Life Of Navin

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Happenings 2012 : The Failure We Needed!

I've felt the need to write on this topic for a long time, especially since this topic, like many other things related to college, plays close to my heart. And finally since I have the time (and a clear mind) to write, I'll go ahead and spill out my thoughts. This post, in case you missed the title, is about Happenings 2012.


The Phoenix rises... Just like the Dark Knight, or maybe not!
Quick facts, incase you aren't an Engico (what GEC-ites call ourselves):
  • Happenings was the oldest college festival in Goa. It's history spans over decades.
  • Until 4 years back, it was THE biggest college festival in Goa
  • The event has been a launch pad for some of the big names in Indian music. Parikrama, Pentagram, Indus Creed, Bhayanak Maut, Reverse Polarity are all names that performed at Happenings at a nascent stage, and are today big names in Indian rock. Jal is another notable band that performed at Happenings.
  •  Needless to say, Happenings is an event every Engico held close to heart. Infact, the very first day I visited college, a just-out-of-college senior told me that Happenings was the crowning glory of his college life.
Due to a multitude of reasons, ranging from internal politics to faculty misguidance to lack of student coordination to the rapid degeneration of what was once our greatest strength, the 'Engico Spirit', Happenings went from it's peak to ashes overnight, with Happenings 2009 being pretty much a disaster, and Happenings 2010 and 2011 not given permission by college administration. Being part of the CURSOR council, and having many of my friends in the main College Council, I was privy to many details of how much politics went behind getting permission for Happenings, literally to the stage where people put their college degrees on the line to get permission, so I give full credit to the 2 councils (2010 and 2011) for trying. Both councils got ostracized for not having Happenings, but I know for a fact, that (atleast the 2011 council) they tried their level best. And as I've said before (incase you're one of 2 people who actually follow my ramblings :P), being part of a council always means that your victories are forgotten, but failures are carved in stone.

This year's story was something completely different. The 2012 council pulled a miracle, and got permission for Happenings, but with conditions, most importantly that Happenings would not be held on campus (it was held in Panaji, a full 30 Kms away from college). Instantly, college was split into 2 factions:
  1. Those who insisted Happenings was bound to fail because of mismanagement/haphazard organization by the council. This included many seniors, who, whether they admit it or not, were kind of pissed that the juniors had secured permission for Happenings, a birthright (in way of saying) that we had been denied.
  2. Those who went on a rampage of Engico-ness and shouted from the top of the roof saying Happenings had returned, bigger and better than before! This mainly included juniors, and for most of them, was their first taste of Happenings. 
Now, my viewpoints on Happenings 2012 were mixed. I expected Happenings 2012 to flop, but did everything I could (in my limited capability as a senior) to help out the council. Many juniors from the council were friends, and helping them out was only natural. Yes, on a level, it was painful that we hadn't had a chance to organize Happenings, but our juniors were, but what everyone needed to understand was that Happenings was about more than just a single batch. It was the college's pride at stake. Plus, every single college festival this year was meh., be it the behemoth Waves (organised by BITS-Goa) or the popular Vistara (Goa College of Architecture) or Genesis (Goa Medical College. I'm not even sure this event was held this year!). So really, what damage could happen?

But on the other hand, the pros were enormous. As I mentioned before, this would be the first Happenings for most of my juniors (since the last Happenings was held in MY first year of college). Happenings is an essential component of Engicos and in my opinion, the only way one can truly experience it, is by being a part of it, and not through hearsay from seniors. Trust me, the Happenings of 09 might've been bad, but it forged bonds of friendship and brotherhood that last strong till date. And I wanted my juniors to feel the same. The theme of Happenings 2012, "Rise from the ashes", was a perfect statement for what GEC needs to do. For far too long have people spoken about past glory, it is time to create new legends, and that is something that every single Engico needed to understand, especially in this stage where administrative reforms are crushing the ambitions of the finest minds in the state, and in many ways going against common sense. Tandav had already shown us that many were tired of the branchism and council-faculty politics in college, and we needed another catalyst to bring people together. And Happenings was our best shot! It was not about us seniors, it was about the juniors, the people who had to stay in the system for much longer, and who needed to be united to survive in the system, or just give in and become drones commanded by administration who put Orwellian regimes to shame.

In the run up to the day, it was pretty cool to see people with absolutely no idea of even using MS Paint, used Photoshop to create posters for Happenings (most of them puke-inducing, but it's the sentiment that counts). The Facebookiyas were on overdrive sharing statuses about the event, and offline too, the topic of dicsussion was the same.  There was a very noticeable rise in the mood of many juniors. While some were super excited, others were super tense, and still others were super emotional.

One of the aforementioned "fan-made" posters

When the day, 24th of March, dawned upon us, I was not completely surprised to see an almost complete boycott by the seniors. Of course, the reasons varied. My own class decided that it was the best time for a  beach picnic, and most people chose to join in. But it was nice to see so many juniors together, running around in 'Happenings' tees, talking about Happenings, talking about regaining lost glory, talking about GEC as only a true Engico can.

A junior's status update, on the eve of Happenings


Happenings 2012, as an event, was a major disaster. Barely any colleges showed up for the events, and the crowd, if I may call it that, consisted mainly of Engicos themselves. The reasons for failure were, depending on who you ask, the wrong choice of date for the event (too late in the semester), the lack of coordination among the main council (barely 3-4 people in the council actually worked towards organising the event. The remaining 10-12 members just showed up on event day to share the credit of success (Thankfully, they got none!)), the wrong choice of location (but I don't know what the alternative was) or the invited colleges conspiring against us (afterall, the rise of Happenings automatically increases competition in the College festival arena). But whatever remains the reason, fact is fact. Happenings 2012 was a DISASTER. Now there are 2 possible alternatives to what happens next:
  • The juniors remember the feeling they felt in the run up to Happenings 2012, they curse the council that organised the event, they decide to correct their errors that were made this year, and work towards ensuring Happenings 2013 is a success. Most importantly, they have experienced their first Happenings, and now they realise what is at stake, not time, or money, but pride.
  • The juniors feel disheartened by the failure that Happenings was, and how it wasn't all that it promised to be. Happenings gets shelved again, and the status of Happenings on the official GEC site goes back to "Under revamp" aka "This event is dead". Happenings dies, "Engico spirit" becomes just another phrase, and everyone goes back to their "normal" college lives.
I sincerely hope that the former scenario happens. Yes, mistakes have been made by the current council , and they definitely need to be corrected, but the "Engico spirit" deserves to burn bright. Having Happenings this year despite all the problems the administration placed, was not an option, it was a necessity. If it hadn't happened, we, the batch of 2012, would be the last batch that has witnessed what Happenings is, and with us passing out, there would be noone left in college who knows what it stands for. It would be reduced to just a college event, while in reality, and I'm sure quite a few juniors have realised it now, it stands for so much more! Happenings was like the Schrodinger's cat. Noone knew if the cat, or in this case, the phoenix, is alive or dead unless the box was opened. And I'm happy the box was opened because another year down the line, the phoenix would definitely be dead, if nothing else, then out of lack of oxygen! The box was opened, and I'm happy to say that the phoenix has indeed risen from the ashes, and with the push of another year or two, it will soar.... Atleast that's what the hope is.

Celestial Portal.... Concussion inducing headbanging! \m/


Footnotes:
  • The only part of Happenings that was truly rocking was the rockshow. It featured 3 rock bands. Started off with Vesuvius (a college band that I personally found pretty meh.), followed by Embers of a Perfect World (which was really good, except for their obnoxiously long sound check), and finally Celestial Portal (who made it worth the wait. A brilliant band, with extremely different music. Check out Satyameva Jayate. NOW).
  • As it turned out, in the end, the only 2 people from my class who showed up for Happenings 2012 were me and Subodh Barve. As Subodh wasn't part of college during the 1st year, technically speaking, I'm the only person from my class who has witnessed 2 Happenings! :P

    1 comments :

    Anagha said...

    Maybe it was indeed the failure we needed but that failure turned out to be a spark that has ignited the future of Happenings.

    Happenings is back this year with the same theme (I am personally not sure why the repetition... maybe they didn't know this theme was already taken?). But the situation looks promising.

    It could be a success or it could be a disaster (personally, I'm rooting for the former) but it will definitely be an experience.

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