Sunday, November 26, 2006


... is a multi-faceted word in our country today.

The Corp'Ho and I were discussing this the other day, and we came up with quite a few different uses of the word.

Bihar and probably all of UP: Any group of people. It's used in greetings, for instance...
"Kaa PARTY, kidhar ja rahe ho?"

Customer(s) for services (broker, 'agent', bhai, lady of the night, etc)...
Desperate House-hunter: Hello! Hello! Irfan Bhai!
Broker: Haylo! Diwakar Sa'ab! Bolo!
Desperate House-hunter: Kute tumi? Woh ghar dekhna tha abhi!
Broker: Sa'ab abhi to nahi hoga, PARTY ke saath hoon, kal karte hain!

ANY outing or celebration or even just plain lunch. e.g....
Bunty: Challo ji, kal PARTY kartey hain
Nicky Singh: Be'encho
Bobby: Haan haan, kaafi din ho gaye PARTY kiye huey
Nicky Singh: Be'encho
Pinku: PVR chalein?
Nicky Singh: Be'encho

THE PARTY. For instance...
"Aamar chchele to PARTY korchche aajkal"
Literally: My son's doing party these days
Actually: He's working/campaigning/striking for the CPI(M)

Bangalore: A party (duh) like the one with Shorty and Bacardi. Like...
"Hey dude, let's PARTY man"
"Yo man, this PARTY is rockin or what"

Chennai: An identifier to one's behavorial antecedents. i.e. (updated with feedback)
Selvan: Innada machi. How is that Rajesh doing these days?
Palanivel: Nothing da. He's a Tanni-PARTY only - Always taking drinks.
Selvan: Thoo!
Palanivel: Anyway, I heard your cousin Kiruba is getting married. How's the boy?
Selvan: He's good da. Sound-PARTY we found.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


...footage has been obtained by the KQA, and overseas, no less.

Nicholas Parsons
, OBE, radio celebrity from the Beeb, was in Bangalore on Friday (the 17th of November) to cover the activities and doings of the KQA as part of a documentary. Parsons' career has revolved around JAM and other game-shows. He is honorary chairman of the International Quizzing Association, and hosts quizzes himself.

Parsons and his assistant talking to Ochintya and Arul

To facilitate, an invitational open quiz was held (non-ranking) with higher than usual levels of premier-bookshop-coupon-prizes (4000-3000-2000 and 600 for all finalist teams), ostensibly to cover for the uncomfortable Friday evening scheduling. The venue was the venerable Daly Memorial Hall.

The prelims had 25 questions. Nine(!) teams made the cut-off (it was tight) of 13.5 The relatively-short finals included the new-written-format of the theme round, the usual infinite bounce rounds, a complicated 12-question-stage3 connect and a written round on Absolut ads. The quiz-master has posted a selection of questions here.

Overall, questions were mostly cracked, though the themes met with less enthusiasm (only 3 of 9 teams got the stage 2 in the written round, and no one managed the 12-person-connection). WALT(W) led from the first round, having cracked the first theme pretty early, which helped them fight off challenges towards the end.

Before the finals, Mr. Parsons conducted a round of Just-A-Minute, featuring old Bangalore hands such as Darius Sonawala, Jimmy Xavier and Rajesh Meher. He went away pleased at the response, albeit a touch aghast at the 'keen-ness' of the participants to challenge opponents and 'spoil' the JAM.

Parsons 'JAM'ming

1st (140): WALT(W) - Anustup, Ochintya, Mitesh and Mr. Parsons himself, for a little bit (who also contributed the answer to the annoyingly obscure Blenheim question)
2nd (130) : Scientific Progress Goes Boink - Anurakshit, Avinash TN, Ashwin Koneti and Me.
3rd (95) : Mustafa - Debashree, Vijay, Lahar and Nandakumar

My personal favourite crack - being to only one to GUESS the Absolut dedication shown below. Read more here. We were in second place from round one - the effort towards the end wasn't good enough to beat WALT(W)'s early lead. Good to see regulars such as Mihir and Siddhartha after a while. I was delighted to hear that one Leslie Matthew, whose music writing I've enjoyed since the days of Gentleman, is in Bangalore now, and will probably turn up at a quiz sometime. I'm looking forward to see what he looks like.

Also posted on the KQA Blog.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

El Diablo...

...was probably Brian Azzarello's first shot at a multi-part 'western' comic.

I'd mentioned Brian-'100 Bullets'-Azarello's Loveless late last year. I continue to follow his tale of western revenge, set sometime after the American Civil War. As Dilettante puts it, it's rather disturbing, and beautifully drawn.

Last week, I happened to come across an earlier western story in four parts written by Azzarello, and drawn by the Croatian Daniejl Zelelj. You can see the makings of Loveless in El Diablo (2001, Vertigo), a short tale packed with more twists than a mountain road.

El Diablo is Azzarello stamped all over - every character has shades of grey - there is bountiful sex and violence - guns blaze and bodies fly - and the finale is a twisted bastard child of Sergio Leone and Roald Dahl. It does sufficient justice to the 'western' genre too, with saloon shootings, 'injuns', hangings and horses.

Recommended read, if you like your comics pulpy and clever at the same time. Definitely read, if you like either 100 Bullets or Loveless.

Two Sundays...

... back, I was helping out at the Bangalore round of KQA's annual Jack Kilby Science & Technology Quiz. This was the fourth time that this was held.

A report written for the KQA blog...

The St. John's auditorium on Sunday (5th November, 2006) was witness to one of KQA's fastest growing annual quizzes, the Jack Kilby Science & Technology Quiz, for students between the 8th and 10th grades. The quiz has reached it's fourth edition, propelled by the enthusiasm and deep-ish pockets of the Texas Instruments Foundation, with Ochintya Sharma conducting it regularly. This year, it was held at four venues.

352 teams turned up to have a go at the supremely attractive prizes. The national winner gets to visit NASA and a TI fab-lab in Houston. Each of the regional winners won themselves robotics kits, and runners-up and finalists won various other prizes including book-vouchers, telescopes and digital cameras.

Ochintya Sharma (WALT(W) and KQA president) conducted as always, and succeeded in providing a balance of work-out-able and clever questions which kept the scoring tight and the capacity-audience hooked till the end. His frequent advice on 'how life and quizzing luck is' notwithstanding. NPS kept up it's record of being placed in the top three for every year.

The Chennai round was held on the 10th at the
Kumararaja Muthiah Hall in RA Puram. 567 teams participated, and the 1200-capacity hall had people squatting in aisles, I'm told.

The Delhi round, followed by the finals, was held on the 14th
Sriram Centre for Art and Culture. The turnout was restricted due to a smaller-sized auditorium. DPS, RK Puram ended up winners of the Delhi round from the 125-odd schools.

The finals were tightly contested between the Bangalore and Chennai teams, with the Bangalore team making it through as winners in the end.

Sriharsha V. Bhat and Mayukh Samanta of National Public School, Indirangar (yay?)
Abhijith K. Anil and Milind M. Rao of Presidency School, R.T. Nagar
Pavan S. Bharadwaj and Mayank M. Kowahik of Sri Kumaran's Childrens' Home

V. Sreevatsan and V. Prashant of SRDF Vivekananda Vidyalaya
2nd: Sanjith Gopalakrishnan and K. Varun of P.S. Senior Secondary School
3rd: Ashwath Rabindranath and Akshay Rangamani of Vidya Mandir, Royapettah

1st: Shubham Prakhar and Sidharth G of DPS, RK Puram
2nd: Kshitij Lauria and Aishwarya of Amity International
Jyotesh Singh and Angad Uberoi of St. Columba's

1st: NPS, Indiranagar (Bangalore)
SRDF Vivekananda Vidyalaya (Chennai)
3rd: DPS, RK Puram (Delhi)

Other Coverage
The report in The Hindu about the Bangalore round here (scroll down)
The Chennai round (read the report from The Hindu here.)

Friday, November 03, 2006


...Spelling can be an involving exercise. Here's a contest for y'all.

The latest version of Mozilla Firefox has an inbuilt spell-check. It (gently?) underlines a wrong spelling into any text that you enter into a browser window. For instance, this blog-post. Which reminds me of a bit of entertainment I had for myself back in the days when we were just getting used to word processors and spelling checks.

Often, I go all OCD over bad spelling. And in a job that requires a lot of e-mail and documentation to be sent out across various seas, I need to double careful. But there is a category of bad spelling I derive much amusement from. It' not talking Byk Puncher Repear kind of bad spelling. Or worse spellings of our vernacular tongues (like this). That stuff is just plain funny.

I'm talking about the kind of bad spelling that bypasses spell-checks. A 'their' instead of a 'there' or instance. Or a 'no' instead of a 'know'. I've often tried writing sentences which are essentially horribly spelled (my spell check tells me spelled is acceptable, but spelt isn't?) but will pass a spell-check by any decent application.

e.g. "Their is know whey the spelling cheque will no the difference"

Contest: Come up with the worst(or best!) paragraph of bad spelling that will not be flagged by the (British) spelling-check. Credit for creativity and length.

Prize: A book or something, probably. There will be one surely, if I get more than 20 entries. The more the entries, the grander I'll try to make the prize. So, spread the word.

Deadline: 28th November, 2006.