The stock market was doing brisk trading, there was a stall just down the road selling Chinese tea and herbal medicine, and marketing folks were all around conning people into buying their products.

The marketing representatives were actually MBA students. All of that, along with multi-lingual competitions and the melange of dance forms on display, made the Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) University look like a mini-city on day three of Riviera ’10, a four-day sports and cultural festival.

There was a fine blend of revelry and rigour, frolic and fierce competition as youngsters locked horns in bringing to the fore talents that remain passive through the rest of the year.

Student-run bodies ranging from fine-arts clubs to drama clubs, and the bedrock of budding music talent, college bands, came out in strength to show that engineering students are interested in a whole lot more than just their Grade Point Averages.

“Everyone has diverse interests but never get the time to explore them through the year. So students save up all their creative energies and pour it out during these four days,” said Shashank Bharat, one of the organisers of Riviera ’10.

On the rock n’ roll front, the dams holding back the rhythm came tumbling down on the lawns of the campus to unleash frenzied “headbanging” as some of the best college bands sent the audience into wild convulsions. The “Headbangers Ball’ was the place to be for any music freak.

“Some days I have to make music and then go back and read equations,” said Shiva Ghosh, member of ‘Point Blank’, one of the performing bands.

“I put up with it just so that we can make music. My mom would seize my bass guitar if I flunk.”

That surmises what four days of free reign to explore alternative interests meant to students.

All the late night practise sessions, the maverick student clubs, overcoming ego issues to work towards a common goal, and unexpected friendships made under moments of stress come down to just that — raw talent, an open stage and a ready-made audience.

The finals of the fashion (Style Check) and dance (Frisk Factor) events were held in the evening, and Touch Wood, a VIT-based band, performed.

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A fun-filled cultural festFebruary 1, 2010