Muscat: It was a night of tough questions and a lot of excitement as over 150 teams competed in the Times of Oman Open Quiz Contest (TOOOQC) preliminary rounds last night at Indian School Muscat.
But eight teams knew enough of quizmaster Giri 'Pickbrain' Balasubramaniam's questions to make it through to the finals, including a few teams who have made it this far before, and one young team which is making a triumphant return to Muscat.
"We just landed last night. It's really wonderful to be back in the quiz," said Akshay Raghunath, who graduated from ISWK last year and is home for holidays. He and his teammates, who make up team VIT Invictus, also graduated from Indian Schools in Oman, now study in India.
Some of the familiar faces include teams like the Questionable Characters, Jet Set Go, and Natural Born Quizzers. For many of the participants quizzing is a passion and hobby, so the annual TOOOQC is an event they love competing in, and they usually finish with good results.
"Our hopes are pretty good. We've done a lot of preparation and we know the types of questions Giri asks. You have to use lateral thinking and creativity," said Murali Ramaswamy, a two-time finalist from the Natural Born Quizzers.
For some of the quizzers, the TOOOQC provides a good distraction from the daily grind. Two of the three members of triple-winners Jet Set Go are orthopaedic surgeons, so quizzing is a relaxing change for them.
"It's good fun. It's a break from our professional lives," said Dr. Joel Coutinho.
Even the many teams who didn't make it into the finals still had a great time trying to figure out the answers to Pickbrain's 30 questions, which included direction questions and visual and audio clues.
"We always learn something. There's no losing in the quiz," said Chitra Murali, of the Awesome Threesome.
Other teams were participating for the very first time and found the quiz fun, though quite challenging. In a change for the TOOOQC, there were a few teams of Philippines nationals, including some students from the Philippines School in Oman.
"It's a very new experience for us. We're very excited, but it was nerve-wracking," said Vivienne Ordonez.
Future Foundation, also a new Philippines team, enjoyed their first time participating in the quiz, as the members are fans of quiz shows and watched the finals last year.
"We love quizzes and shows like Jeopardy, and last year we went to the finals and it was really fun," said Joanna Garcia.
The finals will take place at 6:45 on Friday evening at the amphitheatre in Qurum Park.
Dr. Rajan Philips
Dr. Anupam Kakaria
Shafeek M K
A R Srinivasan
Jet Set Go