Saturday, May 10, 2008

RYLA part 4

The second lecture of the day began at 3:45. It was by Mr. Dipayan Dey, environmentalist and one of the finalists of Lead India. “Be the change you want to see” was what he chose to name his presentation (it was less of a lecture and more of an interactive session). He chose to walk freely on stage and talk instead of standing at the lectern. A PowerPoint presentation prepared by him was running on screen for all of us to see as he talked. His presentation was rich with quotes and clichés as well as certain very original ideas. He began by asking us what change we preferred to see in the world we live in. My reaction was that I want more originality and less falling back on old quotes. This might have struck him personally because of his affinity towards good quotes. Nevertheless he followed it up with his ideas about helping to build a cleaner and happier world. One of his examples caught my attention. He talked about droplets of water falling on a rock... the first droplets would not make any impression but with time, the droplets would leave a mark on the rock and maybe a hole on it too. I liked this approach, but pointed out that instead of resorting to the droplets, if we only caught hold of a hammer and a screw, creating a hole would be quicker and easier. He acknowledged this as a possibility after giving it a quick thought. I personally believe my viewpoint is an example of violence and power (Netaji, anyone?) while his idea of droplets is a silent way to ask for change (Gandhiji’s non-violence). The presentation was going very well but in the middle of it, Mr. Dey chose to promote his personal feats. Thus we got to see and hear about some social work he and his group did on the east Kolkata wetlands and its poor population. Impressive indeed, the promotional might have been used as a motivation for us. Personally, though I was impressed by his works, I would have preferred a general lecture on change, rather than forty minutes of I-did-this-so-you-should-follow. There was no separate question-answer session as such because we were allowed to intervene at any point within his lecture. And there were many points made and questions asked which he answered most delightedly.

At 4:30 there was a quiz contest named “brain teaser”, where the four teams played as the four groups. It was conducted by Rtn Dr. Subhasish Nag. It was real fun. The structure was conventional for a quiz with rounds like direct question, rapid fire, audio-visual, buzzer etc. There were bonus points as well as negative marking and it was real fun to participate. Questions were asked from all sorts of categories like literature, sports, films, science etc. Questions were a mix of the very easy to the utmost difficult. I remember that I answered the question “On whose novel on the film pather panchali made?” A few participants were discovered to be very good at quizzes. The visual round involved showing pictures of the new wonders of the world and asking us to identify them. We also had to identify songs after hearing preludes and so on. At the end of the quiz, the blue team came first. My team (yellow) came second with a difference of two points. Red team came third followed by green.

The hour long quiz was followed by a tea break at 5:30. Refreshments were served along with tea. The next session was to begin at 7, so I chose to get back to my hostel after tea. The walk to the hostel was very pleasant in the evening. The campus is full of lakes and trees and a sweet breeze completed the good effect. For the 7 o’clock event I put on a flaming red T shirt, jeans three-quarters, black slippers along with beads on my wrist. I dare say no one else dared to dress that casually, but I always go by what I can carry off when there is no dress code.

At 7 began the “talent hunt session”. We were informed that there would be a singing and recitation competition. One of the most remarkable things about the entire event was that they did not give us much time to prepare for anything. I liked this aspect immensely. Lack of preparation would ensure a good judgment as everyone would need to rely on their expertise and originality. These competitions were not in between teams, but were in between individuals. I put in my name for both singing and recitation. Within seconds I decided to sing “just close your eyes” by Westlife and wrote down a short poem to recite. But they decided on a short poem which everyone would recite and the best would win. This was a good decision, for the same poem would mean you have to show your skill in reciting instead of relying on some good content you are reading.

The competitions went well. Around fourteen participants participated in each. They all did reasonably well, though I must say that not more then six or seven people were actually competing for the prizes, according to my personal judgment. To our indignation, the results were not disclosed. They said that all the prizes would be given out together at the prize distribution ceremony on 4th May. Seething under the suspense, we went to dinner at 9:15, where we were finally served chicken. Dinner followed a diary writing session. This was a very interesting concept. All the participants were instructed to write about four pages on the entire day’s events and whatever they felt about it in a personal diary format and submit it next morning. At the end of the camp, the best authors would run away with the prizes under the “writing” category. Writing, fortunately, has never been a problem with me and I wrote out the required pages while relaxing on my comfortable bed in my room. 11 was the official time to go to bed and the commandant came to wish us good night and check whether we were all in the rooms in the process. Finally I had time to get back to certain people I was missing. So I called up my home and my boyfriend and had a couple of nice long chats before finally dozing off at around midnight. The next day’s events were to begin as early as 6 A.M. so I needed some good sleep before that.

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