ravings, rantings and ramblings
As my office car halted to a stop in front of the North American International School in Mirdiff, I came face-to-face with a sea of uniformed children, all talking at the same time. A classic case of one against many! Those children were all participants in the Be’ati Watani inter-school quiz contest and I was the quiz master!
I have always been a sucker for quizzes! For as long as I can remember, I enjoyed battling a formidable quiver of questions. My father was involved in his office quiz and took me along for them. In school, I always was pro-quiz; buying quiz books; even making my own quizzes on various subjects. And that included one that made its way into a leading daily (The Hindustan Times). Funnily enough, it was famous mythological moustaches and their owners!
My radio career also lets me devise various types of daily quizzes. That apart, hosting the opening round of the first ever Star TV Middle East’s inter-school quiz contest that had over a 1000 plus kids, had a magical high!
My hunch about this was right, as I made my way through 900 odd students. Getting together with the crane of Emirates Wildlife Society and the ‘oh-so-lovable’panda of WWF (World Wildlife Fund for animals) was what I was after. Convincing my colleagues in radio to partner this quiz took me some time but I knew that it would float! And as this collaboration took momentum, newer partners got added to it. The Be’ati Watani or “my environment, my country” (in Arabic) is a bilingual (English and Arabic) environmental e-learning tool of choice for children, their families and teachers in the UAE, was developed by Emirates Wildlife Society – WWF. It is sponsored by Dolphin Energy. And so this inter-school quiz contest on environment came about under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Sports and Fitness Program. Hamleys toys store jumped on board as title sponsor and we were ready to sail!
10 to 14 year olds, with inquisitive eyes and nervous excitement, took their seats, adjusting their pencil boxes and sticking with their best friends. Some styled their hair while others carefully adjusted their spectacles. The sheer excitement of knowing the right answer when a question is posed to them; sometimes with an emphatically whispered ‘yes’. It was amusing to see a few of them close their eyes to ‘imagine’ the answer when I asked them about a beetle’s hardest body-part. Specially when the kids were asked to name a predatory bird with a diving speed of more than 322 kilometres per hour, one of the kids actually ‘hand-gestered’ a dive to get under the skin of the question. It reminded me of the times when I was their age and height, in a white shirt and grey shorts, with an eager mind. Oh, the sheer delight of reliving childhood!
Twelve top teams have been selected and the semis start Saturday 28 April. Grand finale on 26 May 2012. Looking forward to quiz-mastering this inter-school quiz contest! May the best team win! Bring it on!