This blog was published in KemUnited on 9th April 2012.
By Farkhanda Qaiser
Getting those DELL Inspiron N4050 laptops wasn’t as easy as it may sound. Here’s an in-depth analysis of what conspired both on-screen and backstage. There’ll be many an interesting tale never made public before. So read on and enjoy…!
In KEMU, it all started in the first week of March with a top-notch meeting of the Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Asad Aslam Khan with the Presidents
and Executive Members of all societies. And a whirl of activity followed soon afterwards. There was alot to be done and little time at hand because the laptop distribution ceremony had been scheduled right after the Sports Week. Majority of workload fell on the frail shoulders of KAPS – managing the decor of the entire event as well as training the kemcolian choir. Whereas KEDS provided the speakers for hosting and speeches. All the organizers worked day and night to make this event a success. Yet they couldn’t bear to miss the Clash of Titans i.e. the Pakistan-India Cricket match. (VC hadn’t spared the organizers even on a sunday) so they decided to live-stream the entire match by using KEMCANNA wifi and watching the action on a projector set up in the library hall. However all their planning came to naught as the wifi failed them on a crucial moment. Even the VC was disappointed at this mishap. He seemed to avid supporter of the Pakistani team. (well who’s not when it comes to a match against arch-rivals!).
During the last days before the big event, the organizers often stayed back in university till 12 or 1 at night. Once VC even took them for a dinner to Salt n’ Pepper to reward them for all their hard work. (wow…!) And ofcourse how can we forget the furtive renovation of buildings of KEMU with a hastily put up “Shahbaz Research Centre” being the highlight. and finally some much-needed separate washrooms for girls and boys were also built (at the back of Exam branch or so I’ve heard).
Then came along the notorious ‘Undertaking forms’ and the various official documents that had to be attested. For 2 days before the ceremony, KEMU patiala block was flooded with scores of people hovering around the ‘dreaded’ notice boards while the boys adorned the benches in the tented ground. All waiting for an announcement about the registration numbers and the beginning of dispatch of forms. They were to be disappointed time and again. The first day the buses left at 6 pm and still the undertaking forms were nowhere in sight. However the next day brought some good news with the first onset of ‘shoving-you-out-of-your-ribcage’ phenomena. Trust me, the crowd’s reaction was worse than it is during the announcement of the result of PROFS (on the same notice board). Then there were the Street Art people roaming around in their “World record holder” shirts. They had just finished painting the world’s largest painting in the National Hockey Stadium and now expected to be treated likewise by being given an easier excess to the front of the queue. But not to be…!
There was also the racket of the girl organizers having to wear white shalwar kameez with maroon dupattas and the boys to don the maroon coats with white shirts. While the dress may have been easily accessible to the boys (as many happen to be ravians) but the girls were much perturbed. Some hastily got them stitched at double prices. Others were seen borrowing them from their younger sisters or the younger sisters of the cousins of their friends. While still others were seen hovering around the Nursing hostel pleading with the nurses to lend them their dresses for a day…!
After much ado, finally the big day arrived. The VC being the cheif organizer was often seen shuffling around the ground where the arrangements were being made. Some KAPS girls actually hammered in nails onto the trees to fix the ‘WELCOME TO KEMU’ banners. Whereas the KAPS boys were given the job of blowing the green and white ballons (which sadly deflated before the evening could even kick off). At around 6 pm, the flag party gathered to welcome the Cheif Minister of Punjab, Mian Shahbaz Sharif. However they were much disappointed to see that his son Hamza Shahbaz had come instead.
“Kemcolians are always let down by the CM.”
Many were seen opining as even on the 150th celebrations of KEMU, Hamza had come instead of his illustrious father. Is KE not good enough for the CM or what? Anyhow disgruntled
as they were, yet the flag party still escorted the chief guest to the stage. After which the ceremony was officially inaugurated by the hosts Rabia Zia and Usama Talib. Then the recitation of Holy Quran and Naat took place. Among the highlights of the event were the address by the VC and Khawaja Saad Rafique; speech by Sidrah Latif and the national songs sung by the choir. The crowd seemed to love the songs and were seen singing along with them on the tunes of “Is parcham k saaye tale hum ek hain, hum ek hain” and many others. The most amazing sight was that of Dr. Awais of physiology waving the Pakistani flags and dancing to the songs in the middle of the ground. He greatly energized everyone. Some guys stood up on their seats to sing and dance. It was definitely a wonderful sight and one of the rare displays of our love for our motherland. For me, this was the most precious moment of the day…! We may complain about the Punjab Government squandering the public money for political purposes but this same government brought the 6000 crowd together on a single platform..he objective may have been to get laptops however the KEMU organizing committee must be commended for putting together such a wholesome event. We were jubiliant. We were exhilarated. Not just to get laptops but also to be kemcolians…and most importantly to be Pakistanis…!
Some enthusiastic political minded students didn’t let this opportunity go out of hand. They were seen wearing the Shahbaz Sharif shirs and caps while others wore teh Imran Khan ones. At times they even broke out into slogans in support of PTI. However this was an unnecessary gesture that could’ve been done without. Rumor has it that strict action was taken against these students.
Then there were also those unlucky students who were denied their rightful share of laptops because they’d had supply in their Final exams. VC and Prof.Dr Farid were seen pleading their case in front of the CM team emphasizing that a supply in medical is not the same as elsewhere. It’s much more common and less stereotypical in nature. Even a seemingly brilliant student can get a supply on account of bad luck or nerves. Eventually their demands were met and the Punjab Gov agreed to also present laptops to these unfortunate people.
Moving on to the highest respect which was bestowed upon the brilliant students of KE…yes I’m talking about the profound guard of honor that was given to them. This was another amazing experience. People stood on their seats to get a good view as the myriad of media people and their cameras hid much from view. Our joy knew no bounds at being given so much respect for all our hard work. If only, doctors were as respected at other times too.
Then came the big moment that all had been waiting for. The time for the distribution of the laptops. The top 5 students of every class were to be called to stage and given away the laptops by the chief guest Hamza Shahbaz. Whereas 5 booths had been set up for the remaining students. The PA of Hamza Shahbaz asked the host to make this announcement. And once the word was out, the audience rushed to their respective booths in patiala without waiting for the chief guest to leave first or make a speech if there was any. The organizers kept trying to woo back everyone but to no avail. This may have been the biggest mishap of the event yet the CM team had an equal hand in it. They shouldv’e been more clear about their intentions in the first place.
While the toppers received their laptops on stage, the crowd rushed to their respective booths to be the first ones to get the laptops. Many lines were made outside the booth. Infact one too many. So much so that they didn’t appear to be queues any longer. However the boys proved to be more disciplined as they are less in number (in KEMU atleast. For every boy, there are 3 girls). At booth 3, a serious fight broke out which led to the booth being closed until decorum was maintained. Actually there were around 400 people at each booth which was too much to handle. Some students received their laptops as late as 11 pm. The KE buses left really late that night. When the media asked these students to record their protest, surprisingly they refused (usually we happen to be a nation content at complaining but not that day). Instead the girls started singing “hum zinda quom hain, hum painda quom hain.” and that literally shut the media up…!
Now we know that CM Shahbaz Sharif was giving out 110,000 laptops worth Rs. 4 billion. but we didn’t know was that the laptops would be in 2 colors -black for boys and red for girls. However the kemcolian guys proved to be an exception to the rule. Some of them wanted the red ones. Considering the fact that the female population at KE is far more, the corresponding number of red laptops was really less. So that saw most of the girls begging boys to exchange laptops with them. However many were not granted their wish. So they learnt to be happy with their black ones instead…!
And so a much happening day came to an end…!