Quick as lightning on the buzzer

The Tata Crucible Corporate Quiz was conducted in its fifth edition on the 31st of August 2008, at the NIMHANS Convention Centre.

The quiz has proved popular enough for the organisers to have moved the venue from the St John’s auditorium to the larger NIMHANS Convention Centre on Hosur Road. The quizmaster, Giri ‘Pickbrain’ Balasubramaniam has been a popular quizmaster in several quizzing circles; and he says that the Crucible Quiz seeks to challenge young minds with ‘thetoughest business quiz in India’. The Tata group is ‘focusing its communication at youth as a key audience cluster’, and as part of this effort, has also been conducting the Tata Crucible Campus Quiz for students since 2004.

The Tata Crucible Quiz is a team based contest (two participants per team) and is held in three parts. Two back to back tracks – separately for Tata Corporates and Non-Tata Corporates, followed by the National Finals for each. The third track is held for Campus students each year also followed by a National Final. Over 2500 teams participated in the three tracks of the quiz held in 2006-07.

This year, Tata Crucible Quiz is being held in 16 cities, and on August 31st, it was Bangalore’s turn. For the 25-question preliminary round, an astonishing 200+ teams turned out!

The questions included such "lollipops" as "Which Indian film director owns Sahayadri Films, was an ad executive in Lintas, and ran SB Productions?" (Shyam Benegal) and "Which Bangalore landmark was established by a British gentleman, later managed by N M Mahadevan, and then taken over by industrialist G Rajagopal?" (Cash Pharmacy). And, intriguing ones like "Who was the richest man in India, featured on the 1937 cover of Time magazine?" (Nawab of Hyderabad), and "Which was the first train to be the branded ‘Airtel Rajdhani Express’?" (Delhi to Bangalore).

For a full list of the 25 questions, visit ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ at Rohit Nair’s blog.

The six finalists on the Tata Track were:

  1. Titan – Gaurav Kara ,Yashwant Kumar
  2. Tata Elxsi – Ajay Rao, Nagaraj Keshavmurthy
  3. Titan – Shivaram who was the Blore Tata champion last year), Lakshan
  4. Tathagatha Mukherjee, Harish Bhat
  5. Tata Tea – Smitha, Ashok
  6. Titan – Aditya Kejriwal, Sunil

Tata Elxsi won in a canter with 55 points; rounds such as ‘Built To Last’, ‘Business At The Speed of Thought’, ‘Straight From The Gut’, such questions as, "Who asked for ‘roti, kapda, makan, bijli, bandwidth’?" (Devang Mehta), and "What’s the Dr Pepper/Snapple Group now called?" (Cadbury) gave both the teams and the audience lots to think about!

On the non-Tata Track, the finalists were:

  1. ITC Ltd. – Anindya Sen, Tanmay Prusty
  2. Ray & Keshavan – Arvind Hegde, Aditya Jalan
  3. National Instruments – Abhishek Nag, Sheetendra Bhattacharya
  4. Yahoo! – Ajay Kasargod, Tejaswi Udupi
  5. Onmobile- Rajesh Mohan, Nikhil Narayan
  6. Oracle – Anantharam Vaidyanath, Rohan Balakrishnan

‘Pickbrain’ decided that five simple rounds would determine these teams’ fortunes:

  1. Business Horizons: a round of straightforward questions, such as:
    "What specific reason was behind the design of the Boeing 727?"
    (Airlines were changing from hub-to-hub model to the point-to-point model of flights)
  2. Nano Games: Questions to do with the Tata companies; a sampler: "What is TTM on the New York Stock Exchange?" (Tata Motors).
  3. Lateral Thoughts: This was ‘Pickbrain’s signature round; the answer had to be arrived at by connecting the visuals and the music. One of the interesting factoids that came out in this round was that Godrej had designed the first ballot boxes at Nehru’s request, and later realized that if they were ‘safe’ enough to hold the votes, they would be ‘safe’ enough to hold valuables…and the Godrej steel ‘almirah’s were born!.
  4. Code Busters: Four logos or visuals had to be identified, the letters and then the name had to be worked out (For example, if the logo was Audi and the ‘formula’ was ‘D + 1’, the letter would be ‘i’) …and since it was a buzzer round, speed counted. Negative markings on this round really changed some fortunes!
  5. Crucible Quotient: Yahoo did a fine job of quizzing right from the beginning, but ITC surged ahead on the final question, quick as lightning on the buzzer, and winning the quiz.

When we asked our friends’ 15-year-old if she wanted to go out for a while, she said no, she was finding it very interesting. It was a real tribute to the IQ — Interest Quotient — of the Tata Crucible Quiz!

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About Deepa Mohan 152 Articles
Deepa Mohan is a freelance writer and avid naturalist.