Sunday, January 30, 2005

A history of the BC quiz club - III

Part 3 of the story of the BC quiz club according to Shrirang Raddi
(Shrirang pointed out that I put in Vishal's article out of chronological turn - it should follow this one.)

The Start of the BCQC

1993 July- Third Year of Engg.. A new academic year, new crowd. Some overzealous types in our batch started preparing for the GRE at the boat club, flaunting their silly flashcards..for some, the combined desire to 'rag the fresher' and 'improve one's English through constant practice' had unanticipated results - as when during an afternoon ragging session on the Boat Club lawns, one of my friends asked a fresher "So, does your gulphriend have organisms"..

The great Niranjan was no longer with us, so Aniruddha Karve had to hunt for a new partner. There was no shortage of talent. Vishal Dalal was back and there were quite a few good quizzers amongst the freshers, amongst them Akshaya Kamath, Maya's brother. There was never much quizzing in the 1st sem, we generally had only the BJMC intercollegiate quiz, and this year Arun Pillai and I won once again. The Second sem started with the AFMC Silhouettes and continued with Shyam Bhat'94, where we lost once again. AFMC was always a jinxed venue for me, even teaming up with a great guy like Pillai could not lift us beyond second place. But overall, we had a great year, winning everything except the AFMC quizzes.

The Boat Club quiz club was born in early 1994. At one of the AFMC quizzes in February that year, the COEP and Fergusson guys started moaning as usual about the lack of a quiz circle in Pune, how the Quiz Foundation of our schooldays had died out, how someone should do something about it and so on. One of the Fergie guys said he'd organise a quiz in their canteen; one of us said he'd organise something at the Boat Club. Needless to say, no one expected anything to happen.

But something did happen. The next week, on Wednesday or Thursday, Vishal and Akshay announced that they'd be getting some questions the coming Saturday. Word got around, and on Saturday afternoon we had about 15 people - a pretty decent crowd. Everyone had a great time.

This could have ended up as a one-shot event, but we'd had such a great time that someone did volunteer to get some questions the next week - Pillai, who was Debating secretary that year. I don't remember whether he said he'd do it or he was armtwisted into doing his bit as Deb secy, but he did come up with some great questions. We'd also invited the Fergusson guys, so there was some pressure to come up with decent stuff. Once again, there was a decent-sized crowd, everyone ejoyed themselves. The third quiz, I conducted. And things just carried on after that.

Initially there was no fixed day for Boat Club Quizzes - through '94 we had several quizzes on weekday evenings - but Saturday 12 noon quickly became the standard format. Quiz with tea and bhaji - a great combination!

How did the whole thing just come to life, when nothing had existed before that? Much as I have a high opinion of quizzers of my time - the batches of '93, '94 and '95 - the fact is that we were pretty lazy. Most of us didn't realise that setting a good quiz could be as much fun as participating in one. The key was the sheer volume of people interested in quizzing - as against 10 or so enthusiasts earlier, in '94 we had about 20. This pool of good and enthusiastic quizzers was spread across all years. Once Vishal and Akshaya set the ball rolling, it was great - we wondered why it had taken so long to come up with something so simple.

1994-95 - my final year in COEP - saw another good bunch of quizzers come in. For a change, we had a regular stream of quizzes even in the 1st sem. Arun Pillai had graduated, so now it was my turn to hunt for a new partner - I teamed up with Aniruddha, Maya Kamath and whoever else I could get. Boat Club Quizzes continued regularly throughout both semesters. COEP did pretty well in all intercollegiate quizzes that year as well, we won more or less everything except, of course, Silhouettes and Shyam Bhat. The last quiz I participated in for COEP was sometime in Feb or March '95, a week before my IIMC group discussion / interview. Maya and I teamed up and we won most convincingly. I took it as an omen. As it turned out, I wasn't even waitlisted!

Boat Club Quizzing in '94 - maybe it would have started anyway, the critical mass of quizzers in '94 would probably have ensured it. But Vishal and Akshay were the guys to first break the shackles of lethargy, and deserve the credit for lighting a flame that burns to this day.

No comments: