The Quiz Foundation of India is growing in popularity with each passing year. Anusha Parthasarathy meets a few members who trace its exciting 25-year-old history
My question sparks off a heated debate, as members of the Quiz Foundation of India (QFI) try to figure out the exact year. There are many guesses; ‘1985’, ‘22 years’, ‘1987’…. The question? When was QFI started? Finally, they settle on 1987, and realise they’ve just turned 25.
Gopal Kidao has been a member of QFI ever since it began and narrates the story behind it. “Chennai needed a forum where quizzers could meet and form teams. If you were someone who had just moved to Chennai and were interested in quizzing, where would you find people with a similar interest? QFI actually started in Bangalore, and then a Coimbatore chapter was opened. One of the members there, Ramesh, moved to Chennai and started it here,” he says.
QFI’s Chennai Chapter was launched at a Book Fair Quiz conducted by popular quiz master Naveen Jayakumar. “We spread the word that the club would meet every other week and interested people could join. We even went to different colleges announcing this,” Gopal explains. And since social networks and email did not exist those days, QFI notified members through traditional means.
“We’d send postcards with 15 paise stamps,” laughs Gopal, “We used to hold meetings at the Local Library Authority. So we’d get the required police permission to conduct our quizzes there. We’ve had meetings in the oddest places, even under a tree in Loyola College.”
QFI now has around 250 members and holds meetings at P.S. Senior Secondary School, Mylapore, and on the IIT-Madras campus. “The IIT-M Quiz Club sometimes collaborates with us to host quizzes,” T.K. Balaji, a member of QFI, says, “We have 250 members who turn up for our quizzes and who have paid for our newsletter. The open list runs into thousands.”
A learning experience
Members volunteer to host quizzes on various topics during meetings. “Besides those visiting from other cities or new members ask us if they can hold a quiz. Quizzes can be open or even theme-based, depending on the person conducting it. The whole idea is to meet people, form teams and learn from one another,” says Gopal.
QFI also conducts an annual Open Quiz and Grand Master Quiz. “The Open Quiz is a two-day affair, open to anyone interested in quizzing. It’s our flagship quiz and teams from all over the country participate in it. The final is called the QFI Open Quiz. As many as 120 teams participated this year. The Grand Master Quiz is an informal event,” says Balaji.
QFI is connected to other quiz clubs across the country and the members travel frequently to attend their quizzes as well. “A lot of young people seem to be interested in quizzing these days. Quite a few of our members are college students or fresh graduates. But I guess it’s a transitory crowd. People leave when they change jobs or move elsewhere. But we get around 200 new members every year.”
The last Sunday of the year even finds the QFI having a day-long ender-bender quiz. “Here, members bring their own questions and each gets a turn to ask them,” says Balaji, “The quiz is rather popular.”
Over the years, QFI has spawned many quiz masters, besides promoting quizzing. “QFI teams usually do well everywhere. If you look at the Bangalore Live Quiz, the Chennai team from QFI has retained the winning title for three years in a row (2010 to 2012). When it comes to a national quiz, you’ll see a QFI-bred team somewhere at the top,” smiles Gopal. Visit QFI at www.quizfoundation.com