The KQA – a trivial pursuit

Yesterday I met a cousin in law, a young development engineer in Autodesk‘s Singapore office who has been working 18 hour days of late in order to get their newest release out in time for the new year. Since he’d attended Bangalore’s prestigious Indian Institute of Science, we were reminiscing about college life in Bangalore, and my visits, as a teenager, to the IISc.

More years than I care to count ago, I was an ardent and active  member of the Karnataka Quiz Association. Quizzes and quizzing is an extremely popular student activity in India, but a few cities stand out in their fervor, Calcutta being one of them and Bangalore the other. In my second year, at age 19, I qualified for the second rung BMSCE team – the first ranked BMSCE team represented South Zone for the national finals of Quiztime on national TV, competition was fierce – and we steadily rose in the year’s KQA Inter-Collegiate rankings.

The Open category, on the other hand, was the most difficult – since there was no upper age limit, scientists and professionals from ISRO, BEL, IISc, HAL and other leading research and development institutions in the city competed for the honors. The finals for the Open State Ranking Tournament that year were at IISc, and ours was the only college age team to reach the finals. And I was the only teenager. We finished last amongst the finalists, but felt proud to have reached the finals whilst competing with senior scientists and the real "brains" – one question I remember that only we could answer was a quotation, and the question was "Who said this to whom?". I believe I said, Nancy Reagan to Ronald Reagan. Here is a sample list of questions typical of those we faced. A couple of years later, I did receive a certificate ranking me 7th in the KQA Open State Ranking, one that I’m very proud to possess.

In Chicago, I discovered Pub Quizzing, and our team remained in the top three – these are conducted on off days at local Irish pubs and teams contribute to the pot. We usually managed to cover the cost of our Guinness’. I was very weak in pop culture and sports trivia but managed to hold my end with answers to absolutely random stuff. Let’s see if I can find a team in SF to continue supporting my interest in stout.

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