Saarang 2011, at least from the outside was a pretty cool thing to have. Thanks to a slightly more intimate knowledge of how things work than the average Saarang visitor, a certain amount of disillusionment has crept in like Pakistani soldiers through the LOC. The disillusionment was not helped, contrary to expectations, by the fact that I was in charge of the Saarang newsletter.
Saarang newsletter is usually a mildly amusing six or seven page publication that makes fun of anything and everything in Saarang and generally tells everyone not to take themselves too seriously. It was with great hope that I applied for the co-ordship and I was delighted when it came my way. Talk about flattering to deceive.
Saarang newsletter, may I assure you, is probably the most taxing thing you could find to do in any given Saarang. You spend the time the sun is out covering various events and on the hunt for interesting quotes, incidents and tid-bits of news. In the dark of the night, you slog it out at CFI or the Dean's office putting the happenings of the day into print, making it look good and reading it aloud to see whether things are as laugh out loud funny as you thought they were.
All so good so far, except things were rotten and outright bad at points. Things looked dark and foreboding on Day 1 of Saarang, when I picked up the NL at 10 in the morning. I could not be a part of that issue due to various reasons, but five minutes into reading and I was thanking my luck for exempting me from that not-worth-to-be-toilet-paper issue.
Whatever one may accuse the NL of, one could never doubt its organisational skills or its commitment to procedure. In its laboured efforts to be a mildly amusing Saarang morning publication, the NL sets for itself a well researched algorithm that is sure to bring in laughs and bouquets.
While a small part of the NL team, often comprising exclusively of yours truly covered events while the sun was high up in the sky, trying to showcase the happenings in a humorous light, rest of the mob placed themselves at strategic locations, fully in papparazzi mode, hiding behind penguins, under tables, disguised as coconut trees in the Saarang Village, out on the streets on all fours sniffing around for bits and pieces of spicy news about the more recognisable figures of Saarang.
The concerned parties scurry around like a swarm of rats on a railway track, cajolling unwilling co-ords and cores, latching on to straws a drowning man would disdain. Armed with these scraps of news, the team assembles at CFI or the Dean's office, as per availability of keys. Someone takes out a who's who of Saarang and hands it over to the WebOps genius, who runs a search to match the names that have been sullied on the streets of Saarang. The cooks then proceed to cook up some broth, adding a liberal dose of toilet humour, anecdotes from someone's personal lives, locker room talk and some bad word play. That was step two.
The NL then moves on to step three when someone opens a directory of M.A students. Eyes gleaming and mouth watering, a search is run to see which person hailing from the HSS department makes an appearance where. With the brutality and clinical efficiency of an army of Hitlers, the NL proceeds to assassinate a few characters, resurrect them for a couple of seconds and assassinate them again. If someone happened to be female and studying M.A, the treatment meted out would make having your anus bleached seem like a heavenly experience. Tried tested, chewed and spat out jokes on the mathematical ability of a few M.A students are splattered across a couple of paragraphs. Having thus achieved nirvana, the team pats itself on the back, leans back and proceeds to put its feet up.
Cartoons have always been a prominent feature of the Saarang NL. Usually, someone in the NL department blessed with the ability to decipher which end of a brush goes where takes up an interesting event from the previous day and proceeds to draw a cartoon. But such measures were branded old world and cruelly chucked out of the window. Instead, one of the NL co-ords thought it best to burden upon the team his favourite brand of cartoons on the Internet.
For four days, it worked like this. The co-ord in question would select one random cartoon and go gaga over it, rolling on the floor and laughing his bottoms off. He then invites the rest of the team to take a look. The fact that none of them have understood what it is about is written with indelible ink on their faces but they proceed to laugh out loud and praise the franchisee anyway. He then proceeds, every night, to select that random cartoon that has nothing to do whatsoever with Saarang, and put it on the newsletter. Once, yours truly vainly attempted to point out that those cartoons were straight out of a bull's rectum and was met with dire consequences as the whole team descended upon me in defense of the Web's 1057th best cartoon website. Furthermore, that co-ord proceeded to name the newsletter in honor of the blasted cartoons.
The NL worked in mysterious ways but always failed to come up with the goods. Sensible and respected opinions showered flak on the each day's issue and were completely justified in doing so. The NL of Saarang 2011 turned out to be, almost exclusively, a six page fictional account of the private lives of the big guns of Insti life. Good writing was taken out through the back door and shot in the face to make way for something that would have been more at home in a paparazzi reporter's diary. Saarang should hope for better luck next time.