Today’s blog is a non-political one and dedicated to a bunch of fine men and women – my 60 colleagues at Derek O’Brien & Associates. They are the heart and soul of my company and have seen it through 25 years of ups and downs, and even a name change!
In the past few days, as political commitments and Parliament have kept me busy, my colleagues have been hard at work. They run 2,500 preliminary events at 1,200 schools across 45 cities for two of our flagship projects: the Vodafone Derek’s Faster, Smarter, Better Challenge and Derek’s YiPPee! Challenge in association with Oxford Bookstore.
Both are knowledge-based shows that test general awareness, soft skills, communication and team-building capabilities and generally seek to equip young boys and girls for the contemporary world. The first of these events is for senior children – classes VIII-XII. The second is for middle-school children – classes V-VII. In February 2015, I will conduct the final rounds of these events.
In the coming weeks, we will also be entering the final stages of the Bournvita Quiz Contest (BQC). An old Indian tradition, which began as a radio programme before migrating to television, the BQC has evolved over the years. The ground-level events are over, having been conducted by my colleagues in 80 cities – who have also researched and set the questions, with constant interaction with me.
In October, we will shoot the 14-episode Tamil version of the finals of the BQC for schools in Tamil Nadu. To be broadcast on Sun TV, this is a challenge for me as my Tamil is very basic. Fortunately, my co-anchor Nisha Krishnan, is an accomplished young lady who helps me out.
After that, we move to the all-India BQC. This year the BQC is set to make a quantum leap. From radio to television was an orbital jump; in 2014, another dramatic change, a world first (I think) awaits it. Do watch out for it. Hopefully my colleagues (with some help from me) will not let you down.
Member of Parliament
Chief Whip in the Rajya Sabha and National Spokesperson, Trinamool Congress