Plan for Disaster



Fests are as synonymous to college life as bunking. People say your college life is wasted if you weren’t associated with a fest one way or the other.  However, putting one together is no mean feat. More than 500 organisers put their noses to the grindstone for months on end to bring something new to the table every year.  Despite the most meticulous planning, things can and do go wrong. While tiny, mundane issues are a rule more than an exception, others can be pretty appalling.

Malhar organising committee

Help! I have a Meeting in a Place I didn’t know Exists!
Sponsors – love them or hate them, you cannot ignore them. Bringing in the moolah to fuel your festival can be a pretty daunting task. “We had to travel all around Mumbai to meet with different companies. Many of these like HUL, Mahindra and Starbucks were exciting. But out of 1000 meetings we went for, 990 were at places one wouldn’t think of visiting in one’s wildest of dreams! From Shivri to Navi Mumbai, we had to travel everywhere. The worst part was carrying a laptop along in the afternoons under the scorching sun. A lot of companies that made us wait for very long. We had to be rejected by at least the first 50 companies before we learnt how to actually run marketing,” laughs Eshita Dharia, marketing head at Detour, Jai Hind College’s BMM (Bachelor of Mass Media) festival.

Help! My Festival is Postponed and I can’t Even Imagine the Rescheduling!
While most of us rejoiced over the week-long holiday Swine Flu brought in 2009, the atmosphere was quite different at NM College, Mumbai. Their fest, Umang, was postponed for a week owing to the shutdown. Raj Desai, Chairperson of Umang 2009 gives us a first-hand account of this logistical nightmare: “I took a General Meet immediately and told my team that such incidents were, in fact, an opportunity to show our mettle. We rescheduled several things from judges to sound guys to exhibits, logistics, etc. That one week my brain was chaotic. I think that incident gave me hands-on training in dealing with uncertainties and keeping a team of 600+ organisers and 5000+ participants involved and enthused for the fest. The postponed Umang went better than we ever expected it to and proved that nothing can come in the way of a passionate and determined team which was hell bent on successfully executing one of India’s biggest and best college festivals.”

Help! My Judge Needs yo Shut up!
Celebrity judges come with their own set of star tantrums. From their favourite coffee to the brand of pen they use for scoring and the announcement of their arrival – everything must be taken care of. That can be managed, but sometimes judges do things that send you running off in the opposite direction (think Simon Cowell from American Idol). Aman Jain, an Informals Committee Member at Vaayu, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS) says, “In the question and answer round of our personality-based event, a judge asked one of the contestants ‘What is your favourite part in your body?’. The girl replied ‘My b***s’ to which the judge asked, ‘What do you like about your b***s?’ It wasn’t something we’d expected but there really wasn’t much we could do as he was the judge and had to be respected. Thankfully, the other judge interceded and requested him to ask questions keeping the decorum in mind. He didn’t cause any trouble for the rest of the event.”

Help! My Co-member just Doesn’t Work !
The workforce has different kinds of  people – there’s the workaholic, then there’s the miracle worker who rarely works but manages to complete tasks on time, and then, there’s the lazy one.  “One of the girls in our committee was incredibly lazy. Basically, she did nothing at all. It irritated us but as a team, we had to co-exist. On the D-days, she abandoned an event and completely disappeared. Despite our own crazy workload, we covered for her in shifts. We had to think on our feet and ensure that everything flowed smoothly. Throughout the event I was coordinating on a conference call with my co-members. We somehow managed and I don’t think that the participants even realised that something was amiss,” says Urvashi Jain, a volunteer at O2, the Bhavan’s College fest.

Malhar organising committee

Help! The Media Might just Abandon My Festival!
Getting a star-studded lineup is a big challenge for all festivals. Living celebrities are known to give grief. Whoever knew that the sad demise of an iconic actor could be equally panicinducing?
Adith Anande, Public Relations Head at St. Xavier’s, Mumbai’s Malhar festival says, “We were to have our press conference and everything was in place. We were expecting a good turnout in terms of journalists, but sadly, that day in the morning we got news that Mr Rajesh Khanna had expired. It was something we never expected and we thought the conference might turn out to be a big fail. It caused a lot of us to panic to the extent that someone suggested postponing it.  But we carried on. Luckily, a decent number of journalists turned up.” Help! My Fest Just Got On 26 July 2005, heavens unleashed their wrath on Mumbai in the form of torrential rainfall. The ground floor of NM College was flooded and about 100 organisers of its annual extravaganza, Umang were trapped inside with no electricity, no phone connectivity and very limited food. Without panicking, the seniors directed all the action while the juniors were only too happy to obey. The night was spent playing music and sharing spooky stories. The inundations, which were futile against the spirit of the fest, had better luck with the décor and artwork in the ground floor headquarters; they were destroyed completely. The team rebuilt their festival from scratch, quite literally, in just a fortnight. “The unexpected floods had been a blessing in disguise. After going through such tremendous emotional as well as physical pressure, I know confidently that there is nothing that we, as a team, cannot withstand,” says Tanya Rawal, Vice-Chairperson, Umang 2005, in their press release.


Volume 3 Issue 1


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