Read in the telebrand voice- “Pehle main bahut shant tha, fir mujhe mila Manipal Institute of Technology! Ab mein bahut Back***d ban gaya hun!”
That was somewhat the case with me. I had joined the Music and Fine Arts club for I had a certain inclination towards music (even after my disastrous first performance back in school). I’d just move tables around like every other volunteer and give the occasional performance in my typical baritone voice; no matter what the song was, that was all I managed, except a bit of grunge. One fateful day, for lack of a better MC, I was given the chance to host an event. Clean and stutter-free English was all that was needed to be acceptable! Soon I became the customary guy to host MAFIA events.
I had spent a majority of my nerdy childhood on stage. Trained by a PhD. English, who would make me practice umpteen times in front of the mirror, write my speeches and tell me my posture, I was brilliant on the stage. I had changed places after my seventh and went into a cocoon. It took me a disastrous rendition of ‘Tum ho to’ and very successful packed Food Court performance of Hotel California to get out of it!
Revels (cultural fest) is something every host thoroughly enjoys- The energy, the crowd and the attention. There were three types of hosts during my time. I was called when they needed uninhibited fun on stage (I don’t go by script); GP was called when they needed more professionalism and a girl would be called when they believed they want a pretty face on stage! Both I and GP wanted to host the fashion show (obvious reasons). We got a chance for Pre-Revels. We just sat there looking at the Pinching (deep pun intended) beauty of the model. We had done an overacted-comedy style hosting which we learnt the next day that the crowd loved. My dream for hosting was to be the Master of Ceremonies for the Revels Haute Couture someday!
It became true in the Revels of 2013. They have lights on your face, a very excited crowd, beautiful people around you and there you are in the middle of it all with a mike wearing a Dhoti. I loved the power and the scene… I had a terrible day! Now I had a clue that the crowd did not particularly enjoy a male host, but they just hated hosts all together. My co-host was fairly new and I am a little protective about the people around me ( ..!.. this is exclusively for the MIT Media team for ridiculing every MIT event and her for the flirtatious remark on the VIT western group dance team). I was given the nickname Ch***ya and was welcomed by it every time I went on. Maybe it was something to do with my borderline perverse hosting. I’d encourage the crowd to do the wolf howl, said, “That’s something we search on the internet” when I saw whips and leather and I dropped the sponsors list because they wanted their name after every five minutes!!! I almost picked up a fight when I said, “The good thing with being a third year is that you know a lot of people”. To my defence, I am all right being abused, I am used to it by now; but hey! You are obviously drunk, single out a woman on stage and pass lewd comments (I do respect women contrary to popular belief) and you are sitting just behind the judges and bringing down your college name! I complained to the vigilance but apparently they were just there to watch leading to the President pacifying me after me mouthing STFU on stage!!! It was a day to forget especially after the sore VIT team took out its wrath on me when I went to thank them for an amazing Revels (they had swept both group dances and lost the fashion show). The cultural Secretary (who was adamant on me being MC) apologised on behalf of crowd and I depart to a smokey night!
I still love the stage, you know why? On my final day with classmates at Deetee (pub), the President introduced me as the best host MIT ever had (hmmm… it was the second time he had whiskey!). It was reiterated at a party by another class mate in the “I love you all phase”. On the third day of Revels this year, a friend calls my name at IC and says “Yaar tere bina Revels adhura lagta hai”. I am a sucker for compliments. I love to see so many people have their eyes just on me, I love being the centre of attention (as long as I don’t have to socialise much!). The stage provides me an out, gives me an opportunity to be confident. I love the stage but more than that I love myself on it!