Five hours ago the last GISHWHES just got over…
The Greatest International Scavenger Hunt The World Has Ever Seen is now in the past. And that’s about it.
I found out about GISHWHES last year, about a month before it began. However, I didn’t understand it well, and neither did I have the money to register for it back then. And so the GISHWHES week passed and I watched with a bit of envy and wonder as teams seemed to complete tasks that were definitely not normal and that were definitely, at least, a little humiliating. And I also saw the teams do an awful lot of good – they changed lives. And it was incredible to see all that.
So this year, when the GISHWHES announcement came, I didn’t think twice before I registered. I also didn’t think twice before coercing my best friend into doing the same. We had no clue what we were up for. We also had no money to spend on the registration. So we applied for a gishorlorship and waited as we went about our work – interning, fangirling and enjoying life as it was.
One month later, on the morn of my birthday, my phone dinged and I was rewarded with a wonderful heartwarming letter from Misha Collins, the man himself. And closely following that, my friend and I also received our gishorlorships, making us official gishers in the hunt this year. I was BESIDE myself with joy.
As it was, GISHWHES was a lot more confusing than we had imagined, but also a lot more fun. Kind of like being an adult, really. We were assigned a team from all around the world- an amazing set of immensely talented, creative and incredible individuals, I must say – and we set off on what would turn out to be one of the best weeks in our entire lives.
The hunt involved us doing a bunch of tasks that ranged from a little kind to a little crazy to absolutely deranged. To be honest, it was a bit intimidating to look at. We were a little freaked the first day. But we were also super excited, and that kind of balanced out the fear.
The first day, my friend and I met up and planned the whole thing out. We decided we’d try our hand at a couple of tasks and leave the rest to the team scattered around the world. And thus, after a 2-hour discussion over it all, began our what would be a slightly crazy ride through the true GISHWHES experience.
We planned a lot of things, but we didn’t think of the constraints binding us. We dawdled a lot, and honestly spent more time discussing strategies, drinking coffee at CCD and watching pretentious TV shows rather than actually doing the thing. But that, I think, was also part of the whole experience.
I had always heard and read about how GISHWHES changed lives and honestly, I remember thinking how that could be. It was incomprehensible. It’s just a silly game, was what I’d think when people spoke about the “life changing experience of GISHWHES”.
But today, now, after the seven amazing days are past me, I can tell you that it’s all believable. It definitely is a silly game, no denying that. But that is exactly why it is so amazing. I’m still in college, and I’ve definitely not had an actual taste of the real world or the adult life, as people say. But I like to think I understand a fair share of the whole idea.
And while it might not the case for everybody, there are a lot of people who get sucked into this endless loop of a life- a limbo, a rut- where they forget about the true and wonderful happiness that the little things are capable of providing. GISHWHES is a reminder of that happiness. It wakes the child in you, it wakes the idiot in you, it wakes the artist in you….it wakes that side of you which makes you so much more human. It wakes up the best parts of you. And that is amazing. Absolutely amazing.
When I started this hunt, it was still just a thing. I was super excited to be a part of something Misha(because I truly believe GISHWHES is a part of him, more than just a thing that he started), but I didn’t really know what it was for, what would come out of it or anything. But then, while it was happening, I was consumed, and somehow, it became real.
Unintentionally perhaps, but GISHWHES put a sense of purpose back in me. It was strange how motivated I was to find oranges and learn to stick them together, or how relatively okay I was with walking in the agonizing heat of Chennai to deliver cakes to the hospital, or how sheepishly excited and willing I was to go compliment a professor…IT was insane, really. But it worked. And I’ll never forget how it felt. (atleast, I hope so).
And after everything is said and done, the most amazing thing about GISHWHES is how easily it brought people together. Granted, the people I called up to do this with me were easily some of my closest friends, but that’s not what I mean. Dinesh, my friend who had registered with me, was not friends with half the people who worked with us when GISHWHES began. But by the time it ended, he was. There was something about the way everyone just went with it. Something about the way it seemed to make us feel. Something about the way people were okay with spending the evening hunched over a tiny table at a cafe, drawing fake protest signs on charts for a fake protest just for the hell of it.
And I remember a moment, one moment, like a freeze-frame, as I leaned back to take a sip of some drink and saw my friends, strangers among themselves but not anymore, discussing the hunt and the things we’ve planned, laughing, teasing…and I remember thinking: This is what it is. This is why it changes lives.
In conclusion, I’ve not got much to say, except that… Thank you, Misha and Thank you, GISHWHES and Thank you, team. You’ve given me a lot this year ❤