Of Quizzes, Answers and Destiny ... Part 3

P.S: Read Here
Of Quizzes, Answers and Destiny - Part 1

Of Quizzes, Answers and Destiny - Part 2

This one is turning out to be the most popular of my series, with requests pouring in from all over the world (well, that's a slight exaggeration, nevermind, 'swalpa adjust maadi' ) for the next part. So, obligingly, Here I go.

So where we last time ?
Ah ha.. The last quiz of 9th standard. I did attend many quizzes in 10th standard. I am going to ignore all of them for the time being. They will be, of course be posted, albeit later.

After this quiz, I was the object of ridicule.
'Haricharan lost the quiz. Haricharan ?? Are you sure ??'
'OMG .. Isse behtar woh toh chullu bhar pani main doob mare...'
I am sure, I heard 'S who knows M' say to his friends,
'Look.. Hari's lost.. Hi Hi Hi... Serves him right.. '

Thankfully, this incident happened towards the fag end of the term, so no-one actually kept it in their mind for long. At least, that's what I thought.

2 years later, when +1 just started, there were some quizzes that were being organised. Again Dhanalakshmi Ma'm was organising the quiz !!! (We seem to share some kind of strange bonding.)

For the science quiz, Dhanalakshmi ma'm wanted teams of four. One 8th std, one 9th std, and two +1's. So that everybody got an equal chance.. I was teamed with K. :) A jolly-go-lucky guy, with an absolutely fantastic sense of humor. He kept saying, 'Dai.. I am not a pro-quizzer like you.. So if you don't know the answer, please don't pass the mike to me.' (This was with reference to the fact that, whenever I do not know the answer to a question, I usually hand over the mike to the other person in my team. Always. That is a habit that I haven't been able to break, till date. :))

So, K and me and the 9th and 8th standard 'kids' it was. V, M, S (the other one) and myself were now facing each other, in perhaps the most eagerly awaited quiz competition of the year. Mind you, this was the first quiz of the year 2001, and it was expected to set the tone for the other events that were scheduled.

In a couple of rounds, it became very clear, that this one was going to be very fiercely fought. For one, I thought that everybody had forgotten the last 9th quiz, but to my dismay I found that even the teachers remembered the quiz very clearly.
'You like grapes hunh ?' --- was the common refrain of many of my teachers after the last big quiz.

Then it started.

M's team answered a couple of sitters wrong, and they were passed on to our team. We answered them hands down. V's team passed a couple of sitters on to S' team and soon S and me were battling it out for the final showdown.

There were three questions that changed the fate of the quiz that day.

What is the weight of the standard cricket Ball ?

- It was a question intended for V's team. V answered it as 250 gms. S answered something like 300 gms. M passed it. And Dhanalakshmi Ma'm was about to give out the answer, without taking our answer into consideration, when the scorer of the quiz, Revathi Ma'm, promptly intervened and passed the question to us. Actually it was not a revelation or something. But I knew instinctively it was between 150 gms to 175 gms. So I had to make a gamble. I just had to guess close enough to be awarded the points, as was the normal case those days.:) :D . I took a deep breath.

'Approximately 160 gms'.

Dhanalakshmi Ma'm looked at me, incredibly. I couldn't possibly have guessed that ! She didn't expect me to answer that question. Then she smiled and said,

'We'll give it to you team C. It is the right answer.'

The entire school cheered for me,(as they normally do for any correct answer :P) and for one moment, I felt, I was back on top. Then again, some idiotic passes by me, went to the strategically located S's team.

(Strategically located is a term that I use when the other team, note, only the other team, is able to get many of the passes, which I would kill to get. :) )

The quiz was building steam. Everybody could sense it. It was actually running late for the next quiz that was scheduled, right after this one. S was sweating slightly. V and M knew that this was already sealed off for both of them. So both were playing the parts of spectators now.

But now the scores were not equal. S was leading us by 5 points.On M's face was a smug file. He glanced towards S and both of them shared a gleeful smile. It was time for a repeat of the infamous 'Last 9th Standard quiz'. Deja vu.

I felt as if, the whole universe was somehow plotting against me. I even felt that maybe Dhanalakshmi ma'm, was asking easy questions for M and S. It was a very well known fact that Dhanalakshmi Ma'm liked all four of us equally. There were no partialities between the four of us. But there was no doubt, that she also contributed a lot to the childish rivalry, by singing praises of the other 3 in the 4th one's class. :) . It was done without any intent, I can see through it now. But then, it used to be very infuriating.

We needed a pass question somehow. K was already blabbering.

'Hari, please win this quiz for me da. My sister is watching. She will go and damage my name in my house. Please da.'
'Dai.. Keep quiet da. Let me listen to the next question'.
'Dai... Puthu class da. Neraya ponnuga ellam irrukaanga da. Maanatha kaapathuda...'

Then suddenly it was all Silent. We had reached the last round and literally the last question of the day.

Then the second turning point came.

'What is the scientific term for open sores that do not heal, or heal with delay'

'Team D ?' - 'Pass'. (This was V's team)
'Team A ?' - 'Pass'. (This was S's team)
'Team B ?' - 'Pass'. (This was M's team)
'Team C ?' - Silence.

Again, I was in a trance. Deja vu. I recalled reading this word somewhere.

'Team C.. You have very little time...'

'Dai.. Ennada yosikira..Dai.. Bathil solluda...Miss wait panranga...' - K

'Sorry Team C...'

'Ulcer ?? '

'Pardon Team C ?'

'Ulcer ??'

'Are you telling me, or asking me ?'

'Telling you. Ulcer.'

Then a smile on Dhanalakshmi Ma'm face.

'Team C gets 5 points. It's ulcer.'

The cheer after that, is something that I can never ever forget (among other things.)
The look on M, S and V's face after nailing this question was the best take-away from the quiz. It now looked like as if the elusive win was just within my grasp, if only I kept my cool, and played S at his own game.

'Well, At the end of the 8th round, Team C and Team A are tied at x points. We are now going into the tie-breaker mode to decide the winner of this Science Quiz. The Tie Break is going to be negatively marked. So please be doubly sure of what you answer.'

Tie Breaker was more nerve wracking for me. As was usually the case with me. I do not know what S and I have in common with respect to Tie Breakers, but almost always there is a showdown at the finale, between me and him. Well, in this case too, there looked like as if there was going to be.

'Who invented the Atom Bomb ?'

Now this one was a slightly twisted question. Most of the text books quoted Otto Hahn as the father of Atomic bomb, but there were discrepancies. This confusion was so clear in S's answer. He opened his mouth to 'O...' and then said 'Otto Hahn'.
I think that perhaps it was the first time, he opened his mouth to give a wrong answer.

'I'm sorry Team A, but I cannot give it to you. Team C, You have won this quiz. If you know the answer please go ahead.'


'That's correct. Team C. Haricharan and his team have won this science quiz. Congratulations to the winners. Prizes will be distributed later.'

'Dai.. Namma Jeyichittom da.. Haiyya.. Dai.. inikkyu ennakku veetla raja mariyatha thaan... thanks da...Hari.. antha ponnu ennayae paarkira mathiri oru feeling.. Nee enna solra... '

I just laughed at his innocence. I was laughing or rather smiling for the first time after 24 hours. I was very relieved.

To tell the truth. I had the same confusion as S that day. Otto Hahn or Oppenheimer. If the question was targeted at us first, then probably S would have won. He was pretty pissed off at the fact that there was negative marking in the final round. But heck, what could I do ? He came close, He fought well. But that day, belonged to me. That day, I was invincible. That day, I felt akin to Arjuna in Mahabharata who single handedly annihilated one akshauhini, on a single day. It was my day. I had to make the kill.

If you thought the excitement died there.. You are mistaken... :) :D
There was more Drama, just after this quiz ... Watch out for Part 4...

P.S:- I had once and for all vanquished the Ghost of my Past.
P.P.S :- The questions were all taken from Addone Super Quiz Book. Its one big fat GK Book that would probably take 5 years to complete reading, even for a guy with 170 IQ. :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009 by Hari
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