Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Pragya - The quiz in Rennaissance at Bharati Vidyapeeth

This quiz will be right up there in the Hall Of Quizzing Disasters. We got some premonitions of what was awaiting us when the elimination paper had MCQs with gems such as "Where was the FICCI annual meeting held this year?"
a)Calcutta b) Madras c) Bombay d) Ahmedabad

I had teamed up with Anirudh Kasbekar and we got a call at ten PM saying that we had qualified. On reaching the venue, we found out that Dani and Ganesh's team hadn't qualified. They are the India specialists and their performance was definitely better than ours. In fact, no VIT team had qualified. We had written our college name as only PICT, although Anirudh hails from VIT. Maybe that was the reason we got through. A new innovation at the quiz was the selection of FIVE teams. The quizmasters seem to be devout numerologists. The teams were from PICT/VIT, MESCOE, 2 BVP and AFMC.

The first round progressed well. The next one was a buzzer audio, video round. The buzzers were the most technologically advanced ones available in the neighborhood sarkari office. Just push the plunger and it goes ting-tong. The priority resolution? No problemo. They had trained audio experts who had finely honed auditory powers that enabled them to decide who pressed first. Curiously, those who pressed with greater gusto seemed to prevail over those who pressed first. Over buzzer was the latest model where they had done away wit the tumblers also. It had a hole wherein you had to insert an old marker pen and press it down for it to buzz. When the auditory expert's decision seemed to consistently go against the AFMC team, they got irked and stormed to the well and were somehow placated. The next question, they and an other team pressed the buzzer simultaneously. And, the AFMC team, having blundered in thinking they had ringed first, blurted out the answer. The quizmaster was furious at this blasphemy and fined the AFMC guys TEN points. Their shell-shocked expressions would have provided them practice on how to react in the battlefield when shrapnel are flying all around them. The guy manning the computer had the habit of playing a new audio question without intimating us. This led to some teams (including us) thinking that the previous question was been played fully and not the next ones. Many times, we were jolted into reality only when the BVP buzzers rang out all around. The next blooper occurred at the end, when there was a tie for both the first and third places. The teams from MESCOE and BVP decided to play it safe and forgo the tiebreaker. The organizers initially agreed. Then they declared that the first prize will be shared by the two teams and the second prize and third prizes will go to the other two teams. Soon, we realized that the second placed team would get more than the winning teams. This was not at all what they wanted. The teams tied for the first place protested vigorously and the tiebreakers took place. The question in the tiebreaker was "Who was the second Prime minister of India." The winning team answered correctly but the QM was adamant that they were wrong. Then, he declared the President's name. Unfortunately, he named the second Prime minister of India. The question was scrapped after five minutes of passionate debate. Then was the turn of the AFMC and BVP playoff for the third place. The QM read "How many centuries did SRT score in…." and AFMC pressed the buzzer. The QM stopped midway and looked at them with an expectant and gloating face. Flabbergasted, AFMC requested that he complete the question. They were not heeded and had to answer. They said '34'. With a positively mirthful expression, the QM answered. "Wrong. I meant in International matches. And the answer is 31." I still have a nagging suspicion that if the QM had receive 31 as an answer, he would still have given it wrong and revealed gloatingly that he had wanted the no of total centuries. All in all, this was a quiz that will linger in my memory for a long time to come.

p.s The audience consisted of all eight people while there were six organizers on stage.

Nikhil Kundargi

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