Faux News - VI
Sledging row hits India's Child Genius
By our Entertainment correspondent
An unseemly row hit the game show India's Child Genius when a contestant was accused of indulging in "sledging". The show, leased from Fox, is a contest for intelligent children under the age of 15 and has several attractive cash prizes for the winners.
The ruckus blew during the shooting of a North Zone preliminary round, where a child Rickinder Nagrath (name changed) was allegedly seen clipping Rohit Saxena in the leg. He also said Rohit wouldn't know which button to press for the next answer since he barely knew the alphabet and called him a name during the first round. (This round sees all the 16 participants simultanously attempt questions.) This alleged behavior followed the question "For which country did Rodney Marsh play cricket?". Rohit Saxena claims that Rickinder did so to upset his (Rohit's) form (Rohit had amply demonstrated this by punching both fists in air after every previous question in obvious triumph at getting them right) and because he refused to let Rickinder peek over his shoulder.
Rickinder denies any such attempt at gamesmanship and says he was only talking to himself and the physical contact with Rohit was because of a nervous reaction. However, this paper has learnt from some of Rickinder's classmates that young Ricki isn't always averse to such tactics even in school. Ricki's father dismisses such talk as that of jealousy and the inability of certain kids to take good-natured banter.
For his part, the host and director of the show, Siddhartha Basu, was quite surprised to see such events unfold in front of his eyes. "Never have I seen such a display on any of my shows in all my 20 years of TV broadcasting" said the veteran quizmaster. He also said that the incident had shaken him up a little, as he was only used to dealing with chirpy college students and usually dumbstruck Mastermind participants.
While most child psychologists will only point to the extreme pressure put on children to perform, especially when the stakes are high, some have hailed this phenomenon as the emergence of a true killer instinct in Indian children.
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