“What makes a good question? The one that is answered!” explains Aniruddha Sen Gupta, while quoting fellow quizzer, Rajiv D’Silva, when asked what makes a good quiz. They are the brains behind the successful SEQC (Sunday Evening Quiz Club), along with Harshvardhan Bhatkuly, which recently completed 15 years and are still going strong.
SEQC, the monthly quiz event is not just where questions are asked and answered are shared. It is a space where like-minded people from different walks of life come together to share information and more.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Harshvardhan, who is an adman and editor, says, “SEQC is extremely democratic in its approach. There are no committees or formalities and is a place where everyone who attends goes home richer by learning something new.”
SEQC was started in June 2008 when Rajiv and Harshvardhan – the duo, who had already made their name as one of the best quizzers in the country by winning many prestigious quizzes – wanted to start a quiz club in Goa in order to start the quizzing culture here. At that same time, Aniruddha who has just shifted to Goa from Delhi along with his wife, Anjali, approached Rajiv with the same idea.
They started in a very informal way, by hosting quizzes at member’s homes with just 10-12 participants. But then, within a year these quizzes drew enough curiosity that forced them to look for a bigger place.
“I remember one quiz, where there were around 20-25 participants, and they had all gathered in a balcao and were peeping in order to answer a question,” says Aniruddha.
They then shifted to the CCP hall and eventually to ICG, Dona Paula, till 2019. They are currently hosting their monthly quiz at the Goa Business School, Goa University, on the first Sunday of every month, and at the South Goa District Hospital hall, in Margao, on the last Sunday of the month.
These are general knowledge based quizzes. Along with these, they also conduct topic specific quizzes based on Goa, music, movies, etc.
ON THE MOVE
The duo has also conducted quiz-based road trips. It is a fun activity where they travel to places that have historic or heritage value, and conduct the quiz on the go.
“We’ve been to places like Netravali, Usgalimal, Safa Masjid at Ponda, etc. We conduct a quiz in the vehicle. Sometimes, our quiz is based on that place. We used to conduct it during the monsoon season, but that came to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Aniruddha. Such trips also turned out to be team-building exercises for the club.
Anjali, who looks after the overall management of SEQC, maintains that anyone who is interested can become a member, from a student to parents, etc.
“We don’t exclude anyone; everyone is welcome. Whoever answers even one question can be a part of the club. There are no membership fees, no forms to be filled. You just have to share your name and e-mail and then be a part of the Google group,” says Anjali.
She further adds that SEQC is a completely self-funded club where members donate voluntarily.
SEQC is a fun place to be, but when it comes to quizzing, they take it very seriously. The quiz is conducted in a professional manner and is based on strong research and has some innovative questions. They also follow certain norms and conduct workshops for quizmasters to give them an idea of guidelines, and most importantly, how to make the quiz interesting for everyone.
“Every quizmaster has a favourite topic. But also needs to be sensitive to the fellow quizzer by setting a quiz which excites everyone. It should be well-rounded with something for everyone,” says Harshvardhan.
Regarding research, Aniruddha maintains that there is a tremendous amount of research behind every quiz. Speaking about this process, he informs that he keeps a question diary, where he notes down any interesting information which he comes across while reading, etc.
When asked the relevance of quizzing in this era of information overload and social media, Aniruddha maintains that traditionally too, quizzing was never a mass activity.
“People who are interested in gaining knowledge will be part of a quiz club. Besides that, it is a place for like-minded people, where you get appreciated for your knowledge and it galvanizes to be there. The more quizzes you attend, the better you get. Our club has some of the best quizzers, like Shaswat Salgaocar, who is now considered one of the best quizzers in the country. He joined when he was in Std VIII,” he adds.
He further informs that quiz clubs are generally considered as boy’s clubs, but at SEQC, they have a large percentage of women participants, where the environment is all inclusive and there is diversity of content.