It’s 3 in the night.
My body is exhausted, begging for a good night’s sleep, but my mind is running at a hundred miles an hour, recollecting the past two days. (I’m writing this on Monday, I swear).
Going over everything again and again, scared that the memories will disappear if I don’t keep replaying them in my mind.
I’m scared, of forgetting even one moment from the past two days.
Because I can’t afford that..
I can’t afford to forget even a tiny little thing about the best weekend of my life, which I spent at Jayamahal Palace Grounds.
The one that I’m not even sure happened because it was all so fucking surreal.
It felt like I was in a whole other universe,
A magical place, like the one you find on top of the enchanted tree,
A place without judgement,
A place where you are forced to let go of all your troubles and worries,
A place where you celebrate your confusion, your immaturity,
A place where you meet the best people, people who are beautiful inside out,
A place where the energy, the atmosphere, the vibe… everything is just so raw, and really beautiful.
A place where dreams meet reality.
A place that I’m in awe of.
A place that I didn’t wanna leave, ever.

Pic: Jayamahal Palace Grounds

On the first day, being the enthu cutlet I am, I reached the venue early and none of my friends were there yet. So I was just roaming around with another guy I knew. The stage was being set up, sound checks were happening and I was just a happy kid walking around, soaking everything in. And that’s when I saw Shreyansh Jain! He was right there and I started freaking out and was hitting my friend whilst repeatedly whispering about how Shreyansh Jain was right there!
He heard me (whispering, yeah right), walked towards me and introduced himself (like that was even needed!) and I got a picture with him!
I wanted to scream out loud, which I eventually did, but it was nothing compared to the scream I let out when Yahya Bootwala walked past me!
I ran behind him to maybe try and get a picture, and when he turned to look at me, I swear my heart stopped beating for a moment.
I eventually got a picture and a hug (insert happy dance) and I was hyperventilating and shivering so badly that he asked me if I wanted some water to calm down. So yeah, I did make a total fool outta myself in front of him but hey, I got to HUG him!
The day was filled with fun and laughter, with amazing events going on at both camp Tinder and the main stage.
I also got pictures with many of the speakers and performers (after having bugged the Hustlers to let me do so) (pretty sure the Hustlers were fed up of me by then, one in particular).
Having ardently followed her work on social media all this while, finally getting to watch Megha Rao perform left me with goosebumps. Her raw poetry hit home.
Raghav Meattle and Rahi made sure everyone grooved to their mind blowing music performances.
Listening to Jova talk left me speechless, with a lot to think about.
There was even a surprise act, for which everyone was eagerly waiting and guess who it turned out to be? Friggin Kanan Gill. I swear the walls vibrated with the intensity of screams let out by the crowd when he walked onto the stage!
Eventually, as all good things do, day 1 came to an end with a fantastic performance by Hanumankind, and sadly I had to go back home. If it was up to me, I would have set up camp there itself.. But something told me that neither my parents nor the Under25 team would be particularly happy about it.

Pic: Shreyansh Jain

Pic: Yahya Bootwala

Pic: Megha Rao

Pic: Raghav Meattle

Pic: Rahi

Pic: Day 1 at a glance

On day 2, I reached there even earlier than the previous day and had to fight my way in!
Again, I was all alone, just roaming around when I saw Yahya and Shreyansh talking to each other. I just froze in my tracks, and they probably noticed a girl with a smile on her face so wide that you could count all her 32 teeth!
Needless to say, I got another picture with both of them! And what do you know, all three of us were wearing clothes that matched!
Back to roaming around like a lost but happy soul, I saw Anto Philip and I got pictures with him too! He even told me that he was happy I was there so early! ( in your face security guards!)
Oum Pradutt and Brian Tellis were gold (because old is gold, get it?!) and we couldn’t wait to meet them in person later on. Their fervent energy was contagious and very inspiring, given that both of them are around half a century old, which reinforced the fact that Under25 is not about the age; it’s about the mindset! Sadly we didn’t get to meet Oum but meeting Brian sure made our day.
Camp Tinder was on fire, the hilarious comedians Shankar Chugani, Naveen Richard, Sumukhi Suresh, Tanmay Bhat and Abish Mathew made us laugh till our stomachs hurt! The crowd was insane, with even the open ground being jam packed.
At the main stage, Yahya had everyone hooked onto his performance with his soulful words and with how insanely adorable he is!
The day ended with Jordindian (Vineet *beep* Kumar and Naser Al Azzeh) bringing the roof down with their energetic performance. And of course, when they say ‘cow’, we say ‘gang’ 😛 (if you know, you know).
There were many more performances on both the days, and I made sure to attend as many as I could, but sadly one couldn’t attend them all. Nevertheless, I’m sure all of them were equally amazing, of course!
I would especially like to mention what a fabulous job Vineeth Vincent did; he is, without a doubt, the best Emcee ever!

Pic: Tripling with Yahya and Shreyansh

Pic: Anto Philip

Pic: Brian Tellis

Pic: Shankar Chugani

Pic: Vineeth Vincent

Pic: Day 2 at a glance

There were a variety of stalls set up too, many unique and exciting ones. The blind book date stall was where you could buy a book at random, the amount for which would go towards a charitable organisation.
A pop up library was set up for all the bookworms!
Blr Busking was one unique stall where you could go and have a conversation with them and they would write a poem for you (how sweet).
Chhapac Echoes let us bring out the artist in us, and we could stick our unique artwork on a big white board!
The Tinder Booth was one such stall that was always overcrowded (obviously!)
They also had trampoline, bouncy castle, rodeo bull and a human Foosball arena set up for the inner child in you! There was a colorful photo booth set up by Srishti Digilife, which gave us insta-worthy photos!
On the other hand, we had awareness stalls such as ones for climate change and blood donation.
They also had give away stall by Puma, where we had to put up a story and tag them and get free goodies. The food court was one amazing place too, with some or the other performance going on on the Platform for Artists, to make sure the audience was never bored. A guy giving out free hugs made sure everyone’s spirits were lifted throughout!
I would like to bring to everyone’s attention that they had asked us get to our own water bottles which we could refill, and they also had small cups you could rent for the day which was a major step in reducing plastic and water wastage.

Pic: Chhapac Echoes

Pic: Tinder Booth

Pic: Photo booth

 

Under25 was surely an enchanting place, which looked bewitching especially in the evening.
All in all, going to the Under25 Summit this year is the best decision I’ve made.
Under25 is so near to my heart.
It’s an imperfectly perfect family, one I wish to be a part of someday. (Anto and Shreyansh, plis read this and hire me as one of your Space Warriors!) (please).


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