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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS

There are some who find themselves in a minority with consummate ease, drawn inexorably to the bylanes and un-macadamized dusty paths. Without having any earthly reason to do so, these souls find that a sudden darkness envelops their sight, confounding them and leaving them awestruck.
I have always thought that the Quiz Master Parnab had some foibles, which riled me and perhaps will continue to do so. I cannot readily condone factual inaccuracies and at least in Sport & Literature, any error is tantamount to heresy. Another was a disappointing urge to take veiled potshots at those who stood differently from his plane of belief and were hence condemned to ridicule and taunts.. Inspite of these two overhanging traits, I have found his questions markedly superior to those I encountered in other locales.
No different this time as we finished a forlorn Third this Sunday at a prominent management college, losing to a slightly lucky student team and a noticeably unlucky mixed corporate team.

It may be worthwhile to probe deeper into why I like the questions. With certitude, not because I have had any great success at any of his quizzes, having braved Sports, General & Business versions so far-Finalists in all but not much more. Not because he appears to manage without a cue card( as opposed to the QM muttering “ In 1777, Charles David was, well, moving from Exeter, and um, you know, you can read the rest on the screen”----Pathetic !) which while spectacular is a mere mental feat and also not because he appears to react with familiarity and make relevant comments and witticisms at the guesses that ensue. Unlike most others where the QM doesn’t even appear to know which hat you are talking through,

I like the questions because there do appear to stem from an understanding and comprehension of events and incidents. There is a structure in the range that his questions cover, a quiver of well-framed arrows that seem to pierce and prod, backed by a sensibility towards subjects that I, had I been younger, would have loved to have myself. ( Ed-Sadly, you remain a Philistine !) . The urge to enhance and improve the frequently-barren repertoire of the audience and participants is ridden with noble intentions, and I have always been taken with his earnestness to get spectators acquainted with people and achievements that they ought to know—people who straddle the corporate world while never being part of it, filmmakers who scrape and strive to make meaningful cinema. Sometimes his questions have just three words, and that’s good enough for an entire stream of thoughts and “fundas” to gush through.

He appears to be fair, inasmuch that a team could get points for getting the res without quite getting the phraseology just right, and despite the overwhelming odds against getting to have all questions of an equitable difficulty level, he seems to ride that tiger easily enough. Serious quizzing,, he calls it and it involves a grip on the import and significance of current events, as opposed to asking a question just because it was CA—which I’ve seen happening on countless occasions. Nuggets have surfaced because of the death, retirement of a luminary which I have always found rebarbative. And finally, the music—Never mind the context, they have always been singularly fascinating and towering pieces of work in themsleves, and worth a listen even if the listener has no clue as to the answer itself.
End with a piece from a Parnab Sports Quiz review I wrote earlier.

“””I loved the range—a love for the unfamiliar as we were swept aside and for one brief compelling hour, perhaps all of us on stage did an ET-like romp in the sky, far away from the cliché-ridden records, person-based trivia that enjoins most sports questions. Parnab also drifted well past the TV-based nonsense that pass off as sports questions these days
I remember feeling ecstatic that for once, lesser known footballers, athletes, golfers and the ilk finally got their due. I even remember remarking that we managed smooth sailing keeping just ahead of stiff competition till the last round, inspite of hardly anything really our ken coming our way
.””””

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