Quiz Français at Alliance Française de Delhi, Gurgaon Centre

Posted by on Aug 12, 2014 in Events | 0 comments

After a gap of 3 years, I had the pleasure of being a part of Quiz Français at the Gurgaon Centre of Alliance Française de Delhi, again at the behest of the Director: my friend, colleague, trainer and mentor Vasanthi Gupta. Last time was a treat for school kids from Gurgaon’s plush schools, this time for the alumni community, which, given the 58-year old history of AFD, must run into many thousands! The roughly 100-strong alumni that gathered on the evening of May 31 covered five decades, from the late sixties till the present. The L-shaped terrace of the Gurgaon Centre was scattered with chairs, floor fans that sprayed us all in a fine vapoury mist and was cloaked in a waterproof tent pavilion, in deference to the weather forecast, which promised inclement storms… And indeed, ominous grey clouds were collecting and a persistent wind threatened to blow the tent top away. The yellow plastic sheet that was supposed to protect us from rain flapped madly like a deafening albatross wing on an ocean rock. The wind also tried its best to blow the projection screen right out to the Dronacharya Metro Station, scaring us enough to beam our AV quiz on the sheltered wall on one side of the terrace while the equipment staff hurriedly rolled up their precious screen and packed it away. The proceedings were to kick off at 6, so naturally there was no action until a little past 7 pm. By this time, the few punctual invitees had started getting fidgety, the director Jean-Philippe Bottin and the Academic Director were present, complete with bouquet and mike, so the event began with the usual speeches. It amazed me that the Alliance Française didn’t have an official Alumni Association, considering that it has churned out tens of thousands of students (hundreds of thousands?) in its nearly 60 years, most of whom have a strong feeling of belonging and pride! So this initiative was certainly a welcome and timely one, proved later by the tributes that several ex-students paid to the institution, their teachers, many of whom were in attendance, and to France, the focal point of our combined adulation. At a quarter past seven, after receiving a bouquet and explaining the raison d’être of the event, Vasanthi suddenly announced the Quiz, jumping the programme somewhat, since we were billed to perform after a tour of the exhibition “Les Métiers du Monde”, which provided the trigger for the festivities. But the stage beckoned, the PPT was ready and Kunal Savarkar, CEO of Xpress Minds and my spouse, gave me a glowing introduction, so I fished out the Q-cards, rolled my Rs and snapped into it. The assembled crowd was quickly divided into about 10 teams, each of whom was given an A3 card studded with six honeycombs with numbers from 1 to 5 on each on a background of the French Tricolour. The shape was a salute to the Hexagon, one of the various epithets given to France. The central hexagon was to be filled with team details, including an inventive name. Teams came up with some priceless ones: Les Bergères folles, Les Cinq Mousquetaires, les Schtroumpfs, les Bleus, les Bleus Extraordinaires, les Intelligentes (the last thought up by the tiniest team consisting of my two daughters aged 12 and 9)… We followed a pub-quiz type profile, but to save time, the format was tweaked to 5 questions to be answered in writing and the sixth one to be answered randomly by specific members amongst the participants, who in fact formed the entire audience. 6 rounds, with...

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