When we saw the ad for the book fair to be held this week in Coimbatorewe were very happy. Only because we have got our new bookshelves (a DIY project which gave us immense pleasure as this is our first DIY project for furniture; in the UK we were living in fully furnished places so never had a chance) and have arranged all our shipped books and games and we’re eager to add more to the collection. Little did we know that our trip to the book fair will entail more than just that.
My nieces decided to join us at the destination, but as usual, we were a bit early so we decided to head in and scout the place for children’s books before my nieces arrived. But before we could enter the fair hall we were accosted by a gentleman who was encouraging people to take part in a book quiz that was happening in a hall to the left of the entrance. He guided us to the place and gave us our quiz form (to fill in the answers and our team name and our names etc. each team can have a max of 2 members) and they went about explaining the rules after a few more minutes of guiding people to join as there weren’t too many folks around. We had around 10 teams or so, I think and they promptly started the quiz. The first round was a prelims round. There were 20 questions out of which 5 questions were supposed to be hard in order to eliminate ties. These questions were usually posed to college students as part of their competitions so they informed us that some of the questions might be too hard for us and not get discouraged by them. If we get through the prelims we would enter the finals which included 6 teams and there were prizes in the form of book coupons (to the whole team) to be reimbursed in the book fair for all people who participate in the finals round (the first prize was for 4000 Rs, second prize was 3000 Rs, third prize was 2000 Rs, and the rest three teams got 1000 Rs for participation and getting through to the finals).
Mr M and I were in only for fun and as we watch various quiz programmes we were eager to know the answers to the questions more so than winning any place and by far we were one of the two teams with an average age beyond 40. The first question was a stinker but the second one was about Agatha Christie’s books. That perked us up 🙂 My love for all novels by Sujatha (a Tamil writer) and Kalki (another prominent Tamil writer) helped me with those stinky tough questions and we got 2/5 right. As for the rest, one was based on Fyodor Dostoevsky books (which I knew of) and Mr M’s classical book knowledge came in handy for a few of the other questions. All in all, we thought we had almost 7 correct, but weren’t sure. It was almost 45 mins by the time all the questions were done. We had to wait for the results and even though we were confident we didn’t do that well, we wanted to know the answers so we waited. Funnily, when the answers were discussed, we found that we score 9/20 which wasn’t bad and we kicked ourselves for a couple more answers. But most funnily we got through to the finals round too. Our correct answers to two tiebreakers came through for us it seems. Our nieces hadn’t arrived yet and we weren’t sure what to do about the fact that we would be stuck with the quiz for much longer than we anticipated 😀 Having some far, we decided to see it through.
The finals round was the worse for us. We were surrounded by young college students but thankfully we had one team who was of similar age to ours (the only other non-college team). There were 5 rounds with 6 questions each and it was based on who answered the previous question and accordingly the next question would be posed to the team after them. That disadvantaged us as we either ended up with the toughest questions as the ones that we knew were answered by the brilliant youngsters next to us. Until round-4 we were yet to score any points and the other team of non-college students had answered only 1 question right by then. Finally, Stieg Larsson’s book came through for us during the round-4 and we answered our only question in the finals. My nieces who had joined us halfway through were encouraging us in spite of our lack of scores. By that time, it was all fun and we knew that the college students had better knowledge of books (especially about Indian authors, Tamil authors, whom we haven’t had any recent knowledge of, and also about the books that were made into movies recently).
My nieces also answered one question that was posed to the audience towards the end of round-4 which gave them immense pleasure. When we finally finished all rounds, we were glad to have scored 1 point and a guaranteed 1000 Rs gift coupon to spend at the book fair. Definitely not a bad day of work 😀 but we ended up spending almost 2 hours and more just in that one room. Once the gift coupons were distributed, we thanked and congratulated everyone and made our way to the book stalls. My eldest niece got herself an Amar Chitra Katha book out of our winnings. She, like me, loves those books. We ended up spending (after a little bit of drama, as not all stalls were willing to accept those gift coupons as they are not ready to cash) the rest for ourselves, where we got Richard Osman’s first book, The Thursday Murder Club, a book of Rumi’s poems (I wanted one of those for a while), and a Rebus novel by Ian Rankin.
By the time we were done with the book fair, we were exhausted and it was almost 5 hours in that building, but we ain’t complaining as we ended up not spending a single rupee of our own and yet ended up buying some good books for ourselves. We also realized that it is just not watching quizzes that are fun, taking part is too as long as we are not too competitive about it and not ashamed of not scoring any points 🙂 We got to know of a quiz club which we could join if we fancied and I think Mr M might be tempted to do so once he finds his footing.