Five universities. Four months of planning. Three spectacular courses. Too much to handle? There is only one Maharaja Ball. What was initially simply a venture with NHSF Queen Mary and Kings has become so much more and is a testament to what NHSF (UK) stands for, that of bringing people together.  

When it was decided that there would now be not 3 but 5 universities taking part in the Maharaja Ball this year, I thought we had bitten off more than we could chew. 450 people in one venue? A 3-course meal? A venue that is convenient for all 5 universities? Surely it was a task too large? Not for us…

We learnt to listen to each other. To understand different people’s perspectives. To work together. We started to break down tasks and allocate them, and to use our individual skills and strength to provide help to others. Soon, we had all agreed on a venue and our entertainment. Soon we had sponsors and photography, without whom none of this could be possible. Soon, the WhatsApp group came to life, buzzing, quite literally. And before we knew it, the day had arrived.

The venue was beautiful, and inside the tint of lilac bathed the room in a warm, welcoming tone. The caterers frantically started transforming bare tables to delicately decorated works of art. You could sense the excitement building. There was a sense of synergy as everyone worked together to make an unforgettable event. And then the guests arrived.

A bead of sweat trickled down his brow. He looked up and nodded to his partner. Out came the loud and distinctive sound of his dhol. His dream had come true! As Kishan and Shivam bellowed out and provided a fitting start to the evening, soon the guests entered the main suite. The buzz of conversations, the flashes of saris glimmering and mobile phones snapping stories filled the entire room. Ajay Shah, NHSF LSE president and Rishi Bhayani, NHSF Queen Mary President then took to the stage, to host the evening with zeal and charisma. An act from each university set the stage alight, from contemporary to modern dance, from group to individual performances. Of course, the food was one of the highlights of the night! Unlimited starters showered down from suited waiters, and even the most discerning of palettes were soon put at ease.

The night was not over yet though, the Knight was still to come. A crowd of eager-eyed fans screamed and screamed. The speakers turned up. “Zack, Zack, ZACK!” And in he came microphone in hand, and stole the night. An array of colours and music filled the dance floor, everyone came together. All 5 universities. Together. It was at that moment that I looked at my fellow presidents, smiled, and realised it was all worth it. The meetings, and calls, the texts. “A home away from home” was the aim, to give people a chance to remember what home is like, without having to be there. Not only was it worth it, but I would do it again, and again.

Working with NHSF City, Queen Mary, LSE and Kings was such an experience, there was so much to learn from each of the committees, and I am so glad I had the chance to work with them. Well done on working so hard, your passion and determination made the event not only successful, but meaningful, and truly leaving the legacy of the Maharaja Ball imprinted within London.

Until next time, thank you.

— NHSF Imperial Suraj Joshi, Co President