From poetry to speaking, word games, and writing, Paradigm Shift had a wide range of funny and engaging events tailored to be challenging and interesting alike.
Paradigm Shift’s Slam Poetry took place on the 7th of March, on the first day of Revels 2018. The location of the event, the small patch of grass behind the Innovation Centre, lent to a calm and contemplative atmosphere for the event. The only disadvantage the location had was its proximity to the noisy food stalls, because of which some of the participants could not be heard clearly.
Participants recited pieces on a variety of topics, ranging from depression, love, friendship, gossip, anxiety, and even a laid-back one about a day on the beach. All the poetry was heartfelt and spoke explicitly about the poets’ feelings. The audience was very appreciative and supportive of the poets who were performing.
“The main purpose of the event,” said Event Head Vibhuti Sharma, “was to encourage aspiring poets and convince them that poetry is not dead. People are willing to listen to what you have to say.” She was impressed with the turnout for the event, as Slam Poetry has not seen a large number of participants in past years. She speculates that this could be attributed to the growing popularity of slam poetry in the country, with two poets, Aranya Johar and Yahya Bootwala, even being invited to perform at the closing ceremony of Revels.
A new addition to the Slam Poetry this year was the introduction of Hindi poetry. The event was well-received by participants and audience alike, and made for a captivating evening full of beautiful poetry.
Paradigm Shift’s Extempore tested how quick the students of MIT think on their feet, with three rounds of intense impromptu challenges. Round One consisted of a shipwreck scenario, with the judges having to choose between three characters arguing with each other to prove their life’s worth. With around 25 participants fighting to make it past the first round, the event proved to be a major success. Combinations of characters like Popeye, Bugs Bunny and Mario gave the participants a tricky albeit hilarious scenario to overcome.
Out of the twenty five participants, fifteen qualified to the next round of Extempore to prove their mettle in classic turncoat debate fashion. Each participant was given 4-6 minutes to prepare for their topic and had to speak for 90 seconds. The allotted time was divided into subsections in which they had to speak for and subsequently against the topic. Every tap on the table meant a switch in sides. A brief period of neutrality was introduced in the middle of the time limit. This gave the participants a breather of sorts in which they spoke as to how they were unaffected by either opinion on the topic.
Six participants qualified for the final round of Extempore and were each given an inane statement that they had to defend and prove to be true. Arguments ranged from references to the Illuminati to song lyrics, each being more ridiculous and hilarious than the previous one. After every speaker, there was a brief period in which the audience and the judges were allowed to ask questions to test out how well-thought out the presented theories were. The judging criteria were the innovation and ingenuity in the arguments presented and how well they were able to defend their points. It was an event that every participant left having enjoyed the tricky topics and challenging situations.
The first day of Revels witnessed students scattered across NLH 402 to participate in the first round of Faking News. The contestants were given one hour to write a quirky and funny report based on one of the two prompts given to them. There was no limit to the number of words.
Six participants made it through to the next round, in which they had to create fake reports based on video clippings shown to them. Incorporating popular culture, the organisers played clips from Game of Thrones and Harry Potter. The participants had to be witty and funny while presenting their fake news reports and could refer to things that were not even remotely related to the videos. They were given a preparation time of merely 2 minutes and had to be extremely prompt. Half of the contestants were eliminated and only three participants made it to the final round.
In the final round, which took place on the third day of Revels, the audience was also an integral part of the competition. The task for the finalists was to not lose their cool while the audience interrupted their speeches for different funny and ridiculous reasons. Each contestant had 10 minutes of time to come up with a hilarious press release on behalf of the organisation that they were associated with; based on a prompt they had been given. The audience was extremely lively, and the room erupted in laughter as the audience came up with incredibly funny questions for the participants.
In spite of all the heckling, the speakers did a fantastic job maintaining their composure and coming up with witty responses to all the questions from the audience members. The laughter never stopped since the audience actively participated throughout the event, and was an essential factor in making the event a success.
Paradigm Shift’s JAM (Just-A-Minute) event was held over the first two days of Revels. It saw a good participation of about thirty to forty students. According to the Event Head, Arun, despite the dearth of outstation participation, the event was well-attended due to the enthusiastic participation of the first-years.
The preliminaries began with an explanation of the event and its rules. Participants had to speak on a given topic for a stipulated period of time, with points being assigned to them for it. All the rounds for the preliminaries were HAMs (Half-A-Minute) with panels consisting of six participants. The moderator for the event was Mr. Sridhar Kamath, who is associated with the Manipal-Udupi Toastmasters Club. A demo round was conducted, during which the moderator cleared doubts about the rules of the event. This was followed by five competitive rounds. The event was a laughter riot and the topics given prompted amusing responses from the participants.
The event was moderated by Samir Kothari, an ex-President of The Literary, Debate, and Quiz Club of MIT Manipal on the second day. The semi-final had the added constraint of a ‘round-related delight.’ This was a small task such as singing a song, or telling a joke, and was decided by the moderator. Each time an objection was raised, the participant first had to complete the round-related delight or risk losing points. With interesting topics like ‘Karma Café does not give you a menu, you’re served what you deserve’ and ‘Atheists don’t like exponents because they involve higher powers,’ the speakers had a lot of scope for creativity in their speeches.
The six highest scorers in the semi-final qualified for the final round. The last round was a “disconnect” round, in which the participants were allowed to speak on any topic that had not already been talked about. This round really challenged the participants’ presence of mind, as they made bizarre connections between seemingly unrelated topics in a bid to JAM their opponents.
Prem Sinha, a participant, said that he enjoyed the frantic energy and competitiveness of the event. It required you be on your toes at all times, and to keep thinking of new things to say. A respite from the dry monotony of academics, this event was a humorous way to learn to think before you speak and to up your word-game.
Potpourri was an English language quiz that comprised fun word games like anagrams, puns, homophones, and codes. This event, under Paradigm Shift, was held on Day 3 and 4 of Revels. A preliminary written round was held on the first day. Teams of three members participated in the event. It witnessed a full-house, and some of the teams even had to be shifted to another classroom due to a lack of space. Rohith Nair, the Event Head, was not expecting such a large number of people to turn up. A staggering 40 teams took part in the written round. According to him, the fact that it was a fun, word game-based event, may have attracted such a large crowd.
Teams were given a duration of one hour to attempt the written round. It had participants tapping their brain cells to solve puzzles, anagrams, and recall pop culture references. An interesting segment of the test was ‘Shashi Says,’ in which participants had to identify famous movie dialogues that were presented using exaggerated language, that is, words that Mr. Shashi Tharoor would probably use.
Eight teams qualified for the finals of Potpourri, which was held on the last day. The final round had the teams battle it out in a variety of games. The first two rounds were a battle against time as the teams tried to solve a list of Ditloids, a type of word puzzle in which a common fact or phrase has to be deduced from the numbers and abbreviations given and sets of rhyming words based on the clues given. This was followed by the more animated and dynamic games of Mirror Pictionary, Twenty Questions, and Charades. The winning team, consisting of Sanjana Suresh, Anjana Suresh and Sachi Tengse said that they enjoyed Mirror Pictionary the most, as they had not expected such an innovative game to be included in the event. This event gave all the word-wizards and self-professed “grammar Nazis” a chance to showcase their skills.
Creative Writing, brought about by Paradigm Shift, was conducted on days three and four of Revels. The event saw some really interesting prompts and some amazing pieces from its participants.
The first round of the event was held on Day 3. The participants in this round were provided with a total of three prompts, one visual and two written. The participants’ task was straightforward. They could make use of any of the prompts to write a piece. The time limit for this round was one hour. The best writers from this round were selected for the second and final round.
The final round took place on the last day of Revels, Day 4. The participants had to write a piece using any one of three audio prompts in this round. The best entries in this round would win the event. Creative Writing was a well-organized event, seeing some great participation from Manipal’s literati. While understandably not interesting for the passive viewer, Creative Writing got a positive response from its participants.