Friday, April 17, 2009


It was 20th February and I was in a deep slumber when suddenly I heard my cell phone ringing. So dead beat I was that I didn’t bother to have a look at who was calling and changed the profile to silent. Just a few minutes later I heard my intercom ringing and again I couldn’t muster strength to get up and receive the call. The process of cell phone and intercom ringing continued for a few minutes and then all was silent and I was happy to go back to my sleep but out of the blue someone banged into my room and woke me up. It was my friend Jaya saying “Gosh!!!! You are sleeping. I went mad calling you.” I still in my dreams asked what happened and she informed me of a quiz competition which was going to be held and she needed a partner. I at once agreed. Late night she came and told me that we couldn’t be registered as it was the last day for registration and we decided very late. But then she said that she had a talk with the co-ordinator and he said that he’ll try. Next day I went to my aunt’s house and came back on 24th February. We were waiting for our bus at the bus stop when I happened to ask Jaya about the registration and she very coolly replied that we were registered and the competition is on 25th February. I said fine but then 10 seconds later realization dawns and I said “Jaya today is 24th “ . She had forgot to inform me as well as forgot that it was just the next day. But then we decided that after coming back from the college we’ll study.

So as you see the registration in itself was a hilarious incident but we didn’t know that this was the beginning of a fantastic and a very humorous episode of our life.

24th evening at 9p.m. we sat together with our respective identical laptops and started searching internet everything about U.K. because the Quiz competition was conducted by British Council and it was all about United Kingdom as the aim of conducting this competition was to promote U.K. as an educational hub. But then as we are a little lazy girls we got tired at 11p.m. and went to sleep.

25th morning we got ready and reached the venue (samanvay bhavan) to find many students with a very good preparation. We got a little sceptical about our clearing even the first round. We had to wait for a long time as there were some technical and organisational delays. Then we came to know that there were to be three rounds. Two of them in Bhopal itself and the final in Indore. Similar rounds were conducted in Gwalior and Indore as well and two teams were to be selected from each city and thus there will be a finale amongst six teams at Indore. We were also informed that the first prize was individual Compaq Presario laptops to the winning team members (a team consisted of two members) and the runner up prize was individual 60GB ipod to the team members. We couldn’t believe our ears which was obvious. C’mon people which competition offers such fabulous prizes. It was at this moment I whispered in Jaya’s ears “ Why didn’t we study?”. She said the same.

Now began the first round which was a written round. Few questions and visual clips of a monument, an animal mostly found in England (badgers), popular personalities (Gordan Brown) etc were displayed on the screen and each team had to write the answer on an answer sheet.

My favourite question was “Which fictional character lived at 221-B Baker Street?” I have grown reading Sherlock Holmes so I knew the answer obviously and later we came to know we were the only ones who knew this answer (the answers were discussed after the written round).

So amongst all the teams present we were the highest scorers and in the written round and we were named “THE ALL GIRLS TEAM” by the very able quizmaster, Mr. Aditya Nath. Thus, six teams made it to the semi final round which was like an actual quiz.

The first round was “Mumble Jumble” in which on a theme a word was displayed on the screen with its entire letters jumbled. Our question was Sir Arthur’s “HUKCNIBMGA” == Buckingham. We got 10 points and we started off well. Next round was the round in which questions were directly asked to a particular team and we answered that as well. So we actually faired well in all the rounds except the rounds in which we got a sports question because both of us are not much in sports and thus all our attempts to answer sports question were in vain. Round after round we managed to lead or be in the second slot until the last round which was the rapid fire round. Before this last round our scores were displayed and to our dismay we were in a tie position with another team. The rapid fire round had 4 questions for a team which were to be answered in 45 seconds. The round started and fortunately the other team which had a tie with us couldn’t answer any of the questions. Then came our turn and we were in a position that we had to answer only one question to clear to final round. We both encouraged each other and crossed our fingers. Three questions went unanswered and our anxiety level increased. It was the last question which I actually do not remember because it was unfortunately a question related to football (the sports monster strikes again) but then abruptly Jaya said “ARSENAL” and to our astonishment it was the right answer. We don’t know how she got it but the good news was that we were selected for the finals to be held at Indore on 27th February.

So as you see without much preparation we by our wits and God’s blessings got through the semi-final.

The media people took our snaps and the next day we were all over the local newspapers of Bhopal. With high spirits we swore to give our heart and soul to the preparation and we actually did that.

The same day we came back and sat down to work. At this point we would like to thank our parents for buying us laptops because we made full use of technology and world wide web (invented by Tim Berners-Lee which we came to know during our preparation for the finals). We started surfing and then we copy pasted everything on our respective laptops. Both of us searched different arenas so that we can have the maximum study material. So here we also owe to our awesome hostel which provides us with uninterrupted internet connection 24*7.

Now the real adventure begins.

After a long night work on our laptops we were heavily sleeping when our college co-ordinator called us and asked about our plans. As we were representing our college we had to submit an application to the college principal and get his consent. We had our bus at 2 p.m. and as our college is far away from where we live we send the application through one of our friends. So what our college co-ordinator had called us for was that we hadn’t written in the application that we have the consent of our parents which we obviously had beforehand and to add to our misery for some strange reason they were not reachable. So with a good admonishment we were ordered not to go and report to the college next day. We tried to appease him but in vain. All this continued till 1p.m. and I was nearly in tears. It was only at 1:15 when he agreed with our faxing him a fresh application and then leave. Till now we hadn’t packed anything, didn’t had a bath and had to go to market to fax the new application as well as to collect our tickets from booking office. So we hurried and finally managed everything and were leaving the hostel when the other two guys selected from Bhopal called us to inform that the bus is leaving the bus stand. The time was 2:05. We told them to make the bus wait but when we were about to reach the bus stand when we got a call telling us that the bus has left. Then the chase began. We were in an auto rickshaw and were chasing a VOLVO. But is it possible??? We screamed on the top of our voices asking the bus driver to stop the bus but why would he??? So we called the guys who were in the bus asking them to make the bus halt. It was only then the bus stopped and we could catch the bus. So finally we were off to Indore after innumerable hassles and so we felt like winners as it is.

All the way to Indore we tried studying but as I feel a little woozy in buses I couldn’t but Jaya did.

We reached Indore at 6p.m. and then to our hotel which was pretty nice (I believe some 3 star hotel) and ordered a hearty dinner.

After dinner we both sat with our laptops and started grasping as much we can about U.K. But exhausted by our journey in the bus we couldn’t manage to sit very long and felt like going to bed. At this point we came across a sentence which goes like this “Sir Robert Falcon Scott went all the way to South Pole only to find that the spot had been discovered by someone else one month ago.” This sentence might not seem very funny to a lot of people reading this yet that night, maybe because of our tired minds or our very poor sense of humour, we found it extremely funny and laughed like mad people and it was all the more funny because I was so tired that I was not able to muster enough strength to laugh yet I was laughing. I and Jaya still sometimes remember the sentence and laugh even when people around us do not find it that funny. Anyways, soon we slept determined to get up early in the morning.

In the morning the alarm went on ringing and we slept like anything. Finally at 8o’clock we woke up and got ready, went for breakfast and met other participants from Gwalior.

A van came to take us and we were the only ones studying. Rest all were boys and I know they were having weird thoughts about us as we were studying all the time. Finally we reached the venue and reached late for the draw of the seating arrangement. By default we were the “D” team that was in the centre. (The previous night we were wishing that we get to sit at “C” or “D” so that we are in the centre). So our good time had started.

The quiz began and the “all girls team” was leading from the initial round. There were few questions which elated us to highest degree as on answering them made us feel proud and the answers were the result of our one night and one day’s hard work. One of them was “Which two towns were first connected by a railway line?” The answer couldn’t be guessed thus no one could answer that. We got it as a pass and we knew the answer because we had copy pasted it from net and studied. The answer was “Stockton and Darlington”.

Another of such questions was a line referring to a poem “candle in light” and we had to tell the name of the poet. The answer was Elton John but the best part was not that we knew the answer but we also knew the background details that it was modified by Elton John and read aloud on the funeral of Princess Diana. Again we had copy pasted this detail as well from net.

So finally came the last round and we were the ones leading. But somehow in the last round we couldn’t answer much questions and a team which was far behind us in the score sheet answered brilliantly well and I got nervous that we’ll not win. Jaya was very cool and calm as if losing doesn’t matter and I was a little surprised. When I asked her about this it was then I realized that she was completely unaware that it was the last round and that was the reason of her cool temperament. So we tried answering the left questions but in vain!

The score sheet was displayed and to our relief we were still at the first place but we had a TIE with the other team of Gwalior which had gained a lot of points in the last round.

So came the TIEBREAKER round in which it was like this that if one of the teams press the buzzer and give the correct answer they would win and if they give the wrong answer then the other team would win and the team who had pressed the buzzer would lose. So the moral was that press the buzzer only when you are sure of the answer.

The first question was something no one of us had heard about so no one answered. The second was very very simple yet it didn’t strike us (maybe we were extremely tensed as well as excited) and by God’s grace the other team also didn’t knew the answer. The question was “Who wrote Satanic verses?” I had read the book and still couldn’t answer. Anyways since no one answered it was good. But after this question I kept my finger on the buzzer and told Jaya that anyhow we have to answer the next question and anyhow we have to win. Jaya removed my finger from the buzzer, just in case I pressed it out of excitement.

So the next question was “Christiano Ronaldo plays for which football club?” The moment the quizmaster finished speaking I pressed the buzzer and Jaya’s first words were “Why did you press the buzzer?” Now to make clear to all of you I knew the answer as I had read about him but Jaya was not aware of this fact as we had studied 90% of the things together and she thought that I had pressed it out of excitement or by mistake as she feared. At that moment I got so confused that when I know the answer why was she behaving in such a manner? She rested her forehead on her hands and was as sad as one could ever be. But this was just for a minuscule of second as the quizmaster was near our table waiting for the answer. There was pin drop silence and I felt that the crowd had stopped breathing and then I heard myself giving the answer “MANCHESTER UNITED” and looked at Jaya who sat aghast. It was then the quizmaster shouted “and that’s the right answer and the “all girls team wins the finale.....”” that was all I could hear from him because Jaya spoke in rejoice “how did you know the answer?” and I said “I had read that” and then we hugged each other.

Finally we had won and as you now know it was sports which horrified us and it was sports only which led to our victory in the semi-finals as well as the finals. It was destined to be a sports question otherwise we would have answered Salman Rushdie wrote Satanic Verses. But then we had won and that was the ultimate truth.

We both won one Compaq laptop each. Think which competition gives away such costly and fabulous prizes. Very few. And we were the WINNERS of such an awesome competition.

The story doesn’t ends here i.e. picture abhi baaki hai mere dost..

The coming back was as eventful as going to Indore. We had hired a taxi and were waiting for the bus to arrive at a bus stop. Now when the bus came it halted at the other side of the road. We were such fools that we came out of the taxi with few of our luggage and walked to the bus asking the taxi driver to bring the rest of the luggage (which was our new laptop cartons and its carry bag.) We walked to the bus and then to my horror I saw the taxi driver drove the taxi at a very high speed in a different direction. I left all my luggage and ran behind the taxi, called Jaya and told her and she asked some men on a scooter to catch the taxi as it has our luggage. I thought that he has vanished away with our new laptops and was horrified. Those people on scooter went after the taxi in the same direction but to my utmost astonishment I saw the taxi coming after taking a round of the centre and being parked just besides the bus. I called back Jaya and we went rolling on the floor laughing.

We boarded the bus with all our luggage which had become unmanageable for us. Everyone thought we were coming from some marriage as we had huge gift boxes with us. The bus driver played some very terrible movie and everyone made him put it off so we had nothing to do except to feel happy.

We were received by my friends at the bus stop and both of us were given a bouquet each. A grand welcome awaited us at the hostel and we were two very proud girls who had proved that girls can not only manage every task on their own but can also win against all odds. We were happy to go to college the next day as we had won and we weren’t scolded by anyone for the incidents that happened before we left for Indore.

I hope this made you laugh a lot but then somewhere down the line I also believe it is very inspiring.

I also wish I and Jaya can keep winning fabulous competitions so that I can write and make you people laugh as we are very funny people.


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