Its over. I cannot believe its over, just like that. What do I do now ? Classes ? College ? Nooooo, Nirvana I want you back, please don't go away.
This is how I'm feeling now. But I have an epic to tell you guys, let me start with October 14. This was the day Nirvana 2007 work was officially kicked off, I gave a small presentation. A few hours after this, I met with an accident. This was probably a sign of things to come, the difficulties that I was to face during the months of January, February and March.
We started having our meetings in the month of January and decided initially that it would be Shaan or Colonial Cousins. Now the hurdles started being hurtled at us. We had our first official meeting with our respected Director. He was totally against the idea of us having celebrities from outside come and perform. Around 15 of us kept rallying against this and were finally able to convince that this and only this would be the best entertainment package. He agreed.
We got our permission letter on January 18, ten days after the set deadline, but we still had lots of time. By then, it had been decided that I would be made Student Convenor and there would be a Core Committee to back me up. But due to a few unforeseen situations and for the evident betterment of the fest, I scrapped the Core.
Now things had been set in motion, money was top priority. I had been reading a lot about Laloo Prasad turning an institution like the Railways into a profitable organisation, so I resolved that I would do the same about Nirvana which was always short of money. So I kept telling everyone that Mission SHOW ME THE MONEY was top priority. A team of 10-12 people who were really dedicated started doing the rounds of a few companies, and I was taking care of other things.
Many important activities were not on schedule. I was getting a wee bit worked up and making people work harder. February came, the supplementary holidays began and lethargy set in. Half the team went to sleep and I was powerless to do anything. Our deadline of Feb 20 was fast approaching and I did not have enough finances to show for the team's hardwork.
Then the worst blow of all. I was told that Mr.Hariharan would not be available for the 10th of March. This had a chain reaction. A few big companies who were to give big amounts backed out, we lost almost 3.5 lakhs, and the whole brain racking of finding a new performer began. Due to our financial constraints we were forced to go low budget.
We decided to first sign Hemachandra, finalist from Saregamapa and upcoming singer. Sona, Leslie Lewis and Kartik were other names that were suggested. The money kept trickling in, but my stress levels were reaching break point. My team and I just kept at it, Money money money. Something had to give way. Saturday Feb 27 was easily the toughest day for me. People from all sides were putting too much pressure on me. People who I thought cared about me a lot did not even bother to call. I was on the edge. Something had to be done and fast. So along with my closest confidants, I trudged into Sterling Cinema and watched Blood Diamond. Solid relief it was. Slept well after a long time that night.
Next day it was back to work. Then suddenly something out of the blue. One person was interested in being main sponsor, a ray of hope maybe. We tried but that did not work out too. Just as I was coming to terms with the fact that my fest would be just another mediocre event, a heaven sent miracle. Akshay Rao, a brother to me called me on the March 3rd and told me about this band called Prayag. I loved the name. I googled them, I loved their music and I loved the idea of bringing them to MGIT. We needed another 70k to pull this off. So the sponsorship run never stopped, but big amounts were just not coming. But we kept at it with a dogged determination.
The last 3-4 days before were hectic. It was like I was going downhill without brakes. Once we convinced the management about having Prayag also, things had been set in motion that could not be undone. So it was upto us to pull things together and give it a 100%. I designed the posters overnight and gave them away for printing. They were looking good. It was going to be good. I was very close to being disowned by my family for my crazy work timings. Then Nirvana came -
DAY 1: This was the day of the techies. There was a decent response and the events happened without any speedbreakers. Team Nirvana still had to pool up 30k. We were lying down on the lawns in college and wondering what the hell to do. We had our last meeting for the day where I emphatically said – “Sir, we have come 90% of the way, we will do what it takes to go the remaining 10%”.
DAY 2: Things began smoothly, I was still on the edge since the financial situation had improved by 10k only. So I went and sat down with the faculty incharge to do another round of accounts. This was one of the most defining moments of Nirvana 2007 for me. Magically an extra 20k had been miscalculated before, we needed only a thousand rupees more to break even. This happened in the next few hours and I was just so thrilled. I had accomplished what I had set out to do, without compromising the quality of the fest.
But happiness never lasts long when one is doing something of this magnitude. After the sound and stage had been setup, the backdrop gave way. Due to some ingenuity from one of the workers, we managed that. Next problem that sprung up was that our man had brought a 60 hz generator where the whole of India used only 50hz. But somehow we dealt with that too.
My close friend Nitin’s band REVE from JBIET was to perform first. It was an amazing performance considering that it was their first major gig. Their drummer, Venky who was a visually impaired 14 year old was the toast of the evening. Trust me guys, this kid is has a bright future ahead of him. Then a beautiful fusion ensemble by the 2nd year guys kept the show going. Due to a small delay our main performer Mr.Nagraj was delayed. But luckily Mr.Ravi Varma , a playback singer was in the audience and he graced the show with a few of his numbers. Then Mr.Nagraj arrived and put on a stellar show despite a few members of the audience leaving early.
DAY 3: With all the confidence in the world, I woke up at 6.45 am and left for the airport where I was to pick up the members of Prayag. The flight was on time and the guys were eager to get to the hotel and get some sleep. They were the most down to earth bunch of rockstars I had met. It felt like they were one of us . We were more than pleased that we had chosen Golkonda Resorts and Spa as our hospitality sponsor because it had an amazing ambience to it. After a five star breakfast, they went to sleep and I left to conduct the quiz prelims.
Most events went on decently except the ones that I was incharge of, and I’m still feeling guilty that I could not hold a JAM. But nevertheless, once the quiz was done, I had to prepare my vote of thanks, change into my kurta and get ready to receive the guests of honour.
Things went on well in the auditorium while sound check was going on in the ground. So once things were done inside the auditorium, we were ready to start. Hemachandra was to perform first. I was to be the emcee for the evening. He started off with an A.R.Rahman number and his playlist was well received. He also had a great interaction with the crowd and kept them in awe. Once his performance was done, I announced Prayag onto stage with their tagline THE STORM TROOPERS OF HINDI ROCK. They stood true to the name and took the show by storm. Great numbers like Where the streets have no name, Kashmakash, Duur were making the audience of 1500 Come Alive. Just when I thought things could not get any better, they dedicated the song Roobaroo to me and called me on stage to sing along. It was an awesome experience and I think I got a little stage high also, but once I realized my amateur singing talent I took a bow and got off stage. Prayag ended with their flagship number – RAASTE. It was an amazing show, an amazing turnout and I’m glad everything turned out alright.
Being at the helm for Nirvana 2007 was like being the Captain of a fire fighting unit. One fire here would be extinguished and another elsewhere would start. I think the entire team stuck together and pulled off a great show. There were no fights, there were a few wrong decisions, lots of juniors earned my respect and I found myself a band of brothers who would give their all for me, not to mention one great friend who helped me through most scarily stressful nights. I have also realized that I’m a more resilient person than I thought I was and that working under pressure turns me on.
I would like to thank every fireman, I mean ever member of Team Nirvana for making this happen. I would like all those who showed up and enjoyed the fest. I would like to thank Mr. Venkatramana for patiently bearing with us through everything. I would also like to thank my parents for allowing me all liberties. This would be incomplete without a special thanks to all my paduans and my brothers and the new friends who stood by my side through trying times. May the tradition of Nirvana bring joy to all of you like it has done for me.