One of the many legacies that I have inherited from my elder brother (Sunil Ranjan Mallik) is our passion for quizzing. And the hobby started with Siddhartha Basu's India Quiz on Doordarshan. It went on to became the passion of a lifetime with my brother being the torchbearer. We loved watching the likes of Bournvita Quiz Contest and BBC Mastermind. We also sent our answers on postcards for the lucky draw after each episode of Surabhi - which ran on Doordarshan for more than ten years showcasing small documentaries on art and culture. To improve our chances of winning, we also used to send one nomination on behalf of each of our family members. On top of that, just to make our postcard reach early, I used to walk (sometimes in evenings) till the Balasore Railway Station to drop the postcards directly at the Railway Mail Service (RMS) office located on platform number two. These fruitless endeavors continued for many a television series till my brother left Balasore for Delhi to pursue higher education in 1996.
Although, we have never competed in a quiz competition as part of the same team, there was once in 1995 that we competed against eachother. As part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations at Fakir Mohan College - I was in my First Year (English Hons) and he was in his Third Year (Chemistry Hons) - we came face to face in the team quiz competition finals. His team (surely the best on that day) was declared the winner while mine was the second best. When I look back, I feel proud of the fact that in the one of the biggest colleges of coastal Orissa we two could finish on the podium. We later received our trophies from the then chief minister of Orissa Biju Patnaik who was the chief guest for the prize giving ceremony. I had also won awards in debate (English, Hindi) and essay writing. However, to share the podium with my brother is what I remember the most. The trophies have lost their shine, but the legend still shines on.
Postscript: This post is also dedicated to all those avid quizzards who made Balasore proud during those times (1993-1998): Azijur Azam, Ajib Raut, Siddharth Mohanty, Sunil Ranjan Mallik, Debabrata Mohanty, and Debabrata DasMohapatra. I apologize if I have failed to mention any of the names.