This had to be done... There aren't enough cynics around


          Questions are fascinating… especially if the chances of your life taking a downward spiral after a wrong answer, are eliminated. Although the main reason I opted to grab the very first chance right away was because that would let me cut classes… that and the fact that it offered a chance at a long bus drive with my then crush. Sadly that budding romance was nipped in the bud with a dozen guys and possibly a couple of girls in the mix. On the upside, that exposure got me buzzing despite not making to the stage for a very long time.

The first ‘finals’ appearance, where we were treated to some misfiring eggs launched by the audience, was memorable. The pick of the day was when Harsha Bhogle was stumped when we failed to recognize Amélie Mauresmo but that was nothing compared to the shocked expression he adorned when we guessed it was Nathan Bracken. That was a blonde moment for ‘Cogito Ergo Sum’-the great quiz team of which I have been a part of for over a decade.As expected we finished in the bottom of the heap.

The very next year, in a new school, with a new team, we made it to the finals of another Inter-School Quiz. With no crush to impress this time, it was a rather shoddy outing where we inexplicably remained without score till the last question. Now that I was used to finishing 6th and 8th, it was not a big embarrassment for me. But my team-mates however, were disgruntled and more so when I seemed not even remotely abashed by the proceedings. Good days.

Once in Medical College, I didn’t realize there were guys who would be into quizzing. But since the two other thirds of CES from high school were with me we thought we could carry on. That was before I met another guy into quizzes. As the other friends got busy with Medical quizzes (which I had sworn I wouldn’t attend-making a fool in a ‘professional’ stage was not my cup of tea), Cogito Ergo Sum was back again with two new members-with the promise the medi-quizzes were out of bounds.
This was a lot more successful venture. Though unsuccessful on a quizzing perspective, boy, was the M.C.C experience a cultural eye opener where we came across, er, arty stuff. In a rather funny quiz in AC tech, the QM told us we were wrong when we said ‘Rajaji’ was the founder of Swatantra  party. Although flummoxed, we waited for HER to give the answer in the end. She turned to us unapologetically and said,

“Sorry Team B-you were the closest. The answer was Rajagopalachari. C”.

That we finished runners-up in that quiz is one of the most painful memories of my quizzing days. So painful that, even the food coupon they gifted us couldn't soothe the pains.

This was followed by success in the Intra-college Culturals. After a near embarrassment where an all girl team almost defeated us in a Sports Quiz (more like an all-girl team-for a video question, two members remained rooted to their seats as the third waltzed across and gave the right answer in an ‘as-a-matter-of-fact’ manner leaving us fuming), we managed a convincing success in the General Quiz (where we were given points even as I missed out an ‘I’ while spelling liaison- she didn't notice it-the QM) .

Although our batch lost the ‘coveted’ “overall” ‘trophy', we did manage to irk the seniors by scoring all our points in the last round and emerged winners in a rather disorganized Entertainment Quiz. This probably accounts for my partiality towards Agila Indhiya Samathuva Makkal Katchi, as its leader and his 20 movies we rattled out in 30 seconds were the only reason we won. I would be dishonest if I said I didn’t feel like I knew how Sir Alex felt he won the treble. Also that was when I discovered how terrible I was at creative writing and movie making and being a play narrator, among many other things.

One of my friends forced me to break my vow regarding medical quizzes; I was even more opposed to that notion because it was our college buddies that were consistently finishing at the top of all Medical quizzes. After a thorough brainwashing session and all the quizzing brains in another college, we made it to the Apollo Hospital. With a limited set of teams and a lavish lunch it was perfect. Should we bomb, it would be a secret. The pattern meant strategy mattered more than knowledge. After a rather interesting session that culminated in me making a rather outlandish diagnosis and speaking rapid gibberish like a rabid mongoose, the QM was convinced. Boy, what a bounty for finishing behind our own seniors. That meant nothing would convince/motivate me to go to another medical quiz.

After that it was final year and all patients and all we did was try and win the best team name in Landmark quizzes. While we came with innovative stuff-we won nothing. Finally we conquered that frontier too as we ended up winning a book for an Audience question. As much as we wanted to exchange our book with a little kid who was unknowingly given a book (a modern version of an ancient Indian book on the art of *missing text here*) well beyond his ages, we decided that the kid needed to be educated.

That was the last time CES quizzed.