In the hope of starting the year with some silverware, a team comprising Arjun Singh, Armaan Verma, Yash Dewan and myself, escorted by RKM, set off for Bishop Cotton School, Shimla to participate in the 22nd Revd Dr Samuel Slater Memorial Debates. As we climbed the hills, there was pressure on us to clinch success. Our trip began with a journey through the hills, reaching the quaint town of Shimla in the evening after hours in a car. Pitted against La Martinere Boys, Lucknow in the first round, we debated the motion ‘It is a bad idea to introduce democracy in the Middle-East’, which we won easily. Our next day involved tackling Pinegrove School in a debate about Kim Jong-un and his eccentricities - which was lively both during the debate and after it as well, where we secured a unanimous win.

Intensive preparations throughout the night built confidence for our debate against the Scindia School, where we defended the controversial decision to demonetize India, with another clean sweep victory. Having reached the Quarter-Finals, we debated against our longtime friends from The Shri Ram School, Moulsari, once again defending Modi on the new Goods and Services Tax. After an enthusing debate, we took a stroll around Shimla with recent opponents from Shri Ram along with the Vasant Valley School, New Delhi. After a very enjoyable outing, the team scooped back into prep-mode for the Semi-Final Round against La Martinere Boys, Kolkata. Defending the motion Feminism might do to men today what the past did to women, we spoke passionately about the new developments in the feminist movement, particularly it’s extremist groups and gave our opposition a run for their money. Despite our performance, however, we were adjudged to be the defeated team, a decision which we took with a heavy heart.

Although we didn’t secure victory, we certainly learnt a lot - which is a successful accomplishment itself. From the Ridge and Mall Road of Shimla, to the courtyard of Bishop Cotton, this trip surpassed our expectations in both grit and leisure, and were pleased to have had a memorable experience in more ways than one.