Part 2: Quizzing
This is a bit of a no-contest, really. Delhi quizzing is better than Bombay quizzing and will continue to remain so in the near future, though we will try hard.
The interesting thing is to find out why? However, before we get into that, some facts.
Objective measures to rate quizzing: Be it Mastermind, India Quiz or ESPN School Sports Quiz, Delhi has had more victories than Bombay. Yes, Podar did win Quiz Time, but that was way back. All facts from here. ESPN quiz 'fact' from memory (remember one of the DPS's winning it). Delhi colleges (DIT/NSIT, Jamia, Ramjas) used to do consistently better at BITS Oasis (the only place where they competed against Bombay colleges) during my college days. I would think that things have remained the same.
Delhi also has, as far as I can see, more number of quizzes (open and college). There was hardly a week in the quizzing season (August-January) when I didn't participate in at least 2 quizzes. Mumbai unfortunately, as far as I could see, is more focused on dumb charades, JAM and fashion shows!!
Obviously, the above two points are highly correlated. Also, the facts in themselves are not as interesting. What are interesting are the theories given to explain this.
Why is this so?: Many theories have been offered:
1) Bristol theory: Quizzing flourishes in cities which are old, decadent and slightly less unaffected by professionalism and neo-colonial modernity!! I had read an interesting story sometime in my childhood comparing quizzing in Bristol and Calcutta (which I couldn't find now). The premise was that it is only when people stop taking part in the rat race, do they have time for 'decadent' activities like quizzing
Of course, one can argue that Delhi and Bombay are equally old/ young, decadent and affected by professionalism, but I won't. I have come to experience a shrill pride in professionalism in Bombay, which I haven't seen in Delhi. Having said that, the intrinsic differences in the cities are probably not huge enough to merit the stark difference in quizzing levels.
2) Distance theory: The theory goes that Bombay localities are separated from each other by great distances, making travel troublesome and time-consuming. This directly reduces the will to travel for a quiz. Also, on weekdays, families hardly get to spend time with each other. Therefore, on weekends (which is when open quizzes prosper) quizzers refuse to be away from their families. This reduces the participation levels.
School/ college quizzing in Delhi is not as afflicted by this since they are quite concentrated in North Campus, Central and South Delhi. However, I think the issue is time taken to travel, rather than distance itself, when it comes to Delhi and Bombay. In any case, even Delhi Open Quizzing scene suffers from this problem.
3) Melting pot effect: This theory, which is what I subscribe to largely, has two premises: 1) college quizzing is the bulwark of quizzing in a city. College-students can hold the maximum quizzes (fests, events) and become the quizmasters for school quizzes. 2) The quality of quizzing is significantly enhanced through contacts between different quizzing cultures and backgrounds. Problem solving levels increase, 'fundas' get exchanged, formats are shared etc. Hence, a place with a higher diversity of backgrounds in colleges will have better quizzing. This is where DU's, AIIMS's and IIT's cosmopolitan character plays a part.
Obviously, the counter to the theory can be given, that a place like Bangalore created a quizzing culture from open and school quizzes and didn't depend on college quizzes alone. Though, KQA itself is/ was a melting pot, it just shows that a quizzing culture can be created, inspite of theories.
I think the actual reason might be a combination of all these. Some of these are intrinsic in nature, but as shown by various other places, quizzing culture can be created inspite of these factors. Thus, there must be other reasons why Bombay Quizzing hasn't picked up. Would be glad if you can help me refine these theories further.
Yes, incidentally, victory to Delhi.