Turning the wheel of time and reliving those fond moments…it has hardly been a few months since college ended and I still feel like a plebe. So vivid are those moments and so easily those exchanges come to mind. Simple and yet satisfying, I take a ride on the memory carriage and halt at the fest of 2011.
The sun’s rays fell full on our faces as we sat on the very lawn benches where we did revision for our exams. The purpose was not very different though. We were trying to brainstorm our way to a new event in the CSI fest- Algorhythm 2011.
The thought of coordinating an event sent a thrill down my spine, that familiar sensation of excitement which always struck me when there was something fun and innovative to be done. But the important point was that there were so many events in the fest that to make our event fun-filled and worth participating in would require us to have an impressive format that would get us approval from the team that would decide and finalize the events for the fest.
So we sat, wrote, cancelled and quarrelled. As in a beehive, our buzz reached other bees of our class. “Salad-making? In a fest?   Go for some game, yar…Like Tekken…A1, S1 and S2 are doing that”, A2 said.
“Their entire group is involved. They have even got the posters ready,” K joined in.
“Salad-making wouldn’t be uninteresting , you know…” H countered. “Aashi, you start framing the rules. Just write a lovely description that would impress Sir.”
“Mouth-watering salad that would make the meal afterward taste like crap…”, I sang.
“Why not a salad-eating contest? I want to take part in that!”, M smiled.
And everyone else raised their hands.  Titters and giggles followed.
“And now is the part when we bid goodbye to our lovely group for a while…”, I chirped in, taking H away from the class.
“Want to do the event?” I asked her.
She looked at me for a minute, a resigned smile on her face.                                                                            I tore a page from my Mechanics register and started writing.
*
We entered the CSI room.N di, Y bhaia and T Sir were sitting across a table. We sat on the other side and gave the description of our event.
“How much budget have you allotted to the event?”
The first question had us foxed. We hadn’t thought of that.
And the questions that followed made me feel that our event was off the list even before it had a chance to be a part of the fest.
Nevertheless, we lounged about the CSI room the following day, trying to know the results.
We saw Neha di walking past so we accosted her.
“Look for a volunteer”, she said and smiled.
So, we got it!
Despite our amateur handling of the questions, they had decided to give us a chance. Were we ecstatic!
Now came the preparation part- the publicity, posters, the infrastructure involved and …the volunteers.
‘We don’t need a volunteer’, we decided.
‘Nobody would volunteer for us’, we meant.
When we gave the news to our friends, even their faces betrayed surprise. They promised to support us and publicize the event as much as possible.
We couldn’t contain our jubilation and kept discussing while the class went on, the rules and the materials required and how we would go about it, in low voices. Right behind us sat L, who probably couldn’t concentrate on the given question because of our chatter. He finally got drawn into our conversation and asked, “mind if I volunteer?”
We both stared at him and didn’t waste another moment. Before he could change his mind, we texted his name to Neha di. Volunteer Problem Resolved!!!
*
Publicity- online and offline, endless discussions about how we would conduct the event, late-night last-minute arrangements were some of the things I wouldn’t forget easily.
The event was to take place on Sunday. The vegetables were to be bought the day before so they would remain fresh. Hence, the night before the event saw us in frantic discussions, ensuring the availability of the various veggies plus extras like mayonnaise, pepper, salt, plates and the stuff required for the next day, while the rest of the crowd cheered for the contestants of Manhunt.
*
The D-Day arrived. The event was about to start at 10:30. We three rushed to our stall with our paraphernalia and started setting everything up. While our friends crowded round our stall, lifting our moods by playing music and frollicking about, we put up our charts, bought the remaining veggies from the Julena sabzi mandi, decorated the tables and waited.
It was a weird wait. For the first time, I felt like I was selling something and wanted to have customers.
As soon as the above thought crossed my mind, I saw a group of people approaching our table. Quickly handing them their share of knives, carrots, radishes, onions, tomatoes and so on, we inaugurated the competition. And then followed a hustle-bustle that kept us busy for the rest of the day. What with timing the participants, storing the plates for the judges to see, making available the necessary condiments and barring the participants from demanding extra cucumber, we lost track of time. By the end of the day, we were all completely spent.
The judge for the contest arrived and a crowd gathered to hear the result. She was amazed to find this culinary creativity in budding engineers…so beautifully were the salads garnished and so skilfully the shapes cut out of vegetables.
We proudly called them the Saladgineers of our event- “SALADGINEERING”.

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