Harsh Ketkar & Arnab Pal attended the Telecom Grandmasters Quiz organised by Symbiosis Institute of Telecom Management. Here is Harsh's report:
Disclaimer: Any resemblance to a cinema awards function is purely coincidental and unintentional.
First, the official description:
"Telecom GrandMasters 2005 had touched new horizons; Telecom GrandMasters 2006 would be a leap across the horizon. We, at SITM, set the pace for others, we believe in transforming dreams into reality. We have done it time and again and this time by going online for the preliminary round of the event for the second consecutive year. The Final Event in 2005 was graced by presence of Ms. Diana Hayden and Mr. Abhay Deol.
TGM 2005 itself was a "grand success", with the team from VIT, Pune bagging the first prize. The celebrities who graced the occasion included Diana Hayden and Abhay Deol."
Now, the real one:
Over 750 corporate as well as student teams across 22 cities in India participated in the quiz. The first celebrity guest was Shreyas Talpade and he kicked off the award ceremony, uh, quiz. (oops… sorry it is a quiz). The quizmaster had forgotten his name and kept on referring to him as Iqbal. After a small Q&A session with Iqbal, in which he tried to market his latest venture, he left, apologizing that he had a function to attend. That kept his presence short, and more importantly, sweet.
The next one to come was Sharad Kapoor.
QM: How was it like working with Mallika Sherawat in Murder?
Sharad Kapoor: Umm... It could have been called "Lust" or "Trust".
QM(on the stage): How was it like working with Mallika Sherawat in Murder?
Sharad Kapoor: Don't you watch movies?
QM: I do.
Sharad Kapoor: Then go and watch "Murder". I am not in it.
QM: Umm... That's why I asked you about it. Well, how did you find Pune's roads?
(Participants on stage smiling to each other)
Sharad Kapoor: Quite good. They are better than Bombay roads.
A loud gasp from the audience follows. (The poor guy has probably not travelled much in Pune to know the current state of roads.)
Then the QM suddenly realized that he is conducting a quiz and asked Mr. Kapoor to throw a few questions at the audience. Every correct answer received by Mr. Kapoor was greeted by a comment "Mind-blowing… Baap re baap."
After 4-5 rounds, it was the turn of Ashmit Patel (Aha! The questions got mixed up! That explains the "Murder" part), Aaditya Dutt (famous for directing "Aashiq Banaya Aapne"), and Geeta Basra, a Bollywood debutante. Together they promoted their new film "Dil Diya Hai". They said it was going to be a "different" film. And then the usual informal chat followed.
Here it goes...
QM: Nowadays we get to hear lots of new names like Ashmit Patel, Geeta Basra, etc... all non Kapoor khandaan names. How was it for you to make it big inspite of not being from a star family?
Ashmit: Well, It wasn't easy. But I feel that it is easier for women to make make it big in Bollywood.
Geeta Basra (with an imbecile smile): What are you saying, Ashmit? We have to work equally hard!
QM, audience and others: HAHAHAAHAAA!!
This went on for around 10-15 minutes. The participants (us included) used the opportunity to visit the toilet. The finalists on the stage just sitting and grimacing wondering how much longer will they have to tolerate this nonsense.
Oh yes, we forgot to mention about the quiz altogether. Here are a few of the "too tough, crackers, and blasters (according to the QM)" questions.
1.Where will be the FIFA world cup be held in 2010? (The team, to which this was posed couldn't answer it!)
2.What is the name of the social networking website started by a Google employee, and named after him?
3.What is the next version of Windows, previously called Longhorn, called?
4.What is the torro scale used to measure? (We answered "Hurricane", but no, it was wrong. The QM wanted "Tornado".)
5.In which year were the departments of Post and telecommunication separated?
6.How many bones does the human arm have? 29,30 or 33?
What were these questions doing in the mains?
The rounds were strictly okay for a national level quiz. There was a round of infinite rebound (bounce), the usual buzzer round, two "choice of subject" rounds, including a rapid fire round and a three question round; and a normal passing round with no IR. But the questions were absolutely bad. We don't blame the QM. He tried his best. There were instances when we answered the questions and the audience did not applaud. The poor folks are not to blame. The questions, which were outright sitters (“sitters” is a very charitable description, mind you, they were worse) were to blame. They should keep the students away from setting the questions and allow only pure quizzers to set the questions. If not, then they should outsource it. And the QM and the quiz setter should be the same person. Even inter-collegiate quizzes in Pune and the ones held informally at BCQC are better by a factor of ten.
The QM was irritatingly stubborn at times. There was a connect round, and the answer was "Windows 95" The team answered it like this: "Windows 98, uh 95". The QM refused to award the points to them. Now this is childish. If they have got the funda, why not just give it to them? But the QM thought otherwise.
Quizzes conducted by B-Schools usually are very well managed but this time round the overall organization of the quiz was found wanting. Also the quiz stretched on for almost 3.5 hours, which is too long, thanks mostly to our celebrity guests. We also think that the organizers should stop inviting celebrities to the quiz. They seem hopelessly out of place. Finally, they should cut down on the protocol and formalities; they are simply not required. As quizzers we just want a good quiz, and nothing else.
So will we participate next year? Very unlikely.
1.Jayakanthan R & Venkatesh N.A.
TCS, Chennai (125 points + tie breaker).
2.Sumeet Kaul & Chandan Mohanty
Infosys, Pune (125 points).
3.Harshvardhan Ketkar & Arnab Pal
College: VIT, Pune (120 points).