Saarang – an outsider’s perspective

The first thing that strikes you as you drive into IITM is the flurry of banners and promos around the gate. Every single tree and probably every single blade of grass has been covered with banners. A couple of years back, such scenes could be seen only at Mood Indigo at IITB. Now it looks like Saarang too is selling its soul.

As I go in, I walk in to the AV Quiz finals at 9:30 a.m. expecting the event to start in another ten minutes (the event was scheduled to start at 9). I am pleasantly surprised to see the quiz in full swing and a substantial audience in place. Compare this to our times (I?m speaking like an old man now) when every event started at least an hour late and not more than two rows of seats at CLT would be filled.

The quiz itself is damn good. In fact it feels so good to have this wonderful event back after a one-year layoff. Some questions go over the head of the audience but there are enough brilliant ones to keep them interested. The only sad part is that there are no chocolates, t-shirts, etc. for audience questions. Also, a certain degree of professionalism could be brought into the quiz by powerpointing the questions instead of going about them in an ad hoc manner.

Last year, we had spent substantial newsprint in lamenting about the amount of noise at the informals arena. People don?t seemed to have learnt and it is impossible to make any kind of decent conversation in there. If I remember right, a Prof had told me in 2nd year that the chief purpose of such fests is to network with people from other colleges. With this kind of noise in the most public area of all, I don?t see that happening.

I am also startled by my change in attitude towards saarang in the last one year. Last year I was an enthusiastic, geela undergraduate wanting to improve my network at every available opportunity. Now, as a post-graduate student who is here as a visitor, I don?t see any point in doing all this. Sitting in a junior?s room while listening to what I can hear of Kay Kay?s soulful music, I don?t regret not going for the show. So much unlike the last four years. It?s not that I don?t listen to this kind of music anymore. It?s not that I hate Kay Kay. It is not that I didn?t find company. The only reason I can think of is that after Shankar Mahadevan (not of the Lisa variety)?s show in 2002, I?ll never be able to come out of a Light Music show totally satisfied.

One regret I have had in the last four years has been my inability to stay up through a main quiz final. I hope to correct this aberration tonight. So strange that you realize the value of something only when you lose it.

My successors Nisheeth and BoFI seem to have successfully carried on my newsletter legacy. Articles are as juicy as ever. Hope the tradition continues and the newsletter go on in full force (unlike what has happened in Shaastra). And to plagiarize myself, for Saarangs may come and Saarangs may go but pertinent observations go on for ever.

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