If you’re a 90s kid, you’d remember the Bournvita Quiz Contest. Derek O’ Brien became a household name across the country by simply hosting quiz programs for school children. I say simply, but as a quiz master myself, I know all too well the energy and excitement a good quiz can inspire in children of all ages!
I see this every weekend in children and their parents from across the globe participating in the QShala Family Quiz. “It is an amazing way to relax while simultaneously learning new things!” said Maya Bharathan, parent of one of our participants. I feel she captures the essence beautifully.
Since lockdown began, productivity has been a bit of a struggle for all of us. At work, there are too many phone calls, lingering back ache as a result of working from the sofa, and the inevitable blurring of the line between work and life. At home, there is anxiety looming, more chores than we knew there were, disturbing news from all over the world, and I wouldn’t blame you if all you want is to lie down and wake up to a better new world. Because volatility can do that to the best of us.
It is to forge a break to this situation that we first began the Family Quiz. We wanted to distract ourselves from the unknowns of COVID and focus on the billions of fascinating things we do know about the world. We wanted a reminder of what we can achieve — and how much fun we can have while doing it — by asking the right questions.
So, on [insert first quiz date], we began the QShala Family Quiz. We made the questions fun, light, and accessible, requiring very little prior reading or preparation — who’d do homework for a Sunday quiz, right! We relied on workability and making connections to crack an answer. We were delighted how our participants grabbed this with both hands. Over a couple of weeks, QShala Family Quiz became a common learning space for parents, children and even grandparents, a space that strangely did not exist before!
[Insert an image with this question: Example: What connects Steve Jobs, Himachal Pradesh, William Tell, and New York City? Ans: Apple!]
We also kept the questions contextual and relevant to the times. This is important because the Family Quiz is not an escape from reality or a way to deny ourselves what’s going on in the world. On the contrary, it is a way to renew our energy to better handle the volatile world around us.
[Insert an image with this question: Which word comes from a practice in the mid-14th century, when all ships arriving in Italy were required to be isolated for a period of forty days before passengers could go ashore — to protect the mainland from black death? Ans. Quarantine!]
On the first day, 50 families tuned in, mostly from Bangalore, which is home for QShala. We were delighted by the impact we’d made, only to return the next week to learn that we had almost tripled the participants. We were loving and cherishing it, only to return the next week to learn that 8x as many families were waiting for us. Today, we are proud of the 8500+ families who have participated in the Family Quiz from as far away lands as Norway, Japan, UAE, and USA. Not bad for another Zoom call, eh?
[Insert Zoom call screen grab]
When we win, we all win together. Every week the prize money is pledged to a cause — such as relief for migrants displacement crisis, amphan cyclone, education of government school children through online classes/infrastructure etc. We’ve pledge Rs. 100,000 so far. We have also raised awareness through themed quizzes in partnership with organisations such as Arundhati Foundation (bring awareness on road safety), Reap Benefit (platform for local problem solving through young citizen initiatives), Saahas (zero waste management solutions) etc.
“Growing up having only Doordarshan on TV, I remember waking up to watch Mahabharath every Sunday. Times have changed for sure. The QShala Family Quiz is the new Sunday routine of our lives. They even have it happen in multiple timezones to match your timezone. Thank you to everyone at QShala for pulling this together every week for us,“ Nithasha.
As we go into another Family Quiz this Sunday, I’m personally grateful and humbled by the minds it has opened up. My joy comes from seeing the spark in the eyes of a qurious qookie who has made a connection and cracked an answer he/she has never even considered before. Icing on the cake is the parent who rediscovers their child-like innocence in playing along.
While the nostalgia is calm, the QShala Family Quiz itself is a highly competitive battle of the minds. You’re coming, right? Register here. See you at the quiz!