Welcome to Quizmaster's Voice – a weekly column that has its finger firmly on the pulse of Kerala Quizzing. The column will explore the goings-on in the quizzing arena in Kerala and the world.
Quizzing is an intense and fiercely played game and it merits substantial thought, space, and writing. The topics which run to mind for an inception column could be many and thematically multifarious. Should one start with the history of this game and the many myths associated with it? Or should we talk about the various famous quizzers in the circuit? After all, there are dozens of celebrities in India who were excellent quizzers during their school and college days like former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan and entrepreneur and technocrat Nandan Nilekani. There are others like Shashi Tharoor who started the Quiz Club of St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. Scores of civil servants from Kerala also have an excellent track record in quizzing. But, the young prodigies of quizzing could also be a good opener? The thousands of mainline quizzes that happen each year could also be of interest. But then how about the star quizmasters who are admired by the crowds for their wit and profoundness?
But to start with, it could be something unique; something that represents the quizzing world as a whole and sees both quizzers and non-quizzers unite. Yes, let us start with the Reverberate series – one of the biggest quizzing events in the world.
What sets Reverberate apart as a quiz festival?
It is arguably one of the largest quiz festivals which, in all probability, will enter the record books. Students, professionals, and quizzing enthusiasts from all walks of life from South India will travel to Kozhikode for a long weekend full of biriyani, sulaimani, halwa, and, of course, quizzing.
The topics covered are diverse. If quizzes about food feature in some editions, there are quizzes about places in Malayalam movies and politics in other editions.
For the uninitiated, quizzing could be a 'dry' event with no scope for any adrenaline rush. Reverberate is testimony to the fact that quizzing could be more exiting than any game. The 'ohhhh' on seeing the answer to the hugs of excitement after working out one, the excitement and enthusiasm of a packed audience to shout out answers, the tears after messing up the one crucial question and losing entry to the finals – it's excitement unbound.
The art of hitting the buzzer in a fraction of a second after hearing just one or two words and taking the risk of anticipating the remaining 90% of the question and guessing the answer… it is definitely a different world.
A celebrity line-up
The cerebral celebrities line up here. The event sees a bevy of civil servants, most of them accomplished quizzers, taking part as participants and quizmasters. It all started with A Jayathilak IAS, the then collector of Kozhikode, organising a quiz for the very first edition in October 2006. Later editions witnessed large number of officers, district collectors mostly from around Malabar, taking part.
Senior IAS officer and celebrity quizzer during his college days APM Mohammed Hanish is a regular quizmaster at the event. He comes packed with entertaining food quizzes. Jeevan Babu IAS, Idukki collector now, has his India Quiz titled Himasagar Express – aptly named after the train that travels from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. It is a well-attended event of the fest. 'Pacha Malayalam' by Alby John is one quiz that has recorded the highest participation in many editions. The quizzes by civil service trainers Remya Roshni IPS and her husband, PT Arun IPoS are another attraction of the fest. P Sarin IA&AS, Ajay Joy IIS, Nirmal Joy IRS, Harikrishna Pai IPS, are the other civil service officers who had donned the role of quizmasters in different editions. Shamin Sebastian, another civil servant, is another regular visitor to the fest, as mentor and participant.
Pairs to count on
The inherent strength of the fest is in how it attracts many people apart from regular quizzers. In the previous editions, even class I students were seen enthusiastically working out the answers in a quiz for junior students. One could also see 80-year-olds patiently waiting for the next quiz. Some of the team-combos are also very interesting – like couples, woman-daughter and man-son duos. At one previous edition of Bobanum Moliyum, a woman-son pair had won the event, and teacher-student, dad-daughter, uncle-niece pairs are a common sight. However, it is quite common to see male quizzers without a quizzing partner frantically searching for one.
Something for everyone
From movie buffs to foodies and everyone in between, the fest has something for everyone. There are many families which attend quizzes with enthusiasm - like that of TV Sulaiman’s. Dr Sulaiman is a lecturer in Pharmacology at the Government Medical College, Kozhikode and a quizmaster at the fest since 2006. His son Raziman, currently pursuing a PhD in Switzerland, was the youngest quizmaster at 17, doing a Sci-Tech quiz titled Tachyons. His younger sibling Sulyab, doing an internship in Seoul, has also been part of the fest from the very first edition as participant, researcher, technical assistant, and quizmaster. There are dozens of families which take a break from their hectic schedule, enjoy 3-4 days of quizzing as well as cuisine of Kozhikode, and go back to their homes in Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad & even New Delhi. Quizzers from major IITs , IIMs & NITs flocks to the event since 12-20 quizzes on a stretch are something no quizzer can afford to miss.
And,Reverberate encapsulates a determining event too – the World Quizzing Championship (WQC) – organized in 100+ cities across the world by the International Quizzing Association (IQA), London. This event names the world champion in quizzing and also determines the world ranking of a quizzer. The WQC is organised simultaneously in many venues across the world and the selection of Kozhikode as a host-venue is a recognition of its quizzing credentials. Kozhikode has recorded the highest number of participants, surpassing every other venue in the world. The event, usually held in June, has been postponed to August due to the recent Nipah virus outbreak.
Sojourn of reverberate
The quiz festival was a one-day event when it started in 2006. The first edition had only one quiz and its venue was the University of Calicut. The second edition happened two years later, in January, 2008.
The 7th edition in 2013 witnessed the official inauguration of the India wing of the IQA - the Quiz Society of India (QSI). QSI became the designated body issuing points and official rankings for the quizzers.
The 10th edition witnessed some brilliant display of quizzing skills by young officers Jeevan Babu, Mir Mohammed Ali IAS, Alby John IAS, Amandeep Kaur IFS etc.
Now, the 12th edition is coming up and its unbelievably big - 100-odd quizzes online and 26 on stage that span five 5 venues. It promises to be full of fun, knowledge, and entertainment.
So, as we wind up, lets go to the questions for this week. All readers are welcome to give it a shot and win exciting prizes. Send us your answers by mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also WhatsApp your answers to: 9895316264. Here are the questions:
1. This statue, located in a US city, is the biggest of its kind in the world among that series. Owned by a painter, it become one of the most successful mascots in the world. The dog was named after a particular activity. Of which famous company was this dog originally a mascot of?
2. This engineer devised a command originally meant for programmers. It later became very popular with end users. What is the command?
3. The voyager spacecraft carried sounds and images portraying life on earth. This was intended for extraterrestrials. One image representing every country was selected. What image was chosen from India?
4. This character from Welsh mythology has lent his name to an award given to a particular group of professionals/artists. Name the character/award. Also, identify the professionals in question.
5. The wife of this former Governor of RBI is a Padmabhushan awardee. What prestigious ‘First in India’ is credited to the lady?
(Snehaj Sreenivas is the CEO of Q Factory. He is also the South India director of the International Quizzing Association, Asia Chapter).