Too young to write a memoir, but this is too big an opportunity to miss out on writing on my history with quizzing. Unlike other notes, this is not a review of the film Brahman Naman which seems to have inspired this spree of quiz posts.
I started quizzing in middle school, not for some puritanical quest for knowledge but because my immediate friends were into it, but i had been a reader of fiction and a consumer of movies long before this, these still remain my core areas of interest.
Enough about me, quizzing is about answering a question; to be precise it is the feeling of answering a question.
Let me try and put that to paper: connection.
Yes, some sort of connection that a quiz master somewhere from someplace has asked something that you know, and when you are sitting as a team, when you have one piece of a jigsaw puzzle and your team mate has another and when it fits and you arrive at an answer, there is an instant connection: two streams of thought coming together to form another. These connections are multi-fold when you are working out multi-level connects and over-arching theme questions. It is something close to magic.
Or so I thought.
Around 2010, I started noticing issues, maybe I had been blind to them before: people were talking about ‘competencies’ and when that happens there is always an issue. I had very limited competencies and these hardly amounted to anything when you do an analysis of questions asked in quizzes and I was becoming a liability.
At one point in late undergraduate times, I was only identified with the questions I could answer: “india-ent”
It is not that I did not try, I too like an enthusiast started reading about things I did not have any interest about and managed to answer few questions as well. But I started to feel like a number one fake. Here began my life as a fake.
Meanwhile, quiz presentation circulation was just becoming a lucrative thing and it was only a matter of speed on the stage, a question of recollection from which slide, which city and which round, this question was recycled. If you had the memory, you had the mileage. There was no time to enjoy the feeling of answering a question.
But I did not stop. I went on to fake.
It did not feel organic, at least till then I had assumed that the ‘knowledge’ I had got was mine, the one for which I had been a seeker. This seemed heavily forced. You might argue ‘All Knowledge is Knowledge” but then it was not ‘my knowledge’ and ‘this knowledge’ I had gobbled up in anticipation so that I can spit it out during a quiz.
Quizzing was becoming more like engineering.
I did not enjoy it anymore, except for the few Tamil movie questions that would come up once in 50 quizzes. After a point when team mates were not exactly friends, and after years of just going through the motions I was convinced I should rid myself of this fake life, there was no point in it for me.
Or so I thought. (Part II)
In 2014, when I applied for the various collegiate committees in my B School, I applied for the quiz committee and not surprisingly got in as well. This is primarily because I was not ‘good’ in anything else and the next two years were spent in trying to get more college people into quizzing when I was trying to run away from it. Irony no?
But now I’m sure that I would not have fit in any other committee as well and this time I found some love in organizing a mega event and ask questions to those who had never been to quiz before.
Did they find pleasure in answering my questions, I would like to think they did.
But all this doesn’t discount the fact that I was a fake. A big one at that.
Answering questions in a quiz gives, I think an illusion of knowledge, you needn’t have a read a book or seen a movie or heard a song to answer a quiz question. And by answering a question about something you know nothing about, made me believe that I knew something about it.
Nopes, I didn’t know anything.
Partly I blame myself, for thinking that pursuing quizzing as the pursuit of knowledge itself. Quizzing is not knowledge, it is incidental in the pursuit of it, in fact it is even unnecessary, it is just another test which doesn’t prove anything. One can ‘crack’ a 40-slide theme of Poirot novels without reading any one of them.
It is possible, but for what joy, so that someone might clap for you. But that joy is nothing when compared to one achieved while reading a Poirot novel.
Dammit, why a Poirot novel, it could be anything. Anything that provides joy by itself is worth pursuing for that sake alone, if the pursuit involves the reactions of others it is absolute fakery (no such word, vocabulary score is 150).
Even if quizzing is a starting point for many new things (read as knowledge), I wish to take these things slowly, and nature I’m sure, will find opportune moments to teach me these things; gradually.
Knowledge does not reside in the hurry-mug before Landmark, nor in the ppts of quizzes I have never attended, even if there is some knowledge there, I don’t want it.
My life does not depend on how different figure skating is from ballet dancing.
On the issues plaguing quizzing and its clubs, much has already been written and I want this post to be about me and my fakery.
I don’t actively quiz anymore, my quizzing is restricted to a select few friends, we laugh around a lot more than we quiz, in fact quiz becomes secondary there, they also put up with my nonsense and the times we meet are like one WhatsApp group on fire.
During my de-quizzisation (no such word) I have seen many people who passively pursue their interests without having to put it on a stage. Men and women who have made significant improvements to themselves and to others by doing so and not aspiring a stage, or a clap or a pounce and bounce.
I have won quizzes before, quite some in college but never managed to qualify for a big ticket open quiz ever, so consider me like a minor Jake La Motta, an admirable failure.
Could I have been somebody?
Hehe. No, not in Quizzing.
I realised that I was a failure and in many ways fooling myself with delusions of knowledge. I cannot do much about being a failure, but I have decided not be a fake.