Ditching the web cams: Ruhuna Gaveliers venture offline

By Gavelier Ravisha Hapuarachchi

As someone who joined Gavel during the height of the pandemic, I’m part of a slightly wonky generation of Gaveliers who only know to stare menacingly at the Web cam and pace in front of a table. We had been holding virtual club meetings for over a year and most of us had never experienced a Gavel meeting that was held physically.

So, when I heard that a gavel meeting was to be held at the university premises, I could not believe my ears. The date had to be postponed a few times, but in the end, the 27th of May dawned with promise. There were new faces to be met, and only-seen-on-Zoom faces to be reacquainted with, and I knew it was going to be unforgettable.

The meeting started off with a very interactive Round Robin session where all the Gaveliers were given the opportunity to introduce themselves and warm up their word-weaving skills. Then the meeting moved to the Table Topic session, where some spectacular speeches were delivered. Some were hilarious, others were warm, but they all touched our hearts in their own special ways.

We were, as usual, blessed with a set of evaluators who did justice to the speeches with their spontaneity and creativity.

Through out the whole meeting, I was surprised by how close I felt to this group of people, most of whom I had never met in real life. Each speech was a story that was shared and cherished, exchanged for more stories (or relationship advice). Before we even knew it, the allocated two hours were over, and we watched with bated breath as our President, Gv Fayaz took the gavel in hand, and concluded the meeting.

Even though the official meeting had ended, there was more, including an hour-long photoshoot with the stunning backdrop of the University’s vistas. Afterwards, there was the mandatory (but not very cinematic) walk in the rain, followed by a tour on the ‘Official Ruhuna Gavel Bus’.

Looking back, this was so much more than a Gavel meeting. As Gv Aadhil correctly said and all the other Gaveliers unanimously (word of the day alert!) agreed, it was not a Gavel meeting, but a “physical meeting”.

If I have learned anything in my short time as a Gavelier, it is that Gavel is not a place, but a feeling; a feeling of family and togetherness. It is where stories are shared and bonds are made.

And out of all those stories, our “Physical meeting” was the most beautiful story of all.

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