Sunday, January 15, 2012

"Tum mein se J. Ramanand Kaun Hai?"

It's rather strange to be one of those visiting a BC session from pastures of a greenish hue elsewhere, given the fond memories of welcoming the stalwarts every December while I was still an earnest COEP lad, clad occasionally in that surprisingly office-worthy grey and white uniform. But attend a BC session is exactly that I did, when I showed up on Sunday afternoon at the BC for the first time in two years.

I arrived 20 minutes after announced time, but tardiness standards seemed to have only gotten worse. Quorum of about 7-8 people was achieved only by 2:20 or so (I was the second person on the scene) and questions for the day were being set by Avaneendra, a face who I have gotten to know recently as someone whose enthusiasm for the sport is second only to the great Dada who many here will fondly remember (he finally graduated!). But apart from Suraj there was no really familiar faces -- and a few were completely new.

Part of the charm of these old visits would be the Old Stalwarts Still in Town (OSSiTs) telling us stories about Old Stalwarts Visiting Towns (OSViTs) and warning us of fantastical proclivities that these question bearing, quiz-starved fiendish OSViTs would bring. I would lap it up with relish. There was none of that here unfortunately, and while the group was a motley bunch, no of them seemed fledgling or in need of any particular instruction. They all seemed rather accomplished and sure. None of that old edgy class structure.

My initial queasiness was however soon put to bed. First was the mention of Tim TeBow. Pre-BC session banter is always a discussion to behold. Each person would come bearing stories of newspaper articles they had read, movies they had watched, British TV shows from the BCL they had borrowed and these stories and recommendations would then be swapped. There was a lot of that, albeit the sources were almost always some person's twitter feed or some facebook page, that erm, I'm ashamed to admit am "too busy" to peruse. I was happy however to be witness to this live social bookmarking / recommendation engine in action. Much fun was had. In particular, there was this hilarious recounting of jokes about the Chennai couple who published an ad asking for IIT sperm donors. (What's common between a sperm and an IITian? They have a one in a million chance of becoming a human being.) -- After more dissecting of Dhoni's ban, and commentary from the India-Australia series the session began in earnest.

I don't know if this is the normal standard these days, but Avaneendra's questions were really good. The actual quizzing was equally fun, though it would have been nicer to have more people. The guessing was fun and witty like in the old days.
The only aberration was when it struck me that no one was scoring! (my old job). I was aghast at this sudden friendliness amongst the quizzing fraternity in Pune, but I let it pass. There was also the usual peter where someone asked a question that everyone except the QM thought was obvious (this time, Led Zeppelin's logo/emblem thing). Ah, it was exactly like old times!

I missed JR and some of the old gang though. I was not alone. BC sessions at this time of the year often co-incide with training for Punt Formation, a program where COEP first years are trained to punt boats I presume but these fierce looking nazi-style commanders. One of these commander types walks up to me and asks quietly while the questions are in progress:

Authoritarian Leader : "Tum mein se J. Ramanand kaun hai?"
Me (a little surprised : "Woh aaj nahi aaya hai"
Authoritarian Leader : "Haan, main jaanta usko"

and quietly leaves. Clearly a few of us left an impression.

Despite my enthusiasm, there is stuff that has changed. At least as observed in my one session. Most strikingly, past low brow habits of misal-pav and chai at Shabree after sessions has been replaced by, hold-your-breath, beer at Bamboo House! I even hear of entire sessions being conducted at the Bamboo House with beer and food in tow. While this seems like a most pleasurable experience on paper, I must strongly protest this violation of tradition. I as a hazy eyed oldtimer am willing to put up with most changes but this one? It strikes at the very roots of the T-Shirt I had excavated for this very purpose.

It said, in white pretty embroidered letters along my breast pocket 4 distinct words:

"Boat Club Quiz Club"


Ramanand said...

Perhaps I knew you were going to be in attendance ;-)

Couldn't come because I had a day long meeting on Sunday - you can say, a non-quizzing BC session of different kinds.

Till next time.

Maitreyi Gupta said...

I was there too ! Or do I not count as a quizzer?

George said...

the greatest trick JR ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist ... time for me to unpack an even older T-shirt from another era at the lawns ... (time to dye the toupée)

Ramanand said...

At least I am no Murtuza Arzai :)

Vcat said...

I answered 1.5 questions and it was a good show. The BHQC starts past 430p, I gather.

Gaurav said...

JR, you are Azor Ahai.