Circa 2003: The chatayis were ready, the diyas were about to be lit, the judges had arrived and unfortunately, so had the rains. A hard fortnight’s work was drenched in rain and tears.
Circa 2005: Double whammy! Not only was the weather reminiscent of 2003 in every little detail, it also left only 6 clear days for illu work to be done in. Just to put things in perspective, last year, 14 days were needed to complete the work. Its a tribute to the sheer tempo of Kgp that inspite of the belligerent weather, Illu went ahead full steam.
Frenzied working sessions, never ending brain storming sessions and a splash of innovation that saw LLR line up students as sentries along the corridors leading to ‘their’ Taj Mahal, RK put up a tarpaulin top to ward off rain and RP put up sheets along their boundary to prevent junta from seeing the backside (ahem) of their chatayis, all summed up to produce an unforgettable Illu. What made it all the more unforgettable was the fact that LLR, a hall without a 4th year batch, beat all odds and more to land gold in Illu and Rangoli! Never before in recollectable history has such a feat ever been achieved. Conspiracy theorists have other views on the subject but for LLR, a hall that hasn’t seen even a GC win in the last few years, victory has probably never tasted so sweet.
Unfortunately, every silver lining has a dark cloud… or so it seems. The lack of transparency in judging procedures, that seemed to border on the capricious this year, left a sour taste in the mouth. Why on dear earth the judges found themselves unable to disclose the points scored is something we find impossible to fathom. We do harbour a faint feeling that it was we who did the spine-breaking work, set up the whole spectacle and surely didn’t deserve to be shrugged away once the show was over. The disbelief and frustration resulted in tumultuous scenes outside the gymkhana and all along Scholars’ Avenue and was writ large on the faces of many inconsolable 2nd years.
In the end, though, Illu is more than just a competition for a trophy and some rasgollas. What matters more is the spirit that brings entire halls together to work for a single purpose, night after tiring night. What matters is the gelling between the different batches that Illu fosters. What matters, in Greenday words, is that “Its something unpredictable, but in the end its right. I hope you had the time of your life.”