A bittersweet rant narrative dedicated to all those who couldn’t stick to their college societies for long.
If you’re in your first year in the University of Delhi, eager to explore the circles of societies in this varsity, then maybe you should not read this. Well, chuck it, you can read my thoughts as I am bringing them out of my society for a reason.
As for my second- and third-year comrades, I hope some of you relate. Those who can’t, good for you and your co-curricular life. Now let’s cut to the chase and talk about a transition phase.
As the vacations end and year one of three in college commences, we all are filled with aspirations and ambitions. I was no Shakespeare but still a wordsmith above the level of an average Wattpad writer. Many were like me, dreamers in need of new dreams, and artists in need of new fields. And with a pocket full of these dreams and our college ID card, we walked to the different desks of different societies. Once those seemingly experienced, artsy seniors noted down my details, I felt fangs of nervousness biting my neck as I took some nervous steps to my chosen society’s auditions.
So many people and what new things do I have to bring to the table? Would this society be my first priority? Apart from my skills, I faced these questions in a candid interview which seemed like an arranged marriage scene in a Bollywood film. Of course, I answered to all these questions in the positive (even if I knew I am a youth who hardly can be committed to commitment). A few days later, I and the other lucky ones got the calls, and got the Whatsapp group invites; they were finally a part of an artistic clique.
Yes! I got in! ‘Thanks a lot for this!’ ‘I shall not disappoint you all. Thank you for having me!’ ‘*multi-coloured heart emojis*’, these were the Whatsapp texts that bombarded the society’s group. It might seem cliched but these messages showed our true emotions.
I began to attend my society meetings as the semester gained momentum. I learnt new tricks, made new friends and got a new vibe. The season of fests were fun and even if we lost, I still had this family to make memories with and hone our art to kick the other society’s butts next year (excuse my language as I got too emotional!). Then we got society tee shirts which I agree had some bizarre colour scheme and even more bizarre puns printed on it, but this was a marker of my identity with this collective. That meant a lot.
They say nothing lasts forever and my love story for my society started fading off way too soon. The sessions and meetings started feeling like a mere formality. The tasks began to feel like a compulsion and for some, it started being an epitome of repulsion. I am guilty for the fact that I stopped contributing to the organising work of the society as I just wanted to do my art and nothing else. I became self-centred in my art, hoping that others can handle the society work.
Ha! I was wrong.
For now, many others too became self-centred. You see our approaches to art might not be the same, but we are all a sucker for a solo spot under the spotlight instead of an open-air collective meeting under the sunlight. The attendance rate at the meetings was no longer high like the rate of petrol. The society was diminishing. At the coming fests, the other societies’ butts were intact. We hadn’t kicked them.
Then with the college year ending, the seniors bid adieu and it was time to elect new heads. However, these mundane society elections themselves spread a gas of toxicity which we all breathed. Factionalism was further deepened.
The heads had set up a somewhat socialist setup for the society i.e. equal worth for everyone’s work. So, no matter if you’re Lady Gaga or Lady Blah Blah, everyone began to be seen in the same light. Now I as an artist, am still finding my worth. It might be high or low but I know for sure, it isn’t the same as everyone. Sorry socialism but this equal worth thing isn’t suited for me.
Escaping from the sinking Titanic that my society had become, I went on my own boat to charter new seas. I got bigger platforms that recognised my talent, more internships, more gigs. It’s not smooth sailing but at least I’m not losing hope unlike me in my society.
Now that I have finished exactly half of my college life, that ‘excited Indian Idol contestant who gets selected in the audition’ vibe is no more. The Whatsapp texts from the society are mostly muted or left on read. The society tee is just getting damp in some murky corner of the wardrobe.
And to my society, if you are reading this, I’m sorry if I seem to be too blunt here but I can’t stick with you for long. I hope you’re still happy and keep on showing new roads to freshers or just build up the hope to show them new roads like you did for me. Maybe, the fault wasn’t in you but in me. Sigh! That’s too cliched. I can do better than that. I hope I do better than that.
Feature Image Credits: Rishab Gogoi for DU Beat.
Shaurya Singh Thapa