Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Story of a 5th Place in 5 Questions

  1. Why are you so happy today?

    Because I finished 5th in the Chennai edition of the Brand Equity Quiz '08.

  2. It's only a 5th place. What's there to be so happy about?
    1. The winners get prizes worth Rs. 1.2 lakhs - each. The 6th place team members get prizes worth Rs. 14000 each.
    2. It's one of the most prominent quizzes in India.
    3. All corporate quizzing teams worth their salt were there (=very stiff competition)
    4. It's the Chennai round of the quiz. Chennai is the quizzing capital of India. The proportion of quizzers to non-quizzers is obscenely high in Chennai (=even stiffer competition). Like the quizmaster Derek O'Brien remarked, 'I can ask that question in Delhi. Probably even in Bangalore. But definitely not in Chennai."
    5. We (= me + my teammate) beat the last year's winners to the sixth place.
    6. We accomplished a goal that we had set for ourselves: to clear the preliminary round and get on stage for a major quiz in Chennai.
    7. We were the only non-IT and non-Bank team in the finals. That is a very rare occurrence in Brand Equity quiz.

  3. How the hell did this major aberration and travesty of justice take place?

    I know. Even I'm wondering at the number of better teams that didn't make it to the finals. Normally, quizzing in Chennai is a very closed affair in spite of the officially open nature – there are a group of about 10-15 guys who almost certainly win any quiz in Chennai – the Untouchables. Prize money of all the quizzes held in Chennai stay within this group. The others are just inconsequential people who turn up to clap for the guys on stage and make up the numbers.

    When they announced our names among the list of qualifiers after the written round, the Untouchables started looking around with an expression that said, "Who?" That alone made my day. Serves them right, those bastards! Only my teammate and I know how many quizzes we have been to where only the Untouchables made it. We used to wonder why these guys didn't retire or at least leave the slightly lesser quizzes to us minnows. When wondering didn't help, we fervently hoped that they would go mad with all that knowledge or get married to nagging wives who wouldn't let them quiz or get an offshore assignment and leave the country (this being the most likely). And now, when we beat some of the Untouchables in their own backyard without any of the above happening, all the pain seems worth it.

  4. So what prizes did you get?
    1. A carton full of perfumes and deodorants (did we stink that much?).
    2. A bunch of useless gift vouchers entitling me to, for example, 'free hair spa' worth Rs. 500 (I wonder what a hair spa is), Rs. 500 off on purchase of sunglasses. In short, to redeem those gift vouchers, I'll need to spend at least three times the amount I got as prize.
    3. A holiday for two in any of the Club Mahindra (or some affiliated company's) holiday destinations. This is the only prize remotely worth the effort, but I don't know who to take with me.

    For a quiz that boasts about such a high profile, BEQ sucks when it comes to prizes - such kanjoosi as I've never seen in any high-profile quiz. However, such behaviour is only to be expected from a Times Group company, half of which is built on advertisement and branding (read hot air and zero substance). Now that I have a decade's supply of perfumes and deos, I'm planning to give them away as birthday gifts. So if any of you get a deodorant from me as a gift, please don't think I'm being rude. Also, if any of you are interested in such things as hair spas and massages, please let me know.

  5. But don't I see a faint sign of disappointment and incompleteness in your face?

    That's very perceptive of you, thank you. Yes, you're right. To tell you the truth, the quiz sucked big time. No, not just the prizes, but the quiz as a whole. Derek O'Brien is more interested in showmanship than in quizzing. So while he was up to his normal stuff - strutting around in bell-bottoms and praising himself for being the greatest quizmaster known to man – we were bored stiff on stage, so much so that one poor guy from TCS (an Untouchable) spent the entire final round staring into nothingness and had to be woken up from his daydream by the quizmaster. There weren't any interesting questions, the kind that makes me want to (try to) put up another blog post with interesting questions.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, let me go off on my search to find a person to go on holiday with. It's not as if I don't have any choices - so many guys are already lining up to go (now, don't get any wrong ideas – they don't give a shit about me, it's the free holiday they're interested in). The problem is that I'm being made to choose from the wrong line.


Mathew said...

What about refreshments? For me they form an integral parameter in judging the quality of any event. I have been known to drop by at sundry official events on campus just for the chai-samosas.

philip said...

mathew: Good point. But even here BEQ failed. The fact that I forgot to mention it is an indicator of how unworthy of mention the refreshments were.

Badri said...

I was there.
So why didnt you mention how easily you slipped by not answering a couple of sitters?

And btw we at PMO want treat, Karthik in particular.

Karthik said...

Haha. Good Post! I remember the BEQ I had attended at Trichy. We came 3rd out of 4 teams after the tiebreaker where 3 teams were on the same score :-)

But Derek was not the quizmaster since it was between MBA schools. The quizmaster was "Pick Brain".

Still sad that we missed the 1st place which would have fetched us an IPod :-(

philip said...

badri: Ah..a witness, I need to hunt you down and kill you :p

Don't remind me of the sitters we missed dude. We would have won if we had got them :(

karthik: Half the life of a quizzer is spent wondering what could have been..Pickbrain is a much better quizmaster when it commes to quality of questions.

silverine said...

Congrats! And take that lovely lady a.k.a your mom with you. Or better still...send both the parents for that much needed vacation after having raised you :p

philip said...

silverine: that thought did flash through my mind... you know what, that sounds like a wonderful idea - especially with their wedding anniversary coming up and all :)

Seema said...

Congratulations:) irrespective of the quality of prizes that came home! Guess BEQ guys got enticed by kanjoosi and played around it! we fervently hoped that they would go mad with all that knowledge or get married to nagging wives who wouldn't let them quiz or get an offshore assignment and leave the country (this being the most likely)- hahaa wishful thinking at its best!
As Silverine said it would be best gifted to ur parents rather than a make do from the wrong queue:)

Anoop said...

so back to quizzing ways ,great,i remember school days wen u guys set many a stage on fire.U never got a chance on television right?still regretting tat?.I still remember a science quiz where there was a confusion about the function of a gland ,lachrymal gland :P

philip said...

seema: Thanks. Will definitely follow such good advice :)

anoop: Hehe..those were the days. Not really regretting not being on television. A good day's quizzing is more satisfying than being on TV. So no complaints on that front.

flaashgordon said...

Am new to your blog..came here aftr Silverine's link on the Indian Express Article. Finished reading most of it already tho' ..gr8 stuff

Congrats on ur BEQ prize! In a Derek quiz , yeah its always more luck than anything else and the quality of qns are, well, u cud say its Bournvita quiz with some slight modifications..

Dont wait for the Chennai Untouchables to go onsite, most of em are gonna be there for good ;-). Personally I think Blore is a tougher circuit for a Biz Quiz , Chennai would be for a General quiz though

Philip said...

flaashgordon: Good to meet another quizzer :) and thanks.

I had the feeling that the Untouchables aren't going anywhere ;)

Dhruv said...

May be you should check out the kanjoosi videos on They have more kanjoosi instances and also better prizes just for telling your stories of kanjoosi.