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At the NSIT Quiz Fest

By on Feb 8, 2009 in Personal | 20 comments

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NSIT Quiz Fest 2009

"Baba Ramdev" at NSIT (on stage, extreme left)

NSIT Quiz Club’s Quiz Fest was held yesterday. I hadn’t gone for the sports, business, or the MELA quiz; just for general. My teammate was Ankit Sarkar, a DPS VK Quiz Club member from my batch who’s currently studying at IIIT Delhi (note the three ‘i’s) whose campus is currently functioning out of NSIT Delhi itself. Reaching there gave me a scare as I was frantically dashing around all across Dwarka to find where it was. (I had taken a different route than the one suggested by the map to I had.) Rachit had told me that the event was running on schedule so I was apprehensive about missing the prelims. Turned out that it was his usual hard-of-hearing self who mislead me. I finally figured out where it was and located the auditorium near the (non-functioning) fountain.

I got to see the final few rounds of the MELA quiz. Soon after I walked in they asked the teams a stage about the Richard Stallman – Harry Potter incident which I had asked in Code Wars 2008. That was the first of the audience prize chocolates that I bagged for answering tech-related questions.

I’ve noticed one thing about ‘general’ quizzes in general: they go into excruciating details of lots of things ranging from literature, movies, music, pop culture, history, mythology and whatnot – but computers and technology is something which gets just a passing mention at best or nothing at all at worst. The ones which do get included seem as if they’ve included as an afterthought by embarrassed quizmasters. For instance, at the recent Cradle Sports quiz (Cradle Sports were one of the sponsors at NSIT Quiz Fest) there was just ONE question on tech. (“In which university was Lycos started?” The answer is Carnegie Mellon, but I mostly got blank stares around me – and on stage. Nobody got it on stage either, which stunned me.) Even at Mahaquizzer there are hardly any questions on tech. (Asking who’s the founder of Facebook – Mark Zuckerberg – in a quiz of Mahaquizzer’s level where the other questions are so good is laughable. And not many were aware of this!)

Does computers and technology deserve to be treated as a pariah in quizzes. Most definitely not! Given its ubiquity in the current century it deserves more coverage in quizzes. Given the granularity of trivia asked in other topics, technology deserves at least some mention. I’ll give an example of a question from the prelim rounds of the general quiz from yesterday’s fest at NSIT.

Connect with one word: A cephalopod, a submarine, an open source file manager, a missile defense system

How hard is to crack this answer to be Nautilus? Among alternative distros this has got to be the most famous. (I bet even many tech quizzers wouldn’t be able to name the KDE / Xfce equivalents.) The ‘problem’, I feel, is that quizzing is still stuck in a 60s-80s mindset. That definitely explains the endless amount of classic rock and old movies that gets thrown around in quizzes. The last quiz by Cradle Sports at Siri Fort had teams being unable to identify Coldplay. Seasoned quizzers at NSIT couldn’t identify the rock version of the Simpsons Movie theme by Green Day. Nor could most quiz teams at NSIT answer Nautilus. “Tornado”? “Thunderstorm”? (Actual answers given by teams.) You’ve gotta be kidding me.

Maybe this is why many didn’t get Mark Zuckerberg at Mahaquizzer 2008. Maybe that’s why Pickbrain thinks giving a photo of Jeff Bezos and a photo of the Amazon Kindle is “an extremely tough lateral thinking question”. They’ve been hit by a field which evolves at a blazingly rapid rate with so much ‘quiz-worthy’ being generated daily that they choose to deal with it by simply ignoring it.

DPS VK Quiz Club members at NSIT Quiz Fest 2009

Pardon the shaky image. Roshan Shankar of NSIT took the image, but I think his hand shook when he took the image. From L to R: Rachit, me, Varun, Ankit

Long digression from the story ends here. My team didn’t qualify, nor did the other team of ex-VK quizzers comprising of Varun VS and Rachit Agarwal. (I told them about the quiz and egged them on to come and participate.) But we had a whale of a time. The standard of the quiz was brilliant, especially some of the connects. The long visual connect round of 25 images with the connect as ‘Absolut Vodka ads’ was superb. That, and the jokes we kept cracking amongst ourselves. I got close to having our group thrown out with my laughing fits. Reuniting with old friends after a long time for event was real fun right down to laughing like maniacs and ruining everyone else’s dinner at Pizza Corner in Dwarka.



20 Comments

  1. Abhimanyu

    February 9, 2009

    Post a Reply

    Hi man nice to see you guys all together.
    but of all places you went to pizza corner
    we had KFC,subway,costa coffee,dominoes,pizzahut
    what the hell man.BTW you are legend in not only our
    school but many other schools as well courtesy your chem cheatsheet. everyone uses it.

    • Ankur

      February 9, 2009

      Post a Reply

      Hi dude! Saw pics from the farewell this year. :) Yeah, I’ve heard of the chem cheatsheet thing too. ;) In some schools I’ve heard that even teachers print it out and distribute it.
      I guess there are lots of places there but we Rachit and Varun were so hungry that we chose Pizza Corner – the first ‘branded’ store we came across – to eat. It had a gay TV in which all colors were pink and their take 12 hours to open (“Opening Time – 11am to 11pm”). They also have just ONE folder to give bills to customers. (I got fed up of waiting for that folder and paid it at the counter.)

  2. chirag

    February 10, 2009

    Post a Reply

    oh wow!!! thats fantastic! sharing the panel with biggies will be a great exposure!!
    Congrats…!

    • Ankur

      February 10, 2009

      Post a Reply

      You can find some quotes from the panel discussion which I made on Twitter at http://tr.im/powerofideas (I was live tweeting from the event). Out of the guys, Raman Roy was really friendly and ready to interact – so was Shivinder Mohan Singh of Ranbaxy. More in a post later.

  3. Prateek Vijayavargia

    February 11, 2009

    Post a Reply

    That guy really has some uncanny resemblance to Baba Ramdev surely!
    Also, that reminds me of how I ordered once from Pizza Corner (Home Delivery). It came very late. And it was pathetic. Cant forget that day till date. I would rather go hungry than eat at Pizza Corner.
    I sincerely hoped it would have improved by now! The moral of the story is – Dont experiment too much – Stick to Pizza Hut or Dominoes when its Pizzas…

    • Ankur

      February 11, 2009

      Post a Reply

      We guys weren’t familiar with where other food joints are located in Dwarka market, so we chose the one we got. Food was good, but they had just ONE folder to present the bill. We waited for 20 minutes, then I got fed up and paid the bill at the counter. They also have a gay TV which shows everything in pink color tint. (That too Zee Cinema! Ugh!) They take 12 hours to open (“Opening Time – 11 am to 11 pm”) – it was quite evident because they took their own sweet time to come and present us the menu. Pizza Corner sucks.

      The photo’s grainy. Man, you should’ve seen him in person! He actually looks like the real Baba Ramdev! :O We kept on joking that when he was stroking his beard, he was using the daari mudra to think on questions. He walked from one end of the stage to another for having a better look at the visuals; we think it was because he was using vaastu shastra to get more positive energy flowing to think.

  4. Prateek Vijayavargia

    February 12, 2009

    Post a Reply

    Okay atleast the food got better! Ours tasted like some very old stale factory made pizza….!!!

    Anyways this quiz seemed to be the re-union of the DPSVKQC… – Must have been remembering those old days of school Quizzing!

  5. Rishabh

    February 13, 2009

    Post a Reply

    Hi Ankur,

    Rishabh here. Stumbled upon your blog post while searching for something else.

    I totally agree with what you said. Gets fuck irritating while setting a quiz coz people dont know what a fail whale is.

    And the same argument can be extended to Bollywood. Why cant we ask some really tough Bollywood trivia from th 50s? If you can do the same for Hollywood!

    BTW I was on stage during the general quiz, we were the team that got the absolut connect (possibly the only highlight for us since we fucked up everything else in that quiz)

    • Ankur

      February 13, 2009

      Post a Reply

      Oh, you got the Absolut connect? Amazing! I thought nobody did. Nice to see there are other people who agree with me on tech. It deserves more importance.

      (And thanks for the info, that Baba Ramdev’s alias while participating in quizzes is Avinash Mudaliar. ;) )

  6. Ankit

    February 14, 2009

    Post a Reply

    Yeah , the tech thing is pretty evident in the college quiz circles, infact tech quizzers are generally looked down upon

      • Ankit

        February 14, 2009

        Actually i was the organiser of the biz quiz , but i had my class at CL , so couldn’t be there to host it. the above comment was more general and less w.r.t. the NSIT QC.

      • Ankur

        February 14, 2009

        Ah. Still, NSIT QC wasn’t any exception to the norm, with hardly any tech questions. Ironic, given it’s primarily a computer science institute.

      • Ankit

        February 15, 2009

        Yup, nothing can beat the good old school days.

        Going to other schools, winning competitions , eating good food and travelling in school transport , getting so many gifts/prizes, metting up with friends from all around Delhi at each symposium : that was too much fun.

        And the fact is that , those who never went to these competitions, don’t realise what they missed during their school days.

        Also in college you realise how much the various ‘organisations’ lied to their schoolmates about their achievements. A certain school’s student was unwilling to believe that i used to win a lot of tech quizzes, apparently their Experts told them that they won every competition.

      • Ankur

        February 15, 2009

        Are you speaking of the same certain school with same certain experts that I am thinking? ;) Yup, certain school students say that about me too. And students who never participated in school have no idea what they’ve missed out. College quizzes are fun, but school quizzes have their own charm.

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