All fests are measured by the crowd they manage to attract, and word spreads best through happy participants. To understand better the process of inviting different colleges and ensuring they have a seamless experience by coordinating their transport and accommodation, we sat down with the Student Council’s Sitara Niranjan (Vice President), Heraa Islam, Abhishar Sharma (Joint Secretary), and Aanvi Alakshya (Social Welfare Committee Head).
Tell me a little bit about the Invitations committee.
Sitara: The Invitations Committee had to call or Whatsapp participants or Student Council members from colleges who had come last year, give them details about our fest, and employ a lot of convincing to get them to come! As Head, I delegated work to different people in my team, splitting colleges based on the states, like Karnataka, Kerala etc. I also stayed in touch with the people I’d invited previously, while contributing to Invitations last year.
What were the challenges you had to face?
Sitara: We got a lot of rejection for no fault of ours. Some colleges that had come for years had been unable to make it due to their own tests, or because their Dean had forbidden travelling outside for fests. These were issues that we couldn’t have foreseen. Other challenges included making sure everyone in the invited college found out about the fest, which sometimes meant having to contact every individual sports and cultural team they had.
If you had to give the next committee some advice, what would it be?
Sitara: My advice would be to start as early as possible, as there’s no fest without participants, and that responsibility lies with the Invitations Committee. An advantage this year was that we had everything documented from the start, right from which college it was to the details of all the people coming in, from all teams. That made it easier for the people in charge of each event, as well as the Transport and Accommodation team.
Coming to Transportation and Accommodation – what did that entail?
Heraa: Transport and Accommodation involved a variety of work, but mainly, taking care that transport reached the participants on time and that they had the accommodation they’d opted for. Things like accommodation can get tricky and exhausting because we live in a campus town, and there is only limited accommodation that we can provide. Transport has its own set of worries like keeping track of train timings, match timings, event timings, begging the drivers to work an extra shift, and running to different offices to get the papers signed to get a few extra buses. These were a few of the hectic tasks we had to go through on a daily basis till the very end.
Aanvi: To an outsider, it sounds like a simple job – just sit in a bus and go from one place to another. But, it’s actually quite stressful, because you have to coordinate with all the teams and the sports incharges, and make sure everyone is at the correct venue and the events start right on time. The various teams were spread across hostels, making it a task to ensure things worked smoothly.
How did you deal with the long hours and demanding work?
Abhishar: Well, the hours didn’t feel that long when the fest started, and it felt good to be occupied throughout the day. The work was very demanding, with constant calls for accomodation and transportation of teams. On some days we slept for only two hours, on some days three, but all the sleepiness and weariness vanished as soon as we got busy in the hustle and bustle of the day. It was a new experience and I had a great time working with my team.
Heraa: I must admit that it’s not very easy to function efficiently when your body is running on caffeine and M Donald’s combined with a maximum of 2-3 hours of sleep per day for a week. What mad it all worthwhile and fun, was definitely the company. I couldn’t have asked for a better company than Abhishar and Aanvi. All three of us were sailing in the exact same boat, and every time we felt like the boat was capsizing, we managed to save each other. Also, I must mention our extremely hard working and efficient volunteers, who made the work far easier.
If you could go back and do something differently, what would it be?
Aanvi: I feel that for both Accommodation and Transport, a lot of our work is primarily dependent on how much the administration cooperates with us. Especially when we have to reserve buses, if there are a lot of events happening at the same time, they can only spare one or two for us, which makes our work really difficult because there are so many events happening at the same time. I think if we push the administration way before the actual fest starts, everything will be much smoother.
Abhishar: Eat more food, and enjoy the actual fest! We were so busy with work that we didn’t get to witness any event at all. I remember Heraa, Aanvi and I being in the KMC Greens just for 2 minutes to cheer our friends who were participating in fashion show and western dance.
What was the most fun part?
Abhishar: It was definitely when we chased a college team in a car to the Mangalore Railway Station to take money from them, as they had run away without paying for their accomodation. When we got wind of it that they had left for Mangalore 30 minutes prior, we raced our car to limits that weren’t necessarily safe, to reach the station before them. It was a succesful chase, and we felt like a mafia gang!
Aanvi: I feel like no matter how stressful that whole week was, I loved working and doing everything. The funniest moments used to be when Abhishar, Heraa, Joseph and I used to sit together and lose our minds every time a new problem cropped up, and just laugh at our miseries. Somehow, that used to make life easier. Also, the bus conductors and drivers were some of the sweetest people I have met. They helped a lot with all the work and were very cooperative.Those bus rides were memorable in themselves, because we got to meet so many new people.
Are you satisfied with how it all turned out?
Sitara: I’m definitely satisfied, because as an organising committee, we did the best we could. Whether people showed up or not was not in our control, but from our side, what we could do is make sure everything was on point, which would act as an incentive for people to come back next year. I hope we’ve done that.
– As told to Dharini Prasad.