The QryptiQ approach to Quizzing

Tata Crucible, one of the biggest and most sought after quizzes, is currently in its umpteenth season. Going by the reviews that I have read on TC’s website, they seem to be extremely happy with the response they have received. Sample- With 263 teams, the Gujarat edition of the quiz witnessed one of the toughest battles to qualify into a final as the quality of the teams was also very high. With 251 teams the Rajasthan edition of the quiz broke its previous records to reach a new high. With over 400 people at the venue, Ghaziabad did not look like a city making a debut at Tata Crucible. With a packed audience of over 200 people Over a 100 students battled through the prelim which seemed to be easy but had its share of tricky questions that got the teams into a spot of bother. Now here’s what I feel is funny- more than 10 years of Tata crucible, offering 75k to the winners, no participation fee and all there is to show is an average participation of 300 odd. Something doesn’t quite make sense here, take nothing away from the QM, he is good. But if the idea of going to newer towns is to increase the reach then the least we can see is the crowds in the metros filling up stadiums as small as Ambedkar Stadium if not the Eden gardens. I am serious. I do not see why that is impossible. When a Russell Peters show can fill up a 2000 seater auditorium with INR 1500+ tickets than what’s wrong with quizzes?! I think it’s the approach. I believe it’s the showmanship that is lacking. As quizzers we are so satisfied with great content that we don’t see anything beyond it. Please don’t get me wrong, I do not mean content should not be top class. Of course it should be, no doubt about it, but what should really leave the audience and participants amazed is the overall package. You might have the greatest of researchers curating supremely awesome content but if you don’t have an entertaining quizmaster to show up for it, you are killing the idea of quizzing is a sport. And what quizzers will be left with, is purists conducting Gk tests in the name of quizzing championships. (There I said it) The only way I feel we will see a day where quizzes will fill stadiums (and people pay an entry fee) is when we take quizzes to the status where they are considered a parallel form of entertainment. An educational form of entertainment, that gives you knowledge, builds character and provides fantastic experience. In a concert or a stand up show or even a dance show the audiences’ takeaway is not a new song to sing or a joke to tell friends or a new move when you go clubbing next but experience. It is always about experience. The best comics, musicians and dancers provide phenomenal experiences. Experiences so awesome that people can’t wait for their next show. That’s what I am talking about. Like the above, the sport of quizzing should become a medium of providing exceptional experiences. To end the article, I’ll quote a couple of interview excerpts from my favourite magazine, Caravan. Just rephrasing the excerpts a bit- 1. We need to have a bigger story to tell by our actions. And I hope that the quizzers of our country see the forest and not just the trees. 2. While performing live in front of an audience you should be so good that you get lifted by the energy of crowds responding so immediately to what’s happening on-stage.