society life


If all your answers in your society interviews were related to if you would be able to get sponsorships, whether it be the dramatics society or the placement cell, then this piece is for you.

On a bright sunny day, just before fest season begins, one can witness sleep- deprived college students burdened with lack of funds, and begging for sponsorships at many conference rooms. The hustle for getting sponsorships is quite exhausting for all, and even worse for freshers.
Being a fresher is daunting enough, as right outside the comfortable womb of school, you are settling-in, and yet exploring. In all this chaos, being sent on a sponsorship trip can give you something resembling an existential crisis.

Here are a few reasons why most freshers do not sign up for the sponsorship team in their societies:

The Client-Chasing

The third-years of your society are like gods to you. Whatever they say becomes the gospel truth, and perhaps, that is why you sign up for calling random cafés, IAS institutes, and local start-ups. It is very convenient how most seniors forget that you have literally no contacts, and to approach A-list companies without contacts is like getting full marks in a mathematics paper: highly improbable. What you are left with then, is visiting these institutions and cafés with your five-minute-long prepared speech on how your society event will provide them with the best marketing platform. If you are an introvert, you are allowed to cry in a corner, due to the added pressure of awkward interactions.
Dimple, a first-year member of the debating society of her college, said, “All we did few weeks before our inter- college parliamentary debate competition was call clients, asking to meet them. It was so awkward. We genuinely felt like Vodafone call centre asking people to shift from Airtel. Much before we were actually taught how to do parliamentary debates, we were taught how to get sponsorships.”

The Dreaded Rejection

Even if you bring your price down, from INR 1,00,000 to INR 10,000, there is a good chance that you still might not seal the deal. If you felt that the biggest battle was for you to make them agree to see your proposal, bazinga, you have been lied to. Most companies will just peruse through your seniors’ Power Point presentation-cum-proposal, and never actually give you any money. After a million follow-ups and a thousand requests of “please revert soon”, you realise that this was all just a move towards a dead- end. Then comes the sudden realisation that in the next society meeting, you have nothing to show for your work. Rhea Ahuja, Marketing Cell, Sri Venkateswara College, said, “With so much anticipation we send our proposals to the clients, later to just be dejected. I genuinely don’t like asking for sponsorships as most of them have already spent their budget on colleges like Shri Ram College of Commerce and Hindu College. They just stall us, only to reject us later.”

The Jugaad

It so happens that despite the reckless marketing, you are far from your desired budget. Then comes the most resource management any college student has ever done, from the tents to the water cooler, and somehow you manage to get everything downsized. Refreshments go from delicious Domino’s pizzas that you wanted to offer, the same way Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies did, to the samosa, Frooti, and Lay’s chips available in the canteen. There remains the joy of figuring out the weirdest of solutions while freaking out completely.
Whatever you must say, I would highly advice all of you to be a part of this madness, at least once. You will learn to find calm in chaos, you will meet tons of people, and you will be loaded with self- confidence. Now that is a deal that cannot be compromised upon!

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Chhavi Bahmba

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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