Shortchanged – The Sunburn Experience

With inputs from Arushi Garg, Tushar Narang and Yashik Garg

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Can a few good things make up for everything that’s wrong? To a certain extent, yes, they can. But then, there is Murphy’s Law. Case in point: Sunburn 10.

Asia’s largest music festival shifting base from Goa to Pune, this news made the organisers receive their fair share of backlash and here I was, elated that I would finally be able to attend the festival.  The location was a complete departure from what Sunburn has stood for – from the sun-kissed beaches of Goa to the hills of Kesnand in Pune, and people were sceptical. But a few days later when the lineup dropped, it was impressive to say the least, befitting the 10th anniversary of the festival. From trance to house and from dubstep to hardcore, there was something in store for everyone and people were looking forward to it (at least I was). The proof of the pudding lay in the eating and the eating was yet to be done.

28th December, 2016 – As expected, a swarm of bees (read people) descended on Kesnand but what wasn’t expected was the management, or rather the lack of it. The traffic was an absolute mess and the ticket counter was 3 kms away from the venue, which was the good part. The bad part was that it was an uphill trek to the main arena. Sure, Sunburn is a pilgrimage for many but this wasn’t the kind we had been hoping for. After making it to the top of the ‘hill’, it didn’t feel like an accomplishment. The lights, the sound, the stage, all were there but the festival vibe and fervour was missing and barring the tricolour, there were no flags to be seen.

The DJs leading up to the main headliner were pulsating and the set by the Trancefather was sheer nirvana, one that left the crowd in a state of trance. And then, we got the news that the other headliner for the day is cancelled and Day 1 ended at 10 pm, which was unheard of for a music festival. And then, came the trickiest part – booking a cab. After an excruciating 2 hour wait and getting our hands and clothes dirty, we finally managed to get one and reach the comfortable confines of our hostel rooms.

To say that Sunburn 10 could have been much better would be an understatement. It was all there yet somehow it wasn’t and the sum total of all parts combined could not give us an entirely memorable experience. The organisers should work on the shortcomings of this year’s event; they owe it to their legion of fans around the globe. I will be waiting with bated breath – Sunburn, you better whip up a storm in 2017.

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This Place. My Story.

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13th August, 2012 – As the numbers flashed on the screen, my pulse rate started increasing with each passing moment. Here I was, sitting in one of the most prestigious universities in the country, waiting to secure admission in their flagship Bachelor of Engineering program. When the no. of seats vacant in Mechatronics (my preferred specialisation) showed ‘1’ and my name was called out, my joy knew no bounds. I ran to the stage and was asked to confirm my admission; I looked back at my parents and my dad gave a double thumbs-up sign. And so, began my journey at Thapar University, Patiala, one that had its fair share of ups and downs but also the one that made me into the person I am today.

Settling In (1st Year) – Just completed my 12th, living at home till now, no prior hostel experience and all of a sudden, sharing a room with two other people – it does take some time to get adjusted to the “rigours” of hostel life, the biggest rigour being food. Thankfully, the food was decent… and the people, better. Having classes from 8 am to 5pm, and sometimes even 7 pm (and you thought only MBA life is tough), the 1 km walk from the hostel to the academic area (the lows of having a huge campus) and then, the ‘How to kill time and keep everyone awake till the wee hours of the morning’ activities, this used to be our daily routine. In between, we had our quizzes and exams, and since I am of the studious type, it didn’t take long to figure out how to go about academics.

Explore (2nd Year) – Since 1st year was more about familiarizing yourself, 2nd year was about trying out new avenues (so that no contempt is bred :P). I joined a few societies in college, the closest to my heart being the admissions society, also known as Frosh Week. Coming back to college a week before the college reopens, sleeping on sofas for that entire duration, answering the queries of the parents and the students (and here we had experience talking), helping the seniors in organizing a fortnight of events for the freshers – all of it was a blur. Some of the best friendships were formed during this period, a few good places (read pubs) had opened up in Patiala and exams were now just a flash in the pan.

Half Play, Half Work (3rd Year) – The onus fell on us this year to conduct Frosh and that’s when I realized it ain’t a cakewalk to organize things from end to end. The bouquets and the brickbats, all were there, but having a great team ensured that we pulled off the event successfully. Then started the interviews for the 6th semester internship and I was elated to have landed one in a manufacturing firm. There were 6 of us in the company, assisting our mentors on critical projects and meanwhile, I also joined coaching for MBA in the weekends. This semester was hectic as I was constantly shuttling between Ambala, Chandigarh and Patiala and then, came one of the biggest shocks of my life.

The Year that Was (4th Year) – To say that this year was a roller coaster would be an understatement. A very close friend of mine died in a car accident, I was awarded a scholarship for securing the 2nd highest CGPA in the third year of Mechatronics engineering, many of my batchmates left college as they had their internships in the 8th semester, leaving behind a big void and finally, I got admission in one of the premier b-schools in the country. Truly, the final year was unlike anything I had imagined it to be, equal parts blur and equal parts clarity, with a little bit of travelling thrown in for good measure.

9th November, 2016 – Convocation – The one thing that I was really looking forward to since the past few months. My parents were elated that I would be getting the gold medal for being the branch topper (probably that explains why they came all the way from home just to see me on stage for a few seconds) and I was happy with the thought of meeting all my college friends, in an all too familiar environment. The convocation was eventful to say the least and I had a lump in my throat while going back. For me, college was more about the people than the place, but now when I look back, I feel that I have left a part of me there, in the ‘Heavenly’ hostel rooms, in the ‘Hi-tech’ classrooms and in the streets of Patiala.

Thapar University – I will be indebted to you for life!