The Club Gallery
As I approached the buzzing room of NLH 203 at 5.40 pm on the 23rd of September, I couldn’t help but be baffled by the number of first years that had showed up for Leaders of Tomorrow’s (LoT) first event of the semester. (In contrast one need only remember the starkly different turnout, or lack thereof, that the event experienced last year.) The club itself hadn’t anticipated such a huge crowd, which saw them resort to using the third room that they had kept aside as a safety net to fit all the freshmen. I was immediately sucked into the bustling atmosphere, as all around me various Club Heads – dressed impeccably – were getting ready to give their speeches. Publicity for the event was executed immaculately as was evident by the staggering four hundred and fifty students that showed up that evening.
Cambiar, as LoT General Secretary Shikhar Singh would later explain, is an event that provides various clubs of Manipal with a platform to showcase themselves within a given time frame. It can be looked at as a gist of the concept that all the clubs were built upon. An idea which is greatly beneficial for the first years, given a lot of clubs have clashing General Body Meetings, causing the general student body to miss out on quite a lot of information.
Shalini Raman, the Public Relations and Media Head of LoT looked after both, the press and the speakers. The first row of the classroom was reserved for Chief Guests, as they arrived one by one, including Mr. Siddhartha from the EEE Department and Mr. Gurumurthy from the Physics Department.
Cambiar officially started at around 6.10 pm, a reasonable twenty five minutes behind schedule. Shikhar Singh, LoT’s General Secretary and the host for the evening, started off with a small explanation of what the event is about followed by an apology for the delay. The access to the stage was then handed over to the first club.
The following is a list of all the clubs that attended the event, following the time sequence.
Manu Koushik represented Solar Mobil with intuitive presentation slides complementing his speech. In spite of his being slightly difficult to understand, the vision and goal was clearly outlined. Solar Mobil, which is basically about building solar-powered cars, revealed its ambitious plan to establish a research center on solar energy within the next five years. Some of the faculty arriving mid-talk briefly distracted the otherwise quiet and attentive audience.
Parikshit representatives waltzed onto the stage without the stipulated formal attire and instantly had a connection with the audience as Sukumar and his accomplice shot a few basic questions at the crowd to make it an interactive session. An entire satellite was then removed from a laptop bag which seemed to pique the crowd’s curiosity as they clapped hard to show their excitement. Sukumar went on to explain that Parikshit is the only student satellite body in the whole world. Sukumar also boasted about having published more papers in the field of science than all the clubs put together, a commendable feat. Altogether, this club delivered a good talk without the use of a presentation.
Mars Rover Manipal
A comparatively new club, founded only the previous year, with its main motive being to compete in the international University Rover Challenge (URC). Keshav Gaba made it clear that their prototype model would never be going to space. Their goal is to win the URC and thus get the opportunity to work hand in hand with NASA.
An organiztion based entirely on entrepreneurship, the Manipal University of Technology & Business Incubator was represented by Sushant Verma. The crowd had begun to show signs of restlessness at this point as nearly all the clubs had followed the same pattern in their speeches. Amidst the major publicity drive for MUTBI’s upcoming event Provenance, Sushant explained the important events that MUTBI hosts. He quickly combed through the TechTatva event BizzMaestro and his plans to launch Startup Sundays and E-Summit. The club’s goals were not clearly outlined, which was a departure from the earlier proceedings.
The MIT Post + The Editorial Board
The two official Media bodies of MIT sent two teams of speakers. One team comprised of Subhalakshmi Sarkar and Padmanabh Pandit, while the other had Manas Subramony and Vikrant Kumar. After a clear introduction of themselves and extending their thanks to LoT for the opportunity to interact with the first years, Subhalakshmi took the stage. The MIT Post, she explained, is the official media body of the college responsible for bridging the gap between the students and the administration. With a website and a quarterly magazine, The MIT Post, she said, wished to bring the best and finest in Manipal under the spotlight. Subhalakshmi stated that the primary purpose of The MIT Post was to better the image of Manipal to the outside world, and to improve the general discourse between the students and the institute.
Padmanabh Pandit commanded instant attention as he started off with his personal story of how he decided to apply for the Editorial Board. Addressing an engaged audience, Padmanabh explained that the Ed Board works towards archiving the Institute’s past and present, storing these memories for the future in its yearbooks. Manas Subramony and Vikrant Kumar, delivered their speech at NLH 303.
Voluntary Service Organization (VSO)
Gautam Nayak and Priya Tyagi spoke on behalf of this community service organization which is chaired by the Vice Chancellor of Manipal University. The speech was mostly bland with the use of clichéd phrases (“spreading smiles” and the “betterment of society”). Quickly moving on to the events that the club hosts, Priya explained how there are special events like Sparsh, Tarang, DAAN, Utsav and even the annual Convocation ceremony for which the club is a main coordinator. They even have weekly regular events like Jyothi and the Clean Manipal Campaign (they target places like the Manipal Lake and End Point). There were some communication problems between the two representatives as Gautam Nayak seemed to have trouble with scrolling through the PowerPoint slides, inciting light laughter from the audience.
The Rotaract Club
Working along similar lines like the VSO, the Rotaract Club is famous for organizing the Blood Donation Camp and the Clothes Collection Drive, in addition to the weekly Community Contact Programme (CCP) which happens on Sundays where the Club visits nearby orphanages, asylums for the mentally ill and old age homes. Vishtaspa Cooper started off his speech battling nerves as he explained to the public other events of the club like the Anti-Drug Campaign that was held last year and an event ‘bigger than any club has organized so far’ – Dhol Baaje.
Leaders of Tomorrow
Shikhar Singh’s talk came as a fresh wave of talent in a sea of placid speeches. As the room fell silent and all the attention was focused onto his words, Shikhar laid out what Leaders of Tomorrow is all about in a crisp, clear voice. His command over the English language was pretty evident as he highlighted the three major events of LoT – Cambiar, Youth Parliament and Summit Manipal.
Youth Parliament is a simulated Parliament event which holds long hours of sessions discussing and debating on current world politics, all of it mimicking the actual parliamentary process. Summit Manipal, the flagship event of LoT is a Model United Nations with around 250 slots. The club prides itself on this event, which is the Institute’s oldest, as there are applicants even from other countries like Brazil and Bangladesh.
A Delhi-based NGO, Ek Sangarsh focusses on teaching kids to read and write in English along with drawing. The speech seemed to drag on as the representatives mentioned their flagship event – Cloogle. The second representative commanded much more attention as he started speaking, but it was soon lost owing to the repetitive nature of his speech.
Cambiar lost quite a chunk of its audience as the clock read 7.15 pm. Those left behind seemed determined to stay it out till the end.
Talk It Out
Nikhil Gupta received quite a good response from the crowd the minute he took possession of the stage. Amidst the many anecdotes and self-deprecating humour, he readied the crowd for the introduction to his club. Holding talks at the steps outside of the Innovation Centre, on controversial topics like Public Display of Affection and Feminism vs. Feminazi, the club tries to inculcate a sense of confidence and a more mature process of thinking in the students. Running well over the time allotted to him, Nikhil claimed Talk it Out is the only social awareness Club in Manipal, and does not charge any fees. Nikhil bowed himself out to the loudest round of applause of the night.
Absolute Dramatics Addiction chose Utkarsh and Sumita to represent itself at Cambiar. After an uneventful video showcasing random pictures of the club members which faced technical difficulties, Utkarsh and Sumita listed out the various departments in the club – Sets, Acting, Writing, Technical, Lights, Sounds, and Logistics & Management. The speech was wrapped up with a lot of audience chatter as Utkarsh had to shout to be heard.
In a moment the club would sooner forget, Armaan Mansuri forgot his lines thirty seconds into the speech as he vaguely described what its goals were. Working in a similar fashion to the famous Ted Talks, Blank-101 is all about non-technical talks on topics ranging from the psychology of the human mind to the ISIS establishment. The recruitment process was hastily explained in a speech punctuated by inappropriate pauses.
The best speech of the evening, without dispute, was delivered by the Aaina President, Uday Pandit. Everyone was gripped with the content and talent of his speech-making, as his words settled upon the eager crowd. Uday poetically spoke about his own experience in his first year to form a personal connection with the room full of freshmen. An impressive standard of language was maintained throughout the entire time that he spoke, inundated with well-formed variations in his voice. Toggling between formal and informal moods, Uday made sure the session was fun and humorous for the audience. A cordial invitation was extended to all those present in the room to attend this dramatics club’s General Body Meeting.
After all the clubs had their chance to present themselves, Shikhar Singh came up on the stage again to thank the audience for their patience throughout the evening and opened ground for queries, all of which were well addressed by some or the other member of LoT. To organize such a large event within a given time frame, apart from maintaining decorum, is a very tough ask. Aside from an odd hiccup that’s bound to find itself in the middle of an event of this scale, Cambiar was well organized, and better executed. Leaders of Tomorrow is off to an admirable start, and the batch of 2019 knows it.