NUS: I will remember(XIII) Sparkz..

Moments before the event.. :)

Sparkz seemed like a dream when it was over. All those months of effort had culminated in what was a memorable night. I’m not sure how the 280 odd people who turned up felt about it – I did hear consistently that it was a pretty good show(which was gratifying), but this one, I’d done for myself.. It was very special to have my Mom, Grandparents, mentors and close friends at the event and just watching them enjoy the event felt very gratifying.

And even though the night ended as one with bitter-sweet feelings as a result of an incident that I’ll detail below, I think the time post the event only sweetened the effect.

3 things I will remember about Sparkz –

1)The Team: I was blessed to work with a very very special bunch. I say this time and again and as a teammate pointed out, it almost became a never ending eulogy but the beauty of something that goes well is the feeling of satisfaction that comes after it – makes all effort put in worth it. And boy, did they put in effort..

It began when we just began work on Sparkz. We decided we had to spread the word and get multiple registrations. And our team began working feverishly only for it to be extremely hard to sustain this as exams were coming up in 3 weeks and Sparkz was a new additional block in their schedules. Eventually, a lot of things went wrong – we had 3 teammates drop out. 2 mentioned that they couldn’t imagine this sort of a workload in the coming semester while the other doubted our ability to lead this project. Stress was clearly working its magic.. And we decided to give the entire team a break. And we did..

For 3 months, there was effectively 3 of us working on the project – trying to get the marketing up to speed, the venues arranged. There were moments when I was wondering if we would ever be able to even complete this little dream of ours and things picked up again. And slowly, we had our team members back on board and everything began clicking in place.

At every moment, we had a fully aligned group working towards this little dream. In retrospect, they had every right to question the amount of work we were putting in. After all, what would we achieve at the end of the all this that would be justification for so many hours of time. And it was only then that we realized that we were just doing it for ourselves.. And we were determined to have a fun ride..

I’ve written about each of them here and I can never forget this team. A few of us kept meeting every weekend for a month and have even worked out ways we are going to engage each other for a long time. They are my Sparkz team after all, and I’m very very proud of them..

2)You are closest to success just when you are about to give up: I thought this was the coolest thing I realized when Sparkz was on. We had our own unique set of challenges and in all these times, 2 things worked –

1)Stay CALM. If you are not feeling calm, then feign calm. Pretend like alls ok. As a popular hindi movie put it, your heart tends to get weak so it’s our duty to let it know that ‘all iz well’. And it is true, stay calm..
2)Just do what you can. We just focussed on what could and things always turned just when we had almost given up!

3)The performers, the day and the judge incident: Sparkz was what it was thanks to our performers. I was amazed at the wonderfully sporting nature of all contestants in the auditions. And our 10 finalists fully deserved their place. Even now, I go back down and watch their audition videos and remember how they dazzled us! Their videos are here.

The day came before we knew it. We had many sleepless nights in the week leading up to it. Every one of them was a memory in itself! And on the day, however, came the big big hiccup. We had an incident with one of our main judges. It turned out that she had snapped at my teammate who was in-charge and I decided to help by taking it over. Anyway, she turned out to be pretty disrespectful and disparaging and seemed like she was out to find fault with everything. So, in a call 10 minutes before the event when she refused to cooperate and was out to disrespect me, I felt my self restraint crack and had to thank for trying to make it and that we would have to go on without her. This was followed by a 20 minute conversation thanks to which the show was delayed. I had to do the listening as I felt she deserved the respect if she wanted to vent out her frustration but I was very clear that I didn’t want the show sullied thanks a bad mood or comment..

By the time, it was 710 – this conversation was over and I was shaking! It was too much of a development to take after almost 30 hours of sleeplessness. It was a very tough call to make at that time but it’s one I know I will not regret..

The show began once this was settled and yes, there were a few blips but the quality of the performances was breathtaking. It was a pleasure to listen to/watch our performers. We had a very deserving winner in Richard and even now, when I listen to him on my DVD, it’s hard to see the difference between the original and his rendition of the same song..

When the show ended, the feeling was ironically bitter sweet thanks to the judge incident. But as time passed on, that memory faded away to be replaced by all the good ones..

I was reminded once again that things go wrong when you least expect them to. Some can be averted, some cannot but all you and I can do is make sure we just give it our best shot and move on.

At the end of the day, however, my greatest success was my team. Watching them take up responsibility and become better for it and just the thought of having the core team as friends for a lifetime is what’s made it worth it..

9 days to go..