Back in college, I attended a lot of ceremonies and fests– ranging from the annual solemn occasions like Independence day flag hoisting to the less solemn ones like transformer puja to mark the Electrical Engineering Department day at my college.
[Long aside: I kid you not, we had an Electrical Engineering Department day and it was kicked off by a professor solemnly offering puja to an ageing old transformer on the college campus. He would offer some prayers and then throw flowers into the metal cage, taking careful aim to avoid short circuiting any exposed wires with the damp flowers, while the students gathered around him and gazed in awe at the imposing machine, trying to identify the various parts, and failing miserably. To this day, the only thing I know about transformers is that they have something called a winding. Oh, and Bumblebee is the coolest of the lot.]
Those days left me with a keen sense of appreciation for college fests. They help to break the monotony of daily routine. The attendant work including preparation and post celebration clean up encourage bonding amongst students. I have, since my college days, tried my hand at volunteering to organize several celebrations and group events. I can’t speak for the bonding part, but I have really enjoyed having the monotony of life broken by these events. Also, the joy of being a part of a team trying to achieve a larger goal is tremendous. You really don’t need to do a lot of work, as long as you never stay in the same place for a long time. For instance, if you hang around the place where they are painting boards and signs for a college fest, eventually someone will hand you a paint-brush and a can of paint and ask you to paint within the dotted line. So don’t hang around there for too long. Go to the IT desk where they are trying to manually input all the participant names and phone numbers into an excel sheet. Again, don’t stay there long enough for someone to hand you the printed sheet and ask you to take over. Go over to the shamiyana tent. And so on and so forth.
With such life hacks, you can really enjoy a college fest without having to distress yourself by doing such mundane stuff like work. Here are a few more such hacks I have picked up along the way.
Life hack 1
Never offer to be the treasurer. It’s a thankless job. In the run up to the event, people will start complaining that you are being unnecessarily stingy with the money. By the time the event starts and people see the shoddy shamiyana that’s been rented, they will start to think that you have been skimming money off the top. Once the event finishes and accounts are done, everyone will know for certain that you have had a bout of sticky fingers with the money. It’s not worth it. Don’t volunteer for the job.
Life Hack 2
Always be friendly to the girl hunting for sponsors. Always be willing to lend a sympathetic ear when she wants to complain about that arrogant senior from HUL who strung her along with promises of sponsorship money, wrangling concert tickets from her for him and his pals and then bailing out at the last moment on the cash. “I mean, yaar, like, what the hell yaar? It’s just not done. I gave him my bf’s tickets yaar.” Listen to it all. Eventually, she will be the one getting all the extra goodies from the sponsors. More croc shoes than she would know what to do with. More red bull cans than she can drink that semester. And if you are lucky and DUREX is a sponsor, well, more monster water balloons than you would know what to do with.
Life Hack 3
Always go watch any drama competition that’s on the cards. For no reason other than there’s something noble about going out there on the stage in front of hundreds of strangers and expressing your feelings, emotions and histrionics, not knowing whether you will be greeted with boos or cheers. The least we can do to support those brave souls is to give them the courtesy of watching their performance.
Life Hack 4
Always follow the Red Bull girl – this is more of a principle than a rigid dictum. She could be the Frooti girl. Or the Paper Boat guy. Or the Bira monkey. It doesn’t matter. Almost all college fests will have some sort of product placement done by companies desperate to cash in on the captive audience. These samples will mostly be free. Try to eat or drink as much as you can. If repeated visits are discouraged, invest in a fake moustache and wig. The investment will more than pay for itself. If nothing, those drama folks might take you on for a bit part.
Life Hack 5
Avoid the closing ceremony. This will mostly be attended by people congratulating each other for a job well done. Since you had nothing to do with any actual work, no one is likely to congratulate you. Why waste time ? Instead, make plans to ambush the sponsorship girl and beg her for the croc shoes.
Watch this space in the coming weeks for more rich stuff on college fests.