Morning was a struggle with sleep and denial combining forces like they always do at the most opportune of times. A quick math in my head convinced me to lifet one foot out of the bed after the other, marching the march without the one-two’s.
Oh the agony of leaving Sleep’s loving embrace to face the seemingly harsh and nervousness-saddled world of debating. Soon after I was registered for the event, I was directed to a common room for participants, where I initially sought the corner with the least noise and minimum number of people.
Sweeping a glance across the room, I recognized a few faces and debated going over and joining them (of all the things I should be debating!)
I finally decided to. Because I took that first step, I earned four new friends today : )
Round 1 was extempore. Rules were explained to us and we were herded in batches of twenty to another room where the judges awaited us.
We picked one chit out of many, took a minute to think and spoke for another. An unexpected round, unexpected performances. There was a boisterous participation from the freshman year (reminded me of mine!) One of them even made it to the finals!
Random chance assigned me ‘Gandhigiri’. This area of discussion will probably never leave me alone; the past two debating events I have participated in, Gandhi, Anna Hazare or Arvind Kejriwal or the Jan Lokpal Bill or Rahul Gandhi show up printed on a slim piece of paper. Over and over again. I understand the significance of he turn of events in this regard and what bearing they’d have on the country’s future, I’m exasperated. I remember fighting the impulse to ask for another topic when I got this one.
The one minute to think passed away really quickly. Relativity, thou art a heartless bitch.
I began with how Gandhigiri is a much abused topic of late. With his ideals being hurled around endlessly in discussion, I was sure Gandhi himself had no idea what his simple actions would one day lead to. I carried forward my mood of exasperation by going a step further and claiming that I found that a movie series had managed to capture Gandhi’s essence and his ideals with much greater clarity than Anna Hazare. A minute ended.
Eventually, I made it to the second round which was one on one debating onthe sort of topics that do not ask for Google in distress.
The forty students shortlisted from Round 1 were paired into twenty teams and assigned topics successively, with four minutes to think and two rounds of speaking. I sharpened my knoves on others’ topics while I waited for my turn, when…
THBT Corruption is a necessary evil.
That warmth of familiarity spread across my unburdened chest as I was ushered into another quiet to for thought and ‘preparation’ for debating.
As i walked back in, I had ready two parallels I could draw: one being that a world with all light and no darkness would the most annoying one ever.
Elementary physics teaches us about friction which impedes forward motion and yet allows you to move forward.
I stressed on the impedance and moving forward, before moving on to state why it is necessary yet evil.
We all know why it is evil: bad people do bad things, use underhanded means to run the country which does bad things to the machinery of the country and yep, the country. We all know it is bad.
But why necessary? Because it breaks the level ground into snake pits and high hills, allowing the common man, the citizen to rise above the problems that plague them as an entity. It helps them do away with the complacency that would kick in had there been no corruption in our Utopian land.
Moreover, we’re a democracy. Of the people, for the people, by the people.
We have good sides and bad. To expect people to absolutely reign in their not-so-nice sides for the greater good is a tall order, i believe.
How many people in the room can claim to have never acted out of selfishness? -could have added this.
In what i believed would fill in a minute completely, I ended up spending a good portion of it staring uncomfortably at the judges and then my opponent till it was all over. She was too incoherent in speech for me to butt her arguments, so I seized the opportunity to expand my points and speak more clearly about them, drawing in on my experience as a Buddhist practitioner on viewing obstacles and suffering as springboards for growth.
I did not make it into the final top ten speakers. Yet, I left that building ecstatic.
- I was hungry and could finally manage to get lunch!
- I knew I had improved.
Brain hadn’t let me down!
- I do.
From having absolutely no reign over where my content went and how I spoke, not to mention that the ending of my sentences were often inaudible, today I managed to gather points relevant to the motion I was allotted and I made sense when speaking.
As the judge later agreed, I really need to take this bite-sixed and slowly.
I have to picture the audience as an unconcerned, uninterested layman and then speak. I lost points on body language too—I wasn’t quite sure of how to use my hands. It got really awkward after a while.
I also fought exhaustion and sleep later in the evening to catch a bit of the finals. Did i mention one of my friends was a finalist? She was!
- Body language
There’s still that story writing competition and extempore this Friday.