Quizzes are fun. Knowing answers is fun, especially when you get them right. But quizzes aren’t just about answers. They aren’t about knowing what’s right and wrong. There’s more. Much more. It’s to do with participation. Getting to know your opponent.

There’s no rivalry involved. Only a scrap of paper in front of you, which you write on and which determines whether you win or lose. Boring? Maybe.

But it’s also exciting. Like all less-played games, you have to take to it. It doesn’t come on its own. As with pretty much every other game and puzzle, it’s also quick to take to. That’s why it’s less about getting the answers correct than about doing your research and using it to outsmart rival.

There’s no answer to everything in this world. This we know. Some questions aren’t meant to be resolved and others don’t have clear-cut answers. What happens after death? Why do we die? How are we born? Quizzes don’t tread into them. In that sense such competitions are limited because what’s presented as problems are always answerable. With one sentence. Or even word.

Once you get into it however, there’s no going back. It becomes a passion. You want to know and know fast. You want to learn whatever’s new and unheard of. You want to learn it more quickly than others do. And you want to impress. No, this isn’t the only thing quizzing can teach you. But it counts. That’s part of the fun. Part of the rules.

There was an actor who had this passion. Michael Caine. He wasn’t a ‘quizzer’. He did not attend ‘clubs’. Didn’t participate in Q&As. But he loved information. And facts. Throughout his life and right until his career, he kept on collecting them. He did this so much that he published them. In a book.

‘Not many people know that!’ didn’t sell as much as his movies, true. But it revealed what he’d collected. Facts. Verified and rechecked. Some of them were known. Others had been passed over. A few couldn’t be believed.

Here’s another story. There’s a boy who captained his school’s quiz team. He didn’t know about the game. He hadn’t dabbled in it before. The team itself was in a mess. Not everyone liked joining it and for this reason it was dwindling. Those who went and taught there had other priorities, moreover. The little ones were more into the game. Older students weren’t. Things looked bleak.

Five years later, the team picked up. Both the teacher and captain understood the stakes. Back then they weren’t formidable. They’d lose at competitions. Easily. By a miracle however, they regained. They got up. Well, several captains and teams later, they’re still gaining. Still pounding. And winning against those who usually win at Q&As. Explains why the game’s so easy to take to.

That’s the fun in it. Knowing what the other guy doesn’t. Using what’s known to trip him. Getting an edge over him. They help you meet like-minded people. People interested in knowing the right thing at the right time.

One more thing. We’re all know-alls and this might explain why we show off. But when it comes to Q&As and competitions, not everything under sun counts. You get to know what’s important. What’s relevant. If you do that, with a miracle (because luck counts too) you’ll win.

So get that scrap of paper. Start thinking. Start exploring. Write what you’ve learnt. It won’t be easy-peasy. Won’t be short-and-sweet. But it’ll be fun. Guaranteed.