Updated: Aug 15, 2018
'Quizito, Ergo Sum' (Sort-of Latin : 'I quiz, therefore I am')
I have been in love with quizzing for as long as I can remember.
The first quiz I attended was a Bournvita Quiz contest in class 1. It was a written quiz consisting of 30 odd questions to be attempted by all students. I was the only one who got all questions correct and won myself a Derek O'Brien quiz book.
This was followed by an onstage Maggi Quiz at the end of which I became the proud owner of an alarm clock.
Very soon I was a part of the school quiz club - which turned out to be less of a club and more of current event sessions taken by our principal.
I have fond memories of quizzes I attended in school - an environmental quiz at Centre for Excellence (which we won on the penultimate question), quizzes at DBMS and RV school (which we lost), a science quiz at Loyola (won after I somehow managed to explain petrichor), inter-squad quiz at Carmel (lost out on the tie-breaker where a show of hands served as the buzzer), inter-house quiz in DBMS (won!).
Quizzes in school relied a lot upon rote learning and petty trivia, a stark contrast to quizzing in college and beyond, which are 'workable' if you can connect the dots.
For illustration, in school you might be asked a rather dryly put question - "Which company was started on Feb 4th, 2004 that has more than 2.2 billion active users?".
In college you can expect something like - "Which company sells a shade of nail polish called Social Butterfly Blue?".
The answer to both these differently framed questions is Facebook.
First year in college, I was in total awe of my seniors, as I watched them blurt out answer after answer on stage during the college fest quiz, even before I could comprehend the questions from my seat in the audience.
Years later, I had a wide grin on my face when my juniors informed me of the same intimidation they felt seeing my team perform.
My team was quirkily named 'Sarson Da Swag'.
Funnily, the team did not have a permanent third member for quite some time.
I remember me and my quiz partner Siddharth Mittra took along Henry Chulu, our African friend to a quiz on India, because we could find no one else! (In case you are wondering, we made it to the finals).
Soon, Shubham Jain came onboard to complete the trio. Jain excelled in Biz, Mittra in Sci-Tech and my forte was India. This helped us form a formidable team. We excelled in all but one genre - MELA (Music, Entertainment, Literature and Arts). As things turned out, we did eventually manage to win the MELA quiz at Gnosiomania '16 (college quiz fest), cementing 'Sarson Da Swag's name in the annals of Gnosis (college quiz club) history.
One memory which stands out is of the Airtel quiz. We needed to answer every question correctly in order to qualify for the next round in Delhi. And we needed to do so before any other team buzzed. With bated breath we all waited for the next question. The moment the quiz master showed the picture of a river on screen, I blurted out, "Its Adobe, named after the Adobe creek!!", without bothering to pounce upon the buzzer. The quiz master reprimanded me for breaking the rules but lauded me for the answer. We eventually lost out on the final question (damn!).
Another fond memory is of managing to get onto the stage round of the holy grail of Indian quizzing - TATA Crucible. Although we scored a dismal 0, we left the venue with a bagful of goodies. Victories at IIIT Allahabad and IIT-BHU Varanasi (another cliffhanger - correctly answered the last question on an Amul cartoon depicting Mandal commission) are still fresh in mind!
What started as a hobby in school developed into a full blown passion in college.
In retrospect, I often wonder what really drew me to quizzing in those good ol' days.
For starters, in a rigorous engineering college of the nondescript town of Allahabad, quizzing became an escape for us. For those two hours behind closed doors, nothing else mattered.
Unlike, other events such as debating, singing or dancing, quizzing never required prior preparation.
There was something uber-cool about turning up to a quiz in a pair of chappals and shorts and leaving the venue pocketing an easy thousand rupees.
There is a lot of money in college quizzing. If you are good, you win a lot of cash, easily and often. You never have to worry about your canteen bills again.
Quizzing brought me in the company of the 'intellectuals' of the college. People from all walks of life congregated to share a common passion and create beautiful memories which extended well beyond quizzing hours. We basked in the nerdy aura and lingo of quizzers.
Conducting quizzes in front of an audience instilled a lot of confidence in me. Setting quizzes was as fun (if not more) as participating. I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to lead my college quiz fest, a task which taught me a lot about management and logistics.
Quizzing is fodder for the brain. It has crammed my cranium with trivia and tidbits, which serve as delightful icebreakers with stranger, and annoyance for acquaintances. It has helped me create a mental map of entities connected by amusing obscurities. Sample this :
I use a towel made by Bombay Dyeing.
Bombay Dyeing is headed by Nusli Wadia.
His son, Ness is the actress Preity Zinta's former lover.
His grandfather is none other than Jinnah, Pakistan's founder.
Jinnah's adversary Nehru lends his name to JNU.
JNU houses the scenic Parthasarathy rocks in its campus.
Parthasarathy is another name for Lord Krishna.
Krishna Devaraya of Vijaynagar empire ruled over Karnataka.
The ruling CM of Karnataka lives in a (supposedly haunted) residence called Anugraha.
Most importantly, quizzing is a sport. The adrenaline rush which prompts you to press the buzzer, the 'aha!' moment when you crack a tough one, the calculated risks you take, the nervous chuckles you share, sighs of regret on missing out on an easy question, fist bumps when your fluke works out, an answer stuck at the tip of the tongue which you desperately try to recall - emotions which only a quizzer can experience!
I still occasionally quiz, thanks to the fantastic Karnataka Quiz Association set up in Bangalore. However, quizzes here are demanding and I have rusted.
These are a set of (easy and workable) quizzes I conducted in college. There is something for everyone here. Do give it a try!
To know more about the quizzing culture in NIT Allahabad, you can read my answer on Quora.
Faced with a lack of funds to purchase a buzzer system for the college club, I created this amazing, little Android App which mimics circuit breaking wireless buzzers. It now powers everything from class tests in USA to pub quizzes in England!