Patting my back…

An email from the KQA – ‘Open quiz on Sunday, the 20th of May at Daly Memorial Hall, teams of 2.’

Now, an OQ by KQA is one that is generally not missed by anyone who is half serious about quizzing. With me fitting into that category, all that I needed was a teammate. My regular one was busy, so I called up my old one – the one from my PU college days. He dithered about a bit and finally agreed “for old times sake”.

“For old times sake”… Now that got me thinking and delving into my memory.

Both of us had just joined PU college, and the regular quizzer that he was at school, was looking for a good teammate. I wasn’t too much into quizzing at school – just used to commit to memory some mundane trivia. But since there was noone else, I became his teammate.

Being brutally honest, he carried me through the first few quizzes until I developed to some acceptable level. But somehow, we clicked. We started off by winning the quiz conducted by the commerce department, then came the inter college quiz competition victories at our college science fest. There was also the physics quiz and the chemistry quiz in which we did well. The biggest one was when we were placed 4th among 800+ teams in the Hindu Young World Quiz. (One of the prizes for which, amongst a host of other things, was a year’s supply of Maggi noodles! 😉 )

We came off the pace a lot in II PU partly because of bad luck and partly because quizzing itself was put on the back burner and studies took centerstage. We parted ways at the end of the year, with both of us going to different professional colleges. Both of us have evolved a hell lot after that and it was great teaming up again today.

The actual quizzes that we went for today didn’t yield glorious victories, but then again, it was a KQA quiz attended by the best in Bangalore. We did manage to qualify for the final in one of the quizzes, but that was all…


Things that I never thought I’d do: 

*  Standing on the bumper of a Toyota Qualis even as the car is manoeuvering a rickety, pot-hole filled track in the jungle.

*  Doing what I said above and also trying to take a video of the whole thing for posterity sake with my precious new cell phone.

*  Drinking water straight out of a river and a waterfall, unmindful of all the moss and humus which was more than apparent to the eye.

*  Going towards a wild elephant, instead of away from it, upon spotting one in the jungle.

*  Becoming part Rastafarian with unkempt smelly clothes, grimy face, bedraggled hair and a 5 O’clock shadow.  (That was only temporary, mind you…)

*  Having to make the tough call between risking smelly farts and ablutions out in the open. 😉

*  Climbing barefoot, a 70 degree incline mountain face with loose mud and teeming with leeches.

*  Gazing at the clear, starry night sky above the jungle for a long time hoping to spot that elusive meteorite amidst millions of fireflies, the earthly meteorites…


All these packed into 3 days along with lots of other wonderful sights made for an awesome trek.  The place – Bili Moorkallu camp in Nagarahole forest.

And we’re done!

Ever changing sleep patterns, large mugs of coffee, people counting down in various ways, curses flying around, discovering that a subject was actually quite interesting, nite outs… All these ring a bell? Yeah, it is that time in a semester again – the exams. It has been quite a dramatic 10 days.

Chapter 1: MD&V and HT

Personally, I quite dreaded these two exams. They carried the maximum weightage. There was the usual overconfidence while preparing. I had to go quite deep into the night for the first one itself.

An inauspicious start.

It also din’t help when the short, jumpy, energetic teacher proudly announced – ‘students, the answers will be up tonight on he virtual classroom.. blah blah.’ This was the last thing that was needed after the first exam for many apprehensive students. The few who dared to check went into depression. Again, curiosity killed the cat, or in this case, the precious
little confidence that people had.

HT brought with it a huge number of problems. There was this particular one on radiation – involving a square room whose height was only 0.35 m! People found multiple ways to crack it with answers ranging from a few watts to a few million watts! A huuuge power plant out of an ordinary square room in which a six year old can’t stand! We’ve given new meaning to the word engineering. 🙂

The marks came out about 3 days later – right in the middle of another exam. People queued up to see how many marks their miniature power plants had fetched them; and came out grinning. The teacher had taken pity on all of us and thrown marks. Consider this – a big derivation running into two pages, if done correctly got you the full 10 marks. But if you only defined it and wrote the final answer, you still got a huge chunk – 7 marks!!! Man! Mech truly rocks. 😉

Chapter 2: MCF and CFD

Two subjects which almost encompassed the whole info on fluids and taught by the same guy. Now this guy doesn’t believe in exams – he has said so himself many times. So most of us took this one easy. There was a massive derivation involving 29 equations (which incidentally still produces the wrong result – by quite a distance…) which everyone hoped would not matter.

A few guys decided to have some fun when I was trying to decipher this. Three guys somehow procured a powerful Niobium magnet and brought it near my head, all the while taking a video of the whole thing which they titled “The magnetic nature of Aneesh’s head – a documentary” 😀

The next day we stride into the hall and see the teacher grinning and seemingly saying ‘yes boys, it is there!’, to which we were like ‘oh no you din’t!’. People sweated buckets trying to manufacture 29 equations. It carried 30 marks after all! Many resorted to the old stunt of filling crap in between and cleverly writing the final result. And that was not all – another question quite plainly asked us to sketch the lift and drag of an unheard of plane which was only referred to by its codename in the paper – NACA009. More fabrication followed and awesome flight characteristics were thought of for this top secret, sinister plane.

Next up was CFD. I stayed up most of the night trying to understand those vectorial equations. At around 4 30 AM, I had a visitor to my room – a rat! Now I am not the kind who jumps up every time I see a creepy crawly. But a rat running around my room, surely! It ran under beds, climbed up the LAN wire, went into my roomie’s comp (who wasn’t bothered btw… Man, Cal guys I tell you…). Finally, it jumped off the window.
Everyone agreed that this was surely going to be tougher than MCF. We weren’t disappointed. This man had a liking for loooong derivations – another mega one in this paper, only this time, it involved vector calculus. 😦

Chapter 3: AE and ECO

The tough ones behind us now, all of us settled down to a good deal of mugging for the last two exams. Mech has to have atleast one subject every semester which is out and out mugging. A plethora of inane data and diagrams were mugged. The dumb teacher also asked us to submit an assignment on the day of the exam! When we protested, he donned the role of a Sandalwood villian – “submit aar else, yuvar grades will start from BC that’s aal.”

The next day, i honestly wrote the most I have ever written in 3 hours – brakes and suspensions and cranks and camshafts and valves and overdrives and fluid flywheels and torque converters and girling linkages and… uff…

The last exam was left. Now economics is a subject that everyone laughs at – hell it is not even taught by our department and it surely is a joke when compared to some hard core mech subjects. This led to the downfall of many of us as the paper ultra arbit stuff about investments and inerest rates. A name of a fictional person in one of the problems was Barbie! Surely, surely they couldn’t have run out of names. Or was it a mildly sexist thing? We’ll never know. The rotund and lugubrious invigilator din’t help matters – he was adamant that everything in the paper was clear. All of us swore… But everybody saw the larger picture – this is the last exam! We are 75% engineers now (really?!). We walked out of the hall, content.

A Josephite Farewell