Sunday, April 23, 2006

Chronicles of Chennai: The Voyage of the Crazy Quizzers

Whats common to The Trojan War , 9 SAP Labs Employees in Chennai and a bookstore which claims to be one of India's biggest bookstore chains?The answer is: Odyssey. What follows is a (slightly dramatized) ( hyped-up )( completely fictional ) account of what happened during the Odyssey Quiz 2006.

The day of 26th January dawned upon us. To an unsuspecting eye, the morning of 26th was quite similar to the morning of the 24th, a little chillier maybe. But that day was the day when the brave knights of the Priory of SAP, donned their armour and set out on a quest, the quest for the Quizzing Glory.

There were 9 of us, 3 teams of 3. The first, and by far the strongest was the team Immaculate Misconception( Ravi Subramanian, P Rajesh and Vinay Shenoy ). Then we had the Dude, Where's My Answer?( Ila Gore, Jayendra Bisnik, Rohit Jaiswal ). Last but not the least FAQ: Frequently Attending Quizzes( Abhishek Ramanathan, Pranav K Wankawala, Priyananda Shenoy ).

The morning started in a hectic fashion, with Vinay and Ila racing against time on an auto and made it with about 30 seconds to spare. The train we booked was the Shatabdi Express, known for its punctuality. Once the train started, things got smoother. Ravi, Vinay and me had seats together, and soon we fell into a deep and spiritual discussion about the nature of reality and the quintessential contradiction of existence … or maybe we just cribbed about the lack of females in the compartment, I don’t remember.

At 11:00, the train wound its way into a cavernous lair of gargantuan proportions, called the Chennai Railway station.(This was the first time the author had visited the jewel of the South, the bustling city of Chennai, so you must forgive his exuberance here). From there, we caught a bus ( yes, a real chennai local bus! ) to the spot that is sacred to every bookworm, Landmark.

Many a joyous minutes we spent there, surrounded by tonnes of books, CDs and other useless stuff. Ravi added to his already HUGE collection of movie vcd/dvd by buying 20+ movies. The author himself couldn't resist the temptation, and satiated himself by buying a couple of books and one game ( Far Cry: What a game ! ).

Driven by hunger, we then proceeded to a restaurant whose name I don’t remember, and gorged ourselves. Lunch was a fun-filled affair, admist much leg pulling and teasing. Andre Agassi seemed to be the hot topic of discussion, for reasons I wont mention here ;).

After Lunch we landed up at the gates of the Chennai Music Academy, which was the venue of our interrogation … er, I mean quiz. Much to my dismay, the place was already crowded, chock full of guys who looked like they quizzed for a living. D'Oh! There's Arul Mani. There's Avinash Mudaliar! These guys had been quizzing for a zillion years now, and probably Knew half of wikipedia by heart.

After much squeezing, shoving and rude gestures, we finally made it into the auditorium. (Queue? Wake up, people … this is India ). There we were treated to half an hour of pointless Music. At last the quiz began. The quizmaster was a doctor( a pediatrician, a fact that would come in handy for one of the questions later ). Standard Prelims format: 30 questions, 30 minutes.

Our team did a decent performance( by our standards ). We got 12, out of 30. Ila and co did a bit better: 14. But the stud team obviously did very well, getting 21. After a delay of 15 minutes, the quiz master started announcing the finalists: Arul Mani and co … Avinash Mudaliar and co … Ravi Subramanian and co … Hooray! They had qualified! They defeated teams like QED( last years winners ) to qualify for the finals, out of over 850 teams !!! This was surely a feat to remember!

They started out well, and were at position 2 at the end of the first two rounds. Arul Mani, the omniscient God of Bangalore quizzing, decided to entertain the audience by answering every question with "Ozone Layer Depletion", until the quizmaster gave him a Rs 250/- coupon to shut up.

All good things come to an end; it was unfortunate that this good thing came to an end after the second round. IM then lost their momentum and ended up in the last place. The winners were some kids from Hyderabad( I might be wrong ). After that intial silly show, Arul Mani gave us ample demonstrations of why he is the God of quizzing by cracking every question to finish second.

After the quiz was over, Ravi and co slowly came back to ground after that unforgettable experience. We had dinner at Kabul, paid for by the benevolent Rajesh P( Way to go, Uncle! ).

All in all, it was an enjoyable experience. I hope to repeat this next year as well. I urge All quizzers out there to attend such quizzes in the future. Winning is not important, but the experience we get is priceless.


PSB said...

Its not about winning or losing, its about winning

VeraGemini said...