Monday, December 27, 2004

Mood Indigo 2004-I: Give the funda

maaz ( maa-dz) n. Excessive pride evidenced by a superior manner toward others, arrogance.

"A tiger and a parrot are in a passenger jet. The parrot calls for the airhostess. She comes and asks what the matter is. The parrot says, 'Maaz'. The airhostess is annoyed, and walks away.

The tiger, impressed, calls for the airhostess. When she asks him what the matter is, he says, "Maaz'. The airhostess is very angry, and throws the two out of the plane. In midair, the parrot asks the tiger, 'Can you fly?'

"'No', says the tiger.

"The parrot asks, 'Then why the maaz?'"

-Marathi joke.

I thought it would be appropriate to begin my comments on the Mood Indigo quizzes with this joke (with apologies to Siddharth and Kunal) for reasons that will (hopefully) be clear to you later.

The quizzes at Mood Indigo were, in a word, bad. Perhaps Pune quizzing has coloured my judgement, but I cannot but help feeling that the quizzes could have been a little less arbitrary and a little more workable. The questions seemed to be more in the realm of "intellectual masturbation", especially in the Entertainment Quiz. Some of the questions in that quiz were impossible to answer unless you were a bored IITian without a purpose in life and a broadband Internet connection (i.e., a "Sod").

The arbitrariness of the Ent. Quiz seemed to aspire to the very high standards set in last year's edition, with one connection requiring you to know that folk singer Joan Baez had once dated Steve Jobs. There were also several questions which required a detailed answer, which the quizmaster did not have the patience to listen to, silencing some (though not all) teams mid-answer with a curt, "No". The supreme maaz of the QM was brilliantly complemented by his excessively juvenile sidekick, who just could not resist giggling at teams floored by his eminently unanswerably questions. There were also many audio/visual clues where the only question forthcoming was, "Give the funda", which took the quiz into the realm of mind reading, and placed some teams at a distinct disadvantage.

The General quiz was a little better, and the honest effort of the QM ("Surdy") was apparent (if you will forgive my presumption to say so). Mistakes were made, but since such have been made by the best of us (read "me"), I feel it is unfair to criticise them here. The rounds were a little weird, with no IR (they call it "Infinite Bounce" up there) and the "Jeopardy" and "Stage Two" ("Stage Three" in this case) rounds seemed unnecessary to straight IR quizzers such as we. The organisers had not done their homework in some cases (Los Alamos was said to be in California), and some of the Stage two themes were connected very tenuously.

The Sports Quiz had perhaps the best questions, which I attribute to the outsourcing of the quiz to St. Xaviers quizzers, namely S. Kaushik and Rahul Menon. Although I would never have given Jhavierites so much credit, the quiz was definitely better set than the others. However, perhaps due to domain incompatibility, the questions seemed to have more to do with the lives and drug habits of sportspersons than with actual sports trivia. Some questions had nothing to do with sports at all, with only a tenuous connection discernible with the domain. For example, one question was, "In 1994 (I think) Pirelli came out with an ad featuring a famous personality titled 'Driving ________'." The answer expected was Sharon Stone (the ad was "Driving Instinct"). Any reader of this blog who comes up with a better connection to sport than Pirelli's sponsorship of Inter Milan will get the respect and adulation of Pune's Quizzing community. This quiz also marked the first top-three place in a Mood Indigo quiz for a Pune team since 2000, with Rohit Chandrachud and Rohit Bahulekar of Fergusson College (yes, FC College!!) coming second, which I consider a great achievement for someone who is in FYJC and competing with far older and more experienced guys. This also marks FC's first top three finish at Mood-I since around the time Michael Jackson was still a black guy. Good on you, guys!

Many other quirks and examples of dumbass behaviour were observed at the Mood-I quizzes. A certain quiz team kept giving us khunnas. The cut-off for the elims was not disclosed, "because people fight". When I pointed out that announcing the cut-off was only a safeguard against correcting mistakes, I was told not to worry because, "We have impartial judges correcting the elim sheets." Ok, dude, whatever.

However, it must be said that Mood-I was a humbling experience. That Anna University, and not IIT and Xaviers won all three quizzes wiped the smirk I had on December 19th off my face. Apart from our team in the sports quiz and a Symbiosis Law College team in the Ent quiz (they didn't place), no Pune team even qualified for the finals. Pune quizzing, inspite of all the maaz, does not seem to compare very well with its counterparts in other parts of the country. But, I think, just to be sure, I think we should double check. Saaring, here we come!!!!! (I was never very good at endings)

PS: Apologies to all who think they desrve them, except if your name is Alfred E. Neuman, Adolf Hitler or "Sod".

Sunday, December 05, 2004

A two Week old Story

(The following incident happened two weeks ago, however I was unable to write about it then due to time constraints.)

It was a bright and chilly (or thereabouts) Saturday afternoon.I was in a deep sleep following the overwhelming soporific effect of this quiz. At about 5:30pm, I became aware of someone trying to wake me up. I resisted for a while, but I had to give in to the loud voice and the inexplicable shaking. As my eyes opened, I saw my father looking at me. I will now give you an account of the conversation we had.

"Come on, he won't stay on line much longer."
"The reporter, from the Times."
"Huhhhhh? What Times?"
"The Pune Times of India." (My dad likes to get it right.)
"Huhhhhh? Wheere is he?"
"On the phone. He's been holding for about five minutes!" (Note: The Caller ID later established it as 3 minutes 34 seconds.)

Finally, I got the import of the situation. I rushed to the phone. However, the guy had hung up. Checking my cellphone, I saw I had three missed calls from the same number. My father tld me the call was from a 'Manish' in the Pune Times. Thinking it was something important, I returned the call. However, I was told that Manish had left the office. So I left a message and rung off.

Three hours later he called back.

"Hello, is that Kunal?"
"Yeah. Hey listen, I'm really sorry man. I was alseep and..."
"Yeah, that's ok. There are some questions I want to ask you."
"Sure, go ahead."
"Do you think uniforms should be made compulsory for Junior College students?"

What?! Had this guy called me five times for, let's face it, an opinion poll? I dazedly answered the rest of his questions, supressing an overwhelming desire to tell him about (and interview him for) a certain blog I contribute to.

(It later ranspired that he had caught my friend Sangita in a similar mid-sleep situation and extracted my numbers from her in her dazed state. Her interview appeared a week later and seems to be a part of a series that featured an interview of, among others, our Great Leader, Principal VK "Joylon" Wagh.)

Of course this incident only confirmed my low opinion of the Pune Times. Are their priorities so skewed? Or do other newspapers also call people five times for opinion polls?

Overall, I think that its better for the Pune Times to report on parties and socialites, cause they're just so much better at it. Leave the serious issues to serious newspapers and party on, I say!

Just a Thought

Why is it that you get way more comments when you stop posting rather than when you are regular?