Tuesday, March 3, 2009

SEQC goes to Pune

A report on the SEQC road trip to the Landmark Quiz 2009 by Anjali Sen Gupta.

Day 1 started innocently enough. Little did we realise that we would soon OD on quizzing! We started off from Panjim at 1:30 pm, and had just settled down for the ride when out came lots of quiz books… ‘Hot chips’ and snacks were passed around as the questions flowed. The roads were good, not too much traffic. We reached Pune after 11-and-a-half hours, got to Hotel Kismet Residency (where rules, strangely, forbid you to peep through your window!) and tumbled into bed. The next morning we were off to VAMNICOM, the biz quiz of the Vaikunth Mehta National Institute of Cooperative Management. Ameya and Chirag made it to the final 8. After the first few rounds, the QM suddenly started rushing through the questions. He had got special requests from most of the teams there, who were also going for the Landmark quiz in the afternoon, and had asked him to hurry up. Our guys played well and came (I think) fourth.

While the oldies were busy quizzing, Vikram had a fun time too. He got thoroughly wet in the sprinkler systems in the lawns, and picked up a lot of flowers and interesting shiny stuff – all handed over to mama for safekeeping!

After grabbing a really quick lunch of sandwiches and shakes, we were ready for the biggie. Chirag couldn’t eat a bite, what with the excitement of a good quiz looming ahead. As it was inching past registration time, a frantic call was made to the organisers, and we were assured that they were waiting eagerly for the Goa teams.

Gadgil, who has cut his “question everything” teeth in the city, became our (very able) guide. He made us take all the left turns to get to the right places! Nehru Stadium, the Landmark quiz venue, was packed. There were about 265 or so teams – from schools, colleges and organisations, from Bombay, Bangalore, Madras, Goa, Pune… . Lots of ushers, well-ordered seating arrangements and spotlights inside; chai and vada-pao outside – a show of this magnitude managed well. Eight teams made it to the stage after written prelims (38 questions). SEQC did not qualify for the onstage finals but we scored one victory. The all-girl team of Tallulah, Ulrike and Anjali got the award for the best team name (suggested by Venita) – the Consortium of Loose, Forward and Quiz-going Women. The other Goa team names were ‘Feni, Vidi, Vici’ and ‘Goa Ghotala’.

By the time the quiz ended, it was time for dinner. Everybody (except Gadgil, who had had to go home) trooped off to Blue Nile. Chirag was more or less kidnapped by the group and taken along. (Chirag, you seem to have had a rough time!) And what a dinner! Delicious biryani and tandoori chicken – and lots of it.

Then it was back to the hotel. While some in the group slumbered, a small group played Trivial Pursuit – yep, more quizzing – into the wee hours of the morning!

Sunday morning… the ride back home started. And so did the quizzing. Rajiv, I think, then had the bright idea of doing a Mastermind style quiz – one specialised and one general round. We took a break (from the quizzing) at lunch, at Kolhapur. Quizzing continued as we started off, continued during our tea break (at a small shack somewhere on the highway) and after. When it got too dark to see the written word in the car, the cabin light came on so that the quiz could go on. We finally staggered into Goa, and staggered out at our respective destinations. I believe Harsh had withdrawal symptoms the next day!

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