What is Kani!

Kani isn’t really an ideology or a philosophy but like most of what it tries to provide. It is more of a stimulus, the way I see it. And more than anything it is something that provides thought on quite a lot of levels and in a fundamentally deep manner, if you allow it to, Kani makes you introspect and think about a lot of things like the way you look at art and expressions, the whole comparative element of it,removal of inhibitions, tapping the potential of people which does not generally come out when there is standard or judgement in mind. So Kani is something that tries to take you away from that through its thought provoking nature and you need to think about it in order to understand what it wants of you, and it doesn’t really want something of you as much as it tries to get you to get something out of yourself by just simply doing it. The act of mere doing or thinking is everything about Kani and this is what Kani is to me – stimulus, more than anything else.

-Aayush Asthana

What is Kani?

Every college festival takes too much of man power to build, and so did Kani, which is tag-lined, “a cultural gathering”. Kani is a fest organised by the English Association of Jai Hind College, which is in it’s first year, open for artists from all backgrounds and audience on the 11th and 12th of September, 2015 from 09.30 AM to 06.30 PM. The main aim of Kani is to celebrate the spirit art, and hence, the team has kept aside competition, which is not only a new concept for the participants and audience, but also for the Kani heads and the Organizing Committee.

On-Ground PR Head: Huzan Bhumgara
On-Ground PR Head: Huzan Bhumgara

One of the most challenging part of any festival/cultural gathering is PR; to get people. How tough is it, specially because Kani has left out the idea of competition and there are no prizes to be won?

Huzan: Being the PR head has been an amazing experience, both individually and collectively. I am honored that I was actually given the responsibility to actually put forth the festival before people from other colleges, propagate the idea of Kani. It means a lot to me that I was given the opportunity to do this and individually it helped me grow as a person, understanding team dynamics, logistics, administration, making sure that people actually come through the doors. I mean, all in all, Kani has helped me grow and I would like to thank the entire core team and it has been an amazing journey!

What is Kani to you? How would you describe your experience?

Huzan: For me, Kani represents idealism. It represents a kind of space where people come to find their own happiness, themselves and in a sense where people come not for external gain. So, it is something like you don’t usually hear of generally. Today, we live in a world where someone does something for a gain. But, at Kani we are actually making space for people to do it for themselves, for the sake of just being around others and exploring, and for me, all I can expect from this fest is that people come and enjoy and they cherish what we are trying to put forward before them!

Nothing works without money. Who are your sponsors and how easy/hard was it to get them on-board?

Kalash: There are loads of good workers in my batch and the first years’ are angels, who have together helped me get sponsorship for Kani. As sponsors, we have Zebra Crossing, Marico, LIC, The Hive, Goonj, True School of Music, Singh Musical Instruments, Youth Incorporated, Powerhouse Gym, Festpav, Frapp and eBay.

What is Kani to you? How would you describe your experience?

Kalash: The biggest thing about Kani is it’s not been done before. Creating a shitty version of Malhar might have been hilarious, but making the whole thing an experiment is infinitely more exciting. If we fail or we succeed, we’ll have  something new. You work on anything this long, you will get attached. Being part of the Kani team has been a pleasure.

Aesthetics Head: Nidhi Shetty
Aesthetics Head: Nidhi Shetty

Aesthetics is something that is really important, because that is what stays in the minds of the people. Do you think that you and your team will be able to work the magic that generally new festivals lack?

Nidhi: One of the most important characteristics of Kani, apart from the fact that we’re non competitive, is the space we’re creating for our audience. We want to be able to tangibly represent the idea of Kani. This would be a space for creative expression free of judgement. An innovative space where an outsider can come to the gathering and feel liberated to spontaneously create and feel intellectually and emotionally stimulated by the experience. I think or rather hope the aesthetics team has been able to tangibly recreate this idea. I’m not sure what other new festivals lack but compared to them Kani is sure of itself and what it’s trying to create. That is why our aesthetics, events and PR will stand out among the other newbies. If people feel like they’ve been through an experience that has made them think twice or feel anything deeply, everyone at Kani will have succeeded.

What is Kani to you? How would you describe your experience?

Nidhi: Kani is whatever you want it to be. It can be a woman waking up at 5 in the morning to dress up in a sari and read. Kani can be a man with a paunch. Kani can be a thing or an idea too. To me Kani is a philosophy. A philosophy that embraces art in its varying forms, that appreciates earthiness and originality and discovers fascinating experiences in the mundane. Kani has been a sort of a long expedition. We started working at it in April and have conceptualized deep and engrossing ideas throughout, out of which we present the best at Kani. The people working at it are absolutely wonderful and share a riveting passion for the festival . Even though the meaning of Kani is ambiguous and open to interpretations, the meanings of it among the team lends itself to each other making it a more complete concept.

Events Head: Abhishek Lamba
Events Head: Abhishek Lamba

You have been working your brains off to design and then bring to perfection each event of Kani. What has been your view of ‘what each event should give to it’s participants and audience’? Also tell us something about the events!

Abhishek: The goal is to pursue events that enable the pursuit of artistic ideals. This is not done through regimental, cut throat competition but through the use of expansive creative fields. We intend to allow participants to explore themselves, and find what they are capable of. The participants should leave Kani with an entity if their own creation, whether tangible or abstract in nature.

What is Kani to you? How would you describe your experience?

Abhishek: Kani is a man with a paunch, who loves watching the IPL. However, he quickly learns to see past its attempt to shadow its inherent motive of financial gain. He begins loathing the IPL, and begins watching only test cricket. He appreciates it as a higher form of sport, and loves himself for being one of the unique few capable of appreciating “this higher art.” He becomes an elitist, placing sporting events on pedestals of varying levels. He sees past his own attempts to manifest feelings of satisfaction through fulfilling the needs of the ego. Dissapointed in himself, he watches the IPL, but still doesn’t appreciate it.  However, he refuses to watch only rest cricket for he only sees that to add to and constantly nourish his ego. Dissatisfied, he takes his pedestals to a meadow at the edge of the forest, and burns then. The burning pedestals collapse upon the trees, and burn the forest down. Kani frantically attempts to dowse the flames but is himself burnt to ashes, his atoms in a constant state of dissipating and appearing.

Admin Head: Aarushi Agarwal
Admin Head: Aarushi Agarwal

You’ve been instrumental in making most of the team’s works happen. You are an extremely hard worker. What is your personal motivation to make Kani happen?

Aarushi: My motivation would be a mix of believing in Kani and a brilliant group of people to work with.

What is Kani to you? How would you describe your experience?

Aarushi: Kani is everything. Anything you want it to be. Its nothing. Kani is contradictions and Kani is simple. Kani is a college event. My experience has been a BOMB.

Art Head: Gargi Ajay Upadhyay
Art Head: Gargi Ajay Upadhyay

Since Kani is anything you want it to be, picking an artwork (logo, banner, etc.) for Kani must be tough. How were you able to interpret Kani in a way that both portray the idea that you as a core team had of it and opening it to possibilities? 

Gargi: It was very very hard for me to come up with a signature and the logo, because there was this vague image of Kani in all of our minds. We knew there was an image, but we could never express it into clear, crisp words, because Kani is ever flowing; it is very fluid. But I was also thinking that if Kani is what every single person wants it to be. If one person thinks in a particular way, and another person thinks it otherwise, we accept all views. So, if this is the thing we are going for then why am I any different? If I create artwork, and for me, the art work that I have created for Kani is Kani, then yeah! That’s about it!

And I won’t say that all of my artwork was accepted immediately. Yes, there were rejections. Yes, my superiors did not agree with it, but, I mean it is not going to be when it comes to organizing a festival for people. I mean, it is going to be hard. There are going to be drawbacks. There will be negatives and at some point you will have to lose something to make something that is this big and I actually do not mind if my art gets rejected when it comes to organizing a fest for people because right now the only thing I would like to focus on is to give people a platform to create their stuff and exploit their creative stuff and not be judged.

What is Kani to you? How would you describe your experience?

Gargi: Kani is a very comfortable, non-judgmental, interactive and extremely non-competitive environment that we want to create for artists who are too scared to put their stuff out there, and the reason why they are scared is because when you have a competition, you are judged. Kani is a game changer where we want everyone to accept art the way it comes to us, from the minds of the people, as raw as possible. And the fact that we don’t have such a platform till now is sad. But we have made it happen, yeah!

Online PR Head: Vatsala M Sharma
Online PR Head: Vatsala M Sharma

No task is less important while organizing a fest, specially when the fest is in your first year. How difficult was it for you to handle all the online PR, people sending you messages and all the notifications that kept your phone buzzing every single minute?

Vatsala: I won’t say tough. It just took me a while to get a grip of it because I have never been solely responsible of multiple pages where I have to keep things running. It was sometimes really hard to do, because all social media platforms are different, they have got their own set of rules, you have to customize accordingly. But I think it was fun because it just added to my knowledge.

And Kani is a first time fest and the questions will much more than a regular fest and they will be really hard to answer them because we ourselves don’t know them. So, it is a lot of brainstorming and discussing with a lot of people before I can actually give an answer because it is hard and yeah my phone keeps on buzzing (laughs) because almost every minute there is a notification on my phone and my phone is now permanently on silent mode.

What is Kani to you? How would you describe your experience?

Vatsala: While the Kani team actually started working in around April, I think I joined it in June and I think I was initially extremely intimidated by the whole concept of what Kani was. But then there was a point when I realized that Kani could be anything that you wanted it to be. To me, it’s peace, freedom and learning and I have learned so much through this and I can’t explain what peace and freedom mean to me but the thing is that I have to work. I don’t like sitting idle and Kani has provided that opportunity in a very calm way. There have been times where we have been up late in the night, working but its been a beautiful experience (long pause…) What Kani means to me…this is interesting (long pause) I think Kani is a platform to express talent beyond judgement.

Image Courtesy: Gargi Ajay Upadhyay
Head of Heads: Manvi Ranghar

They say that Kani is your brainchild. How did it all come up? What inspired you to make Kani? People can assume Kani to be whatever they want. I want to know what is Kani to Manvi (personal favorite head :p)!

Manvi: This is from a personal standpoint, what inspired me was the lack of judgement in general and hierarchy. When I was in the first year I won this public speaking contest, Keval Ramani. My speech was about the judgement of art. That was in my first year and now I’m in my third year (smiles) and I think I’m kind of manifesting that. I suppose we will all outgrow the sense of idealism that we cannot live in a society without competition. It would be incredible if on the days of Kani you manage to have a state where things are purely for the sake of art, freedom and expression, happiness and no ego.

Kani is nothing, I don’t want to define it . Its not a gender, name, explanation, its not even what you want it to be, its just a feeling and I think Kani stands for sensation and things that are wordless, parts of you that are just instinct and vague.

What is Kani to you? How would you describe your experience?

Manvi: I was given this opportunity to be the head of the English Association and I was pretty happy. I could have done the LDS or something else but its kind of a blank canvas and the English Association was pretty bland so it felt like a pretty great opportunity to take care of something that didn’t have much going for to begin with and it was a canvas and it became something that we could use at a creative platform.

Kani was just a feeling that now has a name attached to it. How it all came about was that when I was given this role I handpicked with admitted nepotism in some ways but also people who had worked in the EA before. We had meetings just to discuss what could we possibly do with the  EA and I really wanted to have this intercollegiate festival. I felt in this weird way and everybody shared the same weird vision. We took it on from there and now we have Kani.

More thought on What is Kani?

Zohra Malik: Kani means to have the kind of environment where you need everything, where you get everything. You need to grow and experience and because you are in that particular environment you feel this intrinsic urge to exploit and get the best out of yourself and your surroundings.

Payal Mohta: For me, as well as I can say to some extent for the entire committee that conceptualized Kani, Kani has been a risk and a gamble. This is because Kani is completely moving away from the general notion of competition and throughout the process of making Kani, the question that will people come has been on our minds. People usually don’t want to come when there is no material return. Answering the question of art being for art sake and the power of expression and passion for art without getting anything in return has always been challenging our mind.

Zahra Baldiwala: Kani is more than a liquefied woman who speaks French and Malayalam. She has so many little lessons and teachings hidden between the folds of her exquisite saris. Kani gave me confidence to believe that I have the capability to excel at the task at hand. Most importantly, she gave me the chance to see greatness I didn’t know existed in my fellow Jai Hind-ites, greatness that dazzled me.

Bhavyaraj: Kani to me is meditation. I feel pleasure when I work for Kani. The people around are so good. Also the non competitive spirit gives you a stage to perform without keeping in mind the result.

Kundan Ahuja (Me): I think the term Kani has no particular meaning to it. It is nothing; it is everything. It is nothing you don’t want it to be; everything you want it to be. It is nothing it shouldn’t be; everything it should be. Kani is a man. Kani is a woman. Kani is not trapped in the boundaries of gender. Kani is human. Kani is extra-terrestrial. Kani has no limits. Kani stands still. Kani works continuously. Kani is not bound by parameters like speed and time. And I am really glad that I got the opportunity to work on team Kani!

Kani is you. You are Kani!


3 thoughts on “What is Kani!

  1. June stole the words right out of my mouth! We are so proud of each one of you! We couldn’t have asked for a more fabulous team to put something like Kani together. Let the fun begin! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. For me kani is love !!
    Kani is something that everyone has it or everyone does it but very few people realize that they’re into kani. This is a kind of self realization it seems

    Liked by 1 person

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