The initial idea was that it would be a newspaper – a weekly or monthly one, which would be purely by and for students. Up until now, Orchid didn’t really have something that could act as a free, student-driven space for expression, interaction and entertainment. Every magazine and newspaper was indirectly or directly headed by a teacher, or the issues weren’t released as frequently as one would like. This needed to be something way different. No plan had yet been made, but one thing was certain – a team of dedicated writers and editors would be needed, who could commit to the cause. This is the reason an announcement was made in the assembly, and potential team members were asked to come in on their own – people needed to be as excited about the project as we were, excited enough to take time out to approach us and mail us their writing. This was also around the same time we decided that a blog was a better option – it would be easier to read and publish. Also, we could wield the immense power of social media.
This recruitment scheme worked. When Ritisha joined in, Swarada found a partner to help develop the idea. And then our team developed further– Aayushi met Swarada on the steps on her way out of the assembly the day the announcement was made. A day later, Aditya gave in his name at the school’s front door. Pratik came up during the annual day play practice with something he had written. Khushbu mailed in her writing before recruitment had even kicked off. And our team of ten developed, with the addition of Vishaal, Bhavini, Raashi, Shubhankar, Urvi and Mahek.
We decided to meet over vacations, just to see what we wanted to do, where we wanted this to go. Starbucks, of course, was the first venue that came to mind. We walked in on the afternoon of the 30th of May, found a table towards the back of the upper floor and made ourselves comfortable. It was the first time all of us had actually met all at once, and the first twenty minutes or so weren’t all that great – lots of small talk and awkward silences. However, we did have two hours to kill, so we had no choice but to warm up to each other.
Ritisha and Khushbu had gone to the Crossword next door to buy a notebook for blog meetings (After its short tenure of a few weeks, we never saw it again). We managed to fill about two pages in two hours. Which is quite commendable, considering we spent a majority of the time discussing life as an Orchid student (the good, the bad, and the bone-tickling funny), Aditya’s ever-encompassing knowledge of website domains, our indecision regarding what drink to buy (we eventually bought the cheapest ones), and the seventh Fast and Furious movie. To make matters worse, at the table right next to us sat a group of friends, one of which was a man who not only seemed to dominate their conversation, but also was the loudest speaker any one of us had ever heard. At every break in the conversation at our table, we’d hear him say something extremely distracting and out-of-context in his loud, booming voice, too engaged in his conversation to notice us listening. This hardly helped us stay on track, since we kept trying to guess what he was talking about. Moral of the story: When in a crowded coffee shop, try to keep your volume less than that of a lawn mower.
This meeting, however, was a success, since it helped us get comfortable around each other. Soon, more productive meetings followed (thankfully), both with the school heads and with just the team. The blog was finally starting to take shape, and more possibilities were opening.
Our team of 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grade students is the driving force of this project. So in that sense, we’ve succeeded – we’ve kept this stripped down to a by-the-students-for-the-students setup. We hope that the student body takes to this idea as much as we have. From our side, we promise to keep the quality of content on here high. We promise to make this a place where you can find things to read which you find interesting, where you can engage in the discussion. In return, we hope to see participation from your side, in both writing and commenting, in spreading the word.
Sometime in that first meeting, when all of us were sitting at that table in the corner of Starbucks’ upper floor, Swarada asked, “How excited are you guys for this?”
The rest of us looked at her with wide eyes. “Very,” Aayushi said.
And that’s basically the highlight of this whole story. We’re anticipating a great blog. And we’re excited to see where this goes.