I was Cultural In-charge during Utsav 2005 and to make a frank confession, it was sheer disappointment. Not many came forth for the cause of the class and there were barely a few blue dots (for participation) in the standings table at the end of the day, so winning was only a far-fetched thought. I was disheartened.
Four years have gone by and luckily for me thing have changed and we all have brought down the barriers which separated one group from the other. Of course their have been many catalysts for bonding- sharing assignments, people realizing the futility of labs and involving themselves in more round table conferences, the joint stand on postponing test dates, movie outings past exams, consoling/applauding each other after results, the Lonavala trip, the grueling pre-viva discussion and the elaborate buffets in the breaks.
Around 2 months ago, somewhere in the vacation, Krupa(our current CI) and I were having a discussion on how the last semester could be made special. I told her Utsav 2008, that’s our last chance to work and win together as a class. I didn’t know my class will live up to this ‘work and win’ objective so well.
The last two weeks or so have been extremely hectic. First was the mammoth task of generating impetus in class, which surprisingly didn’t seem to be so difficult this time. More than 30 people agreed to contribute in someway or the other, which was far more than what we were expecting.
Third came starting with the preparations, mainly on the dance front and the street play front. When I say we didn’t have many all-rounders, we didn’t have many specialists either. It was perhaps the first time for a lot of people who did what they did, so practice was imperative.
I wasn’t a part of the group dance team as such, so will not be able to give you real insights (may be one of those who were there would want to chip in here). All I know was that we spent a lot of time in trying to finalize the songs and it was only till around 2-3 days before the actual event that the tracks were decided upon. Of course there were ego clashes, but the team over came them tremendously well. The best part was how while the theme of the dance just struck us, while running through the short-listed tracks – that of who the actual don of Mumbai is?
Our Power Electronics lectures were always a great time to nurture our creative talents, where a lot of ideas for the street play were conceived. The story for the street play was born there. After the dialogues were made in one mega-cheesy-line thinking session by the creative team of Diksha, Unni, Nakul, Krupa, Aalok and yours truly, we along with some help from the omniscient Komal also wrote the most amazing set of rhyming lines ever written for the narrator (which I will be posting shortly), again in our favourite sir’s lecture.
Besides, we had a series of elimination rounds to attempt, which needless to say were very taxing considering how many of us were in more than 3 events simultaneously. But we did come through, and come through well, reaching the finals with almost a cent percent hit rate.
Along with the eliminations, we also had to find time for the practice sessions. There wasn’t a day where we dispersed before seven in the evening and that is a conservative estimate. While the dancers were tirelessly rehearsing on their chosen tunes, the street play actors were screaming their lungs out to get the dialogue right. It was a great privilege to be given the job of directing such a talented bunch, and my due apologies if I sounded a little bossy and heartless during the period.
I cannot forget to make a mention of the pre-Utsav events, the portrait making (I still can’t digest the fact that Vikram turned up especially for it), t-shirt painting, rangoli making and creative writing contests, in which we won a position in the latter three.
On the 27th, came the first day of Utsav and we knew that we had enough firepower to take us through to a win. The first day saw us winning prizes at Group Discussion and Face Painting (1st, 2nd and 3rd), but we also put in a valiant effort in Western Solo (Aniket and Atre were soulful), Hindi Solo and Duet (lots of singers and non-singers tried their voices at it), Dumsies Pixies (the trio of Amri, Komal and Diksha), JAM (AI, not Arvind Iyer but Amalendu Iyer) and last but not the least, the solo dance finals (Komal yet again).
But our focus was primarily on the second day because those were the events we had prepared for. We started of within first position in Street Play (Harshit a.k.a. Hari got the best actor award too) and second in Debates (yes, AI and the Illuminator were the team that won in Utsav 2005 too), followed by the top prize for the most whacky hair do (thanks to our robotic friend and his not-so-mechanical hairstylist and yes, Kartik for making his presence felt for the first time at Utsav). Plus, we had near wins in Antakshri and the G.K. Quiz (Mayuresh and Paras participated in an Utsav event, yes it’s true). Pintu was feeling so tarnished after Hardsell, but our Maa-Cho sales pitch absolutely rocked (we lost out by 1 point). Some of us got ‘scandal’ous and thank you to Diksha for tolerating the dirty ideas we came up with. You can’t deny they were ingenious.
The group dance competition came last. Our class was in an uncontrolled and wild cheering state. I don’t know about which dance was the best, but one thing I am sure of is that our dance entertained the most and was cheered the most. At the end prizes mein kya rakha hai, it is the appreciation of the audience that matters. (Just going a little off track, if the male host of the event is reading this, your jokes were not making us laugh.)
Even Kshirsagar sir couldn’t resist cheering our class. We continued cheering for D16 after every other dance making our presence felt (thought the prize for the class which cheered the most was not given). The action was not on the dance floor but on the ground, where legends like Aniket set the floor on fire. We had a crazy dance session.
It was time for the winners of Utsav to be announced. After our juniors in electronics were named the second and first runners up, we were quite certain that we as seniors will lead from the front. Even before the CS could have completed announcing, we were on the stage. I think we must have scared her and her council off completely.
After a short motivational speech to our juniors, we had a photo session which lasted for ever, with thumbs up and sprite being sprayed all over instead of champagne. The celebrations concluded with some of us racing to Gurukripa for recharging ourselves.
1. Amal, for the longest recorded uninterrupted air-time in a VESIT debate.
2. Vikram, for choosing the hottest girl as an entry in the portrait making event.
3. Aniket, John Lennon himself, reincarnated.
4. Yogesh, for the most energetic leizim performance ever.
5. Sagar, for risking his hair in the hands of you-know-who.
6. Krupa, for working effortlessly behind the scenes to ensure all goes well and the Lappy too!!
7. Chhabra, the new age don.
8. Paras, for getting us talcum powder when we needed it the most!
9. Ghate, for the incredible whistling.
10. Kavish, for having tried hard in the quiz elims.
11. Shraddha, for being the only one who made the audience laugh in a duet singing competition.
12. Nakul, for his entire initiative as CI.
13. Kamath, for playing the seductive Mrs.Gupta and sticking to his true ‘come on’ image.
14. Kunal, for making the crowd love us with the Amitabh imitation.
15. Kartik, just for having come to Utsav :P
16. Katke, for the high adrenaline dance performance.
17. Kaushik, for agreeing to play Hari’s and Unni’s daddy, a day before the D-Day.
18. Manaj, our sutra-dhaar.
19. Komal, for the boundless energy and persistence in everything she did.
20. Diksha, for again having worked a lot more in the background than on the forefront.
21. Lawande, Amol, for having come out to especially cheer our class in spite of their robotic frame of mind.
22. Nandy, for having almost disappeared in the costume of hers on stage.
23. Amri, for the sharpest thumkas of the lot.
24. Pappudi, for having held the poster upside down and getting the audience involved!
25. Mayuresh, for having come a close third in the quiz.
26. Unni, for having tolerated Hari in the street play.
27. Pritesh, for having said the dialogue right when it was most needed of him.
28. Shalu, for having tolerate engineering for so long when she should have been a doc.
29. Aalok, for playing a better Himmesh than the man himself.
30. Bhavesh, for giving the drug peddler a true blue shade.
31. Harshit, for immortalizing Hari and Maa-Cho.
Yes, I have skipped myself, but this blog is entirely my perspective so I think I have already eaten enough space. In case I have forgotten anyone else, please leave a comment so I can add their name.
You can leave a comment otherwise too, this one is for my class D16, to which I finally belong with pride!
Post Script: It is against my nature to take names in the blog, but this one truly deserve a mention of names.