An In-Depth Profile of NASHA, Bronx Science’s South Asian Cultural Club

An in-depth dive into NASHA of Culture, its importance, and its widely acclaimed end of the year show.


Louisiana Stahl

Kushal Sahabir ’22 plays a traditional melody on the tabla during the NASHA performance on June 3rd, 2022.

What is NASHA?

NASHA of Culture is a South-Asian heritage club at the Bronx High School of Science. It is considered historical, a legacy club, as it has been an official club at Bronx Science since the 1990s. With almost 300 members on its e-mail list, NASHA is one of the largest clubs in the school. 

There was a full house during a NASHA meeting in Room 319 on February 2nd, 2022.

What does it stand for?

NASHA, or नशा, means “intoxication” in Hindi. This clever title translates to “Intoxication of Culture,” which is what this club strives to emulate for its members in their appreciation for South Asian culture. 

From movie nights to cultural performances, NASHA’s goal is to create a safe space for the South Asian community to come together and celebrate their shared heritage.

NASHA members pose for a group photo after performing at the 2021 Homecoming. (Moontachier Taseen ’23)
NASHA members perform at Bronx Science’s 2021 Homecoming celebration. (Moontachier Taseen ’23)

What is the NASHA show?

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, NASHA of Culture had been unable to hold their annual show since June 2019. Thus, the school has missed two years of beautiful performances hosted by this club. 

As we readjusted to in-person schooling this year, I kept hearing from faculty members how they used to look forward to the NASHA show every year. These teachers recounted how amazing the costumes were and how stunning the performances were.   

I personally hadn’t experienced a show yet as quarantine began during the end of my ninth grade year. But I was excited to learn how to host a NASHA performance at the end of the 2021-2022 academic year, now that we were back in person.

What does culture mean to you?

Google defines culture as, “the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.” 

To me, culture is a way to identify and find myself. 

NASHA members pose for a group photo with MSA after a successful collaborative event on December 22nd, 2021. (Krittika Chowdhury ’23)

When I think of culture, I close my eyes and smell mehendi, a paste made from henna tree leaves used to stain your hands with intricate patterns. I feel my hands cramping up from squeezing a new tube of the brown substance. When I think of culture, I think of red saris and my mom’s gold jewelry that she hasn’t worn since she had her first child, my older sister. I think of teeps, tiklis wrapped in tissues laying in boxes stuffed into a drawer. 

I lay awake dreaming of the garden of my home, my grandparents’ home, the roof I danced on in the rain with my cousins, the banana leaves I dragged my sister on, the cricket bat twice the size of four-year-old me, the mango tree I couldn’t climb, and the torn-up Ludo board. Behind my eyelids, I watch myself and my family laughing hysterically at Bollywood movies. We watch Shah Rukh Khan fall in love with Kajol and Deepika Pudokone. I watch these beautiful actresses shake their bangles and move their hips to the melodious and powerful beats.

I’m an immigrant, a first-generation American, a resident of Queens, and a New Yorker. I’ve lived here for twelve years, which is longer than I’ve lived in Bangladesh. Yet, when I walk in a thunderstorm in the summertime and hear a motorcycle zoom past, I’m a five-year-old in Dhaka again. 

Growing up in this foreign land of America, so drastically different from South Asia, you inadvertently lose yourself. As many immigrants do, I assimilated. I forgot my mother tongue. I began to speak English with my parents. I traded in my salwar kameez at home for a t-shirt and sweats. I learned I can’t serve chai as well as my mother. 

Coming into high school at Bronx Science, I didn’t look for a community. Instead, I solely sought some friends. 

Still, NASHA found me. As intriguing as it sounds, that is what happened. One day, I stumbled upon some friends of mine in a staircase dancing and recording themselves. A bollywood actress’s voice played from someone’s phone; I didn’t recognize what song it was. They let me stand and watch them. The girls were practicing and the boys’ part hadn’t started yet. I watched them move their hands softly, like a flower unfolding. I watched Mahzabin Ahmed ’23 take the lead and teach everyone the moves. The boys were sitting off to the side watching carefully, holding the speaker. 

I want to be a part of this, I thought.

“Hey Mahz, what are you guys doing?”

“Oh, we’re practicing for the NASHA show. Do you want to join? We’re missing one person.” 

“Yeah, sure!” 

That one conversation resulted in a whole new friend group and offered me a community in which I could find myself and reconnect with my culture. 

Now, I was the Event Coordinator of NASHA of Culture for the 2021-22 academic year and a soon-to-be Vice President for the upcoming 2022-2023 academic year.  

I have come a long way from the shy, silent, awkward ninth grader whom I was. Being in NASHA during my ninth grade year allowed me to build the confidence that I needed in order to grow into the person whom I am today. 

Culture clubs are supposed to provide a safe space for students of similar backgrounds, and a place for students of different backgrounds to learn something new. NASHA definitely served more than its intended purpose for me. 

I remember coming to my first NASHA meeting, with the room full of upperclassmen (many of whom I would soon befriend). I sat in the back worried, careful to not make a sound. I observed Jazz, the president of NASHA during the 2019-20 school year, sit behind the computer and update the club members on announcements that I’ve now long forgotten. Her voice silenced all conversations and reached across Room 319 without a microphone.

As the meeting went on, we split into groups to play a game. We played Jeopardy, and my friend won the round for us by stating that XXXTENACION was from an Indian background. The fun game helped me feel comfortable with the members of NASHA, and learn something new.  

Having this experience is what helped me get through quarantine. This is what NASHA is about. 

On Friday, June 3rd, 2022 NASHA performed, and it was my first show — witnessing it, being in it, and hosting it. And it was the best experience of my high school career so far.

No matter what was going on, our club members attended every rehearsal and worked hard to bring the show up to its best potential.

The board members — Aananadita Chowdhury ’22, Mahzabin Ahmed ’23, Maheen Rassell ’23 — and I became immersed in producing the show in the Spring of 2022, culminating in the long awaited performance. 

No matter how stressful it was, it was all worthwhile when I saw how much our members cared about the show, pouring their blood, sweat, and tears into every detail.

Everyone worked together to learn new songs. Our backstage crew members stayed for every rehearsal in order to learn how to handle lights and sound. Our MC’s stayed up late many evenings in order to write their script for the show. I’d see our performing groups practice their choreographies every time there was a break or when another group was rehearsing on stage. I rehearsed my performances so often that my shins, calves and feet were sore every day. 

But it all became worth it when the crowd roared before the performers even entered the stage. 

On Friday, June 3rd, 2022, the auditorium was full of glow stick wrapped wrists and flashing phone cameras, as well as the flash of professional cameras, as the audience cheered in anticipation. 

The performers were lined up on either aisle of the auditorium, led by our honorary members Daniella Lorenzana ’22 and Stefan Inderbitzen ’23, with LED balls.

“Welcome to the NASHA 2022 SHOW!” shouted our MC, Sadiqha Quadery ’23. The crowd erupted in shouts and applause, and all my nerves disappeared. 

The announcers for the show (Mohammed Yasar ’23 (at left), Sadiqah Quadery ’23 (in the middle), and Shad Talha ’23 (at right) performed a skit in between performances. (Farabi Azad ’22)

This felt right. 

Maheen Rassell ’23 and I looked at each other with pride and relief. 

Throughout the rest of the show, I watched anxiously from behind the curtain worried about my performers and our MC’s. But they made the crowd very happy with their moves and jokes. I watched my performers show off their hard work, and it brought me close to tears. 

Behind the curtain was a completely different scene to the practiced perfection on stage. Groups were huddled together, rehearsing their moves quickly in rushed motions without music. I remember thinking how comical it was, but it made me so proud to see how much effort the performers were putting in for the show. 

Every time someone got anxious or even when I started worrying, anyone who was in the near vicinity came over to help calm me down. 

On June 3rd, 2022, the NASHA performance brought together over thirty NASHA members and a full audience together in a way that we had not experienced before. The NASHA performance served its purpose in bringing together the South Asian community at our school, as well as displaying our culture to the entire Bronx Science community. 

After the performance concluded, recent graduates who had returned for the performance came over and hugged all of the upperclassmen they knew. Proud parents smiled at their children. Students hugged their friends who had just performed. 

Throughout the weekend, performers and crew members alike had their social media accounts flooded with praise. 

It was clear that the NASHA show of 2022 was a stellar success.

The NASHA performers lined up at the end of the show to take their final bow. (Louisiana Stahl’23)


“We hold the biggest heart. This show was a huge success, an exemplification of the South Asian community at Bronx Science. I’m so honored to have been the NASHA president this year, and I hope next year is just as successful,” said Aananadita Chowdhury ’22, President of NASHA of 2021-2022. 


“I went from being one of five ninth graders two years ago to having the honor of working alongside our board this year. We can tell you firsthand that transitioning back from remote to a normal school year wasn’t easy, but with hard work, all of us persisted and pulled together this show for you! Everyone here has put their blood, sweat, and tears into each performance. NASHA is not just a club but a community. And I’m so lucky to call NASHA a home at Bronx Science where I am surrounded by people with both talent and passion for our culture. I only hope to carry on this spirit of NASHA next year as President,” said Mahzabin Ahmed ’23, Vice President of 2021-2022.


“NASHA is an amazing community that grows every year. At first, I didn’t like the idea of performing, but once you try it, you start to feel the adrenaline and the love from the support system around you. Honestly, the NASHA show was one of the most memorable moments so far in my high school career.” said Maheen Rassell ’23, Secretary of NASHA of 2021-2022.


“NASHA is always family to me. First, we performed at homecoming, and now we performed in our annual show. It was such a good way to enter my first official year at Bronx Science into a club with such genuine people whom I can relate to and share so many cultural memories with. This entire show held a special place in my heart. I love this club so much for what it has to offer. NASHA’s show this year was all student-led, and it was the club members and board who came together themselves to put together something so big and organized after the COVID-19 pause,” said Kamya Parikh ’24, a performer.


“As someone who ran theater productions before, I can say with confidence that the board was completely professional. Their management with the technology, and their coordination with the NASHA members was phenomenal. And the sense of community was wonderful. I was so happy when all the performers ran through the auditorium. A ball was flung at me, the guys were chanting, and I heard the girls giggling and the bells on their skirts. The audience was so excited and had a great appreciation for our culture,” said Labiba Islam ’22, a performer. 


“I have been a part of NASHA since I first entered Bronx Science as a ninth grader,  and today, our 2022 NASHA show has to be one of the most important days of my life. I have never felt more alive, happy, and excited to be connected to people through dancing, music, singing, and of course, culture. During rehearsal practices and the day of the show, I felt so alive, especially with all of the amazing backstage crew. We really enjoyed working behind the scenes and seeing all of our friends perform to perfection. All of us with the sounds, music, lights, roll calls and ushering made the show come to life. To be honest, I love being in the stage crew, but the excitement of the show made me smile so much that I am looking forward to being on stage for my senior year! NASHA is like my family; the people I met and the experiences through this club reminds me of the importance of enjoying the little joys of life. I’m really happy to say that I can genuinely look forward to more magical moments like this next year,” said Tasmia Afrin ’23, Usher/Backstage crew. 


“I feel like the show was a great way for all of us to come together and show our love for our culture. It was truly an amazing and beautiful experience seeing all of the performances and how hard everyone worked. It came together wonderfully, and I am so excited to be a part of NASHA next year,” said Jannet Kaur Pawar ’24, Backstage crew on lights. 


“During rehearsals and practices leading up to the show, although it was hectic and stressful, it was also fun because we got to spend time with a community of people who all shared similar interests and passion for dancing. The thrill when you heard the crowd cheering for you is a feeling that I will always remember. This show also brought our whole NASHA family closer since we all spent so much time together during the show. I am so glad to have joined NASHA since it’s such a fun and enjoyable club and community,” said Jazmine Pawar ’24, performer.


“Being a part of the annual NASHA show this year was so fun and made Bronx Science even more enjoyable. I am so fortunate for our school to have such a large South Asian population and a huge club to represent us, as many schools do not have that. I worked with NASHA on their performance for three days, and it was the best memories I’ve made at Bronx Science so far. The crew was so welcoming. The show was nothing short of wonderful. Although I was backstage, I was dancing and cheering from my spot because the spirit was so lively. I cannot wait for the future NASHA shows,” said Shormi Anwar ’24, backstage crew on curtains. 


“Being a part of the NASHA show this year was truly an amazing experience. I was amazed at all the hard work and practice that the performers, board, and everyone backstage put into this show. All of the hard work paid off with a beautiful show full of incredible performances. I had so much fun on stage for the skits. Even with the hard work leading up to the show, it quickly fell into place. I can’t wait to attend more meetings next year and make next year’s show even better,” said Prayag Tamarisakandala ’23, backstage crew, on roll call.


“There was a certain thrill being one of the announcers for the show. At first I was nervous, but when I saw the audience and how excited everyone was, I felt much more comfortable. NASHA is the perfect place for us to represent our culture while also making an entertaining performance for all to enjoy. I’m looking forward to NASHA next year, and hopefully to seeing some new faces as well,” said Shad Talha ’23, performer and MC. 


“This was my first experience with NASHA. All I can say is that it was very hectic but fun at the same time. I had never really participated in any culture clubs during my time at Bronx Science, but my short time at NASHA really made me appreciate my heritage and traditions more. I was surprised at how talented, welcoming, and cooperative everyone was. I hope to see NASHA flourish next year,” said Sadiqah Quadery ’23, MC. 



Thank you to all backstage members who helped create the show, and a big thank you to World Languages teacher Ms. Erika Rubio at Bronx Science for being the faculty advisor to NASHA of Culture for the 21-22 school year and hopefully for many more years to come.