Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Call of Cthulhu

It was while perusing the papers of the late Francis Wayland Thurston that I first read of the strange and sinister events that nearly unleashed forces of ravening madness upon this Earth. We live in a fragile bubble of life, warmed by the comforting hearthglow of our ignorance, in which we select the facts we wish to see. There are those who knowingly pierce that bubble, exposing themselves to the horror that no human mind can comprehend and still stay sane. Thurston talks about the merciful inability of the human mind to correlate all the contents of the world. I, who in my unthinking folly, once prided himself in his skill at drawing linkages between apparently unrelated facts, concur. If I had not seen a curious convergence between the last attempt to free Cthulhu on 1 April 1926 and the formation of the Bombay Quiz Club, 80 years later to the very day, I would not now be plagued by nightmares of clammy terror, of vast dripping Cyclopean architecture, and always, waking or asleep, the guttural incantation:

Cthulhu fthagn

I present these facts in the hope that, forewarned, no other human being accidentally falls into the clutches of the monstrous Amit Varma or the cruel Dhoomk2.

Struck by the coincidence of the day on which the BQC was founded- 1 April, 2006- with the anniversary of those terrible events experienced by poor Thurston, I blithely decided to explore this odd and intriguing society. Little did I know of the yammering insanity of alien dimensions of eldritch dread that the Bombay Quiz Club hopes to set loose upon our world, so gay and defenseless amidst infinite echoing halls of blackness and evil, like a child’s laugh in some Torquemadan dungeon.

It is with curious reluctance that I set down these feeble words, so pitifully inadequate to describe the unspeakable abomination that is the BQC League table. The rituals of the BQC are centered around the Master of Ceremonies- and thus far, it has only been a Master. Some women have been involved in these atrocious deeds, but none has, as yet, stepped up to lead the Cult. These loathsome occasions involve an endless testing to weed out the weak from the Chosen, as the Master fires complex questions at the cultists, demanding an answer that will satisfy his unappeasable lust for intricate correlations between human domains of knowledge. The dark mania of these other-humans manifests itself in shrieks and groans of dismay, convulsive twitching as they clasp their heads in rabid attempts to extract the desired linkage, shocking outbursts of violent swearing, appeals to Crom; such is the tumultuous passion with which the participants get involved, that ordinary, everyday weapons like battleaxes and halberds are deposited outside the venue, that the hideous practices may continue uninterrupted. As I witnessed this, there began to grow upon me visions of Rl’yeh, glimpsed by a luckless few, enigmatically referred to in the Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abu al Hazred. Above all, past the spine-chilling cacophony of roars of triumph mingled with the wailing of the defeated, throbbed an insistent question- Why? What would motivate Rajiv Rai to connect a model of Ford, a breed of goat1, an island and an article of clothing? What spectral visions did Milo and Minderbinder seek to conjure up by linking theories of colour with Webern and a fine French painter? In an awful moment of coherence and utter illumination, I saw the execrable truth: not content to wait for the stars, in their aeons-long drift, to come into alignment, these quizzers seek to recreate the abnormal, non-Euclidean incubus that is R'lyeh in the minds of men. The strange angles, the alternate topography ne’er imagined, will become a stronger and stronger vision, a message of power that will penetrate Cthulhu’s endless sleep and resurrect It upon this earth. To the winners of the league will go the honour of being eaten first, while the rest of humanity plunges into shrieking torment for an age and an age.

Remember these names as the shreds of your sanity claw at the enveloping darkness to come, for it is they who will raise Cthulhu and end the shrill, brief history of our race:

BQC Points Table (as of Sep 29, 2006)

Amit Varma: 29.5 from 4 quizzes

Anand Sivashankar: 22 from 3

Ravi Venkatesh: 20 points from 4

The Invizible Man: 19 from 3

Rishi: 18 from 4

Sumant Srivathsan: 17 from 2.

AP Alargarsamy: 14 from 2

Aadisht Khanna: 12 from 2

Vibhendu Tiwari: 12 from 2

Arvind Krishnaswamy: 11.5 from 3

Nandan Krishnaswamy: 11.5 from 3

Rajiv Rai: 11 from 2

Amit Pandeya: 10 from 1

Milo and Minderbinder: 10 from 1

Dhoomk2: 10 from 1

Rohan Khanna: 10 from 1

Prasad Shetty: 7 from 1

Prasann: 7 from 1

Rohit: 7 from 1

Saurabh: 7 from 1

Naveen Venkarataman: 6 from 3

Pradeep Ramarathnam: 5.5 from 1

Souvik Basu: 5.5 from 1

Arjun Chatterjee: 4 from 1

Leslie Mathew: 4 from 1

Sarat Rao: 4 from 1

1. Surprisingly, not Shub Niggurath, the infernal black goat with a thousand young.

3 comments:

Mr. D said...

AWESOME post.

Rishi said...

:) Thank you, Mr. D. The challenge was: for me to write a post on the league standings in the style of HP Lovecraft and for milo and minderbinder to write said post in the style of PG Wodehouse. Sadly, it doesn't look like the follow up is happening. How are you doing these days? It has been unspeakable abysms of time since we met on campus.

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