The Outsider’s Perspective

The Big Three

In Robert J. Sterling’s book ‘The President’s Plane is Missing’, Sterling describes the reaction of one of the American President’s adoring Cabinet members when he realises that the President, allegedly dead, is standing in front of him: “…his face brightened like a patch of earth freed by sunlight from the shadow of a passing cloud.” The same could very well be said of an Indian college student’s life. There are a few days in the calendar year (and these are far in between) that every undergraduate (or above) looks forward to, and being a Hyderabadi, I’d vote for Pearl, Verba Maximus and Arena. If you’re thinking that it’s a coincidence that all three are organized by BITS Pilani Hyderabad campus, then by way of correcting you, I’d quote (BBC) Sherlock: The universe is rarely so lazy.

An annual cultural fest organised by BITS Pilani Hyderabad Campus, Pearl draws students from across the country. Unsurprisingly, it has, as part of the fest, competitions that are veritable battles of wit, intellect and splendour, and (for those who had attended the fest these past years) at the risk of stating the obvious, it is organised as well as Captain jack Sparrow would steer the Black Pearl. As a visitor – with a critical eye – I was eager to observe how things were run for the two days (out of three) that I was there, and I’m glad to say that I was quite pleasantly surprised. Right from the moment I stepped inside the campus, I was impressed. As a member of organizing committees of other events, I am aware of the fact that controlling the flood of participants who want to register, pay, etcetera etcetera is a huge thing to deal with, and I must say that the Pearl organizing committee handled it extremely well. Moving forward, the events themselves were planned, well thought-out and held in a fashion that was extremely convenient for the participants; there was something for everybody – different strokes for different folks! I should also add that the schedule of events that was handed out prior to the fest was of immense help. In a nutshell, according to me, Pearl ’14 was one of last year’s highlights.

Verba Maximus is something that no literature aficionado should miss out on. Comprising of exhilarating, stimulating events like creative writing (with a twist, of course) and investigative journalism (think Sherlock Holmes-ish), Verba Maximus has a lot to offer. Debates and group discussions are evidently part of the parcel. What impressed me, again, was the fact that there was a regional round that preceded the finals (for debate). That made things a lot easier for both the participants and the hosts. It’s definitely an understatement to say that VM was food for my soul.

Arena is BITSHC’s annual sporting tournament that pits different college teams against each other. Sports fans have a lot to look forward to – basketball, throw ball, hockey, football, badminton and a few others. Even for people like me (who prefer cheering to playing), it was a lot of fun. For those who actually play, get ready to be drunk on adrenaline.

All in all, all three fêtes are worth the wait every year. Perhaps the only thing that ruffled my feathers a little was the fact that there were no (don’t hold your breath) signboards. Now, owing to the fact that the campus is a colossal one, non-BITSians tend to get lost. Signboards telling us where venues for different events are would be of great help.

What Pearl, VM and Arena offer to college students is a certain breathing room for their spirits. Signing off, all I can say is, “Sign me up for next time too!”

Prashanti Chunduri
Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad

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