Friday, March 21, 2014

Mr Advani finally agrees to Gandhinagar

I as a self professed and a firm believer of BJP and their liberal political agenda is miffed at the way Mr Advani has acted over the past few months. Before going further, let me put in a disclaimer – even though, I like BJP, but that is restricted to their liberal and reform agenda and not at all related to any communal stuff, that many pseudo secular parties claim to be so.
Well, coming back to Mr Advani. I strongly believe, Mr Advani should ideally have left his desires of the PM chair and should have eased into political retirement. Performing a role of an ideologue and patriarch to the core would have better suited him at the age of 86. Not that he is not a known politician across the country. He is well known political face across the length and breadth of the country. He had even served as the Deputy Prime Minister and the Home Minister under Vajpayee NDA government. However, the desire to host the National Flag from the ramparts of the Red Fort one day continues to rage. And this desire is affecting the party and its Mission 272+ for sure.
Mr Advani’s antics are surely hampering the party and its image. His discomfort with Mr Narendra Modi is well known and it even goes to the extent of becoming a butt of all jokes at such a critical time and causes embarrassment. The question is, Is this discomfort only due to his desire to be the PM of India and hence, not liking the idea of Mr Modi being projected the NDA’s PM candidate? To a common man, that is one probable reason that would easily come to fore, as Mr Advani’s desire to be the PM of India is a part of the Indian political folklore.
As a common man with considerable interest in Indian politics (for it affects the country directly and indirectly), I believe, this discomfort also sums from the perceived authoritarian image of Mr Modi. It is widely perceived that Mr Modi will get his way out, some way or the other and hence, can easily cut to size the likes of Mr Advani. Please keep in mind that under the load of 2 successive defeats at the hands of congress in 2000s and especially after Mr Advani paving way for Ms Sushma Swaraj as the Leader of Opposition, after 2009 defeat, he was sort of left in the lurch, may be even demoted to a wise patriarch. Imagine all this after being the face of BJP for decades.
I also feel, Mr Modi’s ever gaining popularity and image as messiah of all development in Gujarat, would have also played into Mr Advani’s mind. His rise as one of the most sought after leader in BJP in all campaigns over the past few years, might also be adding to all this. Add to this the rock star status that Mr Modi has enjoyed for some time. And all hell broke, as they say.
In all this, Mr Advani never ever thought of the party (or maybe he thought), as it looks to a common man and supporter. May be he could have handled it better, by at least not making his displeasure public by resigning from all party posts. And when all was going fine, he did it again; by giving conflicting statements over his choice of seat to fight the General Elections next month. Finally, he agreed to his existing seat Gandhinagar in Mr Modi’s Gujarat.
Ideally, one would have liked Mr Advani to have taken a back seat and accepted the new generation and acted like an elder statesman, guiding the party in these crucial times.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My 2 cents on Mr Kejriwal – he is needed, however, a long way to go...

Been reading a lot of articles on Arvind Kejriwal and his brand of politics or “anarchy”, as he enjoys it being called! It has been close to around 3 months since he was christened the “7th Chief Minister of Delhi”, and it has been a more than a year since he became the mascot of “Aam Aadmi” in political fiefdom of our elitist (in his words) political class. While, I strongly believe in the disruption that he brings to the current political mess, however, his projection as being different and an alternate is something questionable, at least to my ilk.
Many political parties including Congress & BJP say that he is no threat to them, however, deep inside, even they would accept his importance and probable threat. I believe, if he has the right intentions and the right means to achieve them, he can create a sea change in how elections are fought and politics is run in general, in our country. My thought process is simple – he is needed to keep a check on the current politicians and political parties, however, to reach where his eyes are set on (read PMship), its a long way to go. I agree, the public in general is fed up with the current dispensation and it needs an overhaul. However, this is a slow process, as no one can overnight do away with the rut that has set in. It will take years – who knows 5, 10 or may even more. But, with the ever growing discontentment in the public at large, lack of patience and generational shift, it will surely be 5-10 years. There is a classic case of BJP in our own backyard, which has grows since the Jan Sangh days in the 60s and 70s to political party ready to take charge once again.
He had a chance to prove his credibility as an administrator and politician for a change, however, he let go off of this golden chance, for want of politics. How much as he may say, his resignation in the guise of Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill was a political stunt. He very well knew that the public mood over the years of poor governance and corruption was completely against Congress and anti-corruption. And with the success in the Delhi Legislative Elections last year, he had the momentum with him along with the emotional bind with the public. So, he wanted to cash in on this mood and momentum and decided to go national overnight and fight the General Elections 2014. This is where the real problem rose – AK was AAP and AAP was AK. There was lack of national faces and this continues to this day. There was and is no national leader who people across the country know and can relate to. And with AK being restricted to Delhi (being the CM), the national ambitions overpowered the fire to perform for Delhi and he resigned. Since he resigned, he has been on a national rally spree, going all around the country to garner votes for himself and his party. Well, this is a no brainer. Agreed! The problem lies with him saying he is different, providing alternate to the 2 national parties. Mr Kejriwal, is no different. He accuses BJP of personality politics in the name of Mr Modi. While, he forgot that AAP and himself are doing the same in the name of Mr Kejriwal.
In all this milieu of Namo and Gujarat Model, Congress, even the small parties, never accused Mr Modi of being corrupt. All they had to say was always centred around Gujarat riots of 2002. No one ever said that Mr Modi was corrupt. However, he came and said that even Mr Modi is corrupt. I do appreciate your bold attitude J In fact, he claims everyone other than AAP members or supporters are corrupt. There is a perception that he thinks bureaucrats and law enforcement agencies are all corrupt. I am not ready to accept that everyone is corrupt. It would be good, if he highlights and segregates the good apples from the bad ones.

It would be good if he rises above referendums (people’s voice, as you prefer to call them). His latest one to get a referendum to decide whether to fight against Mr Modi from Varanasi is bizarre. Come on, is he going to take every decision like this? What to do of cases like Chinese incursions? Take a public referendum, before he gives a firm reply to our neighbours. Voting Lines are open until 9 PM tomorrow. And Chinese scrape additional 10 Kms off our land mass. Additionally, there are many instances to prove that the voice of people is not right always. There is more to politics than the agitational DNA that he and his coterie carry everywhere. He aspires to be the next Prime Minister of India, for which he would have to change his way of thinking and working completely.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Growing aspirations and changing lifestyles in India


Me and my friend are having lunch at our condo canteen. It is definitely more than a canteen, with nice sofas, tables, chairs, TV and of course sumptuous food J Not to ignore the other condo facilities like the video game stations, table tennis tables, aerobics room, reading room, gym and the swimming pool just besides the canteen. You will ask – why do I need to talk about the amenities here? Well, my simple response to that is, wait to read this post till the end, and am sure, you will be able to relate to this and appreciate what I have written here J

As we both were having lunch, we just talked about various things and points of importance. And suddenly my eyes stuck at a school going kid sitting on a chair nearby with books open in front of him. I just turned around and there is a girl behind me going through her note-book. And thereby started our discussion – how can these people study in public places like this? Isn’t it disturbing? Do these kids not need enough peace to concentrate and study? Surely, there was this peace missing at a public place like this and I am a culprit towards that too. With talking loudly on my cell phone, I was surely adding to a bit of noise pollution in that public space, even though, no one seemed to be bothered much.

Not even a few seconds passed that we both started talking about our past. How we used to study and how it is so different now. I am sure, most of us, would agree, in our days (though more than a decade back now), our parents would always switch off the TV or the radio, if they would see us studying. Or if they have to watch something important on the TV, they would make sure that we leave the room and go in a more silent room to concentrate and study. Even better, at times, I remember, TVs were moved out into other rooms so that both the things can happen in parallel. And if we are studying in our rooms, no one would even come to disturb us, not even our ever fighting and naughty siblings J

In our days, group study was really unheard of. I think, once or twice when we really tried to do so, we had to fight with our parents to allow us to do this. I think, they knew, there is nothing called as group study. And believe me, until a few years back, there wasn’t J I still remember, whatever group works we have done during our school days or college days (especially engineering), all ended up being fun activities J. During our school days, we all wanted to celebrate “Basant Panchmi” – the kite flying festival in India. And on the pretext of tying the knots (“kanne”) for flying kites the next day and of course “group study” as well, we all got together and stayed overnight at a friend’s place. And we all know what group study we did. It was more of group dance and jokes and full on fun timeJ How much I wish even today that we have such group works J

All this was pre 2000, now cut to 2012. We see group studies all around us. You can see one group of kids together at one corner of a coffee shop or a pizza outlet or any of these fast food joints. Is it really worth sitting at these joints, spending some hard earned dollars of your parents at these costly joints? Well, I am no one to be judgemental on this and say yes or no. What I am talking here is why is this happening now when it never happened 10 or more years back.

People might have their own reasons for this. Some might argue that this is western culture killing our Indian culture and what not. Again, I am emphasizing  I am not here to criticize any culture or glorify any either. I just want to put my thoughts and discuss this with everyone.

If I have to sum up my reasons for this, I will just say this is because we are getting used to this. This surely becoming our habit now. And from where do these habits come from? These are emanated from the easy availability of such joints. And why do we see big companies investing so much on these joints or our very own Cafe Coffee Day mushrooming across every nook and corner of Urban India? Simple answer to this is – increasing wealth of Indians. And with increasing spending capacity coupled with easy availability of information on new things from across the world we have our growing aspirations. With a lot of international travel these days, we are witness to global lifestyles and with money in hand; we all want to adopt them.

Another important thing to note here is with such an easy availability of these outlets nearby and with nice decor and seating, we end up being there more. It is all about being lured into these outlets and getting used to them. And overtime, it becomes our habit and thereby completing the full circle.

Imagine 2 kids talking to another gang of kids and telling them – we spent quality time at a coffee outlet and what best is they allow us to sit there and study J I am sure this is bound to generate more business for these companies. This is akin to the strategy adopted by Reliance India Mobile way back in early 2000 in India. They made mobile phones so cheaper to own and made consumers into contracting them for 2 years that they were making us all get used to it and make our daily lives revolve around them. And what has happened since then in Indian telecom industry is known to everyone.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

From the Steel City - When NIT Rourkela rocked IIT KGP!


If those moments and that night of winning the Fashion Show at IIT KGP can be recalled and relived forever, the next day was nothing less exciting. It too is etched in my memories for years to come. It’s been 8+ years and I can still recall every moment of those 2 days at IIT KGP when NIT Rourkela was roaring all across the Spring Fest.

The night before was unbelievable. From the underdogs or shameless losers so to say to the flavour of the evening and NIT Rourkela Flag bearer, The Rechargers had lived some of the best moments of their college lives. However, the next day brought something out of the extraordinary.

The day started with a Quiz Competition, which, for the nature of the event, went unnoticed. Not until, NIT Rourkela won the event and the winning team was seen being congratulated and announced loudly and favourably at the Informal stall. With a huge uproar, the whole gang from NIT Rourkela, which was near the Informal stall, started to shout and roar. Another feather in the cap!

As the day went by, many of our college students participated in some informal and formal events and won some of them, much to the cheer of the 300 strong crowd from our college. There were a few teams which participated in the Group Dance Competition too; however, we couldn’t make our mark there. That moment it seemed, the day was about to be over for the NIT Rourkela teams.

However, what happened during the mid-day was something magical. With the start of the Eastern Band Competition, we had hoped to win one more event at IIT KGP and end on a high!

We were all scattered around and suddenly a phone call came, pushing us all to TOAT for the Eastern Band Competition. I reached TOAT to see a handful of our college guys there and suddenly there was everyone calling their friends to TOAT to get as much support for our team. As we were pitied against the local and crowd favourites – IIT KGP Team, we badly needed support for our team and fast.
Within next 15 minutes, what we saw was something extraordinary. TOAT was all filled with NIT Rourkela students and we easily outnumbered the local crowd. I am sure; this would have easily pumped our team to give a performance to remember for a long time.

As our team was called to perform, TOAT now swarmed with NIT Rourkela crowd, echoed with shouts of NIT Rourkela ka Tempo High hai...ooi re mai re mai re mai re Alisha baba ho and the likes. What a proud moment it was. A feeling hard to write and describe! As they say, you need to be in the middle to feel the rush and see what makes it so outstanding! Those Mexican waves, those claps, those dances – all a sight to behold!

And what a performance it was – as our very own singers sang – Har Ghadi badal rahi hai from Kal ho na ho & Dil ne Tumko Chun Liya hai from Jhankar Beats, pure magic and ethereal! The Band members – the drummer, the guitarists, the keyboard player, everyone made a perfect sync – a perfect Jugalbandi! And the way the whole NIT gang supported the team and their performance was noteworthy. By the team, the second song was being sung; I could see the whole crowd humming with our singer and band. There was no discrimination on colleges and teams. Music gelled them all and everyone flowed with the magic that happened there. Everyone was spellbound! Never ever anyone would have expected what happened that afternoon in IIT KGP. What a proud moment for us to have received such a warm appreciation for our team at a foreign turf.

Needless to say, with this mind blowing performance, our college was awarded the best prize and we ended the Spring Fest 2004 at IIT KGP at a High Note! I was just a part of the audience which witnessed the rocking performance, was very much part of it, while it happened, and I just can’t forget those moments – can recall each moment with elan. At times, I wonder, what happens to the members of our Euphony Band which performed on stage that afternoon when the recall those moments of glory, when I feel so proud to have witnessed history being created. I am sure, like many of us, they would be really proud too! J

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Indian Politics needs disruptive influence of Kejriwal


Though, I am not 100% convinced with Mr Kejriwal’s political outfit, however, what I am convinced is that Indian politics surely needs his ways of disruptive politics. He and his coterie have in them to move the Indian political scene up-side down. His idea of bringing out the corruption in Indian politics to the common people is right. He has been right in unmasking the collusive politics and undermining the politico-business nexus. The intent is clearly right.

However, what I strongly believe is wrong with his brand of politics is the ways of doing what he intends to do. I believe, upfront, he is going wrong in leaving his exposes mid way. He exposed the corrupt practices of some politicians and then left them for others to take care. Look at what happened to Mr Vadra and DLF expose – nothing has come out so far and Haryana Government has given him a clean chit. Mr Kejriwal himself accepted yesterday that Mr Vadra will come clean in the Rajasthan Government reports too. I am sure the similar fates are expected for Mr Gadkari and our new External Affairs Minister (Mr Khurshid).

This precisely is the problem. If he intends to expose the corrupt politicians and the corrupt links between the political and business class, then he has to come up with the ways of taking them to a logical conclusion. He needs to make sure that all of his and his party’s efforts are not wasted. If he leaves others (media, opposition parties, etc) to complete the job, then he is fairly wrong here. If you start something, I believe, you need to finish it. He has to remember, Public memory is very short and more so in case of we Indians. This could easily be forgotten.

He at times seems to get caught in his own web of rhetoric. If he has to earn credibility, he needs to take the right steps and that too in right measure. Calling Delhi Chief Minister Ms Dikshit names will not surely take him far. This can prove to be counter-productive. He has to understand that Ms Dikshit has earned her credibility over the years with some good work for the city. If he is pitied against her, the work has to be done slowly and surely.

He can’t get too optimistic with Indian Politics, rather he has to be cautiously optimistic. Indian collusive politics can kill him and his party very easily. The system, for all its flaws, has a strong capability to fight back and discredit anyone. No Magasaysay Award can win back Mr Kejriwal any of his long and hard earned credibility, once he loses it.

India today is a tripartite society – The Haves and The Have-Nots & in between them a raging middle class. The problem right now for IAC and Mr Kejriwal is that all his current support lies within this middle class, which is supporting him in big numbers for now, and on the internet, social media and the likes. It is this middle class, which is also least bothered to vote and will eventually generate less seats for his party. [Even I am to be blamed for this. Being out of India for long, even I haven’t voted and God knows if I will be able to vote in 2014.] The Haves also don’t bother themselves much with Mr Kejriwal and his brand of politics. All the more, because he might expose some of their political connections too and hamper their Net-worth. The poor have-nots are something that Mr Kejriwal has to target. Even though, it will be a difficult task, as he will have to visit places, which normally no one visits. To generate enough credibility amongst these people, he will have to make sure the existing political pressures on them are lifted properly. This is where the political money game is also played luxuriously during the elections. Mr Kejriwal and his team will have to figure out this puzzle too.

Mr Kejriwal has to remain in the game for long and always think of the bigger picture and the longer game. He will have to take small baby steps to create an impact. India is a young country full of impatience. Even though, he has to take some definitive steps, each at a time, he has to understand that the results are needed. He also has to understand that Indian people accept that there is corruption in the country and in Indian politics. Hence, the focus should be how to address that rather than just exposing that.

He has to define a process where this can be addressed. Is Jan Lokpal the only possible way to address this? If yes, then, define the process of getting this done. Similarly, he will have to define how he will bring about the complete autonomy of Public Institutions like CVC, CBI, EC and bring them out of the clutches of corrupt Indian polity. This is something he has talked about for some time now. The time is ripe to lay down the specifics.

As a politician, Mr Kejriwal, needs to articulate his course and vision clearly. They have to announce decisive steps on things that matter the most – economic reforms, counter-terrorism, foreign policy, defence, energy, and many more. He and his team need to think through properly and come out with action plan. This is the best time, there is a momentum in their favour, and however, they need to act fast and incisively, else, this could easily be a chance gone than a chance grabbed.

Good Luck!!

From the Steel City: NIT ka Tempo high hai...


Having landed at IIT KGP early in the morning, we registered ourselves and got our team registered for the Fashion Show Event. After having got ourselves a place to stay in one of the many hostels at IIT KGP, we went around the campus, just simply enjoying the beautiful scenery and greenery of the IIT campus. We got ourselves something to eat and agreed to meet up at 5 in the evening to participate one more time J

The whole day went enjoying the festival and the events. The business quiz, the sports quiz, the Ad-Mad and the vocals both solo and group enjoyable. The informal stall, hosting various fun events like 1 minute gigs, informal dance shows, jokes, etc were a key attraction. They made the whole fest very interesting and gave people to move away from the tension and anxiety of real competition inside.

It struck 5 in the evening and we all started getting calls from everywhere to gather for the practice session. And as it turned out, half the gang eventually didn’t turn out and we spent the whole day enjoying and roaming here and there.

Late in the evening started with the celebrity night. A 1 hour performance by Neeraj Sridhar and then a rocking 2 hour performance by KK actually made our day. But not before KK sung and along with them the audience sung “Tadap tadap ke...” and made everyone shiver in “Dilli ki sardi...” in Kharagpur. The fantabulous performance enamoured everyone and all ended the day with a happy and singing heart.
We got up next day, little realising that we have a formal practice at the venue on the stage at 12 noon. And yet again, there was a rush to gather the gang at the venue. After numerous phone calls, running helter-skelter for the team, we could finally get the team to come to the Tagore Open Air Theatre (TOAT), which was the actual venue for the main event and our practice as well.

TOAT was the venue to give your performance, a huge open theatre with a big stage on one side with a large T for the so called models J to walk on the ramp. All this surrounded with a seating capacity running into thousands from all the sides.

The team gathered and came to know that ours was the first team for the practice session. Meanwhile, seeing the competition gave us some inferiority complex. All the models (both male and female) were actual models, as we see in the magazines and adsJ. And some of them a notch better too. All around 6 feet height and nicely built with good shapes. And compare this with our team, where the 20 member team had 20 different heights and shapesJ No personal offences, however, the quality of the physical attributes on show in the competition did give us a complex and a scare. I remember, some team members coming to me and saying, “hum to gaye...no chance in front of these guys”. Being a senior member, I had no way but to console them and say...don’t worry, let’s give our best shot J

We gave our trials on stage, finished everything including our final formation and waited to see some of the other teams as well. And what we saw made us more anxious to say the least. Even though, we were confident on one hand that our concept and clothes will pull us through, we were in a state of high inferiority complex at the ramp walk of the competition teams. Their near perfect walk and movement was sure to take a thunder out of our concept and ruin our chances of rocking the competition. And a team member, a junior came and said to me “Gandhi, aaj to gaye...” And yet again, I had nothing else to say, except, “Don’t worry, all will be fine...”J

The anxiety from the practice session, allowed us to sit together and rehearse once again and see what best we can do. And finally we decided to gather around 7 PM near our change room to get ready for the show. We were about to disperse, that a team of fellow NIT Rourkela guys (senior batch) came to me and said...”abe rehne do tum log...tum kahan jeetoge in sab se...See the quality of models they have...leave it...” and continued laughing.

I will not shy away from accepting that we felt more anxious and inferior at these comments. However, what really took the shine away from all the so called beliefs of oneness and one college and support was the fact that these comments came from one of our own. Those thoughts really made that evening very sad for us and the whole team went into a sort of a hiding. Just praying that all goes fine and we could come out with flying colours, if not winning the event.

It was already 7 PM and we all had got together and went into our change rooms to get ready for a final assault, even though, the happenings of past few hours had taken a mental toll on us. The show started, ours was the 6th out of the 8 teams on stage. That gave us some extra time to get ready and do the necessary juggling and make up.

With hearts pounding, we stepped on to the stage...1 and 2 and 3 and I moved towards the center. I was in a group of 3, including 1 girl and as I moved towards the middle of the stage with lights gleaming on me, I was completely taken over by feeling of representing our college in front of a crowd running into thousands and that too at IIT KGP. All the thoughts of the day gone by were gone and taken over by the feeling of pride while I walked across the stage. As I turned right towards the edge of the T ramp, I could hear someone say...”Oye Gandhi aa gaya...” and those feelings are difficult to put in words. It is the moment well remembered, even after more than 8 yearsJ. We finally went into our final formation to a thunderous applause and closed our show with the echoes of “ooi re mai re mai re mai re...alisha baba ho” reverberating TOAT.

We quickly changed and came inside the TOAT to witness the last group on stage. I was surrounded by the whole group with our banner with Rechargers written over it on my shoulder and back. As we were anxiously watching the last group walk down the ramp, a few college mates turned up and congratulated us on the good show and the great concept. Some came to highlight that the final formation was the key and should take us far. While, some mentioned about our attire and took it as our jackpot. They mentioned, we should surely be amongst the top 3. This surely enthused us and was a pleasant change from the day gone by.

A while after the final group had presented, the anchor for the event came with the results. We could see all the teams eagerly awaiting the results with some praying and some just sitting with their heads down to cover up their anxiety.

Just before the anchor was to announce to results, he called up a top model from Kolkata on stage to congratulate the teams and give away the prizes. And he started off, with our heartbeats getting heavy. He announced the winner for the third position as Bengal College of Arts, Kolkata and that team came to the stage. He continued further, that the winner for the second prize is our very own team from IIT KGP. The whole IIT KGP Team rushed to the stage. This announcement made us realise that we stand no chance that even such good teams couldn’t get the ultimate prize. However, as the anchor announced the first prize goes to NIT Rourkela, I don’t have enough words to explain, what happened next. What exactly went though me and my mind and my heart is inexplicable. With a flying banner of Rechargers, I just went running to the stage and along with me the same junior friend of mine who in the afternoon mentioned to me... “Gandhi...aaj to gaye...” Suddenly there was a fight on the stairs to the stage, as to who will get their first J The whole gang was there and that feeling of being on stage as winners of something where we were written off by everyone, is something out of this world. In fact we didn’t give a chance to ourselves too, until we really performed well and everyone liked what we showcased. And finally we shouted hearts out with – “NIT ka Tempo High Hai...ooi re..mai re...mai re...mai re...alisha baba ho”!

Monday, October 22, 2012

From the Steel City - Rechargers decide to go regional!


Well, we all know (at least the engineering fraternity knows J) our fascination with IITs in India. Not to demean them and their stature, they are world class!! However, we in India have a special fascination for IITs. You can see people spending years to crack the IIT entrance (though that trend has faded over the last few years and for good for sure). That frenzy around IITs continues even after having joined other reputable institutes. And this craze for IITs, among students of other colleges, at least to get a chance to perform in numerous technical and cultural events there during those 4 years, Or just to get a chance to visit those august institutes, is nothing new. And I believe a bit justified too.

With the quality of students, teachers, infrastructure and of course the funding and the level of competition in IITs, make them a special category and brand. One of the toughest entrance exams in the world adds to the allure, for sure. All this, surely makes everything IITian, enigmatic and classic, at least from outside.

This explains the attraction for technical and cultural events held at IIT KGP at our college too. And add to it the idea of participating on a scale and magnitude that an IIT can provide. Students from all the Top National, Regional and Local colleges will participate for some of the top prizes on offer. With this in mind, a gang of few students went in the 2003 Cultural & Technical Festivals at IIT KGP. Once they were back to NIT Rourkela, they were completely awestruck at the quality of events, participation and organization there. This created a lot of craze for the next year’s events there.

With the confidence of having won the Fashion Show event at our own cultural festival during my second year in 2003, my team – Rechargers was all gearing up to participate at IIT KGP in January 2004, in my third year at college. It seemed, the charm of IIT KGP had caught everyone at our college, as many teams wanted to participate in the Fashion Show at IIT KGP that year. However, as per regulations, only 1 team per college was allowed, a complete opposite of what we were used to seeing at NIT Rourkela, where all the teams would be from college itself. Well, that itself called for the quality of competition at IIT KGP.

Having won the event last year at our college, we were given a preference over others and a chance to participate and represent NIT Rourkela at Spring Fest 2004 at IIT KGP. Thus started the long, hard working journey to arranging the whole gang once again and getting them to come daily for practice and mutually agree to the sequence and presentation and of course the attire. Mind you ours was never a fancy dress competition, even though, our models were not a bit of the usual models we are familiar with J

The toughest part was to get everyone to come for practice daily. People will scream at each other to be serious and come daily, however, this was proving very difficult. With, varied tastes and likings of each individual, people had to attend to each one of them. Some had to go for sports, or some to visit their girl friends (if there were any J) and there were some who would just follow girls to their hostels or homes or may be just to the college entrance market just looking at them. With so many regular duties keeping them busy, it was difficult for everyone to spare 1 hour daily for practice, even though, each one wanted to participate at IIT KGP and win the competition J

With just a vision to participate and crown NIT Rourkela as winners, the team landed at IIT KGP a day before the actual Fashion Show Competition. And mind you the vision to win, surely fitted with the confidence and belief in ourselves that we can win. And this confidence was a result of our having won the competition at our own college (even though the completion was quite unreal, in the sense that all competing teams were internal) and of course our dresses that we show cased. The dresses were liked and appreciated by one and all and that duly gave us the confidence that we can win. And of course our final formation gave us the little edge too.

The dresses, as the name of the group goes by – Rechargers, were our tribute to the environment. What we showcased was the use of little forgotten items like newspapers, CDs, aluminium foil, etc to create our clothes. At first, we were a bit apprehensive to say the least, about our attire, having been a witness to the fancy dress competitions so far. However, we wanted to try and give our best shot. And it did work so well for us. Even our competitors liked our concept, our dresses and our final formation. I am happy to accept that our concept and dresses won us the competition at our own college. And we decided to take the same concept and dresses to IIT KGP too.