Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Bait 2014

I felt excited to go back to my school on July 18 2014. I was asked to judge two debates as a part of an inter-school debate "The Bait" and I had an awesome time there.

First off, there were many volunteers at school with a prominent T-shirt where they took the charge of the judges. I was taken to the auditorum and I was pleasantly surprised to see my favoutire teacher, Mr. Ravishankar there. He was also one of the judges. Immediately all my nervousness vanished. I then listened to my Principal give a speech after all these years. I was impressed they ran this event so nicely, with sponsors and everything. I can truly appreciate the staggering effort required to manage all the multiple simultaneous events, the judges, the food and every tiny detail.

I was escorted to the middle school block. The debates were going on in the rooms. The first thing that made me shy was that they asked me to submit an eighty-word profile about myself. That was certainly embarrasing. Then when I went there, all these volunteers saying "Sowmya Madam" was quite unnerving. Not to mention, my physics sir was giggling at my discomfort.

The first session was from 9:30 to 10:30 am. The moderators were good. The room was arranged so aesthetically that I forgot this was actually a classrom. It was about the accession of Jammu and Kashmir issue, whether the instrument of accession was legitimate or not. As a person who practically digested the book "Freedom at Midnight", this was a topic I was quite familiar with. It was very interesting to judge both the teams. Both of them were quite good, each with their own pros and cons. I gave a only 1 point edge over the other. It was an interesting exercise. As a person who got a severe case of stage fright in my 12th standard debate, I could relate to a person who spoke very fast and another who spoke very slow.

After that, I interacted with a few other judges. Then, met a couple of my old teachers and said a quick hello to my sister.

The next debate was quite different. The topic was "Does the hierarchical discrimination of a society based on economic strata lead to specialization of that group and outweigh the positive benefits of gross redistribution of wealth and assets?". First of all, it took me half and hour to understand the topic. I really pitied the teams who had to argue for this. The "for" and "against" isn't exactly established. The winner was clear but to be fair, I think an easier topic would've been fairer.

I had just two comments, one was that most topics spanned two or three lines that the idea of "for" and"against" was definitely difficult to establish. Another was, the students were given a brief that explained the topic, the judges should also have been given that as we would be able to judge better, we would know what the students who set the topics meant as well! :)

Then I just had lunch and went back home. It was a very nice experience and I will most certainly be back next year if I can.

Once a Bhavanite, always a Bhavanite.

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