Friday, June 09, 2006

Sing, Act or Dance - what will you do for Disaster Management

The other day, I was watching Swades – the scene when the movie ‘Yaadon ki Baraat’ is screened in the village, but to everybody’s dismay, electricity goes off. And then Sharukh does the Disaster Management by singing and dancing himself :-)
This brought to my mind the memories of the day when we had to do something similar.

MDI Gurgaon – Imperium 2004 – Hariharan Nite

Imperium, the annual management festival of MDI, is a little different from other B school management fests - in addition to regular management events, we also have these cultural events like singer’s performances, dance parties (don’t ask me what’s cultural about dance parties :), antakshari, etc

Hariharan was to perform that night, when the most unexpected happen - it started raining cats and dogs. No need to mention, we were not prepared for those heavy rains in October in Delhi and hold on
The show was in Open !

We had no clue what to do – the stage was set and the ‘cushioned’ chairs were already laid down for audience in open (why I put emphasis on ‘cushioned’, you would know later).

People started pouring in. Due to rain, the turn out was (thankfully) lesser. People were trying to find shelter in covered areas of MDI, and obviously getting annoyed.
We had a covered auditorium, although not big enough to accommodate everyone. But since half of the audience was from MDI itself (students, fellows, professors, staff, families on campus), we need to house only the outsiders.

We got the auditorium opened, asked people to make themselves comfortable there, but the rains seemed in no mood to stop. How much time could we have hold the people sitting there doing nothing.
So we decided to put on a show there itself – no, not by Hariharan – but by the students. We started off with an MDI video, followed by some good singers, a girl on saxophone, someone on guitar, and so on. Then we invited people from audience. And to our surprise, many people volunteered to perform, including a 6 yr old girl who sang gazals.

People were enjoying this ‘Disaster Management’ when we ‘Finally’ got the news that rain has stopped. The next challenge was that the chairs were too drenched to seat (now you know the issue with cushioned chairs, you cant even wipe them like plastic chairs).

Whatever other chairs were available on the campus were brought there immediately, but they were not enough. Somebody got the idea of covering the original chairs with newspapers.

At MDI, we have a social help group ‘Samaritans’, which funds its expenses by selling newspapers. They collect newspaper from every room in the hostel on Thursday/ Friday, and sell off the ‘raddi’ on Sunday. To our luck, that week’s newspapers were collected but not sold yet. So we sourced the bulk of papers from hostel.

Now the huge task of covering the chairs (above thousand in number) with newspapers; and laying down the new chairs. But sooner than we could expect, every possible person was working. Not only the MDI crowd and students from other B-schools; but other people also came and ask if they can help. It was an unforgettable sight. Within minutes, the task was done.

There was a wooden separator to segregate the gold passholders from the silver ones. After all this, there was no way and no point for checking passes and seat the audience accordingly. So we untied the separator and dropped it. We could sense a similar excitement as when the screen (which was segregating the castes) was dropped in ‘Swades’.

People made them comfortable, the show started off, Hariharan was at his best. For everybody present there, it was a memorable evening.

[ Comments received later
“We watched two shows on a single pass”
“It was a commendable job by students of MDI”
“Great performances by students (in auditorium)”……………………and so on ]