It has been 5 years since the Cochin branch fest of our institute has begun and it has been growing ever since. What started off as a tiny, simple gathering is now the most awaited event in the Institute. Students from other branches come to watch the show every year and this year, the crowd was twice that of last time. This was when the organizers decided to take it to the next level – Host an inter-branch or rather a state level cultural fest. It was huge and we weren’t sure if we were prepared for the same. After many hectic days and sleepless nights, when we were sort of sure that things might work out, we made the big announcement. The Cochin branch would host the first ever state level cultural fest – Adwaita!
The crowd was larger than expected, but we had booked quite a spacious auditorium and so, it did not matter. All the blue tee-shirt clad volunteers were super-busy, running around. The various tasks included taking care of the stage, the back stage, the order of the programmes, the registration, sound systems, seating arrangements, refreshments, accomodation, green rooms, multiple stages, parking, food and all the unforeseen events. Oh my! I love organizing events.
When it was time, the divine strain of the tanpura permeated the auditorium, over and above the din of the crowd and slowly, silenced all. The curtains rose gradually, with the music, and the stage slowly lit up. The inaugural dance to the divine music by six damsels, had the undivided attention of the audience and soon, before we knew, things were going smooth.
By lunch time, I was glad that we were earning the name of really good and thoughtful hosts. The food turned out to be great too. So that scored more points in our favour.
Once it was past lunch time, came the funny competitions which were arranged so that people wouldn’t sleep off watching something serious. Apparently, the contestants did not get the idea of comedy and there jokes weren’t funny enough for the crowd. As we were skeptical about where this was going, a series of jeering and catcalls ensued. At first, the crowd seemed to enjoy the release of some energy. And the contestants were informed well in advance about the possibilities of the same during the competition. So, it did not matter much. But soon, the catcalls became boring too and one by one, they were seen leaving. That was when the panic set in.
We had better shows arranged and if the crowd left now, there wouldn’t be anyone to see the rest. All the volunteers working in and around were called for a quick meeting, leaving some near the stage. In 10 minutes, some more local friends were added to the volunteer group and the entire team was working as one to reschedule events, convince the crowd, alert the anchor etc. The current show was halted for a while an the anchor was doing her bit to interact with the crowd. 20 minutes later, the proportion of people leaving reduced, but they had no driving factor to stay. To put an end to our plight, the power went off!
Lo! Began the catcalls and jeers stronger than ever before with some fervent swearing. The crowd had began to filter out, when the power came on to the day’s biggest extravaganza. As they turned to Race 2’s Allah Duhai hai, they saw a figure walk up to the empty stage. Her face brimming with confidence, pulling off a sequinned top, a mini skirt and printed stockings with ease, Miss long legs Anushka Manchanda had left the audience spell bound with her voice.
As the dancers filed into the stage, the laser lights, the fireworks and the smoke jazzed up the auditorium. Anushka’s voice was gaining more and more power. While the smoke cleared, a platform shot up from the center of the stage and atop it, stood the dancing king – Allu Arjun! With his graceful and subtle moves and Anushka’s booming voice that demanded attention, the entire show took a new turn. In a few minutes, there were twice the number of audience than the auditorium capacity and they all seemed charged and were asking for more.
Well, the heart wants what the heart wants. Give it more than what it wants and it will listen to anything you say. The entire show Adwait went on well from here. Assuring the audience more of the performances, we finished all our unfinished business. Soon, the duo were again on stage and we were thankful for our back up plans and the programme’s flexibility. We have hosted many fests with other celebrities. But it was pure magic when Allu Arjun’s sensational moves and Anushka Manchanda’s magical voice came together. 😀