They say some things never end. Some things live on, even if it is in our memories.
Malhar is one such thing.
From the times of Junior College, from applying to Raga for the free t-shirts and thinking that writing was the only thing I was proficient in, until last night, when I looked at all my volunteers with my co-OGs and OC and thought, “We made this, this is our department,” it’s been a long journey. But it’s been one of the best ones.
Everything ends on 17th August, the stage is pulled down, banners folded, stalls demolished. Diaries are looked at fondly, photos are clicked, the department t-shirts a proud uniform upon ourselves. But for me, Malhar is eternal; the memories shall remain for ever.
You nervously apply for the position you want, writing your app with the triple the amount of dedication and care you gave to your exam papers, getting it beta read and approved by your friends. You send it in, sometime before the clock strikes midnight, hoping your internet doesn’t choose this moment to act up and then you wait.
An email comes back, a call is made, an interview scheduled. You prepare, you wonder if this will be the year you make it. Your best friends wish you luck, some of them have made it and you couldn’t be happier, the others are taking the same journey with you. ‘Best of luck’ wishes are exchanged before the interview; you grin and make your way. And then you wait.
A few days later, a call comes. You look at the number on your phone, tinged with apprehension. Is it that call again? You pick up. You’ve made it. Everything begins the next day. You go to sleep with a huge smile on your face, dreaming of the memories you will be making in the next few months.
Your name is on the page, along with all those who’ve made it. Your best friends are there too, some aren’t. But life isn’t always equal and fair. You wake up the next morning, you make it college, wondering if everyone on the train knows your life is about to be completely different in the next few months by that look on your face.
You meet your team; you meet the person who took your interview. He tells you, you’ve got the thing you wanted. You’re handling the one thing you desire the most. You wonder if you can do it, but you stifle that insecurity down. You know you will do it, even if it kills you.
Summer holidays involved sleeping and lazing around. Now, they involve plans, deadlines, layouts and meetings. Everything is discussed minutely. Sometimes you wonder if all this will amount in the end or is it just a small speck in the book of the universe. “Eh,” you say as you go back to ideating and brainstorming.
You learn your Co-OG isn’t so bad after all, maybe you judged her too fast. You think, I really fucking like these people and that’s a good thing, I’ve got four months to spend with them. You get to know your team; you co-ordinate schedules to travel together, your WhatsApp chats have them as the first people you chat with, and as the month ends, you know the dream is becoming a reality.
College begins and your work is now out for everyone to see. As you proofread the first one, you anticipate the response, hoping it’ll be what you want it to be. And it is. You love it, they love it. And now, it is time for you to start taking interviews, for you to face nervous applicants, one you were for two years.
But then life happens to you. And you’re both thankful and frustrated. You can’t fathom, why me, why now of all times possible. But you power through. You wanted this and you want to do this through whatever happens. Major FOMO takes place, you miss out on loads of stuff but it’s okay. What matters most is still happening. You wait.
And then you return and are back in the frenzy, back in the eye of the tornado and you wonder how you lived without it. You meet the volunteers who didn’t know you, you love them and you know they’re a great team. You watch them bonding together and you know how amazing that feels, having been in that desk yourself, but nothing compares to knowing you helped form these friendships, these bonds.
Finally, after countless meetings, plans, agendas and discussions, the days arrive. You’re handed the t-shirts a day before. Unfortunately, being the idiot you are, you lose them. Frantic with worry when you discover this loss in the night, you wonder what the fuck is wrong with you. Your co-OG tells you she’s getting you one, you’re still upset. But you know it’s happening and nothing can dampen that.
You find them in the comps room; you’d spend hours there the previous evening. Of course. And now, it is officially here.
The beginning of the end.
The days go by in a blur, the newsletters come in, your name is on the Editors column instead of the Writers one, you’re wearing a t-shirt which says Organiser, you helped organise something for the one of the biggest college fests of your city.
And as day two comes to a close, you know there’s a special part of the night just for you guys. The workforce, and you revel in it. You dance, you sing, you scream. You do the YMCA with your best friends. It’s tradition, even if it is only the second year.
A sleepover happens. You eat as you discuss the day, with flailing hands and excited smiles. You sleep like a rock for maybe four hours before you’re up. It hits you. This is the day when it all comes to an end. The last time that t-shirt matters, the last time you will be an Organiser.
You cry. It’s almost over. You don’t know how to handle it. The day slowly draws to an end. The last events happen in the foyer, the quad and as you hear the music dying you know it’s over.
You meet with your volunteers, you pack up, and you all sit together. They give you those cards and chocolates and certificates and you clap, clap, clap. You have tears in your eyes. The end is nigh.
You go down, but not before the last few pictures are taken. You bid goodbye to the rooms you called home. And you all laugh and grin as you dance in the crowd, all together, one last time maybe.
The ceremony starts, you watch your best friend take the stage. You make funny comments with your best friend who sits next to you, you grin at the fact that one of you has made it up there. You still have the tears. Your own OC comes up; you clap so hard your hands might fall off. You laugh, you smile and you think, “Fuck, how can this be the end?”
But it is.
You get up silently, the memories warring with you. You want to say something, do something, but you do nothing. You hug everyone for the last time, give a watery smile and make your way out of the gate. You see the lights go off, one by one. People stream out; every t-shirt colour slowly makes their way home.
It’s over. But it is not the end.
Malhar will never end. No matter what happens, no matter how it got over.
We make Malhar what it is. And Malhar is life.