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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The four days of SPICE -- Day 2, First half

I had set the alarm for 4 am, as 92 girls were sharing 2 showers. I was already a bit hungry: the previous night's dinner, though rice-based with enough curries etc. that we consumed in enough quaintity, it was taken earlier than most of us usually take dinner. Anyway, the second day was here, and we were to become acquainted with the routine that we would get used to by the end of the Congress. We freshened up at lightning speed -- after the long queue for the shower -- and rushed to the hall for the Morning Prayers at 6:30. The Rourkela Carmel students arranged the prayer and meditation session, which included songs and beautiful videos. By the time it ended, we were pretty hungry, and had a sumptuous breakfast of luchi and  dum aloo.
Then we had the day's first session, which was a Talk On Peace by Ms. Anindita Home Choudhury, an alumnus of our school and a vice-principal of a nearby school. She had her higher studies in Physiology, and teaches Biology in her school. She is also an educationist, and has spent time at the Drury University in the USA in this regard. The most interesting thing is that I have known this lady by face for a long time, as some teacher of importance at her school, as her school is often the centre for different competitive examinations that I answer. As I didn't know her name or anything else about her, I had no way of knowing that the nice teacher from HSM School I met several times was the person who would be coming. Her talk was engaging, and she spoke on a change in attitude towards problems, as in realizing how petty even the biggest of our problems is in the greater scheme of things. Her PowerPoint had lots of clever pictures which I intend to look up on the internet and collect. She interacted amiably and was comfortable to talk to. She also gave out two activity sheets, one to fill in our thoughts about peace in words or drawings, and the other to think and write down the differences in the attitudes of our heart and mind regarding the issue of peace. She looked at some of the sheets and asked for them to be read out. The 'heart' responses were more emotional and impulsive with more ambition than the more rational 'mind' responses. Unfortunately there was no time for all to share, which was a sad but inevitable thing in all the other sessions too.
Then we went downstairs for tea (and cookies!) break. I don't drink tea or coffee, so I attacked the cookies right away. Butter cookies, yum! Then we returned to the auditorium for the Local Unit Report Presentation, where each school reported on their SPICE Club activities in their own localities and within their schools. The reports were presented in creative ways. Almost everyone had a PowerPoint, and some included skits and dances. Carmel Keorapukur presented it in the form of news-reading like on television, which was interesting to watch. The next event was the first competitive event of the Congress. It was the Inter-Faith Dialogue. Each school was alotted a religion before the Congress, and one representative had to prepare a 6-minute speech on that religion. Lots were drawn to ascertain the order in which they would speak. The session was moderated very efficiently by Mrs. Rita Banerjee, who was also to be our resource person for the day's second session. My school's speaker drew 10, and had to go last. She had to sit there on stage and listen to each and every person before she could speak, poor thing. We were given Christianity. The Kharagpur speaker won this event. We didn't get a medal in this event; though our speaker spoke pretty well, it was not good enough for some very fiery ones that other schools delivered. The results, though, were declared in the second half: I mention them here as I'm going to write by event.
Then we went for lunch, which consisted of rice and a few curries, some veg and some non-veg, and dal.


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