The Open Dosa

Consuming the Ordinary Differently

Taking Mahaquizzer

The second Prof. Arul Mani told me to attempt the KQA Mahaquizzer, I wished I had drunk some Butter Tea. It  wasn’t that I didn’t want to try out the quiz; just a knee jerk reaction I can’t explain.

But first on the matter of Butter Tea.  The name does a good job of explaining what is special about it and also how it will taste. This is relevant because our college quiz club had decided to have a meeting at a Tibetan restaurant right outside the college premises. Like any quiz association worth caring about, we were informal and slightly late. We got ourselves beverages off the menu and Chirag, a member of the club, decided he would try Butter Tea despite our warnings.

Personally I didn’t think it was that bad. Sure it was 90% butter and smelt like a heart attack but I didn’t get why it made everyone else gag. Someone compared it to Maggi and asked if I was a Maggi person because I liked it. Chirag was asked to write on his experience gulping the entire mug down and I was told to write about this quiz.

Chirag vs Butter Tea

A good quiz makes you feel like a moron. You need to be something of a masochist to enjoy it. I still remember how the god-complex that self and nerdy friends from Christ Junior College had developed was systematically destroyed with every quiz we took. Back then we’d just say the questions were dumb and continue in our smug existence. But after three years of quizzing,  I’d picked up a bit of humility. Since this article is on the internet,  you, dear readers, can take the quiz with me and share in a 90-minute intellectual marathon. Or you can just skim it and read the article.

After wasting time trying to pick music to play during the quiz, and then deciding that would be cheating,  I began.  The quiz was quite long and I’d have to read it off the screen. Plus my grandmother has developed a habit of performing surgical strikes on my concentration after she moved in and developed a fondness for reminding me to eat and telling me about her political theories.

Right off the bat, there were questions about Guyana, self-assembling robots and the Latin classifications of kissing. Everyone from Irene Adler to Trump made an appearance. Thankfully there were a lot of questions about history like what millets meant to the ottomans, which Turkish kings drank poison all the time, what  was measured in Gillettes, etc.

Some questions were kind enough to hold your hand for a bit. Like the 95th question that goes on and on about big satisfaction and thoughtful forums on an app until it drops a mention of good governance. I felt as though the Prime minster himself had flown in and whispered the answer in my ear all the while smiling at a camera.

Then there were questions that have you wondering if you are stupid or if the quiz setters decided to start trolling you. What’s common to the Levant, Anatolia and Vladivostok? What could connect all these far flung eastern settlements?  It can’t be the fact that they are all in the east is it? It is? Well I did say good quizzes have you doubting your own intelligence.

There are also questions that you can’t begin to comprehend. What’s a Rache? Why do the Irish call their prize Ondaatje? That sounds so Indian. I’m sure no-one knows what a soi-cowboy is.

I scored around 30 around 150 which is pretty good actually. That would put me in the top 25 among the international contestants. I might be only 96 in the Indian lists but I still like to count it as a victory. I was tired and felt like I had run a mental marathon. I still had 10 minutes left but I was sure it had taken me an hour or two. My eyes were heavy and all I wanted to do was listen to recordings of the Manx language. These things tire you out but in that nice I wouldn’t mind the adrenaline again sort of way.

I saw a writer and journalist from Chennai called Samanth S scored 97, and I wondered how someone could have learnt about prehistoric toothpicks and the Spanish origins of pot pourri.

There’s a certain pleasure I used to get only from randomly looking up things in encyclopaedia and dictionaries and quizzes bring back those random curiosities. I eventually had fourteen tabs open on bottle masala, recordings of the Manx language, pole positions and Laputa.

If you aren’t the kind of person who wants to know about when a cup of coffee becomes an espresso, this quiz isn’t for you. But if you are you should try it or some of the other quizzes on the KQA website and see how you do.

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Rijul Ballal

Reader, writer, blogger, and workaholic. Student of English, journalism and psychology at St. Joseph's college. Can be found over at

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