The C(h)ords of Saarang and Shaastra

Recall the energetic atmosphere of Shaastra and Saarang from the previous year? A whirlwind of activity, people buzzing around, music filling the air, laughter echoing everywhere, and the excitement of competition – it was a spectacle to remember. Coordinators darting around with their badges, captivating night shows, participants immersed in the event spirit, and the thrilling all-nighters. Nostalgia washes over us.

For many, these festivals transcend being mere seasonal shows; they embody a profound sense of connection – a home away from home. Despite the academic challenges, these individuals are the unsung heroes keeping the wheels turning. They are the heartbeat of Shaastra and the soul of Saarang. Beyond the dazzling lights and captivating performances, it’s their passion, dedication, and unwavering efforts that elevate these events into something more profound – a close-knit family, a haven of shared experiences, and a treasure trove of memories. They are the architects of the magic, painting the festival canvas with hues of solidarity, resilience, and an unwavering commitment to creating something spectacular. T5E celebrates the indomitable spirit of the Shaastra and Saarang Coordinators that transforms these festivals into an unparalleled journey of emotions and connections. We interviewed some of the coordinators who bring the magic to life and uncover the behind-the-scenes buzz.

The journey of a fest coordinator commences in early June. Throughout the semester, they delve into ideating events, crafting workshops, reaching out to international artists, curating spotlight panels, securing budget-friendly vendors, negotiating sponsor deals, orchestrating social media campaigns, and initiating social welfare projects. All of this is juggled alongside their studies, but with an added layer of enthusiasm. They dedicate hours to making their role more than just a position of responsibility, infusing it with their tireless commitment to creating a festival that is nothing short of remarkable. 

Sahil Solanki, a 3rd-year PR head from Shaastra, shares his experience of sleepless nights before Shaastra and how he keeps his team motivated.

“The excitement and determination leading up to Shaastra cause me to endure weeks of sleepless nights. While our preparations begin a semester in advance, the real intensity kicks in during the last weeks, when productivity and enjoyment peak. Working tirelessly together in shared spaces builds bonds, transforming ‘team members’ into family. Maintaining enthusiasm among volunteers and coordinators requires regular interaction, fulfilling responsibilities, and developing a personal connection with the entire festival concept. Taking care of the team’s well-being, avoiding overwork, and including regular treats, movie nights, and game nights are critical to keeping morale high throughout this rigorous process. The hard work pays off and keeps us motivated, especially as we face the challenges of organizing a student-run festival in its final days.”

Many heads, who typically oversee a group of coordinators, treat them like family over time. They ensure a smooth process, fostering an environment where the team works not out of obligation but as a shared passion project.

Vaishnavi K, a third-year Exhibitions head of Shaastra, who has juggled multiple positions of responsibility, shares her experiences and why Shaastra is special to her.

“I decided to dive into this role as a means to stay sane throughout the year because sitting still without any engagement isn’t my style. Witnessing the immense dedication of my team, especially the cores and coords, acts as a constant source of motivation. The secret to keeping the enthusiasm alive? Treats, gossips, and some light-hearted spam in our coords group. Right now, I’m finding solace in the simplicity of my POR, even though surviving Shaastra with continuous stall monitoring proves to be the real challenge.”

While both teams work tirelessly to ensure their part of the fest runs smoothly, a longstanding rivalry between the teams of both fests, “Shaastra vs Saarang,” has been evident. This unlikely competition has extended to the point of one team attempting to sabotage an event of the other, poaching sponsors, engaging in trash talks, and fights for workspaces. However, it is heartening to witness the upcoming coordinators trying to quell this rivalry and foster inter-team bonding.

Fareed, a third-year Proshows Worldfest coord, speaks about the Shaastra-Saarang rivalry.

“Why should there be rivalry between these two fests of the same college? We make every effort to ensure the success of our events. My friends and I have a lot of friends in the other team, and we decided to carry this forward. We just do not have time for these rivalries. My primary priority right now is to encourage my DCs, to keep their enthusiasm going, and to make this experience so enjoyable and memorable for them as possible. I am proud of my team’s collaborative efforts, and we’re really excited to see how our hard work culminates.”

Sharanya Kannan, a fourth-year Core of Saarang Spons and PR, shares her team’s experiences and what motivated her to stay in this team all these years.

“Our team initially faced the challenge of starting online. To bridge this gap, we made smaller groups for game nights, mini-tasks, and other activities online, easing the transition to offline interactions. By August, when we fully shifted offline, the team had bonded well. Creatives had dedicated game nights, fostering a strong connection. Working together in person enhanced collaboration beyond just work, emphasizing the importance of the team’s environment. The supportive atmosphere and team members’ welcoming attitudes played a crucial role. Regular bonding sessions, both conventional and spontaneous, contributed significantly to our journey towards Saarang. Despite the intensity of our daily work, the team’s enthusiasm remains high, evident in our late-night gatherings where we share stories and experiences, fostering a sense of unity and collaboration.”

As the curtain falls on the 25th edition of Shaastra and the 50th edition of Saarang, the sight of these spirited coordinators is etched in our memories. They tirelessly sprint across venues, carrying tables from CLT to KV Grounds, their badges swinging from their necks, captivating crowds, and collapsing at the day’s end. Their exhaustion is masked by the gleam of hope and satisfaction, knowing their semester-long dedication has borne fruit. Anticipation brews for the final night of Saarang, and we are sure that the coordinators and volunteers will pour the same fervor into making it the most exceptional one yet. The emotions run deep as we reflect on the dedication and passion embedded in these unforgettable moments.

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