This is me, Bins. Our editor says this issue is all about quizzes. Too bad! I hate quizzes. You know why? Because I believe there’s always more than one answer to any question. Like for instance: What is my name? If you say “Easy-peasy — it’s BINS!” I will say “WRONG!” Because of course that is only one of my names. You don’t know the others. Even if you did, maybe you will spell them wrong or pronounce them differently, and anyway: Life is too clever to be imprisoned inside questions that have only one answer each. Life always escapes and does its own thing.

So! I have composed a quiz of questions to which there can’t be any answers. Or no answers that anyone knows. Haha! It’s a multiple-choice quiz. Each question is about one of the senses. Not just five, of course. That would be too easy. I think there are at least eight. We start with ...


What does a rainbow smell of?

1) Lime

2) Frangipani

3) Sea breeze

4) Wet earth

5) Sleeping puppy


What is the colour of thought?

1) Pearly opal

2) Mirror grey

3) Electric blue

4) Blind black

5) Blood red


What is the sound of a breaking heart?

1) Tinkle-tinkle-tinkle ... plink

2) ka-BOOM!

3) Subsonic thump

4) Tidal wave crashing to shore

5) Nails on glass


When success is sweet, which of these does it taste of?

1) Jalebi

2) Nasturtium nectar straight from the flower

3) Tender coconut water, chilled

4) Date jaggery

5) Fresh cold water on a thirsty day


How warm is an honest and friendly smile?

1) Candle flame

2) Steam rising from a hot idli

3) Midday sand at Chennai’s Marina Beach

4) Battery charger

5) Sleeping puppy


Which of these experiences is most like a premonition?

1) Feeling a spider running across your bare neck, when there’s NO SPIDER

2) Thinking there’s one more step at the top of the stairs

3) Hearing recorded phone messages of a dead person’s voice

4) Seeing a stranger’s handprint in a steamy bathroom mirror

5) Double reflection of your own face looking back at yourself


Time often seems to move at different speeds. When is it the fastest

1) During a final exam, just before the bell

2) On the crowded escalator leading to the last bus to the airport

3) When the doorbell rings, the milk is boiling and your kid’s on the potty

4) When you’re choking and you know that brain-death is three minutes away

5) When you’re on the swing in the park and a million kids are waiting their turn


What is the closest thing to a big hearty laugh?

1) Screaming

2) Opera singing

3) Popcorn at the moment of popping

4) A big hearty fart

5) The sound of koels chorusing at 3 am, in your mother’s garden

M anjula Padmanabhan, author and artist, writes of her life in the fictional town of Elsewhere, US

Bin's Answers

These are only MY answers, yes? Because everyone has his own set and every set is equally correct. SMELL: (2) but (4) is good too; SIGHT: (2) Mirrors are cool, no?; SOUND: (4) Unless you are a surfer. In which case (1); TASTE: (5); TOUCH: (5) No question!; PREMONITION: (1) Brrrrrr; TIME: (4) I choke all the time. Maybe I’m already brain-dead. Haha; TICKLE INSIDE: (3) but (5) is almost as good. Popping corn and koels together