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Stepping up festive spirits

With just a day to go before the curtains come down on Sanskriti, the Jadavpur University (JU) campus is a hubbub of activity. Subhodip Chatterjee rounds up the happenings at the cultural extravaganza, organised by the faculty of engineering and technology in association with The Telegraph.

 

Fun 'n' drama

A little delay is typical of Sanskriti's first competitive event. This year, the Cyber Quiz started 25 minutes behind schedule at Muktamancha on March 29. The hitch went almost unnoticed as St Thomas College of Engineering, the chemical engineering department of JU and St Xavier's College bagged the top three prizes after putting up a spirited fight in the finals.

Next up was Medley, featuring dumb charade, impromptu acting and a few tough acts. In one of the rounds, a blindfolded team member had to feed his/her partner with a spoon. Those who missed a mouthful in this round made the most of the next one where the contestant who finished a bottle of soft drink, an apple, and a sandesh in the minimum time was declared the winner. JU's chemical engineering department once again stood first, followed by the team from St Xavier's.

The Eastern Solo singing event drew participation from a number of institutions like Calcutta University (CU), St Xavier's, BIT and Heritage Institute. From Lambi judai to Khamaj by Fuzon, the gifted youngsters performed a number of tough tracks with elan. St Xavier's dominated the Eastern Group singing competition from the word go.

The solo and group choreography events kicked off on right on schedule, at 6 pm. As always, there were a few last-minute registrations as youngsters, all decked up in dancing gear, pestered and pleaded with the organisers to allow them to take part. Finally, all of them were accommodated.

After the competitive events, music band Dalchhut performed for about an hour.

A performance by Lakkhichhara, being announced only in the morning, was a surprise for many in the audience. The group didn't disappoint, with its performance being touted as one of the best by a band on the campus in recent times.

 

Delayed delight

We gazed at an empty stage in between the programmes most of the time on the second day of competitive events, thanks to a host of hitches.

In Business Quiz, which started an hour late, CU bagged the first prize, followed by a mixed team from JU and IGNOU, and Institute of Engineering and Management.

Fortunately, after the quiz, the Debate started right away. The topic was 'Young people in India are getting more conservative'. Subhodeep Chakraborty from Presidency College was adjudged the best speaker. Abira Gupta from NUJS was the runner-up, while the third prize went to Aatreyee Mukherjee from BP Poddar Institute.

With more than 40 teams signing up for the General Quiz, the organisers had a trying time conducting the preliminary rounds. Six teams were selected for the finals which was won by IEM. JU and CU took the runners-up positions.

Though Rangoli and Poster-painting events only had a handful of participants, Antakshari more than made up for it with 30-odd teams. The finalists were impressive with a good stock of old and new songs. It was a clean sweep for teams from the host college, who clinched the top three positions.

Events in the evening comprised a mime performance by Jogesh Dutta Mime Academy, a kobir lorai and the classic play Marich Sangbad performed by Chetana.

Chit Chat

I spy: A game of hide-and-seek, or something more serious like a power cut. With umpteen questions in her mind, this little visitor watches the solar eclipse from MP Birla Planetarium on Wednesday. Picture by Pradip Sanyal

Friends in need

From stopping child marriages in Pune to rescuing children sold by their parents in Bihar for a meagre Rs 300, the work of Childline is diverse and without geographical boundaries.

The NGO's counselling and intervention service was started in Mumbai in 1996, and has since spread to 66 cities in India.

Its Calcutta branch was opened in January 1999. Till March 2005, it has received 347,522 calls from children in distress, the third highest after Mumbai and Delhi. On any given day, the Bengal centre receives 120 to 125 calls, three to four per cent of which result in intervention by Childline. The helpline number is 1098.

While Childline's main work involves offering 'emotional support and guidance', it is also active in other spheres like attending to medical crises, repatriation, locating missing children, providing shelter and sponsorship.

Society for Educational and Environmental Development (SEED) has recently completed a project in Howrah with Childline. Much of SEED's work concerns the protection of street children who live near Howrah station. It runs a drop-in centre at Shalimar Yard that focuses on the welfare of rag-pickers and migrants' children.

Director of the Calcutta branch of Childline, Achintya Bhattacharya, said: 'We believe awareness can be achieved only by sensitising the systems that are essential for the protection and rehabilitation of children.'

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