Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sports Quiz: The Loss and the Host

There was something unusual this time, in the preparation of the quiz, something which made me count this quiz as a defining event in my life. Maybe it was the fact, that it was to be broadcasted on TV, or the mere fact it was my first opportunity outside the confinement of the walls of IIT. As the days passed, I rediscovered my glamorous past and my obsession with sports, as I took out the delicately designed quiz books, Olympics notebook, and Euro 2004 notebook with exclusive rounds of Citius, Altius and Fortius in them. These all contributed to my confidence, about a glamorous show on the morning of 21st, where for the first time in a few years I was to compete in my field of quizzing, despite the disadvantage of having been an alien to Television for the past 2 years.

Night prior to the shooting, we were treated as lavish guests with free A/C accommodation, travel reimbursements and anything we wanted (though they didn’t provide me with internet, even when I asked for it). However in the morning, I got to know what TV shooting is all about. Having us wait for an hour (in another Air-conditioned room) filling documents, we proceeded to make-up room, after having been instructed the clothes we must wear, the way we must behave on stage and while coming down off it. One thing was clear-for the organizers the quiz and the questions meant far less than the lights and the drama.

After mock rehearsals with an unattractive host, there were butterflies in my stomach on seeing the extreme gorgeous figure of Mini Mathur, standing in front of our eyes, looking better than ever seen on TV sets. And from then, it was neither me, nor one of my opponents who dominated the show, but Mini. We did multiple retakes in the mock rehearsals itself at the behest of the organizers, but when Mini made mistakes she kept speaking as if nothing happened. Not that it had to be telecasted that way only, but the producing team would edit it later. Mini controlled, defined and dominated the pace of the shooting from then, well almost. For a show where she was playing anchor thrice a day, she didn’t remember the lines surprisingly and they were being displayed on an animated TV screen in front of her, where technical glitches made her angry giving the producers another dosage of an outburst from her. The thing which I consistently observed was this: if Mini boasted of passion, she was a big liar. It reflected from her, where she consistently kept on with how her time was valuable, how the producers were lazy and most notably when she stopped in the middle of a question, turned towards the audience and shouted: “Audience, Shut Up”. Coming to the audience, they seemed to be a dummy set of people paid for a day to watch it, and asked to be total robots until instructed to. These poor people were reprimanded on chatting, while the others sat down for rest. I just wondered, if it was the same for all the TV shows. It exposed the film industry to me, how much they were actually passionate at doing the roles and how much they actually were attracted towards the money. Although Mini apparently got more money for the series than the overall winner, without knowing an iota of sports, it was she who seemed to be frustrated the most. After the end of the show as well, we were made dummy participants standing in our original positions while only Mini did the scenes. Seemed as if it was a consolation to Mini to tell her, there were more people also accompanying her.

Anyways, coming to the quiz. The result- I lost, not closely rather in a humiliating fashion. The level of the opponents turned out to be far higher than expected, only when I saw them. I recognized two of them, one was an organizer of quizzes in IIT, while the other was the national winner of the ESPN School Quiz Olympiad. The other 7 weren’t either pushovers, all of them seemed to have come with the same passion as me. In the mock rehearsals, I was 3rd which obviously boosted my confidence, but at the end of the actual 1st round I was last. My knowledge of Commonwealth Games, Indian sports and rules of sports were limited even today, and sadly I had made the mistake of skipping them again in the preparations. In the end, I was eliminated after the 3rd round, finishing a dismal 9th (tied 8th as per the score). Of course, I was disappointed for such quizzes don’t happen daily, and I couldn’t believe I had actually lost it. Worse, the script and the words making brave losers of us, (who never lost hope but were unlucky at the end) made me question whether even an iota of the words said by Mini were from her heart. I left the stage with a bad experience of the loss, and contemplating the dynamics of the film industry, their claims of passion. Anyways, the stay was good and I won’t deny it in the end- it was once in a lifetime opportunity, the facilities, the luxury was marvelous and I am happy to have been there.

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