In a bid to “felicitate the creativity of the students and capture the festivity of this season’s first major snowfall”, the Jammu and Kashmir government announced a maiden Photography Competition for the students to come up with imaginative ideas. But the announcement came late, as the snow is already melting. The weather conditions have improved since the last three days.

At 7:30 PM on January 8, the Information Department released a news bulletin to announce the contest. The bulletin said, “To participate in the Competition, the snowman or snow sculpture have to be made and 2 to 3 good quality and high-resolution photographs of the same from various angles have to be clicked by the students. The videos or pictures related to the fun activities associated with the snow art can also be submitted.” The news has been carried by local dailies in January 9 edition.

The official handout says that the contest will be open to two categories of students including age group of 15 to 17 years and 18 to 25 years. “All artworks created after January 6, the day of first major snowfall of this season shall be eligible for the contest… The winners will walk away with handsome prizes at each level with the topmost prize of Rs 1 lakh at the State level,” the handout adds.

Though the idea is nice, the timing seems inappropriate. There are some logical constraints for the contestants.  In the last three days when there has been a significant improvement in weather conditions, most of the snow has already melted. Even in Srinagar, the snow left is just three to four inches.

Most of the sculptors, including the one which my sister made at our home, has deformed. The snowman, which looked like a cute teddy on the first day, now resembles a dead, decomposed guinea pig!

Everyone in Kashmir knows that the ideal time to make snowman or take its pictures is on the day of the snowfall when the snow is soft. Next day onwards, the snow hardens, melts or gathers dust, depending upon weather conditions. This time it melted faster.

We live in the age of hi-tech weather forecast.  The weatherman had already predicted heavy snowfall over a week back. So it seems that this photography contest is a belated announcement from Directorate of School Education.

The government could have announced the contest well in time giving students due period to prove their skills. Or, did the government expect students to have some sixth sense to prepare for the contest when it was even not announced? The aspirants who didn’t capture pictures in time will literally cry over melted snow!