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Litstock’16

 Creative Writing
 Garima Singla 

With an aim to promote creative thinking, and use the colossal power of the mind to conjure ideas, ‘Creative Writing’s began at around 5:45 pm in room 307 of AB5 on 25th October. The room was filled with roughly fifteen young minds, all set to exhibit their thoughts on paper. The event head opined that they wanted to give a first hand writing experience to all the freshmen out there, and let them be imaginative and artistic. She further revealed that she was unhappy with the turn out this year, and that she had expected a more enthusiastic response from MIT’s first years.

Creative writing had two rounds, both of which were conducted on the same day. The first round required the contestants to write a piece of around four-hundred words with themes that demanded severe brainstorming. From writing a short story set in a funeral to incorporating the words comet, black rose, and sword in a write up, the subjects were abstract and random, ensuring that all the competitors dwell deep into the world of their imagination. The second round didn’t get any easier. Introduced in the event for the very first time, the participants were shown a picture on which they had to submit a thirty word write up in half an hour. The criteria for evaluating the contestants included grammar and a choice of words but heavy weightage was given to ideas as well. Creative writing was a prolific celebration of originality and words. Litstock’s very first event started off with a bang, setting high standards for the rest of the event.

OPEN QUIZ
Anshumanth TN Rao

The Open Quiz was named the ‘Holy Trinity Quiz’, the theme being the big three of the fantasy world: Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Game of Thrones. If anybody found this redefinition of The Holy Trinity blasphemous, they held their tongues.

In the preliminaries held on 27th October, teams of three had to answer a written test consisting of twenty five questions. With eight of these fifteen-odd teams making their way to the finals. The finals consisted of five rounds; two dry rounds, a round with Star Wars memes having blacked out lines to be guessed, and a GoT themed task. The final round had questions like those in the dry rounds, but each answer was connected in some way. Figuring out the link between them would fetch valuable bonus points. The teams got very competitive, and an argument ensued when one of the teams argued that Robb’s unborn child ought to be on the list of Starks who died on the show. Another contestant silenced their claim by challenging them to name the baby (we can always count on Game of Thrones for a healthy dose of drama).

The quiz was more about figuring out the answers than knowing a lot of facts, as the questions were framed in a complicated way, necessitating the use of logic. While the two top-placed teams secured their positions a few questions before the end, the third place was fought over by three teams till the final question. The well framed questions, and the passion of the participants carried the quiz forward with a lot of energy. “Making a quiz is hard. We spent two weeks on this. The fact is quizzing is like our religion, and it’s probably the best thing that’s happened to me in college,” said Rajdeep Dasgupta, one of the quizmasters, speaking at the end of the event.

JAM
Adhiraj Ghosh

The Literary, Debate, and Quizzing Society, decided to tickle the grey matter of first year students by organizing a JAM, short for Just-A-Minute, as a part of Litstock on 27th October at AB5 307.

Effectively decimating the misconception that evaluation of English language is limited to a few hours in the classroom, the many rules of JAM were meticulously explained.  To ensure everyone grasped the concept, a sample JAM was demonstrated by the members of LDQ. After the sample session, began two rounds of selection, the top three of each round, went on to form the final six. Participants, and attendees were treated to outrageously hilarious topics like “A radioactive cat has nine half-lives” which were deliberated upon. Jokes were cracked, tables were banged, and pick-up lines were nervously muttered.

“We expected novices. Needless to say, we were pleasantly surprised. Everyone was able to grasp the rules with ease which led to an intense competition”, explained Shagun Nevatia. When questioned why the rules and regulations of JAM culture were so stringent and detailed, he responded “There is an intense JAMming scene in South India. We are training everyone for what is out there.”

Contestants and on-lookers were both equally confounded at what they witnessed. Anirudh Kamath had this to say “It was my first shot at a JAM, and it was great fun. Organizers made sure we understood the procedures. It was a great experience, and I’ll be looking forward to the other events held by LDQ.”

Potpourri
Sriya Koduru

Intended to test one’s knowledge of the English language and its apt use for communication, one of the several subcategories of Litstock was Potpourri.

The preliminary round required a team of three to tackle some of the most well-crafted word puzzles and rebuses. Due to a shortage of time, this round was skipped, and the event boiled down to three challenging tasks- Mirror Pictionary, Clock Charades, and 20 Questions. The objective of Mirror Pictionary was to convey a certain phrase or idiom to one teammate using adroit drawing skills, who will in turn try to convey the same phrase using actions to the third teammate. Clock Charades was another task that required team effort, with every participant trying their level best to convey the name of a movie to the person standing to their immediate left/right. No words were to be spoken in either of the rounds. The final round tested the communication skills of the team as a whole, with two members of each team trying to guess the name of a famous fictional character with questions that mandated either a yes or no as an answer.

“Despite the turnout, we put all our effort into participating. It was a lot of fun, and it was surely not as easy as it looked”, says Upaasana, one of the participants. The same feeling resonated with all three contesting teams, who were thoroughly impressed with the quality of the event.The organizing team of Potpourri did a splendid job of spiking the audience’s interest, and an even better job at conducting the event with zeal and passion.

Slam Poetry   
Anshumanth TN Rao

LDQ organized a Slam Poetry on the 25th of October as one of the events of Litstock. The classroom in AB5 where it was held had undergone a beautiful transformation courtesy of softly lit fairy lights adorning the table that set the mood for what was coming.

“You write something when you want to express yourself. Every word you jot down has some emotion behind it. Slam Poetry is all about bringing out that emotion on stage, and performing it for an audience so they get to feel what you felt while writing it,“ said Sayani Sarkar, the event head, as she introduced Slam Poetry to the contestants.

A total of seven participants performed on a wide variety of themes from the pain of dying soldiers, and teenage crushes to deep metaphorical portrayals of pessimism. The organizers punctuated the performances with a couple of videos of Slam Poetry by renowned performers. Each delivered a powerful message, and also served to show the participants what Slam Poetry at its highest level is like. The three judges also shared their work, their brilliant recital eliciting loud snaps (a Slam Poetry tradition that was explained by the organizers) from the audience. The videos and the performances breached topics like depression and the sexuality which while most people are not usually comfortable talking about, found a receptive audience in the attendees.

Speaking after the conclusion of the event, Sayani Sarkar said that she would have expected some stage fright or nervousness from the first years, but she was surprised by the confidence displayed. The results of the event were announced immediately after the event, ending an evening of memorable performance poetry.

Extempore
Rhitam Dutta 

LDQ’s Litstock paved way for a well-groomed extempore to take place in our very own MIT campus. On their arrival, the competitors were greeted with smiles and were explained the rules of the competition. After a few procedural inquiries by the competitors, the first round called “Block and Tackle” (not to be taken literally) began. Each person was handed a topic of their own choice and he/she had to speak on it. After the event head uttered “block”, they had to speak against that topic sans any pause.

LDQ upped the ante with their next round, ‘Shipwreck’. Four competitors were placed in an imaginary sinking ship. Each competitor was given the name of a person and for fifteen minutes they had to be that person and argue over why he/she out of the four deserved to be saved. A scene not to be missed was Miley Cyrus convincing people why she was more important than Narendra Modi.

There was a short break where the event head tallied all the scores and declared three winners who could play the final round ‘Hence Proved’. A perfect way of proving the winner, the final round was all about establishing a proper coherent connection between two random events. The three finalists were given two events and along with a 30-minute prep time. In the prep time allotted, they were expected to explain why the event A resulted in event B. An example of this being, proving why Instagram’s new logo was better because Sherlock’s season 4 came in late. Craziness was the key for winning this round, as the proof was welcomed to be as deranged and fictional as possible.

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