War of the Words—LitStock’18 by LDQ
Manipal Freshers’ Quiz Tournament
LitStock’18 is an exclusive freshers fest hosted by The Literary, Debate, and Quiz Club of MIT Manipal. Manipal Freshers’ Quiz Tournament (or MFQT) is one of their most popular events with students pouring in from all over MAHE to showcase their general knowledge. The event had two rounds: the prelims and the finals. The prelims were hosted on the first day of LitStock’18, and the finals took place on the last day.
The quiz had around 35 teams which mostly comprised of teams of two, while the inclusion of outstation participants added an extra element of excitement to the event. The preliminary round consisted of 25 questions, and it was entirely a written quiz. Hints were given on request, but other teams could shout out ‘Block’ to prevent the organisers from providing clues, and this provided some comic relief to the otherwise tense environment. The quiz had brain teasers, confusing Connects and direct general knowledge questions that the participants had to work hard to crack. The prelims concluded with nine teams making their way into the second round.
The finals had five rounds and in contrast to the prelims, each of the five rounds had different rules associated with it. There were two written rounds which were connected by a common theme while the other two had general questions, following the ‘bounce or pounce’ style, wherein the questions were passed on to the next time if a team failed to give the right answer.
“College quizzing differs from what the first years have seen in school and Litstock’18 is conducted every year to help ease them into college-level quizzing,” said Ashwin Mathur, the Event Head.
Freshmen with a penchant for oratory and discourse were in for a treat at LDQ’s event, ‘Extempore’. The room was abuzz with excitement despite the small crowd of eight participants as they awaited a briefing of the first round, Shipwreck. The participants were split into two groups and asked to pick a chit that decided which character and superpowers they would hold. Based on their choice, they were given a minute to speak in their defence, listing out the reasons to be saved first in case a ship capsized with them on board. A fun, no-rule chaotic debate followed the opening statements, as participants shouted over each other to prove their characters the best. As a conclusion, the participants provided a closing statement reiterating why their characters deserved to live more than the others, before breaking up for round two.
Shortlisted candidates were in for a surprise as they were given topics to self-debate on. The judging criterion was the ability of the participant to switch between speaking for and against the cause, as a moderator exclaimed ‘block’ and ‘tackle’ intermittently. Finalists were further challenged in the last round wherein they had to give a speech on subjects completely disconnected from each other. The given subjects had to be linked together using any and all means, such that a coherent chain of thought existed between the two disjoint topics. Points were awarded to those who convincingly and effortlessly merged their themes into an acceptable string of words.
“I anticipated a formal debate environment but the inclusion of imagination and originality created a new learning experience for me“, observed finalist, Saharsh Ranjan. The event successfully managed to spill the creative juices and increased the confidence of the newbies as they set foot into university life.
The Football quiz, organised by LDQ under LitStock’18, was a dream come true for fans of the beautiful game. Since it was an open event, students from all years and many different colleges took part. Conducted by first-time quizmasters Ranjib Rudra & Praneeth A R, the quiz began with a lot of enthusiasm from the participants who finally had the chance to make use of their knowledge of football. The questions were mostly football fundas but they also included events from the lives of notable football players, such as the murder of Andrés Escobar after the 1994 World Cup.
The prelims tested the participants on their all-around knowledge of football—from managerial contracts to the rules and regulations of major footballing tournaments. The crowd reaped the benefits of their efforts as all the nights spent watching matches and hoping for their favourite teams to win had equipped them with the tools to beat their opponents with ease. The heated discussions about players and team tactics paid off as the top teams breezed through the questions and found themselves in the final round.
Majority of the teams that qualified for the finals consisted of first-years who had nailed the funda related questions. The quiz got even more challenging as the final round was a deeper dive into the intricacies of the game. All the teams in the finals competed fiercely but there could be only one winner although two teams tied for the runner-up position.
“It was my first time being the quizmaster so making the quiz required a lot of effort and research but it was an awesome experience. The participants were true football fans with an absolutely sound knowledge of the game,” noted Ranjib Rudra, the quizmaster.
Manipal Freshers’ Writing Tournament
Hosted with the intention of getting students to take a break from their monotonous lives, the event, JAM, was unlike anything that the contestants had seen before. They were expecting it to be a regular session where they would get a topic on which they would have to speak for a minute, but here the game was turned against them. Although the students were taken aback by the new format, reality sunk in when the organisers explained the rules to the students and showed them what a professional JAM looks like. Some of the rules were made to ensure that the same concepts were not reused while others prevented the participants from wasting time with unnecessary pauses and filler words.
Each round consisted of three sections, each having its own topic full of puns, delights, and constraints. HAMs (Half-A-Minute) like ‘The 3rd highest pile of wooden bricks is Mt. KanchenJenga’ got everyone chuckling while delights, such as playing the game of 1, 2, buzz… to raise any objections, made gaining points seem impossible. Constraints such as avoiding words starting with ‘S’ or using a Hindi word in the first eight words of each speech magnified the scope of committing mistakes. If the players were articulate and abided by the constraints, wordplay and rhyming schemes fetched them a couple of extra points.
LDQ’s efficient publicity brought in around nine people who were in to get decimated by the tough constraints and delights that the game had in store for them. For the first round, they were divided into two different groups and evaluated. The top four scorers from the first round proceeded to the final round. The atmosphere of the final round was extremely tense, yet the use of witty puns by both the JAM master and the contestants continued to lighten the mood. Saharsh Ranjan who won the first place with a considerable lead said, “The first round was a lot of fun as everyone was new to the game but the final round was super intense.”
A dimmed room, with decorative fairy lights adorning the walls, AB5 302 was given a complete makeover on the 17th of October as LDQ hosted ‘Slam Poetry’, an event that had freshers excited beyond measure. The atmosphere was perfect for an evening of beautiful and soulful verses. With around 15 participants ready to weave magic with their words, most of whom were freshers from various colleges under MAHE, the event began with the judges, Ishan and Anarghya, explaining the difference between normal poetry and slam poetry.
The first few speakers were board members from LDQ who set the tone with their poetry, giving the freshers a feel of how their poems should be. For most of the participants, their nervousness was evident as they tried to perform in their first slam. Despite that, the organisers and judges were impressed with the participants’ calibre as their words touched the audience members. The judging criteria for every participant were their content, stage performance and voice modulation. There were more than a few speakers who shone brightly in all these categories, with MIT fresher, Ishrit Gupta bagging the first place.
Poetry is an art form that gives the writer a freedom of expression and slam poetry with its soul-touching words had a major impact on the audience. A few of them had even ventured to perform their own pieces outside the competition. With such an involvement from the audience as well, the entire event was reminiscent of the Dead Poets Society. Slam Poetry was a hit among the freshers with the participants eager for events of the same kind in the future.
Image Credits: The Photography Club, Manipal