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Tata Crucible

Tata Crucible

Taj Lands End Serves A Seven-Course Intellectual Buffet

Aha, now this is something different and very close to my heart! Quizzing. And a review of one of the most acclaimed and respected national quizzes. The Tata Crucible Business Quiz 2013. And here it begins…

The sea-facing Taj Lands End ballroom had a different kind of guests today: the youth who will power India’s tomorrow. More than 400 avid quizzes, representing every company worth its salt in Mumbai, had come to participate in the 10th edition of the corporate biz-quiz. From TCS to Games2win, IBM to L&T, the ballroom was bombarded with intellectual giants. Giri Balasubramanium, fondly known as ‘Pickbrain’ (weird, considering you just ‘pick’ your nose, he actually does that with the grey cells of your brain! Btw, his company is also known as Greycaps!) started the quiz bang on time, proving once again the punctuality he is known for. The prelims had 25 questions, few as easy as ‘Which music artist is the first to get 1 million likes on Instagram?’ to medium ones like ‘Which country has 67% of the companies listed as family-held entities?’ to tough ones like ‘Which soap was launched to counter Hamam in 1946, now a HUL brand?’ Participants loved the questions. A few hints Giri gave generously and the audience lapped it up.

The Prelims were over in 45 minutes and all the brainies postmortemed the questions over tea, coffee and cookies. As usual, like it happens in all gatherings of this scale, the cookies ran out much faster than folks had expected! The standards set by Taj got lowered a little.

The answers were then announced: it broke the hearts of a few and rushed adrenaline in the veins of others. 18/25 was announced as the cut-off. Those who had calculated their scores were seen biting nails!

The Mumbai round for the top 6 teams of Tata group companies (Tata group companies have a separate round by the name of Tata Track, thus segregating them from other companies) started and got over in a breeze. Tata vs Tata is not much interesting, considering the Tata group has a rich intra-company quizzing culture.

The round for non-Tata companies was the one which interested the majority. Interestingly, one of the six shortlisted teams’ one teammate (Quikr’s) had left due to some emergency, so the 7th team was lucky enough to be called on stage and replace Quikr. Boy, they had luck on their side or they battled like they were fighting death, they came out winning the Mumbai round!!! No words to describe how they evaded every Giri bouncer and hit every loose one for a six. They received a thunderous applause, every bit of which they deserved.

And then the Western Regionals began. Teams had come from as far as Goa and Nagpur to claim their right to the throne of being the Western Champions. The Ahmedabad team had veterans (literally) who could easily be mistaken for the grandparents of a few other participants. Such passion still running in their blood is infectious. How I envy them! I would not go into the details of the questions here but the topics were as diverse as you could imagine. A complete seven course meal served in the Taj, but this time intellectual in nature! The battles concluded after lots of greycells’ bloodshed: IBM Mumbai won, closely followed by Savoir Faire of Goa. To meet 6 other Regional Winners to fight for the Nationals in mid-Oct, again in Mumbai. And boy, they went home richer by tens of thousands.

With questions ranging from how a bra manufacturer made spacesuits to the army in which JRD served, it was actually a day well spent.

What could have been better: Giri should have more audience prizes, that’s the first thing which comes to my mind. Also, the audience engagement should have a higher quotient like Derek O’Brien does. Every quizmaster has his own style still suggestions should be taken from all: implementing or not is a choice. I expected Giri to congratulate the ‘elderly’ Ahmedabad team but he didn’t. One ‘mistake’ in terms of authenticity of answers was discovered by one of the audience sitting next to me. The energy seemed low at times, or may be prelims, Mumbai Regionals and Western Regionals back-to-back was tiring.

The crowd dispersed slowly, each much richer in intellectual terms, promising himself and herself to clear the prelims next year…

(This article has been penned to interest even a non-quizzer, prelim questions of this round can be shared upon request)