DePaul SASA’s “Mehendi Ki Raat”

An image with the caption “Mehendi ki Raat (DePaul SASA event)” on it.

29th February 2024 can be summed up in three words: Colourful, Eventful and Tasty. DePaul’s SASA (South-Asian Student Association) had planned an evening which piqued everyone’s interest. With a general admission ticket worth $18, I was ready in my traditionals for this night. Taking place at “Michelle’s Ballroom”, this was supposed to be a “mock-mehendi” event. “Mehendi” is a celebration which takes place before Indian Weddings, where the bride and all the invited guests apply henna on their hands as part of a pre-wedding ritual. This event was supposed to encompass the fun you experience at this event by appointing a mock bride and a mock groom.

Two images of two brown girls each who are wearing traditional clothes.

The doors opened at 7 pm and I was one of the first guests who arrived at the venue with my friends. The venue was decorated beautifully as there were tables arranged everywhere for the guests to settle down. With a big dance floor in the middle, everyone was waiting for the event to begin. In the meantime, we were free to grab one custom cocktail drink. The options were:

  1. Cupid’s Pink Lemonade
  2. Sunrise Rambler
  3. Shirley Temple
  4. Blue Demon.

I picked a Shirley Temple as I enjoy its sweetness and just the type of drink I was craving at the moment.

 Two images. One of two Indian girls. Other of a group of Indian girls dancing.

Aside from the bar which offered these delicious drinks, the other two corners were occupied by the CPC (Cha Par Charcha) stall and the starter’s food table. CPC was serving hot and comfortable “Masala Chai” for $2, which was the perfect type of beverage for everyone who was coming inside from the harsh Chicago weather. For appetizers, there were crispy “Onion Samosas” (A crispy and savoury, fried pastry-type snack, filled with spicy onion-based stuffing) and “Chili Chicken” (Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside chicken bites tossed in spicy and sweet gravy. It belongs to a cuisine called “Indo-Chinese”).

Two images of Indian food.

What I was extremely excited about was the henna counter. What would a Mehendi night be without Mehendi? By the time I was done, however, the groom made his extravagant entry, following the bride. This officially kick-started the main event. Following 6 dance performances, which included teams such as DePaul’s Aandhi and LUC’s Naach, the dance floor was open to all with a DJ who was playing classic Bollywood Party hits. For the dinner main course, we indulged in “Veg Biryani”, and “Makhani Gravy” with our choice of protein (Paneer or Chicken). This was a night to remember.

Two images of Hand-Henna Art.

Overall, this event was a great testimony to how well the South- Asian community thrives in unity at DePaul. Regardless of whether you come from a south-Asian background, being an international or out-of-state student, you will feel right at home here in Chicago.

-Xo, Tani

Two images of Indian college students having fun.