HUMing along: HUM looks forward to hosting annual HUM Night tomorrow at the Merrillville Indian Cultural Center.

Dancing on the open floor in their lehengas and kurtas, HUM, a group formed in the late 90s and composed of desi high schoolers from Northwest Indiana, host their annual HUM Night tomorrow. Held at the Merrillville Indian Cultural Center, the event starts at 6 p.m. with tickets available beforehand or at the door for $15 each. The night is filled with song and dance performances, a fashion show, cultural food, such as samosas, butter chicken, paneer, desserts and an open dance floor.

“It is nice to see everyone dressed up and coming out to support HUM,” Krisha Chauhan, freshman, said. “It is a fun night that has lots of great performances that I know took countless hours to practice and prepare. Then the best part of the night is at the end when everyone comes together to dance. It is very lively and everyone has a blast.”

Abhiram Kandregula, senior and HUM president, and the rest of the HUM group held their first official plan meeting in March to discuss an agenda for the night, ticket selling, and other logistics. However, much planning occurred before the meeting to ensure the banquet hall was booked and food options were finalized.

“We are going to have more people and especially more high schoolers than ever before,” Abhiram said. “I want to make sure that the night is memorable for them all.”

Some dance groups have also been planning their performances several months in advance. They meet at each other’s houses to learn the dance, make sure everyone is clear on the moves, and then make sure everyone is in sync.

“Our dance practices have been one of the favorite parts of my day,” Pranshu Aryal, junior, said. “By the end of practice, we are all dying with laughter and filled with exhaustion. A good dance has to have lots of energy to bring people to awe.”

HUM, however, goes beyond hosting the HUM Night event. The group volunteers at various homeless shelters, local community events, cultural events and their main continued partnership with the Carmelite Shelter. For the shelter, HUM holds a toy drive to collect toys and monetary donations for the children there.

“We want to make sure we give back to the community that helps us,” Abriham said. “Even if we do get money or donations for us from people, like when we won Munster’s Got Talent, we give back to places like Brothers Keepers, Carmelite Shelter and many others.”

The group has allowed desi students, like Pranshu, to further connect with their culture. She has found that the HUM group, although formed around Indian-American culture, shares close similarities with her own culture, Nepali.

“Being a part of HUM has let me make so many new relationships with people who I can relate to on a personal level,” Pranshu said. “I have learned the importance of being connected with my culture and embracing it. I have been able to learn so much about myself.”

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