Ajay Poonia, a renowned quizmaster of the country, has now come onboard for hosting the Orissa POST Mettle Meet – the mega quiz competition in the state. In an interaction with Orissa POST, Poonia opens his heart out on his journey and the whole quizzing world in the country. Excerpts:
manish kumar, op
OP: What comes to your mind when you hear about Odisha?
Poonia: I am pleased to be here conducting a session soon in Mettle Meet as its quizmaster. The things that come to my mind whenever I hear about Odisha are the vibrancy, the vast tourist sites, the culture, faith and beliefs. It is a repository of all of these apart from the delicious rasagolas, chenapoda and the spiritual city of Puri.
OP: How did you become a quizmaster?
Poonia: It started eight years back. Like any other student I was also a quizzer. Later, my passion for quizzing took over my desire for other career options and I decided that I could take it up as my career. It does not offer a linear path but I enjoy what I do.
OP: How would you rate the standard of quizzing in Odisha or eastern India?
Poonia: I have a limited experience of quizzing in eastern India especially Odisha. I have done some school level quizzing but not on a big scale like Mettle Meet. As per my experience and what I learnt from watching the previous sessions of Mettle Meet, I can say the students here are at par with others from any part of the country.
OP: Based on your experience in Odisha, what do you find good about students from Odisha who are into quizzing?
Poonia: The desire to excel and the hunger to outperform the expectations of their well wishers and also their own expectations. We come across good candidates from metropolitan cities but let me tell you the stiffest challenges they face come from students who do not live in metro cities. In this connected world, I do not think people hailing from non-metro cities and small cities have any disadvantage or they miss out on anything when it comes to quizzing.
OP: Do you think the talent shows are a threat to quiz competitions in the country in the contemporary days?
Poonia: I do not think they pose any threat to the quiz shows. Talent shows have their own audience and so do quiz shows and their lovers. Talent shows could have mass audience but there are many who love to play the games. I, however, agree that such loud events garner more media attention.
OP: Any tips to the students who are going to participate in the Mettle Meet 2019?
Poonia: It is a vast field. Even if I try, there is no quick formula that one can follow. It is a continuous process. It is like you can’t become a cricketer by participating in a match. It is okay to lose. It is more important to focus on the insight you got in your preparations and do well.