A “welcome break” for volunteers at Saarang

Volunteers of ‘Saarang 2010’.

Volunteers of ‘Saarang 2010’.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: R. Ravindran

Liffy Thomas

CHENNAI: Prashanth’s voice has become hoarse managing the crowd, while Sarlaksha Ganesh’s hands could smell of batter and oil, considering the number of piping hot dosas she prepared volunteering at iViL (IIT for villages) stall. The ladies’ hostel, on the other hand, has been teeming with outstation students, so much so that some have squeezed in more than the regular capacity.

“It is fun, exciting and a welcome break from college,” volunteers say as they hop from one venue to the other on the last day of Saarang ’10 at IIT Madras on Monday.

Student volunteers and coordinators gather all their energy for the finale. For the last four days, over five coordinators from the Saarang newsletter, The Times of — Saarang Uncensored, have been on the graveyard shift. Their work used to begin at 11 p.m. and went on till the early hours of the next day, as they were responsible for bringing out the newsletter containing a review of the day’s events, upcoming shows, FAQs and breaking stories on the campus.

“We create a mini newspaper of six to eight pages, except that here the challenge is every item is written humorously or nobody is going to read,” says Sushmita. About 600 copies were printed every day.

Monday’s breaking news that caught the attention of many readers was why the cow milking workshop at Saarang village could not happen.

It was a different challenge for the professional show department, which was responsible for bringing in artists for the show. “We were one of the first departments to start working. It involved coordinating with overseas artistes during night and in the morning we were in the classroom. The last few days have been hectic as we programme the lights between 12 p.m. and 3 a.m.,” says Rahul Arora, core member, professional show department.

Similarly, for volunteers involved in cleaning up the premises, the work starts when everybody leaves.

“We are around 12 departments comprising hospitality, security, public relations, sponsorship, design, and so on, making Saarang one of the largest student-organised events. Besides, it has so far received a footfall of 60,000 people with a budget of Rs.1.2 crore,” says Gautami Kakaraparthy, media coordinator.

Over half-a-dozen events on Monday kept students loitering from venue to venue, but the events were more subdued. If design your own greeting card contest was one of the most silent events, Mr. and Mrs. Saarang contest received possibly the maximum applause from the crowd. The fervour slowly picked up in the evening for the grand finale, the rock show, which some said was the fitting finale for Saarang ’10 that got under way with a classical night.

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