Saturday, 18 October 2014

On Fete

The Fete (none found a snappy Hindi noun to clothe the event with) was conducted today. In its simplest form, a fete in the academy is a public function in the Happy Valley ground with around 15 stalls for food and 15 for games. The fete was visited by the faculty and their family members, staff and their family members, select school students (think Waverly etc) and of course the OTs. The proceeds from the sale of coupons were earmarked for a noble cause. The OTs man the stalls and with the help (considerable help) of the competent mess staff, they prepare eatables which are sold to the visitors. The visitors are also enticed to play at the game stalls. The groups of students manning the stalls have various coordinators and assorted characters and roles. However, civil servants being civil servants, the fete was preceded by many rounds of meetings and cluelessness (at least on the part of few groups) of OTs as to what it all meant. All is well that ends well, and so we can declare the fete and the efforts that went behind it commendable and an unqualified success.  On offer at the food stalls were biryanis of different regions, vegetarian options galore, beverages and sweet dishes while at the game stalls one had the option to choose from archery, games of fortune, fun activities like 'jail,' where anyone could be recommended for a stint at the corrective facility or a bail amount of sufficient quantity if posted coud get you exempted from confinement. Overall, the visitor headcount was good and I can speak for my groups that our books are in the black after a day long exertion. The games were engaging, one hopes, to the schoool kids as well as the child like OTs. 

What was the objective of the fete? Was it to raise funds? Was it to give a first hand experience of public interaction and service in a controlled environment of a fete, to the civil servants under training? Was it to give a chance for the public at large to interact with the civil servants in an informal manner? It was amusing and illustrative to observe shy school girls from the Happy Valley area approach one's food counter for a helping of a delicious brownie with ice cream and chocolate sauce and when served less chocolate sauce than what they felt was deserved for the price they paid, demand more in unequivocal terms. And on the other hand, one wonders if the profit motive should be the sole motive for civil servants. If a not snot nosed kid comes up to you and hands over a ticket of a small value and insists that he be servedice cream, what should the civil servants do? We just hand over the ice cream with chocolate sauce without a murmur. I appreciate my group mates for displaying compassion and empathy.

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