"Hand of fate is moving and the finger points to you
He knocks you to your feet and so what are you gonna do
Your tongue has frozen now you've got something to say
The piper at the gates of dawn is calling you his way
Your time will come,
Your time will come"
The Wicker Man
The winner, Hariharan Iyer, flanked by Harish Raman and Nandakumar Gurumurthi
When a demure Hariharan Iyer of Satyam Computers announced on stage, "I've always been number 2, this is the first time I'm being number 1," he had a whole audience swept off its feet. Like Derek O'Brien, the quizmaster for the evening, said, Hyderabad's gods of tech were the humblest humans he'd seen.
Hariharan Iyer's time has come, but the winner of the Seagram Royal Stag Megamind was only one thing that swept the milling crowd at the ITC Kakatiya Sheraton off its feet.
Normally, something you'd be traveling to space in. The set for MegaMind transported 6 persons to glory.
Billed as the greatest and richest quiz ever of Hyderabad, the Seagram Royal Stag MegaMind, organized by Hyderabad's premier portal (us, smartass!), surpassed all the expectations that it had generated, and simply blew the mind of everyone who was part of the bursting-at-the-seams crowd at Hyder Mahal! With names like Seagram, Deccan Chronicle, Shock, Allen Solly, Indian Airlines, ITC Kakatiya Sheraton, Titan, Access2future, Idea Cellular and Chinese Pavilion behind it, could it have been anything different?
To start with, there was the fact that the finalists were the last six of just about every one of Hyderabad's 25,000-strong software professionals who'd participated in the first round on fullhyd.com. Which basically meant that these 6 guys - Hariharan Iyer of Satyam (who won in a nail-biting finish), Harish Raman of D E Shaw (the victim of that nail-biting finish who came second),
Much as our finalists beg to differ, the star of the evening was someone else!
Nandakumar Gurumoorthy of Juno (the third), Sreenivas Majeti of Intergraph, Harsh Mittal of Motorola and Rayan Ivaturi of I-Labs - were among the best tech brains of town. And a battle between them would just have to be awesome.
Then, the stage that was erected was breathtakingly astounding. Resembling the interior of a spaceship, it made the crowd feel that they had stepped into the world of Star Wars. Absolutely fitting that it was the setting for the final of the greatest tech event ever in Hyderabad.
Derek kept the finalists on tenterhooks with his novel rounds...
Next was the crowd that had gathered. Never after it became the tech capital of the country has there been such a huge get-together in Hyderabad of tech professionals at one place. Oracle, Microsoft, Baan, Satyam, Wipro, Infotech, Infosys, Wilco, Intelligroup… just about every tech company was here - close to 100 of them - and the place was splitting at the sides with the nearly 1,000 strong audience having a whale of a time.
...and the largest ever tech gathering of Hyderabad throughly entertained!
Then there was, of course, the quizmaster. Derek O'Brien, the country's most popular. No amount of newsprint (or HTML!) can do justice to the one man whose scintillating charisma, riotous sense of humor and unmatchable exuberance makes people think twice about even visiting the loo 'cos they'd miss 2 minutes of him! Indeed, few among the audience would have laughed more in their lives than they did between 7pm and 9pm on Sunday, July 14th, 2002.
This lady got amply rewarded for correctly identifying Elijah Woods...
And finally, there were the prizes! Compaq Presarios - laptops and desktops - for the winners and the runners-up, Tata Mobitels, Royal Stag bottles, Titan FastTracks, Allen Solly vouchers, Idea Cellular packs, encyclopedia CDs from Access2future, vouchers from Chinese Pavilion… no quiz ever got richer. And as Derek just splurged gifts on people from the audience who could answer (and even could not answer!) questions, few people got richer in such a short span of time!
...but Derek didn't really need a reason to give out prizes. This was the richest quiz ever of town!
Indeed, the Seagram Royal Stag MegaMind will go down as one of the greatest shows ever of Hyderabad, and the 6 who made it to the end will be celebrity geeks in town. At least for a year. Because that's till when the 25,000 strong tech crowd of town will have to wait for another shot at the ultimate title.
For now, though, Hariharan Iyer's time has come.