With the theme music of 'Kaun Banega Karorpathi' in the background, Amitabh Bachan settled at his plush chair.
"We have Mr Sandeep Unnimadhavan here in the hot seat who has already won Rs. 50 lakhs!" ... his usual mumbo-jumbo followed.
And the question comes ...
"Which of the following is closest to 'Pi'?"
"D. [Some big fraction which I dont remember now]"
I instantly knew (somehow) that the answer was D.
Mr Bachan continues ... "U still have all your life-lines left ... 50-50, audience-poll and phone-a-friend!"
I wanted to talk to my college friend Sujith Vijay at this point. He is a math genius and I had been his quiz partner a few times. I dunno what his number is, but KBC people knew everything. So, they called up Sujith:
Big B: "This is Amitabh Bachan speaking from Kaun Banega Karorpathi"
Sujith: "Hmmm ... ok" [I thought he was sleeping.]
Big B: "Your friend Sandeep Unnimadhavan is here and has already one Rs. 50L!"
Sujith: [Didnt hear what he said ... gulp???]
Big B: "And he needs your help with the last question"
Now, its my turn to talk ... and the 30s timer is started.
Me: Hey Sujith
Sujith: Hello Sandeep
Me: How r u doing ... I havent talked to u for a long time. So I thought I'll call u.
Sujith: Ohh .. ok .. how is the show going?
Me: Show is good ... reminded me of all those quiz sessions with u ... thats y I wanted to call ...
... and a chat followed. I was enjoying the crowd's murmur about this "guy's attitude". Bachan reminded me about the question and Sujith asked me what the question is ... and I told 'Its about Pi ... I will manage ... dont worry!' The crowd erupted to a standing ovation.
Time to give the answer and I said:
"3.14 is only an approximation to Pi, whose actual value is 3.141593... 3.15 is incorrect. 22/7 is 3.142857... and is again just an approximation. Option D is ..."
Thats when I realized that I have not even calculated the actual value of this fraction. I tried to do it quickly, the crowd was stunned to a silence. I stammered and laughs started coming out of the crowd. Even Bachan broke in to a smile and I paniced .... thats when I woke up!
The press conference was about to end ... and these were the final questions - "So when do u plan to conquer the final frontier - K2? And how tough you think it is?"
Me: I've not decided yet. K2 is surely the toughest of all eight thousanders and I am training hard for it. Apart from the difficulty of the climb, I have some other problems as well .. like getting the Pak government approval. I am also exploring the possibility of climbing K2 along the Northern face, from China, to circumvent the approval problem.
Reporter: Wish u all the best to become the first Indian to ascend all eight thousanders
With that the conference ended. But, the warnings about K2 didnt. Preethu and amma was after me telling about the dangers of a K2 climb:
Preethu: Do you know how many people have lost their lives in K2?
Amma: You have done enough mountain climbing. Now, why do u want to go to this dangerous place?
Thats when I got a call from the Mountaneering Association. They had checked my website and verified all 8000+ ascends, but could not find pictures of Cho Oyu climb. I said that my battery pack was empty during this climb and I could not take any pictures. They said that without pictures my claim to climbing Cho Oyu cannot be granted.
Well ... I turned to Preethu and Amma: "See ... u guys happy now? I will have to climb Cho Oyu again before going to K2!" Thats when, my friends .. the alarm sounded!
PS: Guess, KBC appearance is an after effect of watching Slumdog Millionaire. And yes, I read about a climber being asked to revisit Cho Oyu!