SPHINXPIRACY: Decoding Death and Deceit by the Nile

By Isumi Yavindi

WhatsApp Image 2023-08-04 at 9.27.12 PM

At Gavel Mora, we move forward and thrive because of our dedicated members, and we truly value each and every one of them. So, every year, the club hosts a thrilling and enjoyable event to welcome newcomers, and this time, the 22nd batch had their chance to shine. After almost two weeks of brainstorming, we devised some dark and gripping subplots, including themes like Greed, Mad lovers, Slavery, and Serial killings to craft an intriguing story for the occasion. It turned out that Selani’s 16th birthday had an Egyptian-themed celebration, and she conveniently had a Cleopatra costume and decorations on hand. So, the theme was a no-brainer.1(1)

The widely known fact is that Cleopatra took her own life following the death of her lover Mark Antony. The evil masterminds of the Gavel Club decided to “tweak” this a little bit. In the Gavel version, she didn’t kill herself but was assassinated, and her treasure was stolen. The detectives of the 22nd batch were tasked with discovering the person behind the killing and finding the lost treasure.

Our destination for promotions was Panadura beach (which was later referred to as the Nile) as the beach, when shot from a certain angle, resembled the desert. Before heading there, we made a stop at Selani’s place, where we got our miniature Cleopatra all jewelled up and ready to be assassinated. To emphasize the height difference, we picked Nipuna to act as our killer, but problems arose when the black cloth we brought wasn’t large enough to cover him. (A hoodie was added later for extra coverage).2.1.1

After reaching the beach in Ameera’s car, it was Isumi who played the Gavel girl from the future, initially bullied by our talented director, cameraman, and photographer Udula. Not even the seniors who were sitting on picnic mats under the shelter of their umbrellas could escape his wrath after obstructing his cinematography. Next, it was Chemini’s and Nipuna’s turn to act out the assassination. After over 5 hours of shooting, with our lead actress and director growing frustrated with each other, we wrapped up the session with 2 teaser videos and some mind-blowing shots.2.1.2

The curiosity among the members reached its peak as they eagerly awaited the day, fueled by the tantalizing teaser videos. The students of batch 22 were brimming with anticipation, and as the long-awaited day finally dawned, their excitement became palpable. As day 1 of Sphinxpiracy drew closer, the newbies were split into 6 groups of 8, and the young sleuths received their briefs containing the details of the suspects and their backstories. The groups competed fiercely as they passed from one stage to another. Each challenge revealed a clue that led to the killer, and Selani’s home-baked cookies were offered as prizes for the winners. But they had to resist eating them as the cookies represented gold for an auction where the groups had to dress their own mummy. The tasks they had to complete before reaching that stage included deciphering an ancient scripture, a hand-foot hopscotch game, and building a human pyramid (No one was hurt, I guarantee you, reader).

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Gavin conducted the auction, and for some reason, team Artapoelc lost the bid for the best bag of supplies to dress their mummy, even though they owned the greatest number of cookies after the initial rounds. After the mummies were dressed, Sasindi, Rivikula, Savinu, and Adheeb made their cases as to why their team’s mummy was the best, but it was Muftee who convinced the judges that team Finding X’s “They/Them Mummy” should take the trophy. Ameera and Isumi wrapped things up for the day, and preparations began for Day 2.

Day 2 was the treasure hunt. The teams were given cryptic couplets that led to places all around the university once decoded. After the intense workout, team Shadowhunters completed the quest first and started working on a short skit where they had to reveal the killer. Although all teams came up with exciting stories, it was team Finding X who revealed the killer in the most captivating manner. Thus we concluded Sphinxpiracy ’21, and all the memories made throughout that time will be cherished.

The memories created during Sphinxpiracy ’21 will forever be cherished, serving as a testament to the camaraderie and spirit of adventure that define Gavel Mora. With each passing year, we remain grateful for the unwavering support and enthusiasm of our members, and we look forward to countless more thrilling journeys together. As a club, we move forward, united and stronger, creating new experiences and making a positive impact in the lives of all who embark on this exciting journey with us.3