Mostly Thoughtless

Tam Brahm, thank you ma'am

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The QFI Open Quiz 2007

Following the immense success of the first two editions, the Quiz Foundation of India (Chennai Chapter), in association with Indian Terrain is proud to announce 'The QFI Open Quiz 2007', the third edition of the annual quiz.

The QFI Opens of the last two years have been resounding successes, attracting more than 120 teams each time, including some from Hyderabad, Bangalore, and even Ahmedabad. This time, the quiz promises to be both bigger and better. You can read The Hindu's review of the QFI Open 2006 here.

Apart from being original, well researched and immensely entertaining, the QFI Open also aims at making quizzing a fun experience for everyone involved. It will try and bring to a wider audience the same mix of light-hearted fun and serious high-standard quizzing that is seen at QFI's fortnightly meetings.

It is an open quiz with no conditions whatsoever for participation. All are welcome to participate. Total prizes worth nearly Rs.35,000 on offer! The details are as follows:

Date: 3rd of June 2007 (Sunday)

Schedule: Prelims - 14:00 p.m. and Finals - 15:45 p.m.

Team size: Maximum of 3 members

Registration Fee: Rs. 50 per team. (This fee is waived for school teams. The registration fee must be paid at the registration desk in front before the quiz.)

Venue: 'Tattvaloka' Auditorium
No. 76 (Old No. 138), Eldams Road
Chennai 600018
Ph: 044 24328124 / 25 / 26

I will be conducting the quiz along with my regular quiz team mates Krishnamurti and Vikram. Please do come and have fun. There will an Indian Cinema quiz in the morning at 10:00 a.m at the same venue. Plenty of audience prizes from Landmark also on offer. Also, if it's not too much to ask for, please put this up on your blogs and bulletin boards and help spread the word. Thanks!!

Sample Questions from the last edition

Q1. The Korean, Japanese and Chinese words for denoting a 'round object' share a common root, and all three of them have identical representations in their script form also. What are the three words?

Q2. The members of the Muduvar tribe, which inhabits the mountain ranges around Valparai (Tamil Nadu) and Munnar (Kerala) in the Western Ghats, have a unique method for calculating their ages. What is it?

Q3. According to local legend, centuries ago, a village in the Madurai district of Tamil Nadu was hit by a small pox epidemic. The people of the village desperately prayed for a cure and in the end, offered a blood sacrifice to the deity. Even now, the belief in the village is that even if a single year goes by without a drop of blood smearing the village earth, then the local goddess will make sure an epidemic wipes out the entire population of the village. Which village is this and how do the villagers make sure that the goddess is appeased?

Q4. T.Rajeevnath is a 54-year-old movie director who has been acclaimed for his Malayalam films, including ‘Janani’, the story of seven nuns who care for an abandoned baby, which won a national award. He is currently planning a movie about Nobel Prize Laureate and Catholic Saint Mother Teresa. After using computers to match the facial features of many current actresses to that of the Albanian-born nun, Rajeevnath has zeroed in on a suitable candidate to play the lead role in his film because according to him, her features closely match that of Mother Teresa. Who is the actress in question?


A1. The three words are 'yen' (Japanese), 'yuan' (Chinese) and 'won' (Korean). They are also the currencies of the nations.

A2. They calculate their age with the blossoming of the Kurinji flower, which blooms only once every 12 years.

A3. The village in question is Alanganallur. They organise the annual "Jallikattu."

A4. Paris Hilton, whose prior movie experience includes appearing in a home video made by a former boyfriend that appeared on the Internet :), and small parts in several Hollywood B-films.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Guy Pierced!!

Recently, I began to feel that, in my chosen line of work, I was missing out on a lot of things in life. ‘Being hip’, for example. Nobody thinks sitting in an office cubicle and tapping away on a computer keyboard all day long is anywhere near hip. Far from it, in fact. It’s somewhere below ankle. And then, I started thinking about what I did during the time I wasn’t working - quiz, watch reality shows, and blog – all activities that aren’t even in the same pin code as cool. All my fellow bloggers reading this, please do not kid yourselves, we are all losers.

So this growing sense of uncertainty and anxiety about my hipness quotient had been troubling me for the last few weeks, telling me, screaming into my ears, that I NEEDED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, AND SOON. So I did. I went and got my ear pierced.

I’ve never really been a fan of jewellery. When I went to weddings as a kid, I used to look at the bride, wearing necklaces the size of Africa and think that it was some kind of metal collar to prevent her from running away. But I was wrong, obviously. All the women who come to weddings have to wear jewellery like that. It’s some kind of union rule. If you don’t have at least five tons of precious metal on your body, you will not be served lunch, which renders the entire wedding meaningless. I really don’t understand why thieves bother with banks and shops with all their fancy security cameras and burglar alarms. If only they started hitting marriage halls instead, they could be millionaires inside a week.

So recently, when I was mulling over my chronic lack of hipness, two episodes from two of my favourite TV shows came to my mind, bang out of nowhere. One was the Seinfeld episode where George decides to do the exact opposite of whatever he wants to, because he’s figured that he is such a loser only because he’s been doing what he wants to all his life. The other was the F.R.I.E.N.D.S episode where Ross gets his ear pierced, prompting jokes from all the others. I put them both together and asked myself a deeply philosophical question: ‘Do I want an unnatural hole in my body?’ Moments later, when my brain responded with its logically computed opinion, (‘No, you MORON! WHAT THE F$%# IS WRONG WITH YOU?’) I knew exactly what I had to do.

So I went and told my parents, “Pa, Ma, I’m thinking of getting my left ear pierced, and wearing a small earring...” I suspect that it was at this point that both of them completely gave up any remaining hope that they may have harboured that I would amount to something and take care of them in their old age, because they gave me a look that seemed to suggest, in no uncertain terms, that in their opinion, I had the brains of varnish.

Now my parents’ opinion mattered a lot to me. I would never have gone through with this if they had approved in any way because they, my father especially, lack any kind of fashion sense. In their wedding reception photos, my dad has some kind of giant afro hairstyle that he claims was popular at that time and my mom is there, right next to him, smiling, when she should have been holding up a board saying ‘I don’t know this man’. My dad once dropped me off at school wearing some cream checkered bell-bottoms that he’d dug out of some old box when my grandparents moved home, and he gifted me a grainy beige safari suit, the kind you only see on middle-aged vigilance officers in Tamil movies, for my 18th birthday.

In short, that’s why, a couple of weeks ago, I found myself in a small matchbox-sized jewelry store in a popular shopping mall, where a tall, oily shop assistant launched a violent assault upon my left ear with a scary contraption that looked like a spear-gun and worked like a stapler. He made a small ink mark on my earlobe, brought the stapler-gun close to it and WHAM!! a second of sudden shooting pain later, I was wearing a small golden coloured stud. Now, every time I look into the mirror, I can see the stud twinkle as it catches the light, giving me the appearance of a street thug or a transvestite, depending on how you choose to look at it.

So, after all these years, it’s finally time for some payback. For all the times my parents have embarrassed me in public, I’m now taking revenge. They’ll now have to deal with the questions from our curious neighbours (“Geetha, what happened to Vinod? He seemed like a nice boy”, “Is he involved with some rowdy gang or something?”, “Or wait, is it some girl?”) Whenever we go out together, to weddings and family functions, they’ll have to deal with disapproving looks from all the senior relatives, the frowns that seem to suggest that they have the parenting skills of the Bin-Ladens. I’ve never been this excited in my life.

I have to say that they’ve been handling it pretty well so far, choosing to just ignore me completely when I'm at home, but I feel it’s just a matter of time before they break. And then they’ll beg me to take it off, and maybe even try to bribe me, threaten to cut me from the will, and I’ll only laugh at them. And then, after some time, they’ll give up. That’s when I’ll go get my nose pierced and start wearing a big nose ring. I think it’ll go rather well with my safari suit.