The junior guys here at HNLU, organized the Fresher's Party, for the new batch which joined the University. Frankly I didn't expect the event to be anything even comparable to the one held for the last batch, which was a huge success, thanks to the excellent showmanship of the then anchor, the inimitable Shashank Bijapur, the short skit on the Spirit of HNLU organized by my batchmates, which really sent my spirits soaring despite the fact that two of my best friends had left the University.
Incidentally, we had to have a formal function before the event owing to that day being the anniversary of Hidayatullah, the man after whom the University was named. The Governor was the Guest of Honour. There was nothing largely remeberable about that speech (o.k. i did nod off in between), except that when the speech was over, Professor G.V. Ajappa gave him a standing ovation, in which he was the only one standing. Must have been some speech, if Ajappa sir was impressed.
After the boring section hosted by the buereaucrats and diplomats, it was time for some 'Revelations' (that was what the program was called). But before I get into the event itself, a word about the pre-event hard-work done my illustrious juniors. In HNLU, there is an indoor badminton court cum auditorium, painted blue and with asbestos roof. Well... I never thought any such building could look any good. These guys had done it. Wonderful... with all those heart-shaped balloons filled with gas, which formed an upward arc over our heads, the Hum and Tum of Hum-Tum hanging on the front of the stage looking at us, the varied cartoons on the wall featuring the oft quoted Lawyer Jokes, the over-all atmosphere of the junior-senior bond, that makes institutions. Special congrats to Saurabh Saraogi and Ravi of 2nd Semester for the art-work. They had succeeded in creating the perfect setting for the juniors to be welcomed into the fold, lose their inhibitions, and be that 'what', whatever they are.
The programs kicked off with Bharat Budolia of 2nd Semester, singing the good old 'Papa Kehte Hain'. This was before any comperes came onstage. That was a good one, putting everyone on their feet.
The main program for the was 'Revelations', which had the juniors all walk up to the stage when their respective names were called and introduce themselves, after which they were asked one tricky question each. The hosts were Tapan Narayana, Shriniwas, Abhinav Kadekar and Kumar Kaushik. Of these, Kaushik was clearly the best showman, chipping in with witty remarks to supplement the set-script. A true showman's worth is in his skill to improvise according to the situation. Kaushik sure had that skill.
The juniors all were, without exception, dull in their answering, especially to the mandatory question of what their biggest achievement in life was. They answered that it was getting admitted to HNLU. Shriniwas poked fun at this by asking one of the guys to name his greatest achievement in life other than getting into HNLU. The questions were the usual mix of innuendoed ones and point-blank dumb queries. But then, you tend to be accomodating because, after all we're in no position to throw the juniors out just because they weren't witty enough.
I place on record the acts of a certain spoilsport who thought he was being cool hijacking the Fresher's Party. That was the Special Officer on Duty at HNLU(because the old VC got fired), Pankaj Dwiwedi, IAS, who tried being a great showman, by barging into jurisdictions not quite his own. He was indeed a great showman with improvisations and all, asking G.K. questions relevant to the students state of origin. But then, there is also another quality of a great showman, which unfortunately he doesn't know. A great showman respects other showmen by not hijacking or attempting to hijack other showmen's shows. My new friend Marcus Jose humoured the confident S.O. by answering to his questions with a funny-toned, mocking, '"I'm sorry sir".
Another unsavoury incident was the one involving a new girl, who had the bad guts to threaten the crowd that she wouldn't speak if the crowd didn't keep quiet. Kumar Kaushik immediately cautioned her about her manners when dealingwith seniors, that too on Fresher's Night. I'd say what that ill-informed dame did was an insult to the good Crowd!!! After all The Crowd is the backbone of all successful shows.
In between 'Revelations' there were variety items, including songs by Himani Wasnik, a 'Quit Playing Games' sung by four 2nd Semester students, the names of whom I don't remember(Shriniwas was one of them), a dance mix by my buddy Ajay Rajput, Garima, Shalini and Rahul.
These items kept the audience from getting bored with the overkill of 50 'Revelations'.
The last program for the night was the much-awaited skit. This was the cherry on top of the cake. A continuation of last-sem's 'Spirit of HNLU' skit, this one featured mimicking of HNLU's favourite teacher's. Oh and what funny mimic's that too. There was Pushpakumar sir of Environmental Law fame, mimicked effectively in Vaibhav Shukla's extreme grief at one of the students' plucking of a flower. There was Uday sir, our Civil Procedure cum Constitution teacher, the loved warden of the Halls-Of-Residence, by Arindom Hazarika pausing a leap-year after almost every syllable. Then there was Mahesh sir, the political guru, played by Akshat Chaudhary, searching for a pen all over his body, taking long strides around the class room and his accented Hindi at somebody who's found talking in class.
Then came the coup-de-tat, by an actor of class, the Abhay Shankar 'Baba'. And that too, playing a most interesting character, Prof. Jaffer Hussain. The bloated lower lip, the perpetual stoop, the characteristic leafing through of every book that goes through his hands, the all-pervasive love for the fairer sex, all enacted skillfully to perfection, that one would think the absent Hussain sir was actually there.
The play was for the crowd and lived up to being a real crowd taker. We in the crowd really enjoyed all the jokes even though it looked to the expert eye as too artificial when it should have been spontaneous. The direction could have been better. But in the end the skit succeeded in its ultimate aim of putting the new crowd as well as the old crowd in high spirits for the next big thing in the evening the Dance-Party.
Well, by that time, dinner had started being served and I, ever the food-lover was first in line. About the gig, well... you know I'm not into this kind of dancing. Anyway great time. Everybody enjoyed the show. Me too.
Hail Hidayatullah !!!
Tagged on Technorati as Catch-22, Neil Stephen Padayatty, Neil Padayatty, Padayatty, Spirit of HNLU, Revelations, Freshers Party.