The night before the final showdown has always been a vision to be remembered for all the architecture students. The ‘dreadful night’, which most of us would like to call it, and secretly pray for the day of the battle to simply become non-existent, is a common thought most of us are going through. I would like to classify all of us under the following categories, based on our behavior during the ‘night before the showdown’; The Walking zombie, the overconfident, the cry baby, the ignorant, the ‘I don’t care, I am too cool for it’ attitude, the stress machine and the ideal one.
Firstly, as the name clearly suggests The Walking Zombie, is your typical nerd with straight 8 pointers, awake for almost a week, and now is on the verge of going into the hibernation period. A ticking time bomb, who is mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted to a point. He/she is clueless about what is happening around him/her as well as on his/her own computer screen. I remember one such incident that night; this friend of mine was working on the laptop absent-mindedly, surviving on caffeine. As a prank, a few of us quietly removed his laptop and mouse from under his fingertips and what we saw was scary yet very funny. He was still moving his fingertips as if the laptop was in the same position, unaware of what had just happened.
The second one is your typical overconfident attitude, walking around with a face of victory, boasting around about the work and the previous jury critique; how the jurors had loved it and how the next day would be ‘his / her day’; but in reality, it’s the opposite that happens; becoming a subject for others to laugh on. It’s just a strategy to actually break other’s confidence and serve one’s pride; a unique creature indeed.
The third is your cry baby, the most annoying yet most entertaining character. This is usually the one who is done with the majority of the work and just left with final touch-up here and there. This particular character goes around every workstation cribbing about the amount of work left, about how stressful the jury is, and how horrific it would be after he/she fails tomorrow’s jury. It is either the love for attention or a great stress release technique. It starts from talking and ends up at imitating the faculty, and how useless the entire architecture system is; after doing this for a while you will actually see the person snoring at some corner of the studio.
The fourth is the ignorant one, who has no clue what is really happening around. The person hasn’t even realized there is a list of a requirement that needs to be delivered and is busy stuffing a slice of pizza or playing ping pong with the juniors, thinking all the work he had to do is completed; which is actually just a plan and two sections; whereas the requirement stated minimum two plans, a site plan, three cross-sections and two in the longitudinal direction, three zoomed-in details, and a synthesis drawing.
The fifth is your ‘I don’t care, I am too cool for it attitude’, these are usually the surprise package, they act very calm about everything, going to parties, for dinners, playing sports and carrying out their usual routine, they act so carefree about it, that it actually stresses their friends; but they are the ones’ who complete their work exactly three hours before the jury, which is way before their friends.
The sixth category would be your stress machine, they are usually the daydreamers of the batch, extremely slow about the work but ‘the night’ is when their composure is at a toss. They are completely in panic mode, jumpy about everything, stressing, swearing, sweating; the ones who work even halfway after the jury has begun and never get caught; being the last ones to give their jury.
The last would be the ideal one, the one which everyone dreams to be, but you would rarely see anyone with such talent. It is the one who is done with all the work, printed the final sheets needed, a day prior, and has a good night, stress-free sleep. It is the one every faculty aspires a student to be, but well it is just a utopia which would be a miracle if it ever comes true. The second phase of this would be selecting pin-up spaces for one’s work. A very tough job indeed! It is usually done a few hours before the jury. As soon as the message regarding the selection of spaces comes on the class WhatsApp group, the priority of every individual switches within a matter of a few seconds. It is as if everyone was ready with the wall photograph with their name on it to be sent on the group.
Just in a matter of few second, there is a flow of messages with people spamming the group The virtual space is turned into a fighting rink, with everyone ready to pounce on the other for taking ‘their’ pinup spaces, irrespective of the fact if there is any work to be pinned up or not. A hilarious sight for an outsider, it’s like everyone has forgotten about the work they were stressing a few moments ago, and the one’s in college are running around looking for the ideal pin-up spot writing their name on a piece of paper and marking their territory; as if someone couldn’t remove the paper and pin up their work. The third phase would be the battle day. ‘The Day’ for every architecture student’s life. On entering the studio one enters a blissful sight of a dump yard; with sheets flying over, broken models dump at one corner, few students still under the quilt, other half running with sheets and models in their hand.
The sight in front is worse than some ‘fish market’ as most of the faculty would call it. Then there is a pin drop silence, calm before the storm; as one notices the feet of the devil, the jurors enter the space. It’s like everything is paused at that moment, followed by a huge roar and a chaotic environment, filled with all unpleasant noises, and blackmailing of failing the ones who do not pin-up in the next five minutes. Well in the next hour almost everyone is pinned up, and as one looks at their final production in front, there is a sense of satisfaction on each face that cannot be expressed in words. It is then a realization drop-in, that it doesn’t matter how the jury goes. After so much of an effort for ‘the day’ all the tears, sweat, and sleepless nights one realizes that none cares about the jury on the jury day. A paradox indeed!