Before I start typing the bitter words, let me congratulate all the winners, the reviewers and the full team of VSC 2018 on the successful conclusion of yet another Xossip Contest... Ohh I guess I need to put the emoji too to express myself correctly! Here it goes...
Now to the points of this post:
Why is VSC conducted in Hindi and English only, and not in other languages? It may sound silly because the RSC is knocking at the door, but my objection lies elsewhere.
There are two different competitions (VSC, USC) for stories written in the aforementioned languages but only one for the regional ones. Doesn't seem fair at all!
If the no. of entries in some of the languages appears to be insignificant then the organisers may think about not awarding the Dibba, but not allowing them whatsoever in the contest robs the opportunity of writing love stories in this auspicious occasion of V-Day of many a talented writers from the regional sections. The readers are also denied of some great creations in their own mother tongue.
How can stories written in two different languages that have almost no similarity in structure, evolution or origin can be clubbed together, judged and awarded points to? Even the cliched comparison of apples and oranges will fall short to describe their dissimilarity.
Moreover, the points table revealed an important information: all the four judges graded stories in both the languages out of 20.
To put it into perspective, the organisers team found FOUR
persons who have more than appreciable command over both Hindi and English. This is beyond imagination within the realm of Xossip. Why not allow the judges to assess the stories in their respective favourite languages and compare the tallies? It ultimately doesn't matter whether the total marks is 80 or 40.
What exactly is the purpose of a review? To get clear, objective, unbiased feedback from the readers so that the writer(s) gets an insight to his/her writing hitherto unknown to him/her, so that he/she can improve upon it... as well as to get a moral boost out of the accolades.
The second attribute is very valuable, no doubt. After all the ignition of the flame that is ever-subdued within a writer is more than thousand times precious than winning a mere contest.
But what about the first one? What about getting impartial scrutiny of someone's writing that improves the writer and pushes him/her towards the path of greater creations?
The review thread, I'm extremely sorry to say, became a festival of mutual back-scratching, a gala-celebration of mediocrity. Whoever was praised by a fellow writer, almost always felt the responsibility to return the favour in superfluous adjectives. What's more alarming is this ludicrous tendency was rewarded in terms of Xossip coins (though I refrain myself from taking any name).
It is essential to distinguish between 'good', 'very good', 'brilliant', 'outstanding'. They don't mean the same thing.
We must remind ourselves time and again that it's somewhat equivalent to doomsday for literature when writers start behaving like bureaucrats and put political correctness before honesty.
So those were my two (or should I say three?) cents. Nothing is perfect in human life... organising a contest, encouraging all to participate, run the whole extravaganza properly and then conclude it with precision- it's never an easy task. Mistakes are bound to be made, doesn't mean that the effort behind it was any less. We learn through our mistakes. That's why I believe the future contests will be a bigger success. Thanks to the entire Xossip team and the community for this experience.
You bad, bad Joker! My name is not Anandgopal... it's Anangapal. Repeat the mistake in future and I will start referring to you as Barbara Gordon!