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With all the right vibes

Vibrations, the Indian Institute of Science's annual culfest, was all about teamwork and healthy competitive spirit

COLOURS OF VIBRATIONS Clockwise from top: The fashion show, the face painting competition, the pro-rock show and the rangoli competition PHOTOS: MURALI KUMAR K.

The show must go on was the motto of Vibrations, the Indian Institute of Science's annual cultural fest last week. The motto was tested to its extreme when thundershowers struck on the second day of the fest. When I reached the sprawling IISc. gymkhana grounds, the scene looked as if a tornado had ripped through. Tarpaulin torn and chairs toppled, I thought the first day was a washout. But pat came the assurance: "We will be up and running by three."

The four-day cultural fest attracted participants from as far away as Mumbai and the environment at IISc. helped infuse a special spirit in the participants. Even though rain played havoc with the schedule during first two days, people just tabbed on and such was the enthusiasm that it was hard to find anyone complaining about the delays. In fact, one participating rock band summed up the efforts of the organisers: "We run into volunteers at college fests but they are often junior students. But here they are Ph.Ds and they're doing an awesome job."

One must not forget to mention the fact that regular classes and examinations were held simultaneously while the fest was going on. The volunteers often used to rush to complete a lab session and then rush back to their fest duties.

Fusion duet

Day One featured an evening sitar-cello duet by Shubendra Rao and Saskia Rao de Haas. The concert was about contemporary music and blended elements of western folk and classical and Indian classic music. Shubendra was very forthright and comfortable with the sitar while Saskia kept her scales on the cello. But this was just the first evening, all the action began from the second day.

Day Two was predominantly reserved for the literary events such as creative writing, debate, dumb charades, skits and word war. The highlight of the literary events was the daily crossword on all the four days. The KGB prepared it. Well, not the same agency that is in the news accused of buying the Congress and the Communist parties in India but the IISc.'s crossword club — Komitet Grosswordstvennoy Bezopasnosti. These guys are good, try guessing the following — add fat to thin negros to bake them more tender, trust a Brit to advertise his saving on the wall, I knew it would cure your low urine output and a communist mind might look cute on a girl...

Rhythms in the night

The day also featured the prelims of one the champagne events — Vibrock, and finished with a scintillating night performance by Esperanto. Esperanto is a fusion group who play a mixture of rock, classical and country. They mainly comprise Gopal Navale on the bass guitar and Geetha Navale on the veena along with various instrumentalists. Their brand of music, which included signature numbers such as "Moonlight Café" (a number about a modest hotel in Malleswaram) and "Shanmughanatha Subrahmanyam" won them many fans.

The star of Day Three was one of the much-anticipated events — inter-college antakshari. IIScians dominated this competition with four teams out of six in the finals. The organisers had arranged for a professional group to provide the background score for the event. Sheer numbers meant IISc. won the first two places while Vivekananda Institute of Technology came a credible third.

The evening events on this day were a victim of heavy rains. The audience in College Intrigue, the quiz, were hardly able to hear anything as rain noisily pelted the tin roof at the Raja Ramanna Centre. Here IIScians were comprehensively beaten with the IIM-B walking away with all the honours.

Tak-Dhin-A-Dhin, the group dance competition, was the second victim of the rain. It was shifted indoors and the teams had to adjust their routine quite a bit to fit into the small stage at the gymkhana hall. The Fashion Show began two hours late but was again interrupted midway. Seven teams participated, but their presentations weren't anything to write home about. Nevertheless, the crowd enjoyed the show. Dayanandsagar College of Engineering won first place with Vogue Institute of Fashion Technology second and Baldwin Boys College third.

All colour

Day Four, the finale was all about colour. First up were the T-shirt painting, rangoli and face painting competitions. While the first two competitions had no theme, the theme for face painting was The Five Elements of Nature. And naturally hurricanes, tsunamis and tornadoes dominated. This event was all about teamwork. While one member painted, the other had to sit motionless. I have always wondered whether the paint washes off and asked one of the painters.

He replied: "I don't know, hope it goes," much to the alarm of all the `painted'. The Photography Club had its own exhibition called Lens Eye. It was mostly dominated by black-and-white photographs, which featured human subjects.

Finally it was time for the two champagne events in the fest — finals of Vibrock, the rock competition and Event Horizon the pro-rock show. Vibrock finals featured the bands Phenom, Wax, Extinct Reflections, Nerverek, Myndsnare and Inviktus. Sadly the competition this year was pretty mediocre. Phenom was the only `listenable' band in the whole competition. They play progressive rock while all the others stuck to heavy metal, which often degenerated into pure noise. As expected Phenom won the competition with Nerverek and Myndsnare coming a distant second and third.


Event Horizon featured three pro-bands — Yello from Bangalore, Mother Jane from Kochi and Moksha from Mumbai. Yello is mainly a cover act, but their stage act (read vocalist Bali) was mind-blowing. They played some classic heavy metal numbers and a few of their own compositions. But Bali deserves a special mention for his onstage persona, which must be said, is one of the best.

Mother Jane have a Bangalorean vocalist, Suraj, and have a strict policy of playing only their own compositions. They are best known for their number "Mindstreet" from their first album Insane Biography. Their set on stage was tight and their performance full of energy. Lead guitarist Biju has strummed for the Malayalam filmi hit, "Lajavathiye". His solo interludes were one of the highlights of the band's performance.

The last few minutes of Vibrations 2005 were a dampener. Moksha, for all the hype, proved to be a damp squib. Though the band members are brilliant individual musicians, the lack of original numbers worked against them. When compared against the performance of the previous two bands, they were pretty unimaginative.


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