It began with Souk – the flea market from the desert lands. The second edition had seen the students of Bhawanipur Education Society College (BESC) replicate the Agora – the meeting and marketing place at the very centre of Greek cities of yore. The third in the series – the Carnival – was organised in and around the Turf in the BESC grounds between the 27th and the 28th of March, 2018. The Carnival, experts opine, is a celebration of the reversal, in which revellers participate to banish the dark and gloomy winters, to facilitate the return of the summer. It is widely regarded as a rite of passage of sorts – from darkness to light, from the winter to summer. It is also a fertility celebration, the first sprig festival of the new year. And, the BESC, true to its self, celebrated the Carnival in its own, inimitable style. Jugglers, flame throwers, Virtual Reality Counters, Segway stunt men, mind reader … the added attractions, too had the desired effect of ensuring a rare gaiety to the festivities and except the parade, which is often referred to in the same breath as the Carnival, nothing was missing. Well, the students, coiffured in their finest party attires did do the rounds and that was no less than any parade anywhere, as one organiser put it! As is the norm, one of the major attraction of the Carnival was the pet show that was organised in the Turf. As many as fifteen students participated with the loves of their lives, that included Labradors, German Shepherds, spaniels and pugs. The pets were obviously happy to be in the colleges where their masters and mistresses spend a good part of their days and were the cynosure of all eyes as they obediently followed the orders with wagging tails and an occasional woof! The pets were taken through five gruelling rounds that were aimed at ascertaining their temperament as well as their overall well-being and training apart from the obvious bond between the master and the pet. The show was conducted by Prof Dilip Shah, the Dean of Student Affairs of the college. Prof Minakshi Chaturvedi and Dr Divyesh Shah along with other members of the faculty were also present on the occasion. “There is much more to the event than what meets the eyes” said Prof Dilip Shah with his typically enigmatic smile, “as a matter of fact, it is like an entire course in business management in a capsule. Students who have set up stalls are in effect going through the complete process from procurement to sales, matching demand as they perceive it and supply as they can muster, even as they keep accounts, prepare budgets and arrange for and secure their capitals. Aren’t these the very skills that they come to college to gather?” What is even more exciting about this learning process is that there are no conventional classes with the Sword of Attendance hanging precariously over the student heads. Needless to say, the students, even as they go about having the time of their lives, learn life lessons that are invaluable. And every time that happens, BESC moves another notch up the ladder of achievements. However, this “alternate method of imparting academic instructions” is not an exception but is rather a rule in the BESC where conventional class-room academics is refurbished with a complete set of co-curricular activities that are carefully crafted and designed with maker lasting impressions on the young, impressionable minds. As Prof Shah explains, not only are students given a free hand (with members of the faculty waiting in the side lines, ever ready to provide a helping hand should the need arise) to organise the literally innumerable number of college events, their capabilities are also consciously built up. And it is here, that BESC is walking the talk. BESC regularly conducts a variety of Career Connect courses that are aimed at helping the students identify their vocation even as they study for their graduation so that they may follow their passion once they are ready to make the transition into the world beyond academics. These courses are all conducted by seasoned professionals who are4 experts in their respective domains and are crafted in such a manner that they help the students make the transition to the jobs of their choice in as seamless a manner as possible. The stress off-course is on interactive sessions, on facility visits, on hands-on education – in short, everything to ensure that the students don’t end up being “just another brick in the wall”! Needless to say, the campus placements that are mopping up students, especially those who have partaken the nectar of these courses, that too with near clinical precision will bear out the fact. Prof Shah calls it the “Passion to Profession” initiative of BESC. On either count, he couldn’t have been more right – for, BESC churns out students taking up professional courses in numbers that are mindboggling. As for the passion part, a little-known fact will suffice: the BESC offers Free driving lessons to its girl students. As conventional logic goes, boys are preferred to girls in placement situations as it is felt that girls can not do extra shifts due to obvious security reasons – something that the BESC is consciously seeking to ward off by empowering its girl students with driving lessons – literally giving the steering wheels in their dainty hands! If that is not passion, what is? The Carnival at BESC is thus, a lot more than a mere parade of risqué costumes, fun and frolic as it is traditionally known to be. The Carnival at BESC is an idea whose time has come. The Carnival is a tool of empowerment. The carnival is a method in the madness – a means to impart education, knowledge by unshackling the minds of the students, by helping them take the first faltering steps towards self reliance. It is also a carefully thought about and impeccably crafted system that is quietly expanding the horizons of education. Viva la Carnival. Viva la Bhawanipur!