In an earlier post titled ’Keeps me ticking’, I had talked of how various instances in my journalistic career have kept my faith alive in my profession, and have egged me on to perform better. This post is about how quizzing, my hobby, has helped me come out of tight spots time and again, and how it continues to be a source of joy for me.
Most of you will know that I run a daily quiz blog, where I post a question every day, and answer it the next. Heck, most of you will probably have come here after viewing the latest post at that very blog! But quizzing has not exactly been a ’recent fad’ for me. I was into quizzing since my school days!
My first quiz ever was an inter-house one, when I was in standard IV. We had four ’houses’, each distinguished by their colours. Yeah, just like Hogwarts does, but not quite. We were sorted randomly, and I was in the Blue house, called Hogan, and I can’t remember why.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that we won that quiz, and that got the ball rolling. I went on to win a very local quiz that year. My father had taken me there, and after winning the quiz by a landslide, we had returned without receiving the schoolbag we had been promised. I didn’t need it, because it had given me a whole lot of confidence!
Next on the menu was the local edition of the Maggi Quiz, for which I had to go to the Don Bosco School, Bandel, as a representative of the Assembly of God Church School, Dankuni. I was still a standard IV student, and the teacher who had accompanied me wouldn’t let me sit in the three-member team, instead choosing students who were in standards V and VI. They scraped into the main round, but lost.
Pay attention here, folks, because this is how the role of quizzing in my life is defined! As I sat in the audience, answering some questions that my older schoolmates somehow had no clue about, I was spotted by some students of Don Bosco, who encouraged me come to their school, because they saw more quizzing action!
In the meantime, I had answered one question from the audience that all the other teams had missed, and received four packets of Maggi in the process. The question: Who sang the song Dil Hai Chhota Sa from the film Roja? (The answer, in case you were wondering, is Minmini.)
The way those senior boys encouraged me was one of the reasons I got into that school, and I don’t regret it a single bit! How I got in is another story for another time. And that was the first time quizzing intervened!
In the eight years I was in Don Bosco, from standard V to standard XII, I attended many other quizzes, reaching my pinnacle when we won the Maggi Quiz when I was in standard VI, representing my school in the Big Babol Quiz on DD Metro when I was in standard VIII, and appearing on TV in the process, and becoming the runners-up at the national level of the Limca Book of Records Quiz!
The only gap here was caused by my mother’s death. I didn’t go to school a month after that, and it was during this time that our school received the first ever invite in its history to the Bournvita Quiz Contest. They let it pass due to lack of proper representation. I was in standard VII. After that, I became too old to be eligible for it.
The next time quizzing intervened was several years later, sometime in 2005, when I was attending engineering college in Nagpur. It was here that I met Rajiv Ranjan Singh at a quiz. Rajiv, though older than me, was a great friend, and an even better quizzer. He was a journalist too! It was he who helped get me into journalism in late 2006, showing me the way to a local newspaper where a job position was vacant. I should mention here that Rajiv had, by then, already participated in an edition of BBC Mastermind India by then!
I started working for the Nagpur edition for The Times of India in mid-2007. However, it wasn’t until late 2008 that I would be asked to conduct a quiz. Dr Rajiv Mohta, who has had a long association with the Indian Academy of Paediatrics, and has headed several sections of it, offered me to conduct a quiz for schools in Nagpur on the occasion of Teenage Day, and I jumped at it!
I conducted the quiz next year too, and a few others in between. These kept me going for sometime. Conducting a quiz is not all that easy, but I thrived on it. And the people who attended my quizzes generally gave favourable feedbacks. That was how I came to conduct two quizzes at VNIT, Nagpur.
The venue was a National Institute of Technology, and the quizzers were extremely talented. And just days later, I discovered Windows Live Writer. The two combined to give rise to my quiz blog, It has been a constant source of joy ever since!
There are times now when I get nearly 200 clicks and/or more than 10 answers daily. It definitely feels nice to know that at least some people like, or at least pay attention to your work!
Quizzing was also what helped me get my first group of friends in Jaipur, when I shifted here six months ago! I got to know Jaiquizzi, and featured them in an article of mine. Meanwhile, I was also following other blogs. About a week ago, I found out that Derek O’Brien (do I even have to tell you who he is?) has started conducting a quiz online, and pitched the idea to my boss, who let me write it.
The resulting article is currently on Facebok, and has already received lots of compliments. It has also made a lot of people happy! And it is the second reaction that is sustaining me today. I haven’t had the best of days at office, and returned to so many smileys here that it made me my melancholy disappear in a jiffy! Once again, quizzing has given me a new perspective of life!
PS: If you think this, or any other post in this blog, is too boring, please tell me. I thrive on feedback, and your silence is a great letdown!