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Multi-tasking comes naturally to her

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Priamvada Viswanathan.
Priamvada Viswanathan.

Meera Srinivasan

Chennai: She is a quiz master much sought-after. She writes poetry and paints for pleasure. These are apart from her duties as Chief Transportation Planning Manager, Southern Railway. According to Priamvada Viswanathan, there is always enough time to pursue one’s dreams. “I don’t want to regret not doing something I wanted to,” she says, adding, “I think multi-tasking comes naturally to women.”

After her schooling in Dehradun, Ms.Viswanathan did her graduation in English literature in Chennai. She had a stint as assistant professor of English at Stella Maris College, where she studied.

She later joined the Steel Authority of India Limited and stayed there for about 5 years. “At that time, my younger brother was preparing for the civil services and I wanted to give it a shot.” She was subsequently recruited by the Southern Railway.

Quizzing, however, has been a passion all through. “Quizzing was not too common in my school and college days, but I found it very enjoyable and developed an interest.” Ms.Viswanathan is part of ‘Team Q’ - a group of professionals who share a common passion for quizzing. “We learn so much while preparing for quizzes.” On her recent inter-collegiate quiz for the Tourism Department, she says, “it was amazing... some of the girls were very good. I get very excited when girls’ teams perform well.”

Soft corner

‘Team Q’ does family quizzes and thematic quizzes, but Ms.Viswanathan has a soft corner for tourism and understandably, Railways. “I was fascinated to learn that the Railways are the biggest landowners in the country. Since the Railways have a lot to do with tourism, I love exploring in that area,” she says.

Sports and particularly Formula 1, is another passion for Ms. Viswanathan. “In a visual round where a series of images are shown as clues for a personality’s name, we once showed a mike, the letter L and a cobbler for the answer Michael Schumacher.”

Into quizzing for nearly 10 years now, she has also anchored quizzes in Tamil and English on television and participated in phone-in programmes on the radio. “Quizzing is not something to do with intellectuals alone. A good presence of mind and general awareness is all it takes to crack most of the questions.”

Ms.Viswanathan, who has been with Southern Railway for over two decades, says her journey has been absolutely fascinating. “We spend the best part of the day at work...It is in one’s own interest that one should enjoy his or her work so that one goes home happy!”

There are a lot more things she would love to do. She timidly admits having wanted to be a sports commentator. “I also want to bungee-jump one day!” she says with evident excitement.

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