Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Malhar 2004 - I

Maaz. More Maaz. And Acronyms. Oh, and did I mention the Maaz? If this is your idea of a kickass cultural fest, then Malhar is the fest for you.

Malhar is an inter-collegiate cultural extravaganza organised by St. Xaviers College, Mumbai, and as these things go, it's pretty big. It's in a league far apart from your Verves, your Silhouettes's or your Epiphanys, if you take my meaning (with apologies to the VITians and the AFMC guys). Where we Puneite backwoodsmen are content, nay, thrilled with a few hundred participants, the Jhavierites are disappointed if they do not get a few thousands. Where we Philistines may need to invite non-participants to our "small" events, Malhar volunteers are accustomed to beating off pass-seekers with blunt objects. Its BIG.

We went there as a coningent of 35 other Fergussonians. 35 wide eyed, innocent kids (well maybe not that innocent) carrying the burden of the honour and reputation of their city and their college on their shoulders. To my knowledge, no Pune college has ever achieved a first place at anything at Malhar, but then my knowledge doesnt stretch very far. We had people paricipating in three quizzes, a debate, two dances, a play and a band competition. We were told we were the biggest outstation contingent. More like the bigger outstation contingent. But we did okay, as you will find out.

The quizzes were alright, nothing spectacular. There were three, a book quiz (Pulp Fiction), an entertainment quiz (Cinema Paradiso) and a travel/general/trivia/whatever quiz (North by Northwest). We rated our chances as best in Cinema Paradiso and North by Northwest, but we qualified for Pulp Fiction (Ulka and I) and North by Northwest (Puranjay, Ulka and I) instead. Although some questions were quite vague and arbitrary (as BC quizzers will soon find out), they weren't that bad (read Mood-I bad). Our guys also qualified in Indian classical vocals (Radhika Joshi) and the band competition (Chris, Arthur and Prateek).

And now for the Maaz. Everything in Malhar reeks of maaz. For example, in the participants meeting, we were directed to a darkened hall, which looked more suited to a cabalistic ritual than a meeting of culturally enthu people. They made us stand in a line, and slowly we trickled into the hall. Throught the gloom, one could discern Malhar volunteers guiding participants to their seats with flashlights. Was this for some sort of A/V presentation? A movie, perhaps? Or were they going to have a sound-and-light show? No, they weren't. All that happened then was that all the Malhar OCs (more on the acronyms later) spoke to us. 30 straight minutes of maazurda Bombay Scottish types droning on and on in their ICSE accents. It was awfull. And what did we, the participants learn? "All ACLs should note that NCAs must be registered with the OC PA, or PWQOZ will happen. Please speak to the OG in the Moffis." And then, the grand finale. The lights dimmed (so the hall was almost in darkness). Fog was released on stage. Multicoloured lights started flashing. The music went up several notches. Was someone really important coming on stage? Was there going to be some sort of entertainment? Were htey going to sing the Malhar song? No. Thats all there was. The lights, the fog, and the earsplittingly loud music. And this is just a trailer of the maaz.

Well, Malhar wasnt all bad. Many (but not all) the volunteers were friendly. It was kinda well organised. The bird-watching was pretty awesome. The Performing Arts events (those that we were allowed to see) were quite entertaining.

There's more, and also two more days of Mahar to go (the finals days, the 14th and 15th of August). So expect more Malhar posts after this long winded and boring one. Hasta luego!


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