The evening of 17th April, Sunday saw the organising of ‘Wanderlust’, an event hosted by AIESEC in Manipal University in an effort to showcase the various cultures of the world to the students, through music, dance, and games.
The TMA Pai Hall was alive with cheerful music as the doors were opened to the crowd. In that moment, the AIESEC culture was showcased to the audience, with members of the Local Committee jiving in unison. In this manner, a welcoming team of organisers and a vibrantly decorated hall marked the beginning of a wonderful evening.
There were a large number of attractions that caught the eye, so much so that it became quite difficult to rest one’s attention on something individual. AIESEC, being a global organization, naturally attracted international students, mainly a large group of French students that are currently studying in Manipal. Four stalls in four different corners, each representing a country or two, adorned the space to portray an amalgam of various cultures.
Romania and Poland, which occupied one of the stalls, had flags of the two countries hanging from the ceiling. The stall was surrounded with sparking blue glitter sparsely spread around, with ‘Europe’ artistically engraved into it, and fairy lights weaved onto the wall behind, in order to create a wholesome effect. Face painting was also available here, which seemed to have become a success as was evident from the scores of people who had creative designs etched onto their hands and faces. Egypt, in the opposite corner, had pyramids and sandy-textured rectangular thermocol pieces on the table.
Vietnam’s stall harboured a mini-photo booth with a cycle randomly parked against the stall, and Vietnamese-styled brown conical hats, which were perched upon the plants in the front. Apart from that, a chain of colourful chart paper hung from the ceiling, each link comprising Vietnamese numbers written on them, along with their pronunciations. Russia and Kazakhstan formed the fourth stall, although the Kazakhstani flag was absent from that space. Here, thermocol and cotton were scattered all over the place to provide a snowy effect.
Aviral Agarwal and Elson Joy, members of the Executive Board, briefed the audience about what AIESEC truly stands for, and powerful words like ‘peace’, ‘connect’, and ‘culture’ were smartly used to set the mood. “We enable young people to develop leadership qualities through active participation and cross-cultural experiences”, Aviral was heard saying during his presentation. Krish Kalro, President of the Organizing Committee for Wanderlust, then took hold of the microphone and swiftly announced the beginning of The Amazing Race, a time based race involving 8 teams and different activities to be performed in each of the stalls.
Saloni Suchdev, Creative Head of the Romania and Poland stalls, handed out a set of three clues to each team, which led to colorful eggs – the task was to collect all the eggs in the minimum amount of time. The clues were fun and inquisitive, like ‘Moaning Myrtle’s Humble Abode’, which would take the average Potterhead right into the bathroom, or ‘Let it Rain Over Me’, which would direct the music buff to the fountain that was present at the outside entrance. Tribeni Das’s idea for her Egypt stall was fairly simple– a team member from each team would be completely wrapped in toilet paper to get ‘mummified’.
Kaavash Bahl headed the team for Vietnam, and his task was to provide the competitors with a first-hand experience on using chopsticks – a member from each team was to put fifty chocolates into the given bowl, and each team’s performance would be timed. Representatives of each team had their patience levels tested as frustrated faces concentrated on working the chopsticks in order to finish the task. Yash Maheshwari, the Creative Head for Russia, had a fun game as his task. Based on Kyz kuu, the traditional Kazakhstani game, five team members would hop around with the steel pole between their legs and catch hold of a girl who could run freely around the venue. Considering the Russian stall was a tad bit bare compared to the others, this game was a massive hit amongst the participants and proved to evoke a sudden hike in the energy levels of the participants.
“It seems to be a lot of fun, but I came late, so I couldn’t participate in the Amazing Race”, said Anna, a German professor from Austria, with a rather remorseful expression on her face. Unfortunately, the latecomers couldn’t participate in the main race, but there was still plenty to do such as munching on tasty shawarmas that were up for sale at the food stall. Idle AIESECers would randomly dance to an upbeat song and encouraged visitors to join them. Aditya Sriram, President of AIESEC in Manipal University, spoke about his recent trip to Shanghai, and a couple of his anecdotes got him to instantly connect with the audience. The Organizing Committee then had its ‘walk-in’, another norm in the AIESEC culture, where Krish Kalro, along with his team, namely Sasha Raj, Sweta Mangal, Nishval Patel, and Shashank Gandhi came storming in to the venue, accompanied by the crowd’s cheers, and then deservingly bowed on the stage.
‘Wanderlust’ was aimed towards providing global exposure to the students of Manipal, while simultaneously raising awareness of AIESEC’s Global Citizen Program, which enables the youth of Manipal to experience different cultures through exchange programs to various countries in the world. These priorities were closely kept in mind throughout the direction of the event, and the audience that attended Wanderlust parted the venue, happy and satisfied.