Gavel Under The Trees – or commonly referred to as the GUTT meeting is one of the most looked forward to days by our gaveliers. Even though the meeting itself was held over the LEARN zoom platform, GUTT was a much-needed getaway for most of us.
Stepping away from the traditional Educational meeting, GUTT is a more conversational meeting, with no roleplayers, no meeting themes, no agenda, or even taboos. Here is a place for you to sit around (virtually of course, nevertheless) and talk about topics close to home and heart.
We are one of the unfortunate batches who have not yet gotten the opportunity to physically participate in a GUTT meeting, but I think the online version went just as well. The meeting that kick-started at 5 PM went on up till 8 PM with a steady stream of conversation was indeed proof of that.
With the country opening up little by little, the first topic of the day was inevitably about the pros and cons of University lectures starting online. With our discussion, we realized that over the course of nearly two years, we have got quite accustomed to this “new normal” of joining lectures in our PJs from our bedrooms. The idea of waking up early in the morning, traveling to university and sitting in a lecture hall and taking down notes, and knowing that we will not have a recording to fall back on, if we ever miss something, felt quite alien yet enthralling at the same time. It was decided that it would definitely be a treat, to sit down in the lecture hall amidst a group of friends and to see our professor teaching us instead of simply staring at a PowerPoint presentation. Even though the idea of it seemed daunting initially, it was almost unanimously decided that physical lectures would be fun to attend, fun enough to even get through waking up every day at the crack of dawn.
The conversation then flowed up to the immediate obstacle that came with opening universities – vaccines. Thus began the most zealous topic of the night- vaccine vs. anti-vaccine. The member brought forth their own ideas (backed with science!) on why they think vaccines will be the answer to the Covid pandemic, while others asserted their opinions on why vaccines may be adding to the problem. Both sides certainly had solid arguments and GUTT is a place where our Gavel family whole-heartedly accepts that everyone has a right to an opinion.
Taking on a lighter note the next topic was Tattoos. Who wants a tattoo? GV Buddhika was surely getting one. Surprisingly our gaveliers had a lot to say on this topic. From tattooing your sweetheart’s name on your chest to dealing with amnesia (inspired by Christopher Nolan and Momento) to symbols that remind you of lessons learned and obstacles yet to overcome, some of us were down for getting one while others decided that, inking something permanent was way too much of a commitment. The conversation event went on to how in some tribal communities, getting a tattoo was a sign of strength and tolerance to pain.
With GV Dasitha pointing out how overrated tattoos were, the next topic was on all the overrated songs, movies, and pop culture references. With everyone questioning how some movies and songs even became popular? With this, came the age-old and season-appropriate topic of ghost stories. With the Halloween meeting just around the corner, everyone had a scary story to share. From GV Samadhi’s and GV Dilanga‘s stories from their school hostel to GV Thenuka’s temple story, all the “School-ghost” stories to GV Nipuni’s psychic cat, the conversation was equal parts hair-rising and entertaining. But even through all of those spooky stories, arguably the most entertaining incident of the evening was GV Dasuni stealthily taking off her headphones so as not to hear any ghost story. The spooky picture that GV Bhanuka had edited, of GV Nipuni’s background, had all of us peering over our shoulders and making sure no one was behind us.
With the time approaching 8 PM, we still had quite a few members remaining in the meeting and the conversation gradually shifted towards the area that we all dread – studies. While it’s refreshing to know that there are people out there who are going through the same things you are, with the same strict assignment deadlines and the same incomprehensible chemical reactions to study, we were also brought back down to Earth (So to speak) and realized that the academic portion of our lives, as undergraduates of the University of Colombo was waiting for us outside this ring of virtual trees. So, with heavy hearts but buoyed spirits, the first GUTT meeting for the term ended, just past 8 PM. GUTT is about speaking your heart out and letting your mind wander free, with no strings attached, this GUTT session, provided a platform for exactly that.