There is no difference in terms of knowledge between Orissa’s students and students in other parts, because all are well informed these days.

With diverse portfolio and lot of industry experience behind him in the field of sports, quizzing and consultancy we present to you Venkatesh Srinivasan (Venky) as he is popular in the quizzing circle in India. He is an IIM Bangalore Alumnus, avid sports buff and quizzing expert with competitions like Pearson School Quiz, landmark Juniors Quiz under his belt as Quizmaster, he will soon be in the city to host Mettle Meet 2017, a quizzing extravaganza by Orissa POST.

Here is Venky and his take on the quizzing scene in Orissa in a chat with OdishaLIVE

OL: How do you choose to be a Quizmaster?

VK: Quizzing was always a passion for me and thought of setting up a company meant for the Knowledge and quizzing business in early 2012. In the middle of 2014, we could realize our dream and finally formed our company ‘Nexus Consulting’. This has resulted in us working with different institutions like OrissaPOST, who want to revive quizzing in the circuit.

OL: Have you always been into Quizzing?

VK: I went to a well-known school in Chennai and the passion for quizzing has been there since my schooldays. Our school was famous for quizzing and other extracurricular activities. I followed my passion right through college to my IIM Bangalore days and I have been in the city for last 14 years which thankfully has an active adult quizzing scene which further helps in following my passion.

OL: How do you prepare your questions?

 VK: We have a content team headed by my friend and colleague Hrishikesh. He is active in the knowledge and quizzing field for quite some time now and in fact he was the Content and Research Head for the South India language editions of the popular reality show ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’. Our co-founder Vivek and I too chip in with contributions on the same.

Any good quizzing needs three things to succeed – the audience profile, balance across topics and the traditional vs. global knowledge questions. The key is to make questions interesting and not memory based.

OL: And what is your USP?

VK: Our USP lies in the quality of hosting and the quizzes we do. The internet is replete with questions put long time ago. Hence our board does original research and focuses on engaging the audience.

OL: Quizzing is something that intimidates a lot of people. How can we make the quizzing culture more inclusive?

VK: We aim to revive and promote quizzing. It can be done by formats which are all inclusive like Open Quizzing and by accessible content which is balanced, diverse and interesting. You can’t become an overnight champion, you have to strive for success and keep learning every day.

OL: How did you end up hosting Mettle Meet?

VK: Mr. Tathagata Satpathy, Editor, OrissaPOST and I met through common acquaintances and our company shares the CEO Adyasha Satpathy’s vision of reviving quizzing in the circles. Also the East is a good place in terms of academic brilliance so we ended up collaborating on the same.

OL: Being in touch with National and Global quizzing trends, how do you perceive the Quizzing potential in Orissa?

VK: Today students are far more informed than we were in our times. In Orissa, this is also true. I found ample enthusiasm last year here; the buzz is quite high this year too as far as participation is concerned. There is no difference in terms of knowledge between Orissa’s students and students in other parts, because all are well informed these days.

OL: What’s your insight into Mettle Meet as a brand and its appeal?

 VK: OrissaPOST is unique in its appeal as you don’t see much English dailies operating and catering to a single state in India these days. We even got requests from schools in Bangalore about participation in Mettle Meet which is quite encouraging. Probably in the next year or the one after that we would have zonal editions of Mettle Meet or take it to the national level.

OL: Any particular incident that stands out in your memory on last year’s Mettle Meet?

VK: I can’t put my finger on a single incident, but yes the response overall has been pretty surprising. Any good quiz should have 90% answers from the participants and 10% from the audience. The quizmaster should return home with zero marks which makes the quiz a successful one.

OL: What’s your advice to the potential quizzing enthusiasts?

VK: People often ask this question. You have to read a lot be it fiction, non-fiction whatever, just don’t read quiz books! Newspaper is the best medium to gain knowledge. The fact that a newspaper is organizing this event is the proof enough. Also you should attend a lot of quizzes to improve your skills.

OL: At the end of the day, how much you also learn from the entire exercise of Quizzing?

VK: Tremendous! When I review the questions myself, I find out that I really don’t know something again.  So, I go back to research and learn the things which improve my knowledge. At the end of the day, a quizmaster is one who can add more to the question on the slide.

OL: How do you see yourself as a contestant if you have to compete along with other participants in such Quiz competitions?

VK: I don’t know the specific answer to this, but we have won quizzes at the national level and there have been numerous times where we failed to qualify even the prelims! So, I guess it all comes down to holding your own against the other competitors and the level of competition as quizzes these days can be very unpredictable.

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