High on quizzing.

It’s such a satisfying feeling when you win a quiz.

It’s so much more satisfying when you win it for the second time.

And when you win it three years running, from class 8 to class 10, every year you can participate within the class limit — well. You get the point. 😀

What about when you win a quiz breaking someone’s winning streak?

When you win a quiz with a partner who’s relatively new to the game?

When you recover from a low period and get back to your usual form?

When you win, in spite of the odds being heavily stacked against you?

What about that feeling when you hear that familiar dialogue — “…and the first prize goes to…”, and you know it’s meant for you, and your heart starts beating faster, and all sorts of emotions break loose within you?

Some would say it’s just adrenalin rush. But we know better. This is the stuff which quizzers get high on. The surprise when you make a random guess which turns out to be right. The relief when you find that your buzzer has finally decided to work in your favour. The undescribable feeling you get when you think “I. Will. Win. This. Quiz. Or. Die. Trying.” The suspense as you slowly, slowly, inch past your nearest opponent and… you’re now in the lead. The high you get when you answer one, two, three, four, five, six, seven buzzer questions in a row. The mingled astonishment and delight when you see your team top the scoreboard with a lead of 70 points?! The euphoria when you realise that yes, it is you who’s won.

These are the moments a quizzer lives for. ❤

Stop driving me crazy.

Right now, I’m using a computer in my mother’s office, which is successfully driving me crazy.

It isn”t particularly archaic. But, for some reason of its own, formulated in the depths of its CPU-brain, it insists on typing at the rate of 1. Freaking. Letter. Per. Second.

As I write this, it tries, frantically, to keep up with the pace of my typing, and, failing to do so, gets stuck in the miuddle of a qword. Damn, a spelling mistake. I can;’t even correcft it  because it is still doggedly typing what I finished typing all of five minutes ago.

It’s kind of like watching the way my brain works. One letter, two letters, three letters forward, one character backspace, more letters, space, full stop. The cursor blinks, a letter appears. It blinks again, another letter appears. Which is irritating, because I’m used to seeing the words appear as soon as I type them. Without any mistakes either, for that matter.

Aaargh. I’m going crazy for real now.

Why you be so cruel, computer. What did I do to you?

My hands are  positively itching to run a virus scan and clean out (i.e. uninstall every single unnecessary program from) the system but it’s a work computer so I’m not really confident that I won’t delete/uninstall something important.

Ah well. Nothing much that can be done, can it. My only consolation: I can always switch off the computer and return to my book. 😉

To everything there’s a season…

…and yeah. It’s quizzing season at the moment, and the next few months are going to be so FULL of quizzes you can’t even tell whether there’ll be a quiz the next day, and it’s highly probable that more than once this month, you’ll have to wake up in haste and get dressed messily so that you’ll be on time for at least the prelims of your umpteenth quiz. No impressing the girls (or boys) this time, Le Usual Quizzer. Save that neatly-ironed shirt of yours for the next quiz (keep your fingers crossed, though, that you’ll be able to wear it). School quizzers, it’s that time of the year when you can legitimately bunk classes (and in some cases, get extra marks for it).

Aside: I wonder whether mosquito-catching is adequate buzzer practice? Both require quick reflexes, and, in both cases, you’ve got to jump and grab hold of the *ahem* desired object before something bad happens–either the mosquito gets away (HOW DARE HE) or the answer does. It’s also probably a matter of debate which of the two makes you feel worse.

I’m really hoping a few more lady quizzers would come into the school quizzing field this year. At the moment, the number of girls I know in Kerala who are active quizzers are less than I can count on my fingers. Not exactly good.

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Courtesy Nandu Ashok. 😛

It just strikes me that, in most big quizzes on average, there are usually less than three girls in a twelve-person final round. Some girls I know are out to change that. (Including yours truly.) I know one of them personally, a few by reputation. There should be more girls actually participating, though, and more in the finals. And I’ll consider the battle for female quizzers to have been waged and won when I see one of these quizzes with at least six girls in the finals:

  1. Young World regionals
  2. Aqua Regia regionals
  3. TCS IT Wiz regionals
  4. RBIQ regionals

So far, Aqua Regia has come the closest, with 4 girls in the national finals in 2013, including an all-girls’ team from Mumbai. But yeah well. I’m still waiting for that six-girl final. 😀

Moving on to another tack. Many school quizzers enthusiastically participate in a quiz prelims, eagerly wait for the answers, count their marks, listen with disappointment as they find they haven’t been selected into the finals… and leave.

That hideous noise you just heard was the heart-rending wail of the inner soul of the quizmaster slash quiz puritan.

Get this straight. IT. IS. UNTHINKABLE. TO. EVEN. CONTEMPLATE. LEAVING. A. QUIZ. EXCEPT. UNTIL. IT. IS. OVER. Many quiz enthusiasts even go onto the stage after the quiz and introduce themselves to the QM and sometimes even help in packing up the equipment. While I don’t recommend the last-mentioned course of action, it’s definitely worth meeting up with the QM if you’re a real quiz buff. And, of course, if you know the QM from earlier quizzes, it’s a bonus. 😉

I was watching the webcast of the 2014 Kochi TCS IT Wiz finals a little while ago, and I came across this gem from Pickbrain — well, I don’t remember the exact wording, but I do remember its gist. What he essentially said was this:

Successful people learn from watching other successful people perform.

Conclusive evidence.

Mika-Why-u-no-stay

My last peeve for today is also something I really have to remember to follow myself. Again, it’s directed mainly towards school quizzers.

Most quizzers today consider quizzing as a sport rather than an art. And, like any other sport, it is a social activity. Admittedly, the ante is on the muscle in the brain as opposed to the biceps or triceps or whatever (note to self: learn names for different muscles in the body!), but still, muscle is muscle.

Coming back to the point. As a social activity, quizzing also has the power to connect different people. Or, putting it in another way, it’s a way of generating friendships.

So, along with the usual battle of the brains that we see so often, try to make new friends as well. It really pays off. And, people who already have a lot of quizzing friends *raises hand*, try to expand your circle to include new friendships with both experienced quizzers and newbs, rather than stay within your own circle of friends. After all, everyone was a beginner once, and it’s good for quizzes to present a welcoming rather than an intimidating arena. Some extra nugget of info that might just come for the quiz is also a bonus. (Hey, think practical too.)

So a very happy quizzing season to you all. And, as always, keep calm and carry on quizzing! 🙂

Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny…

…and the time has come to remind ourselves that, 69 years ago, we redeemed our pledge.
Happy Independence Day, fellow Indians. And a very happy birthday to the largest democracy in the world. 🙂

On a lighter note, check out this slideshow created by The Logical Indian. I take my hat–sorry, turban, if I ever own one–off to the guy (or girl) who made that. 😂 Totally accurate.

How Many Novels Can There Be?

Good news for fellow writers (to be)! Yay! Aside: I was laughing my head off long before I finished reading this. Totally worth a read. XD

Sublime Curiosity

I like reading. I like writing. When you’ve been writing for a while, you start to get really obsessed with word counts. Anybody you talk to about publishing something you’ve written will want to know your word count. For short fiction, you sometimes get paid by the word. And the number of words in the thing you’ve written determines whether it counts as a short story, a novella, a novel, as War and Peace, or as an encyclopedia.

Every year, I participate in National Novel-Writing Month. Unless, you know, I don’t feel like it. But I’ve participated more years than not, and I’ve produced a surprising number of novels. Every single one of them terrible, but that’s not NaNoWriMo’s fault. The goal in NaNoWriMo is to write a novel of at least 50,000 words in 30 days. And I got to thinking: how many novels that length are

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Liebster Award Take 2

So, while clearing the award backlog (or should it be frontlog? I mean, awards are usually displayed up front, not stowed away at the back), I found I was nominated for the Liebster Award yet again! A huuuuuuge thank-you to shubby98 from Everything and Nothing for the nomin–go check her blog out. It be awesome! 😀

You already know the rules. So here we go!

  1. Youtube or Vine?
    1. I don’t really Vine. So Youtube it is.
  2. Books or movies?
    1. Boooooooooooooooooks. Movies could go jump off Everest for all I’d care.
  3. What’s your idea of a vacation?
    1. Uhm, the Library of Congress? Or possibly the Amazon bookforest. ❤
  4. Why’d you start blogging?
    1. Quizzing, baby, quizzing! It be awesome. Like, awesome to the moon and back. The mooooooooooon.
  5. If you were a fictional character, who would you be?
    1. Hermione Granger. Or possibly Zaphod Beeblebrox (that’s the Hitchhiker in me coming out).
  6. Favourite band/ artist?
    1. None really. I’m more a classical addict. Mozartean for life. Also Beethoven, Vivaldi, Chopin, Liszt–yeah, anything of theirs. ❤
  7. 3 pet peeves?
    1. Bad grammar. 😷
    2. Stereotypes.
    3. People who think Harry Potter is lame (such people exist, believe me.) 😠
  8. Things you like? (Name any 5)
    1. Books.
    2. Quizzes.
    3. Lime soda.
    4. The Internet.
    5. Black ink.
  9. Favourite quotes (You can write more than one)
    1. Here’s a tongue-in-cheek one which I particularly love (it’s my WhatsApp status at the moment.)
      “The problem with quotes found on the Internet is that they are very often not true.” ~Abraham Lincoln. XD
  10. Would you rather live a life to the fullest or take some caution?
    1. *walks into bar with le bottle full of life*
      Me: Excuse me, barman (or woman), could you give me a little more?
      Le barman: *speechless*Well, you get my drift.

Now for my nominees. I’m getting kinda lazy now, so I nominate anyone who:

  1. Has not yet done their big project to be submitted the next day (no, you needn’t do it now.)
  2. Is reading Harry Potter in spite of having school the next day.
  3. Has read Harry Potter more than ten times.
  4. Has finished reading Harry Potter, flipped it over, and begun reading again.
  5. Has read The Phantom Tollbooth (if you haven’t: believe me, it’s worth it.)
  6. Thinks it’s worth staying up late to finish reading an awesome book.
  7. Is an editor on any Wikimedia Foundation project.
  8. Hails Google as their saviour.
  9. Knows how to spell the word pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis without a dictionary/copy-paste (in case you’re wondering, that’s what I did.)
  10. Has been nominated for a challenge by me before (including the previous challenge).

Ahh, lazy me. 😀

And now, for my questions:

  1. Of the nomination criteria I listed, which all apply to you?
  2. What’s the last tab you closed on your browser? (be honest. 😛 )
  3. Nerd, geek, both, or neither?
  4. What would you do if the next day was unexpectedly declared a holiday?
  5. Have you ever finished a book in one sitting? If so, which one?
  6. Facebook, Google+, or something else?
  7. What is the funniest book/movie/TV show you’ve ever seen?
  8. What do you hear right now?
  9. What was the last thing you ate?
  10. Do you think extraterrestrial life exists?

Stupid questions, I know. And I doubt anyone will actually do this challenge, so I further nominate everyone who was nominated for the Inspiring Blogger Award:

  1. Anonymous !ndian
  2. The Epic Blog
  3. The Writing Hufflepuff
  4. Smalltown Bookworm
  5. Jai Vyas Writes
  6. Just Another Dreamer
  7. Avid Reader
  8. Alwaysopinionatedgirl
  9. Twinsturnpages
  10. All the other nominees above.

And now I’ve got myself confused. Ah well. If anyone feels they can make anything out of this muddle, feel free to try. 🙂 Good night, all. May the fours be with you.

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Firstly, a huge shout-out and THANK YOU to Life of an Indian Teenager! 😀 I don’t think I’m particularly inspiring at the moment, but I hope I will be someday… So thanks a lot! I appreciate it. ❤

Here be the rules:

  1. Thank the person that nominated you. ✔
  2. Add the logo to your post. ✔
  3. Nominate 10 other bloggers you think are inspiring.
  4. Answer the questions given to you.
  5. Give 5 new questions for your nominees to answer.

So here are a few blogs I really think are inspiring:

  1. Anonymous !ndian
  2. The Epic Blog
  3. The Writing Hufflepuff
  4. Smalltown Bookworm
  5. Jai Vyas Writes
  6. Just Another Dreamer
  7. Avid Reader
  8. Alwaysopinionatedgirl
  9. Twinsturnpages
  10. Any blogger out there who knows that the answer is 42.

Aaand here are the questions:

  1. What is your favourite ice cream flavour?
    1. Chocolate lover for ever. *muaah*
  2. What is your ambition?
    1. To stay out of trouble for at least 5 minutes a day. 😛 Haha, just kidding. I have quite a few ambitions, which include:
      1. Writing a bunch of unputdownable books (which seems kinda unlikely.)
      2. Winning the WQC (oh gods, that would be so cool. It wouldn’t fetch me any cash, but still… *sigh*)
      3. Getting into the Humanities department at IITM. Or something equally good.
      4. Meeting J. K. Rowling, John Green, and Eoin Colfer. Together if possible.
      5. Learning a few programming languages (C, C++, Python, Java, Ruby, all on the list.)
      6. and the list goes on…
  3. What do you think is more important, love or money/power? Why?
    1. Both actually… in equal proportion, of course. (It’s not cheating! 😂)
  4. What makes you happy?
    1. That feeling when you look up at the sky after it’s rained for hours and see the sun shining behind the clouds. It may be a cliche, but if that isn’t happiness, I dunno what is.
    2. Quite a few other things too. Reading a book. Seeing your family after a long time. Meeting your friends after the summer holidays. When it stops raining just before your PT period. 😂 When you discover that there is free WiFi where you’re sitting (or when you see that the person sitting next to you has an open hotspot). Laughing at stupid jokes. Discovering that no one in the class (including yourself) has studied for the test. Seeing a post which describes exactly what you’re feeling right now. Writing down what makes you happy.
    3. Finding out that the next day is a holiday. XD This actually happened just now.

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      Peace be on you, Collector Saar. And sorry if you can’t read Malayalam — it says “Holiday tomorrow for educational institutions due to heavy rains.” Hooray. 😂

    4. That awesome moment when you write about something and it actually happens. 😀
  5. How often do you spend “alone” time? And how do you spend it?
    1. I love my “alone” time. A LOT. Guard it fiercely. Never let go of it. And I spend it doing absolutely nothing. Most of my “alone” time is when I’m travelling in the bus back home, so I look outside the window. And think, of course.

So that wraps up my answers. Now for my questions:

  1. Have you ever read any book which made you wish that you wrote it? If so, then why?
  2. What is your weirdest characteristic?
  3. Cursive or print?
  4. Any annoying songs stuck in your head at the moment? Or which was the most recent one?
  5. If you had a choice between reading your favourite lesson in your schoolbooks or the worst book you’ve read so far, which would you choose? (and which are they?)

That’s it then! I really admire your patience and tenacity and all that for reading all this way. On an unrelated note, check out this song from the Malayalam film Premam:

Ahh those instrumentals. ❤ To be honest, I loved them waayyy more than the lyrics… and definitely better than the video.

Well, well, well. Look who’s here.

Sorry, sorry, soo sorry! I know I’m the most forgetful blogger in the world and I don’t deserve to be read or even own a blog. *runs away and hides* Seriously, though, I haven’t just been idling my time away on Facebook, Whatsapp or even my school books (okay, that last one is a bit of a stretch.) I’ve been busy. Really, really, really busy. Here’s what I’ve done till now:

  1. Moved house
  2. Slept…
  3. …again…
  4. …and again.
  5. Completed veritable mountains of homework/schoolwork
  6. Attended (and won) a quiz (it was awesome, in case you were wondering.)
  7. Written part of a play for the inter-house drama competition (it was scrapped, in case you were wondering.)
  8. Read
    1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
    2. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
    3. Life, the Universe, and Everything
    4. So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
    5. Mostly Harmless
    6. And Another Thing
    7. Jurassic Park
    8. A Farewell to Arms (reread)
    9. HP6 (reread)
    10. Midnight’s Children (still reading)
    11. A Thousand Splendid Suns.
  9. Seen
    1. Jurassic World (twice)
    2. Premam (in Malayalam)

The reader will kindly note that, contrary to their expectations, the writer has not been wasting her time. For reference, here is also a list of what the writer has not been doing:

  1. Blogging 😥
  2. Doing the Book Blogging Month challenge set by herself
  3. Doing the various challenges set by other much more awesome bloggers
  4. Going to Uganda
  5. Keeping track of time
  6. Using WiFi (much)
  7. Digging a well
  8. Travelling to Pluto with New Horizons (wish I had, though.)
  9. Writing anything useful
  10. Studying (much)
  11. Discovering the pentaquark (see #8.)

So I really need to pull up my virtual socks and write something that will actually see the light of day. Cheerio for now; hope to see you soon. 🙂

Attention, Potterheads–it’s Harry Potter Month!

Actually, any month can be Harry Potter Month. Every month is Harry Potter Month. So why on earth did I say that July is Harry Potter Month?

Quite a few reasons, as any self-respecting Potterhead would know. For starters, it’s Harry’s (and Jo Rowling’s) birthday on the 31st. There, that itself is more than a reason.

But if you want more reasons, then it’s Neville Longbottom’s birthday on the 30th. Harry learnt he was a wizard on the 31st, and also met Hagrid for the first time that day, and… you get the point.

So, to celebrate this month, I’m going to (try to) post every day for 31 days about a Harry Potter character. It may be my take on the character, or how they might behave in the Muggle world, or anything else. (Jo, if you’re reading this, forgive me if I write anything offensive! 😀 )

Who knows whether it’ll work out–but it’s worth a try. So, let’s begin, shall we?

(Warning: Massive spoilers in the following posts. Read at your own risk!)

Once upon a time… (Literary Quiz)

As expected, my big fat brain totally forgot about this. A hundred points to Team Fairfeld, and you win the quiz! 😂

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to conduct the whole quiz, due to time restraints. We only conducted about 4 rounds out of 7. So I’ll be posting a few questions here which were cut, but I loved so much that I couldn’t bear to let ’em go *sobs*

A biiiiiiig THANK YOU! to Anjali and Amruth, my co-quizmasters, without whom this quiz wouldn’t have been so enjoyable–at least, I hear some people say it was enjoyable. I mean, who would want to listen to me shoot interminably tough questions at them continuously for two hours? None of you? Thought not. So you two have, once again, made this quiz not suck. Thank you! 😀

Just for further info, here are the final 6 teams:

  • 8 A — Meenakshi and Keerthana (all-girls’ team–yay!)
  • 8 B — Avinash and Aravind
  • 8 C — Nihal and Diya
  • 9 A — Abhay and Deva
  • 9 B — Hari and Alex
  • 9 C — Niya and Anmol

The third place was decided by a tie-breaker between 8 A and 8 B, in which 8 A narrowly missed the third place and went to fourth place, allowing 8 B to grab the position. The second place was bagged by 9 A, while the first position, with a margin of nearly 50 points, was secured by 9 B. Congrats, winners (if you’ll even read this ever!) XD

So, without further ado, let’s get to the questions.

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What did you think of the questions? Were they tough, easy, or just right? If you think you know ’em, comment below!

(To get the full quiz, drop me a line here. Happy quizzing!)

Answers will be posted on 6 July 2015, unless I forget (which is more than likely.)