Places, People and Visual Stories

The Culture Pilgrimage…..

About thirty seven years ago, emerged a movement called SPIC MACAY (society for Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Among Youth) and it is still going strong with over four thousand performances in schools and colleges with the best of the music, dance and craft masters of India and world. Every year during the summers, the nation congregates on an educational campus to celebrate a week long convention with the grand masters of performing and fine arts.. This year over 1500 delegates, aged between one and eighty, were there….

This is a story around this annual convention, I call it cultural pilgrimage…. If you want to know more about what this pilgrimage is, I shall take you on my journey at SPIC MACAY national convention 2012.

The seven days of convention demands a lot out of each of the participant, and for a few it is 24 X 7. While the schedule starts early morning at 4am and ends at 11pm, life around each of these convention is very enabling to a young body and mind.

What to say, the challenges start from getting space of ones own on the train to the convention. Always there are many more people hopping on the train than the numbers booked for. A few serious volunteers will have their hands-full, to the extent that through out the thirty-six hours on train, they try to settle every one else…

The journey has just begun with..

The teams in full flow with their songs
The teams in full flow with their songs

A few managed to find a space after a few hours of struggle to have a few hundred winks….
 

perched with a smile..
perched with a smile…

 
 

getting up with a cuppa and newspaper
getting up with a cuppa and newspaper.

 
 

Children too find their means of fun bonding with..
 

with young ones as well as the older ones
young ones as well as the older ones

 
 

The catering staff does not have any respite…
 

meeting the demands of every passenger
meeting the demands of every passenger

 
 

and so are Anisha and other responsible volunteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeers who make sure hundreds of fellow volunteers are comfortable with
 

a good morning smile, for the day ahead..
a good morning smile, for the day ahead..

 
 

While quite a few young ones take steps towards becoming more responsible…
 

cheerfully
cheerfully

 
 

dutifully
dutifully

 
 

sprightly
sprightly

 
 

musically
musically

 
 
and finally the train chugs into the destination….
 

to the utter relief of a few..
to the utter relief of a few..

 
 

and the glee of many...
and the glee of many…

 
 
Waiting for the bus to hop on, to reach the NITK Campus,
 

they shared their stories
they shared their stories

 
 

and settled to reach the campus...
and settled to reach the campus…

 
 
And then the first rays of the sun seep in..
 

making attendees rush for their registration
making attendees rush for their registration

 
 

hassled and harried...they were
hassled and harried…they were

 
 
yet, excitement was in the air..
 

waiting for the action in the dining hall..
waiting for the action in the dining hall..

 
 
while the kitchen was
 

getting ready to feed over 1500 attendees..
getting ready to feed over 1500 attendees..

 
 
The cheerful staff made sure
 

every one is served to satiation
every one is served to satiation…

 
 
for all of seven days, four times a day…
 

not tired of the long winding queues
not tired of the long winding queues

 
 
The crowd of 1500…
 

vanished in a jiffy in mere 30 minutes..
vanished in a jiffy in mere 30 minutes..

 
 
to rush from one venue to the other..
 

taking their shoes off at every venue
taking their shoes off at every venue

 
 
searching for them all the time; and a few did not find theirs ever…
 

not even facebook could help them
not even facebook could help them

 
 
Chided they were…

and made sure they wore the bindhi..
and made sure they wore the bindhi..

 
 
mesmerized they were, by the…
 

silken poetry of music and dance..
silken poetry of music and dance..

 
 
They were huddled….

to have a ringside appreciation...
to have a ringside appreciation…

 
 

gurus themselves were no less enchanted...
gurus themselves were no less enchanted..

 
 
The pre-dawn wake-up calls were the most detested…
 

many felt obliged being there, and a few slept through too
many felt obliged being there, and a few slept through too

 
 

then came the shramdaan, that kept the campus clean
then came the shramdaan, that kept the campus clean

 
 
The pied-piper, powered by water all day long, set an example and ..
 

never gave any respite to any one
never gave any respite to any one

 
 
Our friends from Pakistan…
 

were at their wits end, to understand what and why
were at their wits end, to understand what and why

 
 
The gurus had no less torrid time..
 

understanding where to start and how to help..
understanding where to start and how to help..

 
 

yes, the knowledgeable scribes had a wonderful time...
yes, the knowledgeable scribes had a wonderful time…

 
 
though no less ardous… the visitors from Pakistan did stand out…
 

with their style and adas..
with their style and adas..

 
 
The power failure that happened when the heavens opened up……

did not stop the show. TVG went on with mobiles (ouch!) to guide..it was spirited..
did not stop the show. TVG went on with mobiles (ouch!) to guide..it was spirited..

 
 
Yes, the long night did..
 

induce sleep to a few, a few were half awake, the serious ones were regaled for sure...
induce sleep to a few, a few were half awake, the serious ones were regaled for sure…

 
 
When Guru Venkatesh kumar brought down the curtains on the six day cultural immersion..
 

The crowd were on their feet, from various stages of their slumber,
The crowd were on their feet, from various stages of their slumber,

 
 
Ina couple of hours, the pied-piper takes the parting shot with the visitors from across the border…
 

the youth came from very far, with full of adventure
the youth came from very far, with full of adventure

 
 
and moves to the new city, Pune. Those who slogged for the last couple of months…
 

slogged for a couple of more nights...
slogged for a couple of more nights…

 
 
so that all guests (they call themselves volunteers) can go and have
 

masti on the beach...
masti on the beach…

 
 
or seek divine intervention at
 

Murudeshwar
Murudeshwar

 
 

Moongambika and Udipi
Moongambika and Udipi

 
 
 

or neighborhood in Mangalore
or neighborhood in Mangalore

 
 
all the while waiting for their final Stretcchhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…
 

still cheerful and enthu
still cheerful and enthu

 
 
The guests are then found jostling to board the trains, where they do not have confirmed seats yet….trying to ‘adjust’ and….the journey continues…

I hope you enjoyed the journey as much as I did, bringing to you….the live action
 
Thousands of captures of SPIC MACAY conventions, see on my Flickr collections
Like my Facebook – Photo and Visual Arts Page

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