Quizzing Horror - Part 1
Some posts don't need context.
I was in school. 3rd standard. One of my favourite times used to be "Arrangement periods", which were a result of the regular teacher being absent, due to which a substitute teacher (arrangement) used to be sent to class to cover for him/ her. It was quite likely that the arrangement teacher would let us be and not try and teach anything.
The arrangement periods were one of my favourite times because, more often than not, we used to quiz in the free time. Divide ourselves into groups of two rows each and ask each other questions. I thought that this was also the favourite time for everyone else in class. I might have been mistaken*.
I used to be quite good at asking tough questions and answering the tough ones as well. Hence, often the rows would try trade me to other for treats at the canteen, erasers, homework and other expensive things. This was before the Bosman ruling and I had no control over my fortune. I felt important.
In one particular period, after the trades had been made, we started asking each other questions. The scores were tied after three rounds.
The other team asked us, "What's the capital of England?". I (my team) said, "London".
They said, "Wrong. It's Middlesex."
"You must be mistaken. I am sure it's London."
This exchange went for one and a half minutes, with people who didn't have point of view also getting into heated debates, all across the class. The teacher, who was staying out of this till now, had to intervene. We presented our points of views to her. She said, "Bachcho, apne mein decide karlo. Mujhe to nahin pata." (Kids, decide amongst yourselves. I don't know.) There was no way we could reach a decision. Ultimately, the other team decided to go for a 'Re', or a repeat.
"What's the capital of China?"
My team had become suspicious of my talents, after the London fiasco, but my shrug and my stern look did them in. They let me go for the answer.
"It used to be Peking earlier, but now it's Beijing."
"Sorry, it's Tibet."
After some wrangling, we again landed up in front of the teacher. She didn't seem too pleased that general knowledge was coming in the way of her knitting. With knotted eyebrows, she said, "Achcha, koi prove kar sakta hai, to karo. Warna questions change karo." (Okay, if someone can prove it, the do. Otherwise, change the question)
Do realise that I didn't carry the atlas with me, though I may look the type. Neither did I have a geography book handy. Also, I thought the burden of proof lay with the quizmaster. Before Derek O'Brien mastered the art of being rude, quizmasters did try and prove that the answers were correct.
The other team was well-prepared. While, they didn't carry an atlas themselves, they had the Physical map of India and its neighbours. They brought it out. My team squirmed in the seat, anxious and restless. This question might prove to be a decider and the other team looked confident. The teacher looked bored and restless. Knitting was waiting.
"See, India's capital is Delhi, right? Here, it is marked on the map. What is Pakistan's capital?"
"Here, it is on the map." They showed the teacher.
"What is Bangladesh?"
"Here. and Sri Lanka?"
The teacher realised that she was on to something big. Facts were being presented and soon this debate will get over. She was nodding vigorously at Colombo on the map.
"And guess what is marked in China?"
I couldn't find the scan of that map, but here's the answer anyway.
* I would imagine that till puberty hit, pursuit of inane trivia was interesting for others as well. I might be wrong. But then, the macho 3rd graders couldn't really bring their GI Joes to class, could they?