Blank – 101: Plata o Plomo
The prospect of staying back after an entire day of class to attend what is, essentially, another lecture can seem daunting to those unfamiliar with Blank – 101’s work. The club has seldom failed to keep their audience thoroughly engaged and entertained in the past. Having conducted talks on an exhaustive list of topics since their establishment in 2013, including espionage, world politics, and the hilarious (though somewhat nauseating) ‘Pee -101’, Blank was back on the 9th of November, 2015, to host ‘Mafia – 101’.
Posters depicting an exceptionally disgruntled-looking Vito Corleone were used for publicity, drawing in enough of an audience to fill NLH 205. The event got under way with no delay, and the first speaker took the stage to introduce the origins of organized crime, and tell the tale of the infamous Sicilian Mafia. The presenters adhered to Blank – 101’s unvarying use of concise, humour-laden slides to get their point across. Frequent chuckles were heard from the attendees as speakers used their wits to lighten up morbid tales of deceit, betrayal and murder, taking turns to elaborate on the activities and exploits of the American and Russian mafia, and the infamous Japanese Yakuza.
The audience winced as Ashmitha Srinivasan meticulously described the gruesome techniques used by syndicates to punish rivals and double-crossers, an almost manic gleam in her eyes as she retold procedures involving stabbing, drowning, and lacerations. The final segment was about the turbulent life of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, leader of the Medellin Cartel. Escobar has seen a recent surge in infamy thanks to the critically acclaimed Netflix original series ‘Narcos’, which is based on his life.
Mafia – 101 proved to be an enriching experience for everyone present, and although there was a certain degree of incongruity between the oratory skills of the veteran speakers and new recruits, the overall standard was high. Keerthana Vadali, President of Blank – 101, stated that the club has major expansion and publicity plans for the even semester of 2016, including their own category during Revels. Few clubs can rival the eccentricity and enthusiasm with which Blank – 101 conducts its affairs, and one should hope that it maintains these distinguishing characteristics as it grows.