If you are a movie buff and a quizzer, chances are you are familiar with ‘Six Degrees of Bacon’. The game is very simple. You select a film star, and connect him to Kevin Bacon, in six links or less. The game’s name is a pun on the concept of Six Degress of Separation (“anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries” source).

Game Demo:
Clint Eastwood was in Space Cowboys (2000) with Marcia Harden
Marcia Harden was in Rails & Ties (2007) with Kevin Bacon
(2 links)

Mammootty was in Kandukondain Kandukondain(2000) with Aishwarya Rai
Aishwarya Rai was in Singularity (2008) with Brendan Fraser
Brendan Fraser was in The Air I Breathe (2007) with Kevin Bacon
(3 links)

Clark Gable was in The Misfits (1961) with Eli Wallach
Eli Wallach was in Mystic River (2003) with Kevin Bacon
(2 links)

(Bacon is at the Centre of the Movie Universe. Not convinced? Check out University of Virginia’s Oracle of Bacon)

The game has helped me survive many seminars and training sessions over the years. And in the good old days before Google and imdb, the pleasure of finding a link, after racking the brain for hours, can only be described using a word that my firewall wouldn’t approve.

It was a colleague of Velan who introduced me to Six Degrees.

Let us call her Diya. When I called up Velan’s office one day, I happened to speak to her – she had this lovely voice, with a hint of mischief. She was a great conversationalist, and I had time to kill. Soon Diya became a daily habit, I was spending hours on the phone, and dying to meet her. Finally, D-day, her birthday. She said she would wait for me in front of Adyar Bakery. I rode my KB to the Bakery, I saw her standing there, took a U-turn and disappeared…well, almost. To cut a long story short, we became friends, very good friends.

Around that time, a girl working with Diya and her college sweet-heart decided to get married, against the wishes of both their families. Typical Hindi padam: Rich boy – poor girl, Vadakkan boy – TamBram girl, Anupam Kher – Amrish Puri. The boy was going abroad for his MS and wanted to tie the knot before he left. The kids were broke and their friends were scared to support them because of Amrish Puri. Diya decided to sponsor the wedding but asked me to front the operation.

After a week of hectic preparations…Inside Kapaleeshwar Temple. Almost muhurtham. Friends and colleagues hanging around. The lovely couple, he in a sherwani, she in kancheevaram, before getting on the stage, they dive for my feet, and I flee.

PS, posted a day later: I now realize that the last line was a subconscious tribute to one of my favourite books, Catch 22, which ends with “The knife came down, missing him by inches, and he took off“. Six Degrees of Separation again?

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