As the pandemic hovers again, it’s hard not to think of all the possible ways life could be different. Maybe an explosion could destroy the virus; perhaps the black hole sucks us all in and ends everything we know. Or perhaps we end up in an Alternate Universe, a little different than ours, ever so slightly that the virus doesn’t exist.
A warm summer breeze blew across the lawns. Spring was slowly wrapping its hands around trees, and a subtle jasmine smell filled my nostrils. The campus was eerily quiet; half of the people slipped away into the safety of their homes; the other half were stubbornly fighting the enemy virus. It looked like a zombie apocalypse; well, we did battle a pandemic outbreak, so the comparison wasn’t that far off. I could already see a guard about to signal me towards the hostel, so I turned and walked back into the comfort of the night. I reached my room and let out a huge sigh; monotony seeped through my days in this desolated campus. Any other year a colourful, exciting, and wholesome Revels would have been a silver lining of this heat and academic exhaustion. Well, at least that’s what the seniors told us; being a fresher, all I had experienced was a virus outbreak and ambiguities about the exam dates. After spending a solid twenty minutes scrolling through Netflix, I found myself rewatching a random episode of Rick and Morty.
Just when Rick was about to shoot an alien, a buzz started to envelop my room. I could feel the vibrations in the air, a chill ran down my spine, and a slight pressure began to build within my body. It all lasted for less than five seconds, then everything went back to normal.
Or so I thought.
After a couple of minutes of complete silence, excited voices started popping from outside my window, and I could hear a few across the hall too. They were like the first chirping sounds of birds at the crack of dawn. Curiosity and confusion started to tickle my brain cells. I peeped through my door and found the hallway buzzing with people chatting excitedly; some were slowly dragging their feet back to their rooms—exhaustion clear as day in their faces. Some others had heated discussions with the caretakers, hoping to find loopholes with the perm timings.
As if all of this wasn’t enough to shock me, I suddenly spotted my roommate and other friends walking towards my room—friends who left for their homes three days ago! As soon as they reached me, they broke into huge grins, all of them as excited as Charlie to see the chocolate factory. My roommate put an arm around my shoulder, speaking in a pitcher higher and happier than the typical murmur, “Are you excited for tomorrow? Revels is finally starting! I am going to eat so much and dance even more!”
Wait, what?! Tomorrow is what now?
My eyes zoomed in and out as the camera lens would supposedly do tomorrow. My head hurt; no one was wearing a mask, neither was I; what was so severely wrong with my brain today. Before I could work on figuring out this unnatural phenomenon, my friend excitedly showed a screen that flashed a blue coloured hologram at my face as she rambled about how she plans to spend “tomorrow”. The screen came to life as a young woman spoke, looking at us with hollowed eyes, and it was at that moment I realized I wasn’t home at all. The woman smiled through the screen, explaining ‘Revels’.
“…With so much to explore and experience, we introduce to you—the answer to all your time management issues. Now attend several events at once, just a touch away…..”
The woman continued to ramble while I zoned out. I blindly wait for tomorrow, all questions about this wonderful new event.
Daylight crept through the windows, slowly pushing me into the realities of the day. My eyes snapped open; it was like a fuse going off in my brain. I could hear a lot of excitement around me; it was louder than yesterday. I pinched myself to be fully sure of what was happening, and I ran to get dressed. As my feet took me closer to IC and NLH, all of my senses got picked up one by one. The blaring music, people standing at stalls, and the delicious smell of food—all of it so divine my heart followed its trail. At that moment all colours came alive.
It was everything that I had dreamt of. My friend tugged my arm and dragged me to the photo booth. At that moment, I didn’t care if I looked like a giant buffoon with a cracked grin. Giant holograms were displaying the events and Instagram updates—mainly posts by Manipal The Talk Network. Hilarious reels, captivating images and some really informative articles flashed the screen. I vaguely remember someone telling me about the battle of the bands. I had a list of events to attend as well as some I wanted to participate in. Walking towards NLH, I felt the pumped-up energy loosen every bone in my body. Revels make you forget everything; the academic stress, labs, and projects all take the sideline and life is filled with movement again.
I trudged around lazily with my friends, our feet in sync with the slow evening breeze. My feet were sore, my stomach was filled to its brim with tasty food, and my brain was shuffling through the crazy amounts of memories we had made in just one day. I couldn’t wait to enjoy the next two mornings.
I swiped through the photos on our tablet and travelled through the events I missed. I checked the events for day two and made my way to NLH, dragging my sore body to level up with my excitement. The talent had gathered again, the delicious aroma made its way to my heart; I had to try everything I missed yesterday. The walls were painted with colours drowning in excitement, props set up around the campus were innovative and exciting, and the pro-show tickets were getting sold by the hand. Tomorrow shall be the night for the most awaited event.
As I watched and soaked in this reality, black drones flew over my head, capturing moments for MTTN. The screens showing the artist lineup for the ProShow, the fresh breath of the campus in full activity made its way to my nose without the usual barrier of a mask. It would be a lie if I didn’t wish to stay longer. But as the famous skies of Manipal turned purple, the reality dawned on me, tomorrow would be the last day of Revels.
Blood rushed to my veins as I watched the clippings of previous years’ ProShow. As I caught a glimpse, my friends dragged me to NLH for the last of the talents, the last of the event, my last chance at food. The decorated cover welcomed us once again, and we jogged our way through the event and then to the food stalls. The day didn’t fail to impress. With so much talent and excitement, it concluded. We ran back to our rooms and prepared for the evening, dressed up and put on some makeup. After many mirror selfies, we made our way to the Revels finale, the most-hyped, ProShow.
As we reached the gate to the MIT football ground, I pinched myself, again. I looked around, and to my absolute surprise, our football ground was decked up for a Coldplay concert!
Drones zoomed around, lights flickered, the air smelt of excitement. We stared, dumbstruck, for a few seconds until the show began. The artists performed, and it would be a lie if I say this wasn’t the best time of my life. We sang at the top of our voices and jumped till our legs were sore. My words just ended there; I failed to express the excitement, the rush of serotonin; I wished the night wouldn’t end. Yet, with the last artist hitting on with the EDM at 12 midnight, it did come to an end. All tired, sweating, but with a huge smile, we returned to our rooms and collapsed.
Memories of the past three days engraved in my soul. The songs still rang in my ears, and my heart still played along with the beats. I couldn’t remember when I dozed off. But when I woke up the following day, the air was quieter. I changed and moved out for breakfast. As I reached the lobby of my hostel, I heard my caretaker call me out, “Hey, Where is your mask?”
Written by Lavya Joshi and Snehal Srivastava for MTTN
Edited by Suhani Kabra for MTTN
Featured Image by Apurva Bandyopadhyay for MTTN