Harsh's birthday celebrations must have spilled over to the next day -- November 9, which is when the SEQC quiz was scheduled -- as an SMS warned people that the quiz would start an hour later than originally planned. With various constituents not having received / read the SMS in time, the lane outside Savoir Faire was teeming with enthusiasts by the time the event was ready to get going.
The turnout, this time, was the poorest since SEQC sallied forth in June. There were just eight people besides Quizmaster #B (my mind is playing a disco theme song even as I write). It did make the team divisions simple, though. Tallulah arrived some distance into the proceedings to skew the perfect balance, but in an attractive way, of course (sorry, Rajiv, piling on is like an involuntary response with me)!
Team 1, consisting of Rajiv, Anjali and a host of doubles, began steaming ahead right from the start. Inside a couple of rounds, they had established a significant lead over the other teams, with Gadgil-Soraya in second spot, and some hard battling for bottom place between Annie-Nitash and Ameya-PD-Tallulah. Later, it came to light that some of the lower-order positioning was, like media portrayals of more or less anything these days, not quite what it seemed. Rajiv, who besides being part of the winning team was also keeping score (now isn't that a loaded statement?) had been generous with some teams' earnings, and the class struggle had, as should be expected, benefitted the followers of Marx. This redistribution of wealth was addressed at the end of the quiz, but didn't make any difference in the long run to the standings.
While the entire quiz had the excitement and quality that the SEQC quizzes have happily managed to achieve, the 'Then and Now' round was a special treat. Q#B (the theme song in my mind has now metamorphosed to a resounding Star Wars-style John Williams composition) had dug into some deep reserves and come up with some astonishing pictures of people removed from their temporal milieu. The contemporary picture of Manjunath, the actor who played Swami in the TV version of R.K. Narayan's Swami and Friends, in particular, was received with exclamations and expostulations. Not having seen the show myself -- it was in my salad days, before I turned into a couch potato -- I jumped up and down with everyone else, in order to fit in.
The final monster round of 36 questions had Rajiv-Anjali continue their mixed doubles supremacy, and they finished with an astonishing 260 points, easily the most racked up by any team in any of the SEQC sessions. Vidyadhar-Soraya finished second, well behind on what would on any other day have been a commendable score of 165 points, followed by Ameya-PD-Tallulah with 100 and Annie-Nitash with 90. This turn of events has ended up creating an interesting situation at the top of the cumulative points table, with four or five quizzers all bunched together.
The programme ended with a speech that was thrust upon PD, who got a standing ovation -- essentially, everyone stood up to leave while he was still collecting his thoughts out loud. A raucous chai-and-samosas session at Hotel Rai nearby rounded off a satisfying evening for all.