By Reshmi S
Queen of Sheeba 2012 was slightly different from the last few years’. A trend which started last year – adding tasks to the list instead of items was continued, but the proportion of tasks was higher this year.
Also continuing the previous year’s tradition, there was a prequel to the event, cheekily titled as the “Queen of Sheeba foreplay”, where each hostel was asked to do a set of specific tasks released a day before the actual event. The list included making a spoof of the Gangnam Style video, which recently went viral all over the internet. The task got some interesting entries, which saw the Cores and the Cul-Sec literally ‘rolling on the floor laughing’. Alakananda’s entry, ‘Oppa Maggu Style’, had artful lyrics and one could make a warm connection to the so called ‘muggu’ lifestyle in insti. It has been uploaded on Youtube, and so far has received more than 12000 hits. Tapti concentrated more on the visual, and it was rightly said that the ‘video had feel’.
Another task revolved around the online game QWOP, where one controls the leg muscle movement of an athlete. Contrary to the game’s actual aim of moving forward, the task required hostels to get the minimum score possible by making the athlete move backwards with the same controls. The lowest score of -3.2 was achieved by Godavari and Jamuna.
In order to reduce the leakage of the items/tasks list, a new system was introduced this time wherein each of the three coordinators came up with a list of 30 items before the event. After the Secretaries gathered in SAC at 6 pm, there was a lucky draw by them, which decided what items were to be included. In addition to the items to be collected, there were certain tasks as well, announced every hour after the items list was out. A video of falling dominoes arranged in the shape of the Saarang Logo, another of a person proposing to someone of the opposite sex in Tifanys while wearing a costume made of paper were some of the interesting ones.
Another task involved building a house of cards, without the use of any adhesive. In the absence of an upper limit to the number of layers, initially the points were calculated using an exponential function in n (the number of layers). Much to the shock and dismay of the Coordinators and Cores alike, Mandakini hostel built 26 layers (10 more than the second highest) which would have given them about a hundred thousand points, rendering the rest of the tasks and items useless. Later the score function was changed to a polynomial of degree two, giving Mandakini close to 113 points. The evaluation of the task was fuzzy, and allegedly, only certain hostels were given a penalty for the same offense of tampering with the cards (by making slits). “It was a smart thing to do and we didn’t break any rules since the problem statement said nothing about cutting the cards,” claims a dejected member of the penalized hostel.
When the hostel rivalry became too intense and the sound of the Coordinators drowned in the surrounding chaos, it was decided negative marks would be awarded to any hostel involved in the commotion, and unsurprisingly the crowd dispersed in a matter of minutes. Negative marks were awarded in case of hostels coming late to sign the register, 5 points deducted for every minute after 10:00, and also for not cleaning up their space in SAC, after the event was over.
The SocSec and LitSec of every hostel arrived wearing black, around 10:00, following the task of dressing up as ninjas, but only Ganga followed the directions to the letter and got a proper costume, (as opposed to most other hostels restricting to a black T-shirt or a black shawl) which got them brownie points. A few hostels went ahead with out-of-the-box thinking and came up with ways to beat the system. Some submitted a T-shirt with dominos stuck to it, for the item ‘Dominos T-shirt’, arguing that there was nothing said about Dominos Pizza and that their entry was perfectly valid. Hostels were also asked to get a ‘Katana’ (a long single-edged sword used by the Japanese Samurai). Incidentally, Mandakini had a fresher named ‘Katana‘ and wanted to submit him as the item, but was refused by the Coordinators. Other notable items include an expired driving license, an IIT T-shirt from one of the new IITs, a telegram, a non-Saarang concert ticket of a foreign band, a left-handed screw, a wireless bulb (a torch does not qualify) and a train ticket from a foreign country.
After the submission of the items and evaluation of the tasks, a primary evaluation was sent to the hostels.
Once the grievances were acknowledged and taken care of, the standings were as follows :
Sharavati- 1st with 344.0625 points
Ganga- 2nd with 321.375 points,
Godavari- 3rd with 321 points,
Narmada- 4th 317 points,
Mandakini- 5th 307.25 points.
On a side note, our editorial team happened to stumble upon this piece of information on wikipedia :
“The Queen of Sheba (Hebrew: מלכת שבא, Malkaṯ Šəḇâ in Biblical Hebrew; Malkat Sh’va in Modern Hebrew; Ge’ez: ንግሥተ ሳባ, Nigiste Saba (Nəgəstä Saba); Arabic: ملكة سبأ, Malikat Sabaʾ) was a monarch of the ancient kingdom of Sheba and is referred to in Ethiopian history, theBible, the Qur’an,Yoruba customary tradition, and Josephus. She is widely assumed to have been a queen regnant, although there is no historical proof of this; in fact, she may have been a queen consort. The location of her kingdom is believed to have been in Ethiopia and Yemen.“