Saturday, March 25, 2006

My BEQ Experience

My love affair with quizzing began as a small kid. Dont know why but always enjoyed answering trivial questions. Still do infact... :)
So when one day I got an internal mail telling us that i-flex would be sending teams to participate in the Brand Equity Quiz and that there would be an elimination process for it, my mind started conjuring up possibilities... Oh the gift of imagination is a good one :)

So off we went to our Goregaon office for the elims. There were 30 questions, trivia and visuals, and lo behold... I was one of the 3 who cleared and were selected to represent i-flex.I tell you, it was the proudest I felt in a long, long time :)
Brought back a lot of childhood memories that night... I used to watch the Brand Equity Quiz on TV with my pop, as a kid in school and actually getting to be part of it was a real privilege.

Cut to the main day - 20th March, 2006...
Received a lot of wishes from pals and well-wishers in office.
We went to the venue - St. Andrews Auditorium in Bandra. Registered ourselved and took our places in the auditorium for the quiz to begin.

First Round was the written eliminations which was conducted by an Associate of Derek O'Brien. The questions were(the ones I remember anyways...There were 30 overall)

  1. What was the seasonings company Nestle took over in 1947?
  2. Who is the sponsor of India Fashion Week?
  3. What is the refund rate given by the Income Tax department?
  4. For which sport is the Mark McCormack Award given for?
  5. In 1888, which building did Mr.______ from the PWD of Mumbai build?
  6. Who wasnt wearing his Ingersoll pocket watch the day he was assasinated?

Well, the questions were easy, but we had around 7-8 near misses where we thought of the right answer and put in another. It showed too, in the scores where we got 13 points. The highest team score was 26 points by TNS and the cutoff was 21. The 1st to 5th place teams got selected for the finals and there was a tie-breaker for the teams from 6th to 10th for the final spot.

The teams in the finals were:
  1. Chlorophyll(An Advertising Company)
  2. State Bank Of India
  3. TCS
  4. A Team I Dont Remember
  5. TNS Researchers
  6. UTI Bank

For the finals, the master himself made a grand entrance. I'v seen Derek O'Brien as a kid attending his brother Barry's Green Teen Quiz where Derek was the director. And as a kid, who was heavily into quizzing as a kid, he remains one of my idols. And watching him was like watching a master in action.


There was this couple sitting together and the guy answered an audience question. Derek calls them both to give a prize...

Derek(to gal): "Are you friends?"

Gal: "No. We are lovers."

Derek(to guy): "Are you lovers?"

Guy: "No. We are friends."

Derek: "Silly boy..."

And he kept taking their case throughout the remainder of the event.

During the quiz, one of the questions was: "For what does a person in India have to work 16 mins, a person in the US 24 mins...?" Now this was a question passed and came to TCS, of which, one of the members was Bengali. In true Bong fashion, he asked: "Is that w-o-r-k or w-a-l-k?" LOL... Derek being a Calcuttan himself, started ribbing Babu-Moshai in Bengali.

In this way, the evening went on in wonderful fashion. The questions were tricky, workable and it was really amazing to see the teams work out the answers from the subtle hints given rather from the recesses of memory.

There are lot many more things to tell, but writing wont do them justice. So, Il rest my pen here on my description of one of the best evenings of my life.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

1999.... Rest In Peace

1999 - Steve Waugh hits a ball to Herschelle Gibbs in a Super Six match with the Aussies up against the wall and he drops the catch. "You just dropped the World Cup, son..." says Waugh to Gibbs. The Aussies go on to win the World Cup of 1999 after tieing with South Africa in a nail-biting semi-final, but winning on the basis of that win in the Super Six match. And history condemns Herschelle Gibbs to be the man who dropped the World Cup.

Circa 2006
5th ODI of the Standard Bank ODI Series
Australia (50 overs) - 434/4.
South Africa (49.5 overs) - 438/9.
South Africa win by 1 wicket with 1 ball to spare.
South Africa win the series 3-2.

The man of match from South Africa's perspective is Herschelle Gibbs who scores 175 off 111 balls to seal the victory... A condemned man returns 7 years later to redeem his name in annals of cricketing history.

Herschelle Gibbs has played many a match-winning innings since 1999... The South Africans have gone through great upheavals(The match fixing scandal, the death of Hansie Cronje, though flawed, still a hero for me, poor performances, another heart break in the 2003 World Cup through a wrong understanding of the D/L method)

But this match is important for me, not because of the world record scores, not because of the entertainment, not because the Aussie invincibility lies in serious question... Its because after 7 years, one man was given a chance by GOD to come back to life... And he took it without a trace of bitterness over the cruel hands that fate dealt him in the past... The smile on his face at the end of the match said it all...

It may seem trivial that one match causes so many emotions to flow, but somehow you need to lose and feel the pain of such loss to know how much such wins mean...

All through the match, I was just praying(which usually happens only during a match and exams) that GOD, be kind to SA... Let them win this... And by God's grace, they did... thereby shedding the tag of chokers forever... And Herschelle Gibbs might be still known as the man who dropped the World Cup 1999, but now there will be a footnote sayin: He dared to dream. And he dared to let his talent make his country win a match that was never theirs to win in the first place.

Never question the heart of a champion...

1999... Rest In Peace