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Memories 2002 Edition

Aditya Vuchi:


 

Meeting 1: XX January 2002


It all started in January 2002 when the Executive members of the Student Committee sat down to discuss the college festival that we had been thinking of, for quite a while. With the academic year coming to a close, the event needed to be done now or ditch the idea all together. Until then, college festivals were a small gathering of students with some games, music and food. More like a neighbourhood fair. But, we had different ideas. We wanted to do something different and do an event that the Hyderabad college community had never seen before.

 

THE BIG QUESTION

 

 

How do we start off?? No previous experi ence, no inkling as to how the college people would react. We planned to get a national-fame music band that can come and rock Hyderabad and give us a college festival like no other. The idea of having Euphoria (Dhoom fame) in the college campus was mooted! This would be backed with day-long entertainment, food and game stalls. While we were riding this dream, one of us said, Hold on Guys!! We might be aiming too high. If we fail, we will never be able to repay the losses from the event. Our heads will be hung in shame. So, let us do a smaller, more manageable event and wrap it up with a good name!

But, by then, for most of us, the dream was sold! When you are 21 and not having faced the real world, you don’t know fear! You don’t know failure! All those negative thoughts come later in life. No one was ready to back down! We were already in a trance! We had to do this! Call it Ego, call it Pride, we weren't going to back off now. The bold step was taken and we were on our way to an incredible success or a spectacular failure! There was no in between!

After having a preliminary discussion with Euphoria, we estimated the event budget to be around 12 Lakhs. The last known CBIT festival, Shruti was conducted at Rs.30, 000, a month ago. So, this was 40 times bigger! As if this was not enough, we decided that we were going to show student power and took another insane decision! We do not take any financial help either from the college or the alumni association. We had to do this amongst the 50+ members of the student body and depended our capabilities! The task seemed Herculean, but we knew we had the team to back it up! We were already in the news for conducting the Reunion Day 2001 in such a wonderful fashion. So the confidence to conduct an event was there, just not sure whether we could pull off such a huge one.

After discussions with other colleges and the management team, we set the date as March 28th 2002! This date shall remain etched in our memories forever! We did know that 29th was Holi and that meant additional hassles on the day to prevent any untoward incidents but we were not going to let such as small obstacle stop us from dreaming the CBIT dream!

 

Carpediem-Seize the Day!

A lot of people ask us to date, how did you come up with the name? All the credit for this goes to a certain Hari Vedala. He was our guru in naming other festivals that we had done together! I don’t remember us having any discussion about the name at all. He proposed, we accepted and in retrospect, the name is so apt and caught on like wildfire for the years to come.


Once the Event theme and name was finalized, the Executive team was ready to present the idea to the entire student body. We knew that the idea would rattle a lot of students but the key was to make everyone see the vision of achieving the impossible. Everyone had to be positively and equally insane to participate in the organization of such an event.


Meeting 2: 6th February 2002: First Large Meeting

The idea was presented to the student body along with a detailed action plan. Focus was on the important aspect: Raising Money! We knew the operational aspect was important but without the revenue, the event would not see the light of the day. Each member was tasked with:

1. Raising Rs.2,000 through souvenir sponsorships

2. Tapping into their contacts for additional revenue


Meeting 3: 28th February 2002: The First Scare

This was the first time that we actually had doubts about doing Carpe Diem. Money was hard to come by. Although we had commitment from Coke, a single sponsor was not going to be enough. We were stuck with less than 10% of the target achieved. It was one of the nastiest meetings ever. Our Co-ordinator was livid. It does take a lot of effort to bring high motivation levels to everyone. His feedback about our performance was candid (pathetic). At the time, it seemed that the deadlines that were set seemed inhuman but then this was no humane task. This was an event that was on a national scale. We were given a week's time to reach a certain target in terms of sponsors. That talk seemed to work. All of us, due to combination of fear, embarrassment and pride pulled ourselves together and started to eat, drink and live Carpediem. We really believed that we were going to die if Carpediem did not happen. Suddenly, everything started falling in place.


Week of 8th March 2002: Point of no return!

This was the day we made our first big commitment; we wired the advance amount to Euphoria. It was our hard-earned money, something that ourselves had raised by circling countless retail outlets, convincing friends and families to shell out. Any doubts of whether this event would happen vanished. Since the money was spent, we might as well do a good job of conducting the event.

This week was mainly of continuing with chasing the sponsors down and getting our design elements ready! A teaser poster, unique at the time, was created with the intention of heightening the curiosity among the general public. Our design team was fabulous, putting with endless tantrums to make multiple changes and bring out the posters, tickets and other marketing material in time for production and distribution. Other performers, including the DJs for the DJ war, guest appearances by film celebrities and other dignitaries were being contacted and finalized.


Week of 15th March 2002: Ticket Sales Challenges

True to Murphy's Law, just when we thought that things were going smoothly, we hit another road-bock. One of the major revenue earners for Carpediem was going to our ticket sales. Delays in printing tickets meant that we did not have enough time to stack at Coke's authorized retail outlets. We also had some issues with Coke where they were not fulfilling their end of the bargain of helping with ticket sales. We had to come up with alternative strategies to achieve our goal of selling 3000 tickets before the 28th. We contacted Music World, Cafe Coffee Day, bakeries and other college hang-out spots to stock and sell different denominations. All members were given individual quotas that they had to meet. The goal of 3000 meant that whatever happened on the event, we would have broken even. All sales on that day of the event were our profit! Students innovated and did all they could; sitting all-night at petrol pumps which youngsters would frequent after partying late-night, giving tickets to their friends in other colleges etc.. It was a great learning experience on perseverance and not giving up. We also did some outdoor publicity via hoardings, another first for a college festival.


21st March 2002: Publicity Rally

This was the first day of the publicity rally. This was a rally with a mission. We were going to tell the city of Hyderabad what they are going to miss if they do not make it to Carpe Diem! An open-top bus, 15 cars and numerous bikes all set to get you mistaken for a Governor's convoy! The way the rally rocked the town; it had to get mentioned in the next day's newspaper! We visited some large campuses, Vasavi, OU, HCU, IIIT and others and generated a lot of buzz among the student community.

So we were doing the small things right, which was okay, but then if something big goes wrong! Only God could save us! All the hype would then come to nought! But then, everybody got into the frenzy, each member committed to the core! And we started concentrating more on the day rather than how it would happen. The tents were starting to get erected. The stalls were being built. So it was finally dawning on everybody. Ticket sales picked up and so did our spirits.


27th March 2002: Eve of Carpe Diem

"Tomorrow is Carpe Diem" was the first statement of one of us on this day. It suddenly hit us! It's all coming together! But then with joy comes fear. IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG! For all you know, it might just rain and it could be a wash-out. All final preparations were being made. The sound and light team arrived from Bangalore. Hospitality arrangements were in full swing. Everyone had their responsibility and that keep them crazy busy to realize that the day would fly past us. We never wanted this day to end! There was a small briefing in the evening and all those who had to stay back in the college did so. It's just one of those days that comes once in a life time. At 11 pm, a blast occurred! The infrastructure team was doing the sound check! We never expected that the music levels would be so high. I almost went deaf in my ears! ! Moments like these give you the kick (pun intended) and prepare you for the big day ahead. Technically speaking, 27th ended at 12 midnight. But, for the team, there was a long night ahead. Most students prepared to stay back in the campus that night. With so much work pending, they could not afford to.

NOTE: This article, up to this point was largely written in May 2002 (barring some minor edits). For reasons unknown, it was not completed. An attempt will be made to complete it in July 2010, after more than 8 years from the first Carpediem

 

28th March 2002: The D-day!

With most of the infrastructure in place, the key component of the event was the logistics. A lot of planning has taken place, contingency plans discussed, areas and responsibilities designated to the team members. However, we needed to ensure that everything according to that plan. A team briefing happened at 9am where all the students, faculty members and event vendors had assembled. The kind of unity and commitment shown at this meeting. There was no difference between faculty and students; everything was a resource willing to do whatever it takes to ensure a smooth Carpediem. One comment from a team member just stuck in my head: "Guys, this day is going to fly by, hang onto each moment! You will treasure this for the rest of your lives!" After the meeting, everyone dispersed to take care of things. The event was exactly what we thought it was going to be. Lucky 7 was a huge hit! The DJ war went off really well. Some of the event videos we saw years later showed how much fun everyone had. The campus was filled with people and that sight filled all of us with pride. Euphoria rocked the evening with some amazing numbers leaving the audience asking for more. As I mentioned before, next day being Holi meant the staff had to be extra careful and evict guests who did not behave themselves. All the parents who visited CBIT were proud to have their children study at CBIT. There were some minor glitches but they are too small to carry significance. All those flashes of memories are tucked away in everyone's memories.

Due to the very nature of the event and the all the possibilities on how things could go wrong, some team members never got to see a single minute of the event. They were busy frisking guests at the entrance, managing the insane parking lot or carefully handling the revenue from the day. After about 11:40pm, about 20 mins before the show was to end, we managed to get the entire organizing team together for one final picture. The Euphoria team was amazing! So down-to-earth, they interacted with all of us and appreciated our efforts. 8,600 people had come by the campus that day. It was an event like no other.

Despite it being a long 48-hour non-stop activity, we never wanted the day to end, seriously never! So much so, that some people just ended up sleeping in the Concert arena. We dreaded about a lot of things going wrong on the 28th but nothing happened. Luck was on our side too! There was no rain on the 28th (although there was a forecast). As if, the clouds were waiting for Carpediem to pass by, it rained cats and dogs on the 29th!!!!!

In the end, we had pulled off the impossible!! Just 45 days ago, we had no clue of what would happen but in the end All izz Well . We had decent media coverage the next day. I saw decent because we did not anticipate having a separate media relations team and since we did not take care of them well, some papers had average comments. This learning was passed on to future Carpediem teams for better management.


The days after!

A few days after the event, we had another meeting in AV College where each one of us narrated how the day went by for them. This was very, very important because every person wanted to be at every place in the campus and experience Carpediem from different angles. Its like the movie Vantage Point where you always to see experience an event from someone else's perspective. We were able to record some memories here. It was a very emotional moment for all of us where we translated an idea, a dream into something tangible! To celebrate our success, which was also a huge financial success, we had a dinner at Hotel Golkonda in May where we got to spend time with everyone and reminisce about the last few months.

In June, the final year students graduated from CBIT and thus ended the chapter of Carpediem 2002!

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