It was not a robo-war, neither was it a furious confrontation of junkyards unleashing themselves on each other like a Transformers movie. On the contrary, it was very humane and sophisticated, or so I was made to believe as I watched the participants fiddle with tiny materials provided to them including hair pins and ice cream sticks. As far as my mind allowed me to comprehend, the task was to make anything they could fashion out of the materials provided, that could move and probably lift things, hence the name Hydraulic Robot. But first, we had a problem.
The computer at the SCME class room, where sticks would soon be prancing about, refused to play the demonstration video of a hydraulic robot. Once that was sorted out, we moved on. The video was supposed to put the clueless participants out of their misery by giving them an idea of how to use the materials provided (translation: forget what was said earlier, their task was now to sneakily copy that and cleverly disguise the idea as their own). But can you really blame them for having that look on their faces? The one you have when no one’s home and you’re broke and you decide to fix some edible items on a plate but all you can find is frozen saag in a box clearly covered in a label of fancy ice cream.
It needs to be said, those brave soldiers went into the battlefield with sticks and rubber bands and all of them emerged with a… thing that has the potential to move about and… stuff. No, really, I watched them pour their heart and soul and brain power and the spiritual energy of a thousand realms before us into their work. Consistently, with necks bent over the tables, they worked with dedication and pleased the deity of labour. They will have MUCH gold when they are reincarnated next, I hear.
There was another bump in the road though.
This is what our event head mentioned to us when some tube like material could not be cut into pieces by the participants. Two people were sent to bring pliers from their rooms (perks of being a mechanical engineering student: having pliers and other handy tools to open soft drink bottles and whatnot any time you please). This problem was then smoothed over as soon as they returned with the required pliers.
Since the event was meant to go on for quite a long stretch, the organizing team decided to be innovative as well and shoot pieces of paper from a rubber band at a target. I don’t blame them. I almost decided to read a book online. Almost.
In the end, all the teams left the room with drooped shoulders and bent postures due to all the hard manual labour they performed while joining ice cream sticks with glue and tape. Tomorrow, it will be interesting to see who overthrows whom. There is a list of strong, capable contenders including Ra One, War Hawks, Avengers, Mechatrons, and Mad Geniuses. The game is on.
By Zohaa Wajid