-Harshita Tewani – through the eyes of a volunteer!
Waking up early in the morning, fighting with the chilling weather, reaching venue on time, working for hours, and yes going back home late! Such was my life in the past few days, because it was JLF time!! In the midst of the awe-striking sessions and splendid decors at Diggi Palace, were purple jackets saying “May I Help You”. These, were the lifeline of the festival, the volunteers! And I will not brag when I say that we volunteers, running from one corner to the other, handling crowds, managing authors, setting up venues and doing every possible task, made the dream of a successful Jaipur Literature Festival come true! And I will not deny that this whole experience of JLF volunteering has left me nothing but mesmerised!
I just cannot wait for the next year to come, and I’m sure most of us cannot. Because this splendid journey was not only a learning avenue for us, but also came out to be absolutely stimulating, and definitely unforgettable.
Talking about my participation, I was placed at hotel Marriott, being in the transport department. Initially, being assigned to this department, I was very dubious about whether I’d want to do this or not, because this would not have given me the chance to be at Diggi and attend any session, but least was I aware of the wonderful experience that was waiting for me on the other side of the table! One of the most triggering tasks, transportation was the lifeline of the literary bonanza. And so was our task, one small mistake; gigantic problems!
So every morning I was ready with my teammates to organise shuttles for speakers, guest delegates and yes always welcome them with a smile! This department gave me the chance to have a one on one interaction with ample amount of authors and speakers to make my friends jealous!
No matter how exhausted we used to be by the end of the day, we just didn’t feel like going home. Along with my Transport team we also had an Accommodation team at the hotel. These guys were equally hardworking, in fact they used to do their work and accompany us as well! It was so much fun to be there, organising shuttles, booking plethora of cabs (because not everyone followed shuttle timings!), and greeting the delegates with a fresh and charming face! In sum it was an experience for life for me.
I cannot even try to forget the tussles, funny moments, and of course working hours that I spent during this festival. I’m so delighted that it brings a smile to my face even now!! Pretty much so was the experience of my darling teammate friend Shivani who was left speechless after meeting so many new and renowned people that she said “Everyone finds this department very stimulating and energy-consuming, but meeting such people and getting praised by them, sorts it all for us!”
Another teammate (now a friend) Anoop was equally galvanised and said; “My experience was amazing. While the volunteering took a toll on my body, it kind of pressed the reset button to my mind! It was invigorating as I got to meet amazing people, and the time that I spent with them would be cherished throughout my life!”
In the end we all were happy to be a part of Teamwork Arts, as the faces of JLF-2016. And not to forget are the humble and extremely generous praises and tokens of appreciation of the speakers and delegates for our work. To sum I’d just say that volunteering today is really important, especially for youngsters. we need to understand the importance of facing different situations in life OURSELVES, only then would we be able to discover the world around us and explore our own selves! So pull up your socks, all you young buddies! And get set volunteer!