Hues, the much-awaited cultural extravaganza from MCODS has finally arrived in Manipal, with promises of fun and frolic and oh, do you hear the drumrolls in the background? MTTN talks to the Core Committee, the engine working tirelessly to marshal the efforts of the last few weeks of preparation into a success.
A walk up to the third floor of the Centre for Basic Sciences revealed preparations for Hues being carried out in full swing. The main area was elaborately decorated with beautiful thematic origami. Music was playing and students were practising in full fervour for their upcoming dance events. In one of the classrooms, several students were sitting in groups, tired yet spirited, planning the last few necessities for Hues – the Core Committee, interns and juniors.
The Core Committee, a tight-knit group of interns that was formed this year to organize Hues, consists of Arunima, Chhavi, Hrishikesh, Ramya, Elizabeth, Ishani, Pallabi and Gayathri, who are the college’s foremost enthusiasts in various extracurricular spheres.
Arunima and Hrishikesh are both Cultural Secretaries. Elizabeth, the Finance Secretary, worked on securing sponsors for the fest, among several other things, with Gayathri. Chhavi’s role was to oversee the Creative Team. She also designed the Hues logo for this year. Ishani handled the preparation for the Dramatics events. Pallabi and Ramya also shouldered major responsibility during the organisation of Hues. Given that the fest itself is just the tip of the iceberg, let us uncover the rest of what transpired before it, through the eyes of the insiders themselves.
MTTN: What was your role in the preparation for Hues? Also, given that this is the first ever Core Committee, how were the members selected? How was the Creative Team selected?
Arunima: I am responsible for managing and ensuring that everything is going according to plan and coordinating with the faculty. The job is basically a continuation of my role as the Cultural Rep last year, with more organising and planning involved. This year, we selected the Core Committee from the intern batches, picking out people who have been participating in events for the last few years and who have sufficient experience in arranging events in their respective domains. For the Creative Team, we contacted both interns and juniors who are creatively inclined and seemed enthusiastic about using their talents for Hues. As of now, the Creative Team consists of ten interns and 21 juniors. All the decorations, all the ideas, are entirely to their credit. They came up with the theme of ‘Seasons’, so we have different decor in different corridors, based around monsoon, spring, summer and winter.
Hrishikesh, Cultural Secretary:
MTTN: What can we expect from Hues this year? In what way is it going to be different from the previous editions?
Hrishikesh: This year, we worked towards attracting a bigger crowd and expanding the reach of the fest. Hopefully, the participation this year will be better than ever before. We also have some new events, a notable one being ‘Channel Surfing’, which has not been conducted in Manipal before. It is a stage acting event in which teams will have to portray different channels (sports, music, news) and functions such as mute, pause and switch as per the directions of the judges. We’re excited to see how it will turn out. Also, we have introduced gaming as a formal event where winners will be awarded. It was an informal event in the past. MCODS has a great pool of talent and creativity, I mean, we won Utsav last year, so we hope to bring all of that out in our very own fest!
MTTN: Can you tell us a little bit about what you helped the committee with? We also know that you designed the Hues logo. What inspired your creation?
Chhavi: I acted as the buffer between the Core Committee and the Creative Team, which involved getting materials for decor, getting permissions from the authorities to use the spaces we wanted for our decor, and mostly, helping the Creative Team receive the recognition they deserve. All of the ideas and hard work for decor came from them. I just oversaw what they were doing and gave my input when I was asked for it.
A competition was announced to design the Hues logo. I had completely lost track of the days passing in a blur, but luckily, I remembered it just before the last date! I didn’t have too much time, so I decided to design something simple yet eye-catching. ‘Hues’ means ‘colours’, so I started with that idea in mind. And people ended up deciding to use it.
MTTN: Being the Finance Secretary sounds like something that isn’t for the faint-hearted. Can you give us a closer look into what the post entails? What skills have you picked up through this experience?
Elizabeth: Well, yes! It involves a lot of work – everything from budgeting, finding sponsors, selecting judges and calling them up, finding people to handle the lighting and music, and arranging the food stalls. We start out by examining the expense sheets from last year’s Hues, adding and subtracting things to fit our plan. Then we compare that with the funds we have. Yes, unfortunately, it’s a lot of maths. If there’s a disparity between the amounts, we approach possible sponsors and fill them in about Hues – the events planned, the schedule and duration, and the obvious opportunity for marketing and publicity for them. This time though, the process of finding sponsors was difficult because the timing of Hues clashed with Revels. That was a disadvantage, but we managed somehow because MCODS students are popular in several places around town! So finally, we have 5-6 food stalls lined up, including Onesta and Sprinkles.
What skills have I picked up? Patience. Everybody is going to make you run around, everybody is going to ask you what to do, and you’re going to have to deal with it all of it without losing your cool. Also, all that budgeting has made me… a lot more money-conscious. Cost-cutting is something that I’ve learnt, which I think will be useful for the rest of my life. All the decisions we made with respect to cost cut-downs, we made together, because, at the end of the day, we want everybody to be happy with the fruits of their efforts.
MTTN: How do you handle the workload that comes with being a Core Committee member? What advice would you give to someone who might take on your role next year?
Ramya: Yes, it’s a lot of added stress if you stop to think about it. So really, the secret to handling the workload is this- don’t stop to think about it. Just go ahead and do what needs to be done. Besides, all of us in the Core Committee are close friends as well. We know we’ve got each others’ backs. We help each other out when any of us are in a tight spot. Good, supportive teamwork makes everything so much easier, even fun! The most useful advice I could give to the next Core Committee is to start early and continue consistently. Things would go a lot more smoothly if we use the time we have wisely.
MTTN: What is your contribution to Hues? What message would you give your juniors?
Ishani: I’m handling the Dramatics events- Mad Ads, Mime, Street Play and a new event called Channel Surfing that Hrishikesh talked about. It was brought in to replace an event called Movie Spoof, that didn’t draw much of a crowd, probably because it required too much prior planning from the participants. A couple of us sat together and brainstormed topics for the events and finetuned the rules where required. To our juniors, I say, good luck. They are a hardworking lot and I really believe in them, but the bar is going to be set high for them, cause we are awesome!
MTTN: What is your honest opinion on the experience of being a Core Committee Member?
Gayathri: It’s really hectic but it’s really fun! I have participated in dances for the last few years but never before have I been part of organising them too. I was initially selected because I’m from Kerala and I have a few connections to help out with getting sponsors. In the process, I learnt a great deal about how fests function, and that being systematic is very important in life! I am not much of a systematic person, but this experience has really changed my outlook on that front. Overall, I’m just enjoying the ride and looking forward to the next few days!
MTTN: What do you enjoy most about being part of organising a fest? Also, Pallabi, you’ve worked for MTTN for quite a stretch of time. How do your experiences from both ends of organising events and covering events compare?
Pallabi: I love every bit of it- assigning work, keeping track of deadlines, monitoring them till the job is done, doing the odd job, assisting where I can. I like being busy, and it’s great to get to know new people and have fun while working with them. I was a PR officer for MTTN, and later the Deputy Editor-in-Chief, so the managerial skills I gained from there have proved very useful. Back when we covered Hues for the first time, nobody really knew about it. People would assume it was a KMC fest! Yes, that still happens occasionally. The publicity that comes from covering events has really helped Hues get some of the limelight, and now that I know firsthand the enormous amount of effort that goes into organising it, I realise that Hues and the people behind it truly deserve all the appreciation they can get. Every little effort makes everything a little more special. I’m sure the fest is going to grow in reach and participation in the years to come, and I’m thankful to have had a chance to be a part of it.
-As interviewed by Niharika Dixith and Jonathan Koshy
-Photographs by Sonakshi Prakash