Quizzing for Aunties

Dear Random Relatives,

There was a reason that I earlier never told you about the quizzes that I was going for. It was because you would pepper me with utterly stupid and irrelevant and nonsensical questions which I’d usually never had the patience to answer. However, now that I have a wife who is significantly more social than me, and who tells you everything, I’m once again forced to handle those questions. So I’m putting the answers all here in the form of a post, which could serve as a sort of FAQ for the questions you ask, but the FAQ format will significantly constrain my writing so writing this in free form.

Ok, every quiz need not have a topic. That is some stupid thing that is drilled into you be these nonsensical TV quizzes. And when I tell you that, let me tell you that you’re insulting me by saying “oh, general knowledge, ah?”. Quizzing is not about “general knowledge”. It’s much more than that. It’s about thinking, about reasoning, about working out stuff and getting a kick out of it. The “general knowledge” that contributes to this process is not much. And by considering that it’s only because of “general knowledge” that one gets to participate in quizzes, you’re wrong.

Then, I know that your view of quizzes is formed by those shows you see on TV, like Kaun Banega Crorepati, or (in an earlier era) the random quizzes that would come on Doordarshan. It’s unlikely that too many of you would’ve watched the BBC quizzes (such as Mastermind or University Challenge) which came closer to “real quizzing” (in terms of quality of questions, though not in format) so I should perhaps excuse you for this thought. And while on that, let me tell you that not every quiz gets telecast on TV. And the likelihood of a quiz getting telecast on TV is NOT proportional to its quality. An inverse relation here may not be too far off the mark, though.

Next, I don’t mug “quiz books” or “general knowledge books”. Yes, I did at one point of time in life, when I was a little kid and my parents would force me to “prepare” for quizzes by reading such books. However, over the years I realized I wasn’t gaining much by reading those books, most of which had been written by people who could hardly be termed as quizzers (I, however, still “read” questions from actual quizzes. I faithfully buy the KQA yearbook each year, and have similarly purchased books containing questions that have actually been asked in quizzes that I think are of good quality).

Next, I guess you want your son to become a quizzer, right? I want to inform you that the Karnataka Quiz Association (or similar organizations in other cities such as BQC, QFI, BCQC, etc.) organize quizzes for school kids on a regular basis. Send your kids for those. For the quizzes in your school, try get quizmasters who also organize good quality senior-level quizzes rather than getting some teachers to put together some questions. And I don’t think your child gains anything by mugging up those “manorama year books” that you unfailingly purchase each year.

Now, having supplied these answers to you, may I request to check this link before you ask me nonsensical questions about quizzing?

Yours sincerely,


Google Plus – Initial thoughts

Hareesh sent me an invite for Google Plus early on Wednesday morning. Thinking it’s another stupid thing like Wave, I ignored it. But feedback from twitter revealed that the product did show some promise, so later that evening I joined it. I’ve got some 150 friends already (god knows how long it took me to get to so many with either Orkut or Facebook), though I haven’t started using it yet. Some initial thoughts:

  • I like the concept of circles, and that it’s so easy to segregate your friends. This has become a huge problem in social networking, especially after all uncles and aunties got on to facebook. So far I’ve made an attempt to classify all my contacts into disjoint circles of “friends” “family” and “acquaintances”. I also like it that circles need not be disjoint, so I can make an exception to my rule and put the wife in both “friends” and “family”
  • I like that it’s a directed graph. That you can follow the public posts of someone without them having to follow you back. I don’t know why but I simply like this. I hate putting friendship requests and waiting endlessly for responses and stuff. So this directed stuff makes a lot of sense for me.
  • I need to find out how to import my blog there. Then I can close my blog feed on facebook which is infested with uncles and aunties. On Plus, they’ll be safely tucked away in the “family” circle which won’t be able to see much.
  • I don’t like being the “cut-vertex”. I don’t like being the one guy who links two subgroups of a larger group. On a similar note, I don’t like to go out simultaneously with disjoint sets of friends (i.e. two groups that didn’t know each other previously). I feel too tense trying to make sure everyone’s comfortable and clued in on what’s happening. Similar with conversations on facebook. So yeah, I’ll probably segregate my circles further and have more cliquey groups.
  • Again, directed graph means I can peacefully put ignore to people, without appearing rude. On FB, if some uncle comments and I don’t respond, he might take offense, and I’ll be cognizant of the fact that he takes offence. And I force myself to reply. On G+, if i”m not following him, I can peacefully put well left. Like I sometimes do to @Replies to me on twitter from people who I don’t follow

So seems promising. Too early to say if it’ll make me give up both twitter and facebook. I’m sure I won’t give up twitter for sure. Let’s wait and see.