January 2003, some students from my college (I was still in NIT Rourkela then) went to IIT KGP for Spring Fest (their Annual Cultural Festival and supposedly the largest college cultural festival in Eastern India). They spent 4 days at IIT KGP and I believe they were there on the behest of their friends at IIT KGP. And they came back enamoured and wowed to the core with the quality of events, competition, arrangements and of course the celebrity nights.
More so, when they would compare this with the cultural festival back at college, their frenzy is bound to go overboard. At home, when they see a Fashion Show, Dance Competition, etc with only internal teams and they too adorned with the attire rented from some “Naatak” company and then compare this with the quality of at show at IIT KGP, they are sure to feel sad at their own college.
Well, the quality of themes and attire at the Fashion Show at NIT Rourkela till then was really no less than a “Naatak” in itself. It was more of a Fancy Dress competition than a Fashion Show. What else would you call a team with olden day Kings and Queens turning up for the Fashion Show? I still remember, during the 2002 Fashion Show I was witness to such a team J In fact, they were a step ahead of the rest, they made it a blend of a Fancy Dress Competition with their attire and spoke on stage like in a stage show (Naatak) and called is a Fashion Show. I still don’t understand how come the judges allowed them to get through the preliminary round and present their blended show in the main round during the festival.
Each year, you would see some daredevil guy showcasing some fire show, blowing fire from his mouth, using petrol of course J There would be a team which would showcase Freedom fighters from Indian Freedom Struggle. And a team turning up in sports attire showcasing different sports. Though, none of this was a fashion show, but it was too much fun! We can easily see almost full college turning up for the preliminary as well as the main rounds in our very own AV Hall. It was a full on rocking time, with whistles from all the corners. And needless to say, people would always wait and watch out for girls in each team, even though, there was nothing much to write home about J Fashion Show along with the Dance Competition and to some extent the celebrity night (much on this later) were easily the top draws.
The Dance Competition preliminary round would easily take 2 days to finish as teams would take the Olympics motto – The most important thing is not to win but to take part; very seriously. One can easily see teams being overnight and participating in the hostel galleries, college SAC area and wherever they could get ample space to spray their hands and legs and an electricity connection to connect their CD Player (Yes, we studied in the days of CD Players). The idea of Dance Competition in the Cultural Festival was do easily sold that one can see at least 50 teams participating in the preliminary rounds. You can see some solo performances, some group ones & some real good ones to give even Hrithik Roshan or Mithunda (Mithun Chakraborty) a run for their money.
And what celebrity nights we used to have till 2003 Cultural Festival at our college. In the name of celebrity nights, we would host some special singers and may be dancers within the precincts of our college and call it a celebrity night. It was a special event and would mark the end of the festival with these special moments J I still remember the one in the 2003 event, it was supposed to start at 7 in the evening and it started raining. As it was supposed to happen in open air in the Library Quadrangle (Yes, it was called so), we couldn't start the closure event. People started thinking, without this special closure event, how can we close the fest and hence, we will get another day off the next day J And by God’s grace (I am with the students, for the students and I am a student), the rumour spread that tomorrow is a holiday as this even can’t be held now and will be held tomorrow evening. As it is, we have paid heavily for this special orchestra evening and would surely want it to happen, if not today, then tomorrow. And again, by God’s grace, as rumours are a wildfire in hostels, by 7 PM, it was known to everyone J
However, the Rain Gods smiled, but this time on the college authorities and the organizing committee, it stopped raining by 7.30 PM and it was announced that the event would start sharp at 8 PM. And what and orchestra event it was, Kishore Kumar Classics, Lata Jee Classics crooned away to their glory J However, it was a college crowd, which once together, finds magic in even the obvious things J So needless to say, we danced, shouted our throats out and enjoyed to the hilt. And finally as expected and customary, announced the closure of the fest with the shouts of – ooi re, mai re, mai re, mai re, Alisha baba ho!!