Indian in England

Musings of a student

Monday, May 03, 2004

Sure? Confident?

LAST week I hosted two episodes of a British version of the Indian Kaun Banega Crorepati, which incidentally is the Indian version of the British Who wants to be a millionaire.

Ah, I can see my ex-colleagues in Mumbai shutting their mouths with their hands. Gosh, didn’t they have to put a gun to my head to make me do plain ol' audio for a couple of desperate -- and eminently forgettable -- reports in 1999? Amazing how the lure of money can cure camera-shyness.

And so I sat last Tuesday on a bar-stool-like contraption, facing my first competitor in the hot-seat, the first question for him blinking at me.

There was no audience -- I had insisted on that; if they wanted people and clapping and laughter, they could mix them all in later -- and we were in a claustrophobic space. The overhead lights were harsh and I was beginning to sweat, which is something I do wonderfully well when...well...overhead lights are harsh and I begin to sweat.

“When did mammoths cease to exist?”

My voice sounded squeaky. So I repeated the question, constricting my throat muscles to attain what I hoped was a Bachchanish baritone:

“When did mammoths become extinct? A) 15,000 years ago B) 10,000 years ago C) 20,000 years ago D) 5,000 years ago.”

That was better, I patted myself. Almost there. Next time drawl it out and serve it with a half-smile -- just so the women can swoon, you understand.

The hot-seat guy, a student, was evidently more in touch with the mammoths than me. He came up with an answer immediately.

“A,” he said. “15,000 years ago.”




He nodded.

I locked it. We moved on to the next. He answered. Next. Answer. Next. Answer... Then I threw a couple of toughies at him, stuff I didn't have a clue how to pronounce.

“What is… *gulp* …Pleistocene epoch?”

“What is… *double gulp* …Holocene epoch?”

So it went.

At the end of the session, I shook hands with him. Then I removed the ‘Exam in progress’ board from the door. Then I went home, having earned £30.82 from the university’s Learning Support department for ‘scribing’ for a disabled student.