Now that I have (hopefully) caught your attention with the off-beat title, let me tell you something amazing about this university: The co-existence of cultures. We have such an abundance of identities, and unlike in school, where there was just one overarching event, here, events and expressions of all kinds happen in harmony with each other, and one can choose to be a part of some or all of them.
Many students also choose to do none, to spend time with books that are not course readings or just sleep, because here, even introversion finds its niche. There is no fear of being judged, since everyone is busy doing their own thing.
JGU embraces the beauty of contradictions. This was more than apparent last week when, Bollywood night, an event with a plethora of filmy performances, SRK-esque poses and baarati-style dance was held along with a Shakepeare fest, with elegant acts, powerful soliloquies and memorable portrayals. While they were testing speakers by playing Punjabi rap in the main lawn of the campus, an intense monologue of Marc Antony was being presented in the Audi. While the bike was being readied for the star performer of Bollywood night, dialogues from famous Shakespeare scenes were being rehearsed for the plays. For those who were in the audience, like me, watching a classmate enact a scene from King Lear as Edgar and then watching friends sing beautiful old Hindi songs all in the span of two hours, it was fascinating.
I will now explain the reason behind choosing the title. A second year student from the law school, a Punjabi (not) by nature, decided he wanted to perform on the uninhibited stage of dance and music, as well as the grand stage of Shakespearean theatre. So, on Bollywood night, he performed a duet with his best friend, rapping in Punjabi in a way that lead to gasps of surprise and tapping of feet, and less than twenty four hours later, the same Punjabi rapper was dressed in grand attire, serenading Juliet so beautifully that, not only did he elicit “Awww’s” from the audience, he also won Best Actor as Romeo. This shows how unrestrictive to identity and thought, life here can be. You are limited only by your own thoughts (and sometimes your assignment deadlines. Sometimes.) The people you are surrounded with at JGU push you to not only excel at one thing, but experiment with other things, and maybe excel at those too. Binary labels such “The Topper”, “The Nerdy One”, “The Singer”, “The Dancer” can all be transcended if one wants. You can be all of it, or none, because why not?
What about the people who do not like to participate in social events? What about those for whom the thought of being surrounded with mere acquaintances on a crowded dance floor brings pangs of uneasiness? Well, they have plenty to do. If not interested in a DJ night, nor with a proclivity for Shakespeare’s tales, you will find solace in many places- The Book Club, for shy bibliophiles, the Photography Club for aspiring shutterbugs, the Gender Society, for those with interest in gender dynamics; You will find all of this here, and much more. If book fests and comic cons are your idea of fun, and you thought it is nerdy, don’t worry, you will find atleast fifty more people who can discuss plot holes in the latest book of their favourite author or the latest comic of their beloved superhero as passionately as they can talk about the refugee crisis.
In the spirit of the Shakespeare fest, I can happily say that if JGU is a world of its own, then truly, “All the world’s a stage”, and it is up to you to be what you want to be.