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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

IN (CON)SUMMATION—Part D-Uh !

So, after an exegetical narration of the Sports Quiz, we turn to the shenanigans of the General Quiz. After an eternity sorting out teams, realizing painfully that we were well short of chairs/seats, the Elims began for those brave enough to still hold out. This was at about 11 PM, remember ! Four member teams invariably engender incontrovertible bedlam and enjoin upon a participant to consult not one, but three worthies—which can be a problem if the propinquity of a member of a rival team is higher than your own partners’. ( Which reminds me of a family member asking me famously during a football match if the players knew whom they were passing to ) .

Again, the usual ad-libbing from the QM in lieu of question papers, and maintained a commedable width. We sleepwalked our way into a Finals spot, again missing out on some gettable ones but not paying for ’em. Grabbed a sandwich and a hot cuppa during the break, which could anyway be insufficient for a heavy diner. Settled in to what would be a mammoth affair as there were eight teams on stage and twelve rounds meant a whopping 108 questions. (Ed-That's 96!)We were assured that dawn would break before we were through, as indeed it did !

The pace of the questions and the vibrancy ensured that there would be no birds who turned in early for the night. We drew Spot 7, and eventually ended up fourth –Teams 1, 6 & 8 garnering the medals, so perhaps another bout of subdued caviling against the D & P. I only wish we could blame that for the mess that we got ourselves into !

A mixed sprinkling of finalists—Delhi & Bombay, ensured that there was ability on offer to match the nip-and-tuck of the QM’s arsenal. There was more than an element of attainability in most topics as questions were composed, framed and recited in a blaze of what is called “emotional memory” in the Method school of acting ( Ed:-I see, the association with Vibhendu is noticeable !).. Although we fluffed a few and hence were perhaps never in the reckoning for Top Dog honours, we more than redeemed ourselves with a few decent gets.

Now to two aspects which stand out—One was that although we were familiar with the overdose of cooked “kitchen” questions, their arrival during the Finals came on with the suddenness and intensity of a summer downpour. Our hitherto steady radars careened over the sails, as we got sucked into the annoying and unfruitful vocation of poking fun at the questions, and their specious origins and applications. What could have tipped us over could be that very early on, we got questions on subjects that we felt rather passionately about—athletics and Shyam Benegal, that were patently wrong. What made matters worse was that one of the winning teams managed to get the answer which the QM had. I let myself down too as in my obduracy, I refused to heed my partners’ invocations to simply focus on the next question.

The second is that for once, we aimed higher rather than lower , and lamented. Let me explain—Throughout my quizzing stint, I have encountered situations when I’ve said Malivai Washingron, and the answer has been, say Krajicek. Or said Ravi where it has been RDB. So consciously, we had programmed ourselves to give more popular, more known, more feted answers. For once, the shoe was on the other foot as time after time, we erred answering Marquez when it was Llosa, and Alex Haley when it was Alice Walker (an example). Another technical adjustment which we only realized towards the third quarter, a tad too late. Anyway, held on gamely for third till we were pipped to the post.

Now, for the Day of Disillusionment at JBIMS—a whetting quadruple event melee with Literature, Sports, General & Business quizzes on display. Again the whom-to-partner conundrum, for Sports, as Saif made himself available against odds.

Even as I was my physical worst—stoned beyond recognition, the Lit event began and the excruciating agony of having to look up at the screen to read the questions. Material was primarily a biographical litany, as we put ourselves under considerable pressure as we groped and grasped. Could have made it to the Finals with greater ease. As stated earlier, this was one event that we had wanted to win, as both our collective interests, proclivities and inclinations lay in related areas, and we thought ourselves equipped to handle most facets of the field. Not to be , as questions intransigently focused on literary biography, and stayed there. Just the odd India question, as a cursory analysis of the questions would reveal a marked bias for the years 1850 to 1925 with a preponderance of The Continent- Russia, and France vying for top honours. We found material on libidinous nocturnal habits, trigger-happy tyros, parsimonious writers as Literature was jettisoned casually, and Literary Biography took its place.. The Connections questions were all repeats as our collective ignorance of the classics cost us dear. Although, we admittedly muffed some sitters, this was easily our worst performance as we had a Dracula day. Nothing went right—we didn’t find our range, didn’t combine at all, and we didn’t even get what we knew. Terrible show on a loved topic !
Kunal and Nikhil won deservedly.

The Sports Elims began ( Finals held back to back) with Sameer taking over from Vibhendu, again leaving the latter to Saif’s wiles. Some passably decent questions as personally, I had never doubted our qualifying. Made the cutoff by a long way as our analysis revealed, we got a grand 1.5 out of the first 10 on our first page—F-1 and other excrescences engendering three majestic half-pointers, and raked in 12 of the next 15—tennis, football and cricket. Strange set up for the finals as two IR rounds were divided by a (needless) AV Buzzer Round. Did okay in both IR rounds but were walloped by a resurgent SVCE team(the Univ Challenge champs, I'm told!) on the buzzer, our aging reflexes shown as they creamed all teams effortlessly. And the Buzzer was the difference as they won in a canter, facile win. On our part, I can say that I did not like the questions, as they veered between the commonly trivial, or the forcedly arcane. The width was depleted, seldom moving beyond the obvious sports and hence the overall quality palled.

The General quiz post both finals was soporific, skewed and a yawn-fest as the questions took our breath away with the imbecility and warped logic. Our adamance in not moving closer to the screen ensured we drew a blank in the Visuals, a sanitised Zero on eight. Some heinous factual errors in the Elims ensured a complete apathy to the results, and we assured ourselves that even if we had done our best, that would have not been enough. The Finals, as we watched from the tramlines, were framed thus—These are four pictures, , three connections, ten points ,two connections, five points, and so on..
Revolting !

The Business quiz was a rehash of the pinkies, most who qualified were students.. Didn’t last till the finals as we packed in an unhurried tiffin and scooted.
( For best results, concatenate with post dated March 15, 2005 )

For those still here, this will be followed by a post on various statistics of the past Elims quizzes--so if Graphs, Charts, MS Excel sheet is your thing, then hold on.
So Help me God !

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