After two years of celebrating India’s Independence Day on a large scale, bringing the cheer and festivities to Indian students in Melbourne, RMIT Indian Club encountered a new first – taking the festivities online.
This year, we celebrated India’s 74th Independence Day online with dance and singing performances, games and mouthwatering Indian Food on Zoom.
As the largest cultural club in RMIT with more than 700 members, we are more like a big family, helping each other in any way possible, and providing a homely feeling to our Indian students members. Despite an odd year due to the pandemic, we were determined to bring all the members together to cheer them up and keep up the spirit of Independence Day.
But the question was – how do you compete with last year’s flash mob, singing, parade, flag hoisting, presence of honorable guest and feast?
The challenge was new and unknown for our 12-member executive team, but all it takes are the right people by your side to make the best out of any problem. Virtual Independence Day was conducted over Zoom on 15 August, attended by over 120 students.
The event started with an Indian flag hoisting through a recorded video from the General Consulate of India, Melbourne, along with the national anthem. All the participants stood up for two minutes’ silence to pay the respect to all the lives lost in the pandemic this year.
We were honored to also host the RMIT University Student Union (RUSU). Jacqline Out, the Clubs and Society officer, wished all the students, and motivated them to have patience and courage during this lockdown.
And then, the singing and dancing began. A performance was recorded by 20-25 volunteers which mostly included the new students in the club. These performances were edited and presented online. You’d think it might be boring or awkward, but you’d stand corrected, for the grace and enthusiasm of the performance gave no lesser feeling than watching a flash mob in person!
This was followed by a musical performance from emerging singing group Melbourne Raaga. Their melodious voice pleased everyone present in the event, and it was a lovely gesture shown by a group of professional singers to perform for free at an event.
After the breathtaking performances, there was one more special thing that the RMIT Indian Club arranged for its students – delicious Indian food delivered to their doorsteps! Yes, the Club had collected every participant’s addresses before the event, and arranged for them to receive flavourful Indian cuisine to mark the occasion. For addresses in areas where deliveries weren’t possible, they arranged uberEats orders for those students. After all, what is an Indian celebration without a feast?
For our Games round, all the participants were divided into 5 breakout rooms with a host in each room. The tasks were fun and interesting, and allowed students to show their creative and crazy skills which made them have a big laugh at the end. The two winners were rewarded with Coles gift cards worth $20 each.
The club’s hard work truly paid off when we could see so many happy faces at the end of the event. For many, it was a long time since they had interacted with a large crowd, and they relished the experience to chat and share their experiences. We even encountered a sweet moment when one student’s birthday was the next day, and we got to sing the birthday song for them!
RMIT Indian Club’s Virtual Independence Day was an event filled with laughter, compassion, patriotism, and most importantly, friends. There was a lot of hard work put into planning the event, from arranging food packages to aligning the performances videos and assembling game tasks, but it was a resounding success.
Who said lockdown has to come in the way of festivities?