How the times have changed!?
Back in 1994, when I had won a college election at IIT Kharagpur to become the General Secretary (Social and Cultural) of the IIT Gymkhana, it was a thrilling experience. Once in a while, I still remember those wonderful posters that were put up across the campus, wing mates and so many other hall mates distributing pamphlets on the D day reminding everybody to vote for yours truly, the whole hostel working on mobilizing resources for the end to end election process, soap boxes, hall pacts, funda diaries (where all kinds of fundaes on IIT Kharagpur had to be memorized), it was a long journey. The whole year brings backs a smile despite the highs and lows. One of the biggest responsibilities was to organize was the annual cultural fest, Spring Fest. That was the year of Transition. The institute decided to scrap the concept of matching grant. That meant spend could become equal to sponsorships, at the max. The Institute was not going to foot any bill, whatsoever!
We had to organize a Fashion show and that was most challenging.
The FP (Fashion Parade) team was awesome. But on the other hand, we witnessed the entire campus community react in their own different way. Some of the teaching community expressed their disapproval. Everybody had a view and many were very concerned about culture preservation, security arrangements, brand image and what not!!
The FP group was so self driven that the show had to be a spectacular hit with participation from really good colleges too. Our own group of IITians made us hold our heads high with pride! A great performance, it was!! We even got tips from one of our Gymkhana sports’ coach’s daughter.
Six years later, I was part of Manfest, the IIM Lucknow fest. This time, from the sheer perspective of enjoying every event with no organizational responsibilities 🙂
Bohemian creatures of the B-school world, we were!
I know 16 or even 10 years is a long time. But to read about the ‘Love Lips and Lipstick’ competition as part of IIT Roorkee’s Thomsoo 2010, is making me react in different and unsure ways! I wonder if this is the ‘cultural inflation’ adjusted form of 1994’s fashion show. Am I now supposed to ‘understand’ this creative concept of lipstick competition and accept it as an okay thing? So many participants and that too at an IIT: I am seriously confused!! Moral police officers are having a gala time expressing their shock at the downright vulgar competition that has been implemented shamelessly in public! They are convinced that our national pride has been unabashedly set on fire and the smoke of embarrassment is polluting the whole nation’s young minds.
If this is the new norm, wonder what college life and college fests will be like in the next 15 years.
But I still hope that institutions don’t take the hasty steps to ban these fests itself. The experiences of organizing a fest, participating in them are part of college life and should certainly not be missed. But again, Love Lips and Lipstick competition – is probably taking it one just more step closer to outrageousness. Or am I, an IITian from the class of 1996, just too vintage to comment??