A Brief History of Sunday Nights
Team MM | Oct 09, 2018
Sourav Pattanayak, Chief Coordinator of Monday Morning for the session 2010-11 pens down a heartfelt piece which paints the truest picture of the evolution of Monday Morning over the years. Read it with a burst of Nostalgia.
The nights are dark and full of errors. Especially these Sunday nights. On such nights, Murphy’s Law seems to get realized more often than not. There are things going wrong left, right, and center. Missing photographs, missing reports, missing reporters even! Sometime around midnight appear the CCs’ Kryptonite – reports that in all truthfulness just can’t be edited. Later, you have the “tech” to take care of, for what is life without the spice of technical difficulties? With time, the night canteens close. The Counter-Strike blasts fade. Bereft of options to waste time, even an engineering college hostel goes to sleep. Some of us have got to stay awake though. Usually for the whole night. Sacrificing that early morning lab. For there’s a Monday Morning issue to be released. Not Monday evening, not Tuesday morning.
A Monday Morning, week after week, year after year, twelve years of it, and counting.
Back when I worked for MM (everywhere henceforth, it means Monday Morning) circa 2009-11, things were a lot different, things were a lot similar. The design, the functionality, the research, the writing – it was all at a very nascent stage. We were a newsletter growing into a media body.
With students, somethings never change of course. I wonder if it’s a comedy or a tragedy, that hostel living conditions, mess food, and internet speeds have formed our universal set of concerns since the big bang of NITR.
Back in 2010, and we didn’t have Facebook access at the institute. Apart from group emails, Google Talk and Google Buzz served as our sole online publicity vehicles. Beyond that, we would roam about the institute putting up pamphlets (black and white A4 sheets) carrying news highlights of the week. Later that year, a member came up with this harebrained publicity idea of sending SMS alerts of campus happenings to students. This came from a new insight about the NITR populace – most of them, or rather most of us wouldn’t be forced out of our comfy laptop facing chairs even if there was an earthquake going on. The indifference was, and will always be, shocking. There was no other way but to invade their personal space. Try shaking them up. Like that wake-up music from Inception. Thus started the great insti-wide phone number collection initiative by MM members, going room to room, hostel to hostel!
I have two distinct memories of my reporting days with MM. With fests nearing, MM had approached the Dean, Student Welfare for an interview. We learned new things from that interview. Scrap prize money and replace it with NITR Fest Certificate, and we’ll have students across Eastern India gamboling home to attend our fest. For that is the value of a NITR certificate! It was a slightly partisan article that made it to MM that Monday and the link to that article ended up in the GTalk statuses of a good chunk of NITR. Monday Morning, often perceived as the administration’s stooge, was growing balls.
A couple months later came the Farewell season. I have no idea of the current scenario, but those days, the zonal fervor in the institute was still very much prevalent. Elections were fought on zonal lines – Bhubaneswar Zone, Cuttack Zone, UP Zone, Gulti Zone, the list racked up all possible divisions of India. Fests were usually followed by student conveners and secretaries zooming around the campus on brand new bikes. Whatever ragging existed, was strictly zonal again – climaxing twice, on Diwali night and the Zone farewell parties, which were held at city hotels in the month of April. That year, we published the dates and venues of all planned zone farewells in MM. If you’re doing something this big, and if you aren’t doing anything wrong, people should know, right? A footnote to the whole episode – most of the zone farewells got cancelled that year. If MM could take on the administration for not being supportive of a successful fest, it could very well take the unpopular stance as being opposed to the students when required.
Fast forward to the autumn of 2010, and MM went ballistic. We managed to put together a string of successful and widely-read issues. What the team lacked in journalistic acumen, they made up for it with a passion rarely seen. (Feel for MM, aye!) It was all a bit sensational, I’ll admit in retrospect. Around that time, we hit a high-point, that in my knowledge, has never been scaled in MM’s history. Would you believe me, if I tell you, that there was once this article on MM, that had fetched over a hundred comments? An article on Classroom teaching at NITR, that even had six professors commenting, engaging in discussion with the students? As a matter of fact, that was the first time I had come across the term “constructive criticism”.
One last story, and I’ll shut this telling of history. It was 17th January 2011 when for the first time ever, Monday Morning was stopped from publishing an issue by the powers that be. Not censored, but banned from publishing. What did we do? We conceived NITRLEAKS (check https://nitrleaks.wordpress.com/). Wikileaks was in fashion, and nothing like an overnight rebel news page to get our stories out. News had to be published no matter what.
A lot of significant events in NITR and MM history did occur in the coming years. But remember how studies of Indian history in school always stopped after 1947? I shall mark my 1947 here.
Birthdays are so much about celebrating the past. Wallowing in nostalgia about what has been. I wish for us to go a few steps further. From what has been to what could have been to what now. And this isn’t just for Monday Morning. NITR doesn’t work that way. The students, the professors, the admin, the alumni – together these form the well-oiled machine called NITR. Together they make NITR work. Or unwork. Evolve. Or stagnate.
But here’s a question to ponder - are we evolving, or are we just evolving at the rate everyone else is? Are we raising the right questions, or are we just going through the motions, stuck in the matrix?
As I finish this article, news has come trickling down from the previous week about hostel entry rules being imposed, mass night-outs in protest, Open house discussions regarding the same at NITR. Admirable as these are, tales of similar incidents are strewn across NITR history. I only have one question – will we ever organize similar protests and discussions regarding the education we receive at the institute? The state of our labs? Our age-old curriculum?
In times such as these, I remember Monday Morning and its duty to the institute.
Back in the days, back on those Sunday nights, I remember us talking, dreaming of the future of MM. The talks would often overlap with the ending dialogues of The Dark Knight. And we would conclude - MM isn’t a newsletter; it isn’t a media body; it’s what NITR wants it to be. And I hope MM lives up to that.