Tu Shaheen hai, Parwaaz hai kam tera, Tere aage Asman aur bhi hai-Iqbal
You are a falcon, flying is your vocation-Translation
“Every time they go, they fail, he fails”– Smirked a friend who once used to believe in him. The very fact that it was his last time made him nervous, anxious, the very thought of failing again was terrible, so terrible that it scared him but at the same time gave him the push to put in his maximum efforts.
On 7th November 2012, books closed, notes revised, past recalled, anxious but confident, Shaheen was about to leave home for school with his mother who was going to drop him off for his one last attempt. She Said,
“Tu iss bari jeet kar ana, nahi to log taane maarenge ki harr baari jaata hai lekin har kar aata hai”
The child with a very polite tone replied, “Haan Maa, mei apna 100% doonga”.
That silent one hour drive from home to school along with the lady who believed in him, that one hour was crucial for him for his mother’s words were the sole reason his ‘Why’ became stronger, his mind started taking control of his thoughts, clarity kicking in at the right time. That one hour saw a massive transformation in Shaheen, as he stepped out of the vehicle, with broad shoulders and a funny belly, with long strides he entered the premises waving his mother a gentle good bye.
“You are finally here, thank god. We thought today we might have to go without you.” – Aditya shared his relief with Shaheen, who had almost missed the bus to the competition. Later they both were joined by the third member of the team, Saket, who was the youngest out of the lot but his eyes had the spark, the spark to accomplish the impossible.
“Come on everyone, it is time to go, board the bus or else we will leave you here itself.” Shouted Mrs. Manju, their support system, the teacher coordinator who brought the teams together for the event. Everybody quickly boarded the bus and in no time were on their way to the venue, Sri Sathya Sai Auditorium, a quizzer’s paradise in South Delhi. For the three of them it was equivalent to the Colosseum in Rome, their battleground, their place to demonstrate who they were.
For Shaheen and Aditya this was their third attempt at the competition, in which they both had failed previously, this time being their last time, they both had their differences kept aside and eyes set at the goal. Whereas it was Saket’s first attempt at the event, so for him it was more about creating a common ground with Shaheen and Aditya, who had failed but were still experienced.
Shaheen a twelfth grade student, Aditya being an eleventh grade student and Saket being the tenth grade student, comprised to form the one and only Bhartiya Ninja Party, hilarious name for a team but at the same time it was very lucky for them.
The event started in the morning with the first round being written assessment of the teams from different schools across Delhi and its surrounding cities. The Bhartiya Ninja Party was one of the two teams which were representing Apeejay School, Noida in the event. The first round was a heavily contested affair, for out of 250 teams participating only 12 were to be shortlisted for the next round. The test had 25 questions which were designed to test the knowledge of the entire team. Shaheen and Aditya decided that all the responses of the questionnaire shall be entered by Saket, so as to avoid ego clashes, but the responses to be entered were to be discussed between the three of them thoroughly. The first round began with the quiz master taking the stage. The first round took nearly thirty minutes to end and the Bhartiya Ninja Party and the other team were quite sure of their chances to qualify for the second round.
The Results were announced, their hearts racing, mind skeptical, past peeking through the stage, where they stood earlier. Both the teams qualified for the second round, but for Shaheen and Aditya it was not just another qualifier but the last qualifier. With high hopes from the team Bhartiya Ninja Party, Mrs. Manju wished them the best of luck for the next round.
Shaheen and Aditya were now gaining confidence and Saket on the other hand was finally at a common ground with his seniors. The team with a very good spirit entered the arena, a stage, not huge but big enough to accommodate six teams of three and a big television. The twelve shortlisted teams were divided into a pool of two, two teams from the same school could not be a part of the same pool.
The Bhartiya Ninja Party were part of the first pool. Six Teams from the first pool were called at random to pick a piece of paper from a black box, that piece of paper included the position at which team had to sit, Shaheen being the senior most member went to conduct the draw on behalf of the team and he drew position ‘C’, the last table on the left side of the television. As the teams settled down for the first Semi-Final, the quiz master took the stage and kicked it off. As the first semi-final was half way through, they had already qualified for the finals with a huge margin, the quiz master exclaimed,
“Even if you guys don’t answer a single question beyond this point, you have made it to the finals”, an exclamation that calmed Shaheen down. That sense of relief of finally making it to the finals not only put a smile on their faces but also gave them the confidence to move ahead for the finals. The other team consisting of Shubham, a very dear friend of Shaheen and also his ex-team mate, could not make it to the finals. Shaheen, almost on the top of his voice, annoyed with Shubham, “We discussed this question in the morning, and had you paid attention you would have made the cut as well.”
Aditya and Saket calmed him down and brought his focus back on the event, his temperament was so bad that he had to be distracted onto something he loved dearly in his life. The final round was called, all of the six finalists were on their way to the stage for the chit draw. The music was so loud and motivating that it gave the Bhartiya Ninja Party goosebumps, a positive vibe swiped across the three and with strong determination they started to trot towards their position ‘F’, the last table towards the right of the television. Mrs. Manju wished them the best of luck, the wish was so loud that it echoed in the auditorium, but who knew that such small things are crucial for the moral of students as it gave them the psychological advantage over the other teams.
As the final round began, Shaheen, Aditya and Saket grew anxious as they were aware about the competition around them, the defending champions at position A, this team was the best in the Delhi Quizzing circuit. The way they introduced themselves was so intimidating that all the team felt their presence.
But who knew this time Experience was the key, who knew that the it all came down to the last buzzer, who knew what destiny had in store for the Shaheen, Aditya and Saket,
“So Ladies and Gentleman, the last question for the finals, the only thing lying between the Bhartiya Ninja Party and the defending champions is, what type of….”, the buzzer rang with the defending champions interrupting the quiz master to answer the final question, with Bhartiya Ninja Party missing the buzzer by micro seconds;