On Saturday, November 14th, the Programming and Activities Council (PAC) collaborated with Dining Services to organize a way to serve Bennington students who celebrate Diwali. Known as the festival of lights, Diwali gets its name from the rows of clay lamps that are lit outside Indian households, which represent the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness. Bright flowers are a symbol of Diwali as well, and, as this culinary tribute reminded students, it is also celebrated with good food.
My tastebuds were too weak to fully appreciate the chicken with spicy tomato sauce that made my eyes water, but the fried cauliflower was much more to my liking—I would even say beautiful. The dessert of the evening, a pastry called gulab jamun, was my favourite dish.
Most everyone around the table was pleased with this dinner, and it seems fitting that this meal would be the last that students were allowed to have together in the dining hall. Of course, we had no way of knowing this, talking over a wonderful meal (and cleaning up my soda spill of epic proportions), but looking back, this bit of festive togetherness feels like the right way to have closed the dining hall.
Following this dinner, later that evening, PAC threw a small, socially distanced dance party on the Commons patio. While I was not in attendance, PAC member Manya Kochhar informed me that there was a good turn-out, and it was fun for everyone who came.