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Saarang continues to rock Chennai

By Sudhish Kamath

CHENNAI. JAN. 23. The deer population on the campus was suddenly outnumbered yet again. The cultural festival named after the variety, Saarang, attracted wilder visitors on Day One. Yes, party animals. The euphoria was back. So were the bursts of energy as strains of "We don't need no education" rocked the jukebox area.

Some things just do not change. This year's edition of Saarang took off from where it left last year.

Mary Ann, host of the Nokia Jukebox, had scores of students on their feet sometimes head-banging, sometimes doing the local `koothu' and sometimes, just jumping. "Last year, we did this for E-Serve," she says, in the middle of handling half a dozen compliments from students who wanted to know all about her. "I am based in Hyderabad," she told the heart-broken youth.

A few feet away, at the Hutch Informals area, it was a race against time. Mission: Feed your team-mate ice-cream. Hitch: With a spoon in your mouth. A few minutes later, a bunch of participants was inside the Crystal Maze trying to dress themselves up with all that they could lay their hands on.

Stroll around and you'll find that the good old Hospitality Desk area now is plastered with posters saying, `This is not Hospi Desk. The hospitality desk was shifted to the stall area as student volunteers with tags around their necks ran around screaming instructions.

It is always very professionally done. Saarang rocks, said Vinod G of Sai Ram Engineering College, who had just won the daily quiz.

"Last year, I won this," he beams, fishing out a sleek digital camera from his pocket. "It's the thinnest digital camera in the world. The prizes here are always cool. This time, ISoft has a stall, so we hope we'll win an Apple iPod or something."

Saarang is about people, says Shyam, a student of D.G. Vaishnav College. "You can be sure to meet at least four people you lost touch with, he adds, hanging around the Light Music Prelims area. There's a college band playing an Aayitha Ezhuthu number in the background.

Outstation students

This year, about 700 outstation students have already showed up, in addition to the hundreds from the city colleges. A cultural melting pot, as always. The food stalls turned into a fashion district as usual as groups of friends sat around in chairs and chatted away, exhausted after the binge at the jukebox.

Just got done with an extempore speech contest, said PJ, student volunteer, catching up with a snack. "Even if we limit our participation to only three or four, we still have at least a couple of IIT-ians making it to the finals in every contest," he adds proudly.

The floating population continues to stroll around campus till evening as tickets for the rock show in the evening continue to disappear.

When the Orange Street singer belts out their version of "We don't need no education, at the beginning of the concert," one knows some things just don't change.

Like good times. Like Saarang.

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