narcissistic or show-off but I had to admit that for a split second I felt like a celebrity. It was fun.

And then there is this Dinner which takes place mostly the next day of the ISD. The dinner would take place on the garden of Vice Chancellor’s residence and it would be OUTDOOR. The first year dinner went on smoothly but for the second year, the RAIN came.

The funniest incident was that, we started queuing for the meal when suddenly the rain poured down. We were holding the plate and took shelter on the Food Server’s Tent. That tent was not so wide so we were like a Kiwi Bird which only protected the heads. I remembered stuck in the tent with a Fiji friend and Nath along with many other people of course. And you know what happened? We were so hungry that we ate. We were at the FOOD SERVER’S TENT for the Love of God… That was the best place for the hungry people. Where else could we get FOOD, right? So we ate with our safe heads while the rain was pouring down nicely on our backs. The dinner was too good and we were hungry that we managed to be wet in such a way. That was unforgettable moment. We passed our plates to get the chicken and dosa from 3 or 4 people as we wanted to have second round of the food. We did not have to queue, folks. We stood in one place, passed the plate and the food would come safely to our hands with a bit of rain drop on it. We ate, we laughed, some people were watching with expression of "MY oh MY... That girl is hogging while her back is on the rain". That was truly hilarious.

I still laughed many times with Nath when we talked about it. I was wearing the second expensive dress I had. I thought I would look good in a brown silk dress with army green and deep maroon shades… BUT I WAS WET for heaven’s sake.

But thank God.. at least one gentleman who was 5 years younger than me still noticed me and flirt with me and I realized that I am not that old at all and The day was not that bad at all ;).
I hope that when I go back to India to attend my convocation, I would have the chance to attend the ISD again… this time as an Audience ;)

Good night everyone and Have a nice weekend. Be blessed!
KEBAYA (Indonesian Traditional Dress) - Mine was similar to this, except that it was in Maroon Color


  1. hell yeah the last dinner we had on ISD was truly a top notch. luckily we stood under the food tent not under the tree like others.... we had enormous supply that no one will take it from us.... lol


  2. If we had stood under the tree, I'm sure we wouldn't have been fed :P hahahaha