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Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Participated in the open NMIMS Sports and General quizzes held on site over the weekend—more precisely culminating at 5 am on Sunday morn.

Met Parnab M in the flesh for the first time. Had heard a lot about him through multifarious sources, and hence was of some novelty value.

Will begin at the beginning.

Nope, we did not win.

Managed a 3rd in the Sports quiz and edged out of the medals in the General.

That itself did not, does not hurt.

Partnered my best friend from school, Sameer in the two-member Sports quiz, qualified , with surprisingly greater resistance than we had envisaged, led till the last round before as is my wont, things fell apart.
( A separate post on Sameer later whom I’ve known since 1985. Wow !) .

Fell to Delhi Bengali dudes—bankers, students et al. (Ed--That's the worst form of stereotyping yet )

Cobbled a coalition in the four-member General –with Vibhendu, Saif and Abhishek, qualified easily enough and again were outmuscled when it counted. Unlike the previous quiz, we did not look like ever winning this.
Ditto w r t the winners.

NMIMS knows a lot about kitschy RDB, Choreography, Informals, Strobe Lights

Quizzing ??

I move on.

Just a humble way to separate fact from opinion because I now will dive deep into the Mystery of the QM—the aforementioned Parnab M.

On last count, I am still ambivalent about the QM.

As the Gentle Reader will know, this is the person who asks questions without cue cards, an aide-de-memoire, a prompter, those PowerPoint slides that I so abhor, or any discernible media. I wallowed in this all night and was yet unable to come up with a way to explain this fully..

Maybe a miracle of memory, a freak, a pattern that none of us have been clever to detect, any of the reasons are probable. As Vibhendu says, his theatre background could have helped cos’ most actors are required to learn books by rote.

The trouble is, for all my scepticism, I was able to fathom only one “bad” question. Bad, not because it was simple and we did not get to answer it, but in terms of the depth needed, this one q fell far afoul of the standard set and maintained throughout the event.

To be fair, many well-worded questions did not fit the litmus test of Truth and meandered more on the fictitious, cooked-up, constructed and connived. This is an allegation that I was familiar with , and hence prepared when confronted with this. No getting away from it, ‘tis a tough task to grope for the answers if there is an element of duplicity and “effect” in the question itself. I don’t even know if our fellow finalists found it as hard to stomach as we did. Maybe…

I still think he redeems himself with the sheer repertoire and variety explored. For a long time , Sports questions dealt with more than Wimbledon, EPL, NFL, F-1, World Series, World Cups and the ilk. And general stuff found a voice well beyond some rotten fundas about H2G2, Tolkien, Dylan, Amitabh, RDB, and some trite Hollywood factoids. in an even representation of subjects—History, Politics, Lit, Science etc.

Most straddled diverse fields even in Sports—Fair Play awards, Coaches, Chess, Fencing, Volleyball, Associations, Athletics, and interesting takes on c & f.

Of course, there was more than a pronounced tilt towards Bengali ways of life, North Indian art, Lit, Theatre and NGOs—deprecatingly called jholawallahs. We were caught in the headlights as most of the questions whizzed by and tuned to the luxurious “ Hey, it’s time-Now can you give us an answer ?” demeanour of our circuit, we froze. Frenetic pace and our own palpable discomfort with the bewildering array was our undoing. A refreshing change from looking at an “easy” answer too.

Additionally, I must say he’s just—inasmuch that I liked the authority with which he clamped down on audience murmurs, and even the rare fisticuffs between teams on stage ( Was the receiving end myself , when a particularly revolting Faiz+ Khadi+ Jhola+ Long hair geek had me seething ). Also reluctantly admired his open scathing imprecations of Derek, the “prostitu tionalizing” of quizzing, etc.

Am vacillating as to my final pronouncement, but meanwhile
Hey, how does he do it ?



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