The #LeOFa family has been through a lot lately. From encountering the brink of disaster, when it seemed as if the event was going to be cancelled before it had a chance to begin, to the highs of success, regarding the truly great feedback given for the pre-gigs by audience and performers alike, they’ve experienced it all. So today I thought I’d introduce you to the men and women who are making all of this possible, and who are working hard to make the first multi-fandom fancon in India a reality.
The Core Team
These are the people who make up the nucleus of the LeOFa family.
The Honcho: Shreya Saha
You know how most great things begin with a vision? That someone somehow has a great dream and then, unlike most people with great dreams, set about making that dream a reality?
Shreya di is that person for #LeOFa.
For her, that journey started more than a year ago, when she was told that Kolkata, apparently, is not a good place for a fan con.
“That angered me. There are multiple fan conventions happening all around India, except in Kolkata. Why is Kolkata not a suitable venue, especially when I knew how many passionate fans of how many different fandoms resided in the city?” she says. “That’s when I first conceived of LeOFa, and for more than a year now, I have been dreaming of it.”
So what, exactly, is LeOFa?
“Initially we called it Fandoms League,” she says, eyes scrunched up in an effort to recall, “But Rimbik (Das, Co-founder of The Indian Artist, a partner of the event) suggested League of Fandoms, and we all loved it. LeOFa is not just an abbreviation of this name; the word also means ‘Precious’ in Old English. And that’s exactly what League of Fandoms is. Whatever is precious to you, whichever fandom you belong to, you will find it in LeOFa.”
Shreya di oversees everything that is happening for the event: from the main event itself to the pre-gigs and the page promotions. “LeOFa is not just a one-time act or an annual melee. It will happen on different levels throughout the year. The main event coming up is just the beginning!”
The People-Pleasers: Rajarshi Adhikary and Suvrojitmoy Ghosh
I met the indomitably cheerful Rajarshi for the first time during আঁTales. I remember being distinctly confused: what human being can remain that upbeat while under so much pressure? But that’s Rajarshi for you. He and Suvrojitmoy head the LeOFa team’s Public Relations department, which, if I know anything about the public (such as myself), can’t be an easy job. But both of our LeOFa fellows seem to handle the task quite easily.
“To be honest, I really didn’t know what to expect when I first joined,” he says, uncharacteristically serious, “I loved the idea to begin with, and given that nothing of this sort had happened in this part of the country ever before made it even better. Before I knew it, somehow, I fitted into the scheme of things.”
This sort of cheerful we’ll-see-what-happens-when-it-does perspective of life seems to be a constant feature of LeOFa’s team members, as I discover while talking to Suvrojitmoy.
“I joined LeOFa simply because this is what I had been waiting for, ever since I attended a fan con in Bangalore,” he says, “I’d like to gift Kolkata an event that had been missing for a long time.”
Like Rajarshi, Suvrojitmoy is working towards making the event a reality as soon as possible, but he does have a secret agenda. “I’m really looking forward to the cosplay event! This is a fundamental part of any convention and it’s something I enjoy a lot!” Rajarshi agrees. “I’m really looking forward to the seminars, workshops and, of course, the music!” he says, accidentally-on-purpose giving us spoilers about the weekend we’re all waiting for. “In a city which swears by its culture and literature, LeOFa will put up a show like it’s never seen before.”
And if that doesn’t get you PUMPED UP, I don’t know what will.
The Creatives: Urvashi Mukherjee and Ananyak Saha
On the note of literature and culture, we segue quite comfortably to the creatives of this team, usually to be found at the corner of the table, heads together, talking quietly with each other to shoulder the immense responsibility they’ve been entrusted with.
“Designations don’t mean much here,” says Ananyak, ever the correct dilpomat, “We are a collective. We all act together and work together. But in general, my role included getting in touch with artists, as well as people outside the city who we could bring in to be a part of LeOFa.”
Ananyak is all praise for his creative counterpart, Urvashi. “She is the person I worked most closely with and it has been a delight,” he says, the enthusiasm in his voice evident even over texts, “She is one of the most passionate and efficient persons I’ve ever met.“
“It’s been a lot of fun, ” says the woman herself, with a grin, “We’ve basically been attending gigs and liasoning!”
Indeed, Urvashi is frequently to be seen quietly moving about in the background of LeOFa’s pre-gigs, making sure everything is as it should be. I witnessed her enthusiasm at LeOFa’s collaboration with Jamsteady, as she cheered the performers on from the side of the stage.
When it comes to to the event, she knows exactly what drew her to it. “LeOFa is something that’s unique,” she says. “It’s a space for people to come together and experience something collectively. It’s exactly what this city needs.”
The Coin-Gatherer: Ashmita Dey
Now look, technically Ashmita’s on the PR team as well, but seeing as she’s the one who’s been wringing her hands, having near-fainting spells and yet managing to determinedly. persistently, grimly navigate the mammoth maze of sponsorship for the main event, it only seemed fair that she have a place of her own.
“Working with the entire team of LeOFa has been a great experience,” said our young Treasurer, “There are different things that I learnt while working side by side with them. Suvrojitmoy is extremely focused: he works hard to attain his goals. Rajarshi taught me perseverance in the face of despair. Urvashi taught me how to bring out the best in every idea.”
Even as she is voluble in her praise of our teammates, Ashmita’s own work is enormously appreciated by her team. “She is one of the most sincere and industrious members of the group,” said Rajarshi. “Resourceful would be the word for her!”
“At the end of the day, we are providing a niche for all the fandoms in Kolkata,” says Ashmita, “We aim to provide them with a paradise of their own.”
And so you shall, Ashmita. So you shall.
The Jacks-Of-All-Trades: Rei Hazra and Bishal Chakraborty
This sounds ignoble but it really really isn’t. Bishal is our main man amongst the other main men; he is in charge of the promos and photography and he also helps out in the PR aspect of things. Rei, meanwhile, wasted no time making herself indispensable as a similar savant of multi-tasking.
“I’m glad to be making friends who work so hard and are so good at what they do,” says Rei, whose sunny personality has warmed me to the core of my frozen heart every time we’ve met. Bishal is just as charismatic. “I will be photographing the entire event,” he says, “It feels great! I am looking forward to the reactions of people during it all.”
“We made the idea of the event so broad so that everyone who is a part of a fandom can join us“, says Bishal. Rei agrees. “At its heart, this event is a platform for people to unite for their passions. That’s what you can expect: like-minded people getting together!”
Every nucleus needs its atoms. Where am I even going with this metaphor? I don’t know. But these are the moste beautiful minions™ that form the support team for LeOFa: Krishnendu Saha, Chandreyi Sen, Madhumita Bose, Ambarish Deb, Riya Ghosh, Twishashish Roy, Sabyasachi Chakraborty & Rajarshi Modak, all very efficient, all very wonderful, most of whom I’ve personally met and all of whom have impressed me and made me feel tiny and inisignificant with their dedication to their work.
“They were volunteers for the events,” says Shreya di, fondness glinting in her eyes, “They did not belong to any particular department- they assisted everyone in everything! They worked closely with all of us and were the extra pair of hands one always wished for.”
Good for you, you incredible human beings. We love y’all!
A Personal Note from Shreya di
“I am truly grateful to all the people that have supported the LeOFa dream so far,” says she, “We suffered a huge loss (leading to postponement of the event), and generally that would have made people walk out, but my team and most of our partners stood by and we are up again! Thank you, everyone.”
The people that form the semi-dysfunctional family of LeOFa are talented and hard-working. They are passionately focused on bringing the best of fandoms to Kolkata, and to you. And with a little bit of luck, they will do exactly that very soon.
Stay tuned for more updates from LeOFa! Share this post to spread the joy amongst your friends.