March 07, 2006

It's Republic Day again!

Some things grow on you. Some times unknowingly.
There are two events that are part of my life on Republic Day.
The Odyssey Quiz. And the IIT-Madras festival, now called 'Saarang' and once known as Mardi Gras. Though I belong to the generation which grew up listening to the radio version of the Bournvita Quiz Contest, broadcast at high noon on Sundays (if memory serves me right), I am not a die-hard quizzer.
And yet a quiz is an invigorating experience.
So every R-Day, I manage to form a team and take part in the prelim round of the Odyssey Quiz.
It doesn't matter to me that there are kids, a third my age, who rub shoulders with me.
It doesn't matter to me that in the last four editions of the quiz my team, people in their 40s and 50s, have scored only 50%.
We enjoy this cerebral and social experience.
And the credit for making this happen goes to Odyssey's boss, Ashwin, a successful entrepreneur in this business.
Not only has he encouraged the quiz to grow over the years, but he has also given a free hand to four young people who put the quiz together and present it on R-Day. One of the team members, a doctor, now practising in the USA, flies all the way from Milwaukee, to play the quiz master's role!
This time around, I took home a small prize for a question that was put to the audience.
The answer was easy. Because the question was probably based on a
reference made in the 'Jottings' column!
A more positive idea took root during a break in the quiz this R-Day.
Friends from a colony in Besant Nagar who love quizzing and were at the R-Day quiz, realised that they could host a quiz every month in the community hall in their colony, before the local Humour Club got together to crack a few jokes and tickle people.
But what about prizes, wondered my friends.
Simple, I said, coax the local restaurant and the ice cream parlour and the fruit juice shop to give coupons, and the winning quizzers would have a nice party for their achievement!
If you have the will and the ideas, then putting community events
together is just fun.
Involve schools and campuses so you can get the space free or for a small fee; involve the local youth club, and you have a band of organisers and volunteers; sell some soft ideas to the local stores and you can get prizes and freebies.
Now perform the marriage.
Simple ways to have quizzes, plays, kutcheris and fancy fetes in neighbourhoods!

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