Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Organise an event to learn how to be patient !

Dr. Mallika Kondoli
performing Sattriya Nritya
13th November 2011 has become a past tense. I feel awkward. My mind was too used to considering it in the future; a future that was approaching super fast to a no-station land.

Today, there is an emptiness due to its absence. Pre-13th November was a period of many emotions. There was optimism, pessimism, anxiety, camaraderie, loneliness, anger, frustration. The only thread of all the overflow was patience which helped me keep my sanity and self motivation intact.
Srimanta Sankaradeva
A few of my friends and I had organised 'Saaneki - Indelible Impressions of Assam' at the Experimental theatre, NCPA, Mumbai on the 13th of November 2011. It was a Assamese cultural event with 35 artists being invited from Assam for 4 nights, and 10 different song/dance items to be executed in 2 hours 30 minutes.

Our plan was grand. Grand beyond us. Our wish list was impractical given our nine-to-nine Mumbai jobs. Cost was much higher than what we could self fund. The agenda was too large in scope to clearly fathom its depth. We were few and inexperienced.

Entrace to Saaneki at NCPA
Mukha, Japi and Gamocha
What we had was our love for Assam and the Northeast, our grief that the rich Sattriya culture is unknown to the rest of India and our resolution to give back to our roots, our identity.
August is when Monali (my better half) and I, first thought of Saaneki. We wanted to create awareness about our great 15th century Saint and socio-cultural reformer Srimanta Sankaradeva

We called ourselves
Kuhipaat Foundation
The initial plan was to put up the event on 16th October - His Janmotsav. Later we had to shift the date to 13th November and thankfully so because the venue that we got was the most prestigious NCPA, Nariman Point. The venue search undoubtedly was one of the most anxious times that we had spent. I was always hopeful, though.
We needed a venue, which would lend credibility to the program. Moreover, our target audience were people from outside the Northeast.

Simultaneously, we were deciding on the event name, and organiser team name. Designing of their logos. We were doing research on the program agenda. Sattriya culture developed and propagated by Srimanta Sankaradeva is too vast, classical and sacred. We needed to collect funds and sponsorships. We need to scout for talents in Assam who can perform in Mumbai and do justice to Sattriya culture. The list was endless.

Naam Prasang at Saaneki, NCPA
Every little thing that we had to accomplish gave us hopelessness in the beginning. We had to keep patience for things to fall in place. Be it the venue, artists, funds, event props, audience, media coverage and logistics. The only mantra was the thought that we have to keep working hard, be positive and think that we can make it happen.
Every night after office went till 2AM in the morning. Writing content for the leaflet, writing mails to probable sponsors and individual contributors, negotiations with performing artists.

Ram Katha by Mridusmita Das
As the event came closure, the tension was building up. Booking train tickets for the artists, hotel reservations, arranging transport etc were easier, we were actually tensed about the logistics inside the auditorium, once the program starts. How do we manage 12 different programs - the agenda had live programs, solo performance, group performance, songs, shraddhanjali to our dear Bhupen da, a prayer ceremony - Naam Prasanga.
Shraddhanjali to Dr. Bhupen Hazarika at Saaneki, NCPA
We kept working hard and we told ourselves to be patient. Today I firmly believe that if you have focus and keep working hard, the whole universe conspires to help you out of all your problems. We had three hands of God, helping us have a great professionally organised event.

First hand of God was our friend called Dezadd, who is one of the best floor managers of the country. We had casually told him to help us on the event day. There was no confirmation that he would actually come. But half an hour prior the event, he was with us. He reached and chaos went away. People today ask me, "Was it really your first event? It was so professionally done."

The second hand of God was the extremely intelligent Meiyang Chang. He cancelled his other appointments to be with us, half an hour before the event. In just 15 minutes, he adapted himself to all the Assamese words. He added grandeur to the event that we could never achieve in our very first event.

Meiyang Chang was felicitated with the
traditional Assamese Japi and Gamocha
The third hand of God was a friend of one of our team members - Mahan J. Dutta. He was George K. Antoney. He designed the lights. And I think it was just too fabulous. The photographs would tell you what I mean by writing 'just fabulous'.

So today, when I look back at Saaneki - the planning, the design, the logistics, the 'begging money' spree, the 13th of November, the accolades, the post event phone calls - I just take back one learning. 

Have patience and keep working at it. Everything just happens. Sometimes it takes a bit more time, but it would happen nevertheless.

I take this opportunity to thank Meiyang Chang once again, Dr. Mallika Kondoli, Mridusmita Das, Rumi Talukdar, Mrigen Dutta, Gunindranath Ojah, Dezadd and George without whose participation, this event would have been a non-starter.
I thank Monali Bhardwaj, Mahan J. Dutta, Arindam Baruah, Dhruva Bordoloi, Sourik Datta, Leon Kaushik, Debashish Sarma and Sagar Saurav who worked tirelessly in various ways to organise this event.


  1. Our event was grand,and you deserve all the credit. i am so impressed to see the other part of you, managing backstage, making show flow of the event.you arethe best.

  2. George11:12 PM

    Durlov ... congratulations.

    It was my pleasure being part of such an event.

    Thank you

  3. "Do the best and leave the rest" Obviously, patience in life helps a loooooot!!!
    Inspiring post and keep blogging. Will definitely stop by and post my comments.

    From: www.sriramnivas.com

    1. Thank you for your comment and encouraging words.

  4. Aarefa Johari9:13 PM

    Hey, the account of your event sounds wonderful and I am terribly sorry I could not make it! I had plans of coming with my friend but had to unfortunately be at home for some unavoidable family issues...but looks like I missed something great!
    Keep up the wonderful work and keep me updated about it!


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