Homecoming Mela cures nostalgia

The numerous alums who are constantly occupied by their work and several other duties along with current students, staff, and parents came together last weekend to attend another one of Woodstock’s annual Homecoming Melas, which was hosted by the alumni department along with their team of 16 student interns. 

Since the school has experienced massive changes over the years and continues to move towards a more modern outlook, the Mela is organized to make the alumni “feel that they are back at home” so they “don’t just relive their memories but also connect with people,” Swastika Sharma, Class of 2020, and Mr. Aditya Manral, dorm parent and maternity cover in Alumni department, said. 

Although the Mela was the main component of the homecoming event, the week began with a hike organized for the alumni. The day preceding the Mela, parents were invited for High tea with the principal where they got a chance to interact with him, which was followed by a brunch at Rokeby the following day.

As people entered through the main gate, they were handed tickets at a counter and were encouraged to take pictures at the photo booth for them to store as a memory. 

With over thirty stalls set in a compact area, the team managed to touch upon every aspect of Uttarakhand’s culture. From food vendors to handicraft stalls, people were seen with shopping bags consisting of scarfs, Woodstock merchandise, jewelry, paintings, and much more. 

Unlike a normal Saturday, the event gave students a chance to “hang out and eat food up at school and have fun instead of just going to the bazaar like every weekend,” Simon Sookias, Class of 2021, said. 

The team also added a new twist to the Mela by holding an auction. People bid for night stays in hotels and estates in Mussoorie, Dehradun, and Darjeeling, and also for original photographs of the school from decades ago. Additionally, artwork by Shyla Robinson, Class of 2020, was also auctioned. 

Students and staff prepared performances “showcasing Woodstock culture,” and were received with loud and enthusiastic cheers from the audience, Mr. Manral said. 

For many, the school’s advanced band’s performance was a major highlight. Mihika Poddar, Class of 2021, said, “The band never disappoints us.” 

Students were also handed complimentary 200 rupees coupons which could be used at any stall at the event. And although this might indicate that the event had a huge budget, Mr. Arjun Puri, Director of Development, said, “It’s not about how much we spent or how much money we made: in years to come this becomes a self-sustaining event, so in the first few years there will be expenses associated with the Mela.”

As the night came to an end, students trudged down the stairs back to dorms, teachers and staff members walked back home, vendors wrapped up their leftovers, guards sighed in relief of being able to successfully assure everyone’s security, but most of all, the team of interns and staff who had organized the event were glad to see the smiles on everyone’s faces.

Archita Aggarwal is the News editor for the Woodstocker

Edited by Aarti Malhotra

Photos by Knema Gardner, Kuhu Singh, and Archita Aggarwal

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