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IIT Guwahati Alcheringa 2012

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“When the moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas”

December is Alcher’s prelude in more ways than one. It is our Oracle. If there is one month that is more important to Alcher than any other, with the exception of February itself, it is December. When the entire student community are consumed by their winter breaks back home, and the spectral silence of winter is only broken by the occasional sound of the distant trains that skirt the campus on their way in or out of the North East, Alcher’s mould is given its incisive crowning touches. Hundreds of IITGians, who by this time are in all parts of the country and abroad, work days and nights to fix the big jigsaw that Alcher has come to be. I am one of those hundreds. Greetings!

As you might know already, this blog in intended to be our medium to talk to you, way before you actually come to our festival. Every once in a while, one of us will share our hearts, and minds with all of you out there. Feel free to reciprocate as and when you wish. This is as much your festival as it is ours. Work is going well around here. People don’t seem to care about sleep anymore. But let’s not talk about that. I’ll share this little surreal experience (you will have many around here if you stay long enough) I had when I was coming back from the city the other day. But for that, I’ll first have to tell you a little about how Guwahati is laid out.

The city of Guwahati and the IIT campus are on the opposite sides of the mighty Brahmputra. The Saraighat Bridge is the only way across by road in a hundred kilometre radius. But it takes you nigh on an hour to make the journey by road from campus to, let’s call them, the more important parts of the city. Luckily, there is a faster and more exotic option available.

‘The Ferry’, as they call it here. They have these ghats along the banks from where modified skiffs ferry people, and even their two wheelers, right across the river. The journey which took you an hour by road takes you less than half that time, plus you avoid being annoyed by the traffic that you would encounter by road.

The Ferry System here, and the people that operate them are a wonder in themselves. The Brahmputra is a restless river around here, yet these ferries manoeuvre the voluminous waters with impressive guile. There craft is most admirable when you see them operate in the dark, with nothing but the distant lights from the city and the occasional moon to guide them. It was one such ride in the dark that left me speechless. We were in the middle of the river on our way across and I was overwhelmed with awe at what I saw.

The moon was shining in all its glory towards the East bathing the Saraighat Bridge in its eerie light. The wind had picked up and towards the west I could see clouds approaching, with frequent lightening. The Kamakhya hill, specked with tiny dots of lights looked more divine than ever. The skiff’s constant drone was the only sound against the wind’s dulcet whistle. You could sit there forever in one with the heavens, nature and God. It was surreal, so much so that words fail me.

"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature."
-Anne Frank
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