Aah... that feeling at the end of the semester. That warm fuzzy feeling when all the memories of the 5 months that have just passed by flood the mind. Semester 7 is particularly a remembrable semester for me, for reasons both good and bad. The whole semester was like a rollercoaster ride, always something happening...
There's no point in hanging on to the sour memories though, because the good memories always outlive the bad ones. So here's some of the best memories of my semester:
Semester 7: The Good Parts
Wow, so much pure awesomeness happened in Semester 7. Starting off with the big one: Technix 5.0 . Almost 8 months of work culminating into 3 days of lectures, events and workshops. Technix is the annual technical festival organised by the Computer Science department of Goa Engineering College, and this year, it was our turn to take Technix a few steps further from where it was left last time around, and I was glad to say we didn't disappoint. Technix was the biggest technical festival held in college in recent years in terms of participation, collaboration, and sheer hype. And it was my honour to stand at the helm of affairs as General Secretary of CURSOR (the Computer Students' Organisation) in the organisation of this event. The whole experience as part of CURSOR both as SE Executive (in my second year) and General Secretary (in my third year) taught me a lot of life lessons and were some of the best times spent in college. I'd highly recommend everyone to try a taste of college politics. Do read this as well :)
Tandav: Tandav is the intra-college cultural/sports festival of college. After a dismal performance last year, the COMP department was in full prep mode to bring back the Tandav trophy home where it belongs. The Sports segment of Tandav had an amazing bunch of events, and it was awesome to see such spirit and competitiveness among branches. My favorite sports event was the volleyball finals between MECH and COMP (which was an event very personal to COMP, since we lost last year, after a lot of not-really-sportmanlike language/behaviour by MECH players (and final year students) last year). This year, we were out with a vengeance, and since we were the seniors, we weren't going to be pushed around by anyone. The match was the match of a lifetime, staring off with the first 2 sets getting split between MECH and COMP. The final set was a complete romp by the COMP team, and by complete romp, I mean the only way it could be described was as a thrashing! It was brilliant to see the exact opposite of last year's event take place. The MECH supporters had been silenced after a yearlong wait. Oh, sweet revenge! :) Many slogans that originated on that day, such as 'Di Teka', and 'Umeshachi Pepsi...' still ring in my head.
But sports was just half the Tandav story. Next up was the Battle Royale: the cultural trophy... Over the years, the cultural trophy was of Tandav, an event meant to bring the college together through talent, had led to massive branchism in college. Initially, this branchism showed up only during Tandav, but as time went on, branchism which started off at Tandav would veer it's head through the entire year, leading to the college getting split into 6 seperate colleges (6 branches). Since winning became more important than participating, cheating slowly began to rise, to the level that even faculty judges were "fixed" beforehand. This time around, the same thing happened, and the IT branch was heavily favoured. Irrespective of performance of their participants, that branch seemed to be winning every event with ease. Many stories of fixing rose through trusted backchannels, and it reached a stage where certain branches started asking for a boycott of Tandav altogether, in a "Either play fair, or don't play at all" message. COMP was one of the branches as part of this, and while we did not support a boycott of Tandav, we were strongly for fairness in Tandav. At the end of a set of discussions with the organising students' council and faculty involved in the very conception, the conclusion reached was that Tandav has to go on as scheduled irrespective of judging issues. This was unacceptable to 3 branches, COMP, CIVIL and a large segment of IT, who said they'd much rather lose Tandav fairly than win unfairly (Respect to IT students). So, a boycott resulted. And it seemed like our last Tandav was going to end on that sour note.
|During 'Summer of 69'! :)|
But then something amazing happened. When discussions with the Students' Council was ongoing, I had suggested that we continue Tandav as it is, but remove the concept of scoring, winners and losers from it, since any 'Winner' at this point is useless because events were fixed. Since people had all prepared, some for weeks, I personally felt it was wrong to boycott the event and put to waste all their preparation. Somehow, as the day went on, this idea garnered more and more support, and a few hours later "Amchee Tandav" aka "Tandav 101" was born. One large room, A little convincing of the security guard, Speakers from the hostel, invites via SMS /Phone calls /word of mouth, and in under an hour we had 3 branches that had "boycotted" Tandav come together to have Tandav the way it was supposed to be. People who had slogged weeks off in preparation got a chance to perform in front of their true fans. COMP students said CIVIL slogans, CIVIL students said IT slogans, and we all screamt 'Dara Singh' (Our notorious college slogan). It was a super proud moment for me to see students united as Engicos rather than branches, and it was even more awesome to know that I was one of the people who made it happen! Multiple dance performances, band performances, and song performances later, I was sure this was the greatest ending to Tandav I could expect. Only thing missing was the Fashion Show, which we could not have due to lack of space for a ramp (We honestly hadn't expected soooo many people to show up).
|Performing Socha Hai! :)|
15 mins of wondering what to do, and BOOM. Someone came up with the idea of a basketball court fashion show. One hour later, the whole crowd had shifted to the basketball court. Carlights, a set of large speakers which had automagically appeared there, some superb freestyle dancers (I still don't know where some of them came from! :P) and Tandav was taken to another level. The most common comment I heard was "Dude, this is like Step Up", and I sooo totally agree! I never knew we had such awesome freestyle dancers in college! It was awesome! And the ending of Tandav 101: The fashion show ofcourse. Call me partial if u want, but that was the hottest fashion show I've seen in my years in college! All in all, Tandav 101 was one of the best days of my life. :)
|Hard Rock Cafe! :)|
Along the semester, I had a superawesome trip to Pune with Douglas (@mistcrafter), Sahil (@FlamesAlchemist), Damodar (@genzen21) for Pycon 2011. It was 4 days of getting lost in Pune, reaching awesome places, having awesome experiences, and just going completely crazy! Pune is one awesome city, and I really hope I get to visit there more often. My fondest memories of the trip (besides PyCon itself) are the night we decided to watch "Spirited Away", a movie which Sahil claimed was the best animated movie ever made, but at the end of which we all felt we've been on drugs for the last few hours, and the trip to Hard Rock Cafe (where we were lucky enough to listen to Dream On by Aerosmith played inhouse \m/). The whole trip was a geek outing and it was great to be together with fellow geeks :)
Besides this was the trip to Bangalore to relax post-Technix, countless picnics, numerous trips across the state and beyond with friends, Crazy amount of silliness we've been upto, strengthening bonds with people who're nothing short of family to me, as well as with other friends, a never ending list of personal projects, website designs and code, a tonne of internal politics (which I'll really miss post college), all the memories created in Hostel, including the hostel parties and a tonne of other stuff!
People close to me know that the semester hasn't really been easy on me... but let's leave all the sour memories for some other time (or another blog post). Because right now, with these memories, I can confidently say, I've lived life to the fullest this semester... and that's all that I can ask for! :)