On the afternoon of March 1, battle lines were drawn between six teams who made it to the Grand Finale of aQuest – an engineering quiz contest powered by Johnson Controls-Hitachi.
ISHRAE Student Chapters from all over India fight it out every year in the preliminary rounds, culminating in the semi-finals that were held this year at Chennai and Nagpur, for the privilege of representing their zones during the finals that coincide with ACREX. In addition to two semi-finalists each from these two locations, there were two wild card entries. The Quizmaster was the redoubtable Shahriyar Atai, who combines a rare stage presence with spontaneous wit and musical talent. Rakesh Juneja, VP at JC-Hitachi, began by spelling out his company’s efforts to groom and attract young engineering talent. V. Krishnan gave an introduction to aQuest for the benefit of the audience, which packed the hall to capacity. Gautham Baliga explained some of intricacies of the contest.
The Quizmaster enthralled the audience with some impromptu numbers before getting down to the serious business of conducting the quiz. Calling the teams to the dais, he explained the rules of the game. The teams were: Nikunj Senjaliya and Nisarg Ranpura from Lalbhai Dalpatbhai College of Engineering, Ahmedabad; Logesh Karthick M. and Balaji M. P. from Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai; Sagnik Datta and Biswayan Chattopadhyay from Institute of Engineering and Management, Kolkata; Shaunak Das and Harsh K. Shah from Institute of Engineering and Management, Kolkata; Venkat Puneeth P. and Aagashram N. from St. Joseph’s Institute of Technology, Chennai; and Piyush Kanungo and Pranjal Khare from IET-DAVV, Indore. The gruelling contest consisted of a general round and a buzzer round. There were interludes with music and questions for the audience. Ridhi Lakhotia from Institute of Engineering and Management, Kolkata – the winner of a Facebook quiz conducted during the last two months to generate interest for aQuest, was felicitated.
In a nail-biting finish, Nikunj Senjaliya and Nisarg Ranpura walked away with the coveted first prize on the basis of their correct answer to the very last question. The second prize went to Logesh Karthick M. and Balaji M. P. The third place was wrested by Sagnik Datta and Biswayan Chattopadhyay. A huge windfall awaited the winners. Sonia Prashar, MD – NürnbegMesse India, made a surprise announcement that the winning team would be taken on a visit to Germany. This was greeted with loud applause by the audience. Thus the most-awaited student event of the year ended on an upbeat for the event note.
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