New quizzing events are swapping the question-answer format for puzzles, clue hunts and extrapolation, in an attempt to make the geeky activity more like a party game. Some questions even have multiple right answers. If you can defend your response, you win a point. (Prizes tend to be vouchers for books, brunches or drinks.)
Among those organising these new-format quizzes are Yooti Bhansali’s Q for Curiosity, which the 35-year-old creative writer holds in a café in Mumbai twice a month; Sai Ganesh and Debasish Misra’s Pop ki Kamai, held in pubs, colleges and quiz clubs in over 10 cities, and Anuradha Santhanam’s ASQ, held fortnightly at the Katte community arts space in Bengaluru.
Quiz announcements are made via the host’s social media platforms. You can sign up with or without a team as there’s room for teams to be formed on the spot. The idea is for it to be something that’s informal, fun and offers the element of surprise.
“The atmosphere is friendlier, more easy-going and inclusive,” says research analyst Nandan Krishnaswamy, 28, who says she enjoys Bhansali’s quizzes because the focus is on enjoying the process of arriving at an answer, rather than on regurgitating memorised data. Pop Ki Kamai presents questions around obscure pop cultural web and TV shows, events, individuals or stories associated with them. Although his quizzes follow the conventional format of an elimination round followed by finals, eliminated individuals are encouraged to form ‘non-competitive’ teams and engage with the questions too.
“Every question has at least two clues and lots of audio-visual elements and this encourages people to venture a guess. This is the most fun part, because you get to hear interesting, humorous guesses. The wrong answers are just as enjoyable as the right ones,” says Ganesh, 35, a marketing executive.
Making a mark
So why do it? Santhanam says her aim was to make quizzing more inclusive. “Most quiz clubs still feel like boys’ clubs. When you see a quiz being helmed by a woman, I think it subconsciously encourages women to participate,” says the Bengaluru-based sports journalist who is also a regular on the traditional quiz circuit.
Bhansali underscores how her quizzes offer contestants space to explore issues and perspectives. “One of my questions explored how the mangalsutra is a patriarchal symbol, worn by the woman to extend not her lifespan but her husband’s,” she says. Mumbai-based Delnaaz Irani, 33, a regular at Bhansali’s quizzes, says she finds the female perspective refreshing.
“She brings something to the table that others don’t,” Irani adds.