17 Aug Cultural Secretary’s Report
As the events it details. Have a good read!
The post of Cultural Secretary was one I never thought I’d attain – mostly because I hadn’t planned to stand for the elections. What started out as a whim 2 months before the Union elections, became a dream, then a goal- and then, astonishingly, my reality. Preparing for the elections was hardly a walk in an imaginary park, but it was the counting of Votes that truly frayed our nerves, and when the results were announced, nearly three hours after the voting process, shouts of joy reflected our elation. All of a sudden, a Union stood, formed from blood sweat and tears of each of the candidates. Irene Ann Koshy was elected as President, a person who has fulfilled her responsibility beyond expectations, while maintaining a perpetually sunny demeanor. Our Vice – President, Lisa George, who has taken each responsibility seriously and epitomizes perfection in everything she does. Nidhi Shetty, the Treasurer, was true to her post, even as her creativity and artistic abilities made her indispensable as more than just the money-(won) man. While the quiet strength and determination required of a Takewondo champion defined Hera, our Sports Secretary. I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams – or dreams of any other kind – that these people would become so important in my life – including our student advisore, Mrs. Shinitha Jose and Ms. Vinita Marigold David, who are so amazing, it would require an entire essay to describe their brilliance, the guidance they offered, their qualities, their understanding and gentles – and their quirks, of course. Over the course of our time as Union, we have come to know nearly every teacher and staff – from the admin to the workers – that I’m sure most of them know more of our secrets than we ourselves do!
The very first event we had to organize was Freshine Queen. We learnt to put aside our differences and to nurture each other’s strengths, as we pitted ourselves against the daunting task of working with people we were just getting to know to make “Freshie Queen” 2013 a success. We learnt how to handle the contestants, to keep track of all the various things that needed to be completed, co-coordinating with each other as well as the teachers and staff involved and a whole amalgam of other complications. We also got to know our advisors better, realizing that these two teachers were unlike all the others we knew. They had a sense of humor to put student to shame, while tempering it with a stern voice of practicality – besides offering a shoulder to cry on and gentle wisdom whenever we needed it.
Having pulled off Freshine Queen 2013 successfully, with RJ Jude Fernando of Radio Indigo as judge, we set ourselves to organizing Artemise 2013, our annual inter-college fest. Of course, being such an indomitable Union, we set our goal much higher – we decided that Artemise 2013 was going to ne the very best inter-college pre-university fest in Bangalore. And then, to put it extremely simply and in very few words, we made it happen.
At our very first Union meeting, we had been told of the previous of Artemise, the pitfalls and problems, as well as the reasons they were so successful that JNPUC’s Artemis was a name everyone had heard of. Beginning in June, and gathering momentum right up to its pinnacle on the 13th and 14th of September, 2013, the preparations for Artemis were as monumental as the events itself.
The one thing that makes a fest come alive even before it begins are the posters, brochures and invites. After numerous prototypes, staying up late, and calling each other about every little change, we finally came up with the poster and logo that would represent Artemis 2013. Yet, the most important things we needed were sponsors and stalls. To detail it would take forever – almost as long as the time we spent waiting in receptions, talking to Managers, calling Companies and restaurants and then calling them gain, till our disappointments nearly outweighed our triumphs.
Four month of hardwork, determination, blood, sweat and tears this time, quite literally taught us more about ourselves than we ever knew. Handling our academics alongside tasks, like looking for sponsors gave us a new definition for ‘balance’, while a week of inviting colleges showed us every nook and cranny of Bangalore and its college – also proving to us that Puffcorn, Gone Mad and Coca Cola with occasional trips to Mc-Donald’s and KFC, can serve as breakfast and lunch (and no dinner, because we were simply too tired to stay awake.) when I say we went to great lengths to make Artemise a success, I really mean it – especially when the ‘lengths’ are measured in miles and kilometers. Some things we learnt are impossible to describe, such as learning to endure hurtful gossip; others don’t need description, like the support, understanding and concern that our friends, juniors, and teachers gave us. Yet, the most humbling prospect was the encouragement that sr. Louisa extended in all our endeavors. Endurance, balance, respect, humility, practicality and a fair share of wisdom were instilled in us as we determinedly pursued our goal.
And then, almost without warning, Artemise stood before us, with our title sponsor, Fastrack, and associate sponsor Nokia, while radio Indigo were our Radio Partners. With over 30 registered colleges participating in 24 events, the inauguration unfolded to a packed auditorium and pretty soon the entire campus was filled with spectators and participants, till it was impossible to turn, without stepping on someone’s foot. Finally, just as unexpectedly as it had begun, Artemis was over, having run late on both days, with DJ Rohit Barker playing through a rainy evening full of excitement and amazing music, and Slain rocking the amphitheatre stage. Teachers, student volunteers, staff and the Union with its advisors stepped up to the plate to carry Artemis above and beyond the standards we had set for ourselves. Through it all, we forged a camaraderie forced unexpectedly upon us that morphed into a friendship that will remain truly memorable.
Most importantly, I learnt that being Cultural Secretary is more than a shiny star-shaped badge and a satin sash, even though they’re awesome. It’s about learning to delve deeper into yourself, while reaching for not just celestial bodies (you know, stars, moon and the like), but whole new universes – and helping others reach out, too. From someone content with books and a few friends, quiet and introverted. I can now aim to make the things I only wished for earlier, into a reality because of the courage that I have earned, as I look back at our trials and triumphs. I stand proud, content with the person I’ve become. The last year is a mixture of strikingly sharp moments and blurred conversations, but through it all, the support and encouragement of family and friends remained a constant.
To the readers who have the patience to read this admittedly long account, know that your goals are yours to achieve, and that you decide the person you become. A huge thank you for reading this. By stereotyped standards, I’ll leave you with a quote that made a huge difference to me
“Life begins after coffee”.
Okay, no, not really. That happens only for me. Here’s what I really meant:
“You! Yes, you. The one reading this you are beautiful, talented, amazing and simply the best at being you. Never forget that.”
It doesn’t matter if you’re the most popular, the least noticed or the class-topper. Be you, and if you’re not happy enough with that, become the ‘You’ you DO want to be.
– Shamantha Manogaran