Fun, freedom and frivolity

College fest: The best platform to showcase your talent. Photo: R. Ravindran   | Photo Credit: R_Ravindran

College freshmen look to cultural events as an initiation of sorts, a chance to officially be recognised as a cog in the machine that is their college. Much like the new recruits of any company, they are looking to please and embody the enthusiasm that can only be found in someone who has no idea what's in store for them. “I'm a part of the web team for Milan 2012,” saysNaveen, a student at SRM, proudly as he explains his role in the big picture.

On the prowl

Getting to be a part of college culturals isn't too difficult. All you have to do keep an eye, an ear open and possibly your phone out because, the instant ‘prep' starts in full swing, there will be text messages making the rounds looking to enlist your help. It doesn't hurt to befriend your seniors to get a leg up in the process. Taking the initiative is important; standing around waiting for an engraved invitation to join in helps no one. “Put yourself in the mix and figure things out as you go along,” is Purnima's advice to her juniors at IIT-M.

The months leading up to the big event are a series of unreturned phone calls from sponsors, pending approvals on event lists and frustration as they try to garner publicity. “I have to ensure that we have time to get the lists of coordinators and events approved and distributed and check if the individual teams have managed to keep up their end of the deal and …” Nikhil of Loyola College trails away losing track of the innumerable things on his to-do list.


There is a system in place; it starts with assembling the troops. Some colleges hold auditions; others just go with the flow. Lists are made, teams are formed and the show begins.

The main attractions at every cultural event are the pro-shows and ‘choreo nite'. They require constant technical support: a team of engineers, technicians, AV assistance. One misstep could bring the whole show to a grinding halt and destroy everything the students have worked hard for. “Last year there was a minor glitch with the mike during the light music finals and we could hear participants complaining about it for hours after that,” says Mayank, a student at VIT.


According to Shubha of Anna University, “Publicity is the key”. There is no point if you work hard and put on an excellent show if all you have for an audience is chirping crickets. People need to know that something is happening for them to show up. Booking radio time, riding around on a cycle putting up posters, linking your website to recognisable names and forcing your friends to put in an appearance is just the beginning. Budgets and bakeries are quite a pain. Getting the popular food vendors to set up shop on campus for budget approved prices is almost impossible. The way to Chennai's heart seems to be through its stomach; good food translates into good crowds.

Not surprisingly, there are those who feel left out of the festivities even before they've started. “Before we even find out about the positions open in the different teams or offer to volunteer for a certain event, we find out they already have people to do it,” says Megha of SSN. Amusing as it may seem, complaints of nepotism are common with college freshmen who are eager to help but just don't have connections higher up. “It is easier to go with the people we know.” Vidya of M.N.M Jain College thinks it's okay to stick the juniors with the grunt work. Apparently letting them “in on the action” without letting them work their way up the ladder would upset the natural order of things.

The clincher that determines whether or not it was a rousing success is the three or four days of the actual event. College means fun, freedom and frivolity to most students here, all three of which culminate in the culfests.

Check list

Keeping track of the progress of various teams and coordinating their work is the hard part.

Is the website ready?

Are the sponsors willing?

Have enough people enrolled to participate in the workshops?

Is there space allotted for every event?

Are there judges for every event?

Have the guests of honour confirmed their availability?

Vidhya is a III Year B.E. C.Sc student at Anna University.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 8:15:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/nxg/fun-freedom-and-frivolity/article2087172.ece

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