Your time starts now

The Karnataka Quiz Association (KQA), breeding ground for some of the best quizzers in the country turns 25 this year. Around 200 quizzers from across the country will meet in Bangalore on 28-29 June (Saturday and Sunday) to celebrate the occasion with a special two-day version of its anniversary quiz ASKQANCE.

Round one

In 1983, the late Wing Commander GR Mulky along with seven other quizzing enthusiasts- Deepak Murdeshwar, Rajeev Gowda, Thomas Uthup, KN Mahabala, Tribhuvan Kumar, P Raju and Jagadish Raja, founded the KQA. Mulky (or Wing Co as he’s fondly called) explains on the KQA website that the association was started with the objective of "putting the game on an organized basis and regulating and coordinating quizzing activity in Bangalore and other centres in Karnataka."

KQA Quizzes at Daly Memorial Hall, Bangalore

KQA’s quizzes and finals are often held at the Daly Memorial Hall, on Nrupathunga Road, Bangalore. Pic: Siby Kuriakose.

From around 14 quizzes in the first year the KQA has grown today into a premier organisation for quizzing enthusiasts with over 1500 members on their mailing lists and over a 100 programmes every year. At present the association conducts organised quizzing at seven levels based on age. The events range from Open quizzes (open to all as the name suggests) to middle school, high school and college level quizzes.

However, despite its tremendous growth the association’s core values remain. Says association President Ochintya Sharma, "Wing Co was a man of great vision; he wanted to preserve the purity of quizzing and not at any point let it get commercial." With events conducted on shoestring budgets that barely cover costs the KQA is anything but commercial. Most quizzes are open to all with an occasional nominal entry fee.

The lack of substantial wealth does not seem to have hindered the organisation in anyway. In spite of low-key prizes (usually book coupons) the participation has increased, audience grown and competition intensified. While the Open Quiz is the most popular, attracting quizzers from across the country, every event at the KQA is fiercely competitive. Arul Mani, the Vice President ventures an explanation. "Indians are naturally competitive. KQA has managed to tap into that spirit over the years."

Aditya Subramaniam, an aspiring Chartered Accountant and a member of Yaake, one of top ten teams at the Open Quiz event as of 2007 says, "Just getting to the finals in any KQA quiz is an achievement, as the qualifiers are so tough".

This year’s ASKQANCE, KQA’s anniversary quiz festival,
will feature five quizzes to be held over two days.

Dates & Venues

28 June 2008
Old Hall, St. Joseph’s Boys High School
Museum Road
Bangalore

29 June 2008
Purandara Bhavan
(Indiranagar Sangeetha Sabha)
8th Main Road
(Near Indiranagar Club)

For more
kqaquizzes.org

Journalist Vaishali Dinakaran agrees, recalling her experiences with the school level quizzes. She adds that if it hadn’t been for the KQA she would never have understood quizzing. "It was here that I really saw the difference between General Knowledge and quizzing."

Getting quizzical

Apart from a shared passion, what has kept the association going? KQA’s many members venture a guess.

According to secretary Dibyendu Das the answer could lie in the sheer volume of quizzes that KQA churns out. The regular programmes aside, specialised quizzes on various subjects like business or science and technology are also organised. The association constantly reinvents itself with innovative quizzes like the recently created ‘Graphic Novel’ quiz. Based completely on comic books, the quiz is a hit with comic aficionados like Sohan Maheshwar, an engineering student. "I attend the open quizzes regularly but the graphic novel quiz is my favourite," he says.

The association’s success could also be attributed to its consistency and steady growth and its inclusive nature. Member, Quizmaster Avinash Thirumalai says, "The fact that it has something for everyone – there are quizzes organised right from the third standard – makes it the one of the best quizzing organisations in the country." Santosh Swaminathan, an engineering student who has been attending KQA quizzes since the eighth standard agrees and adds that the "Wing Co who was the heart and soul of the organisation was instrumental in bringing quizzing and the KQA to (the city’s) schools."

KQA Final Quiz, Bengaluru

A KQA quiz finals in progress. Pic: Siby Kuriakose.

Introducing and nurturing quizzing talent right from school level seems to have paid off for the association as some of the country’s best, including the likes of Arul Mani and Dibyojyothi Haldar began their journey with the KQA with school level quizzing.

Dibyojyothi Haldar points to the association’s unique ranking system as a major plus point with quizzers around the country. "The KQA provides a benchmark, a standard that continues beyond school and college that the country’s top quizzers aspire for," he says.

The association’s success has in turn led to Bangalore being considered one of the most fertile grounds for quizzers. Haldar believes that Bangalore’s quizzers are indeed "a notch above" while Arul Mani adds that Bangalore is unique because of its multi-level quizzing. While the association provides the space for great competition, for the quizzers KQA is more than a mere battleground. It is a distinctive space for meeting a diverse set of people with a passion not just for quizzing but also for knowledge beyond any classroom.

For more information on ASKQANCE or the KQA log on to http://kqaquizzes.org.

About Bhanu Sridharan 12 Articles
Bhanu Sridharan is a Bangalore-based journalist and aspiring filmmaker.

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