• From aeronautical engineer to an author : Aniruddha Sen Gupta

By Knowledge Tribe

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Name: Aniruddha Sen Gupta
Based in: Goa, India
USP: Avid quizzer, passionate writer

His Story

Born in Mount Abu, Rajasthan, in 1964, Aniruddha has had quite an interesting location map and career graph throughout his life. He attended school in Mount Abu and Hyderabad, did his B.Tech in Aeronautical Engineering from IIT Madras (we know the city is Chennai now guys), pursued a career in, guess what, JOURNALISM; because of course why would an aeronautical engineer not do that; after finishing college. Well, all of this led him to the centre of our great country, Delhi, where he worked for a couple of city magazines, in an organisation called Media Workshop. Hi stint at Delhi helped him learn various facets of communications and resultingly, he took on a number of roles in editorial, design, multimedia and integrated communications. Phew! Intrigued yet?

How Quizzing Happened

His quizzing journey started at the Hyderabad Public School. “I was always interested in knowing things, and in reading. I would read anything I could get my hands on – if I had gone through all the books at home, I would pore over dictionaries, atlases, whatever I could lay my hands on. By the time I was in school, and had access to a good school library, I was borrowing library cards from several of my friends and borrowing up to 10 books every week.”

As can be expected, his librarian initially didn’t believe he was reading all of them and was suspicious of his motives, but gradually, came to realise that he truly was an avid reader, and started encouraging him, often suggesting books suitable for his age, though he cheekily mentions he preferred all the unsuitable ones.

He credits quizzing being a natural hobby, to his brain having a propensity to remember small details. “I can’t remember how I first got into it – must have been bunged into some class or school team by a teacher – but I guess you tend to enjoy, and stick to, things you’re good at.”

Photo Credit – tatacrucible.com

More on his Quizzing Journey..

“College is where I really got into it. IIT Madras was always well "known for its quizzing culture. The Mardi Gras Open was a solo quiz that generally considered to be the best college quiz in the country at the time, and I enjoyed participating in it, winning it one time, and later setting it.”

After college, he dropped out of the quizzing circuit as he started working. When he moved to Goa, quizzing was hardly something he had in mind, but then, as fate would have it, he was lucky to meet up with Rajiv D’Silva and Harsh Bhatkuly, who had been carrying Goa’s quizzing flag to great heights in the Tata Crucible and Brand Equity competitions. Together with them and a handful of other enthusiasts, the gang set up the Sunday Evening Quiz Club (SEQC) in 2007. “It’s currently in its tenth year and is going great guns. We may not have the strongest quizzers in the country, but it’s certainly the most fun club around.”

Interestingly, he notes that he wishes there were more general quizzes around – “though SEQC quizzes make up locally for what is quite a lacuna at the national level.”

On Knowledge and Quizzing being linked

“I don’t see quizzing as a channel of knowledge-gathering – for me, it’s an avenue for ‘releasing’ some of the information that is in my ken. Not that I don’t learn anything from a quiz – but at best, a quiz might give me a kernel of information that, if it’s interesting, sets me out on putting together the larger web of knowledge that surrounds that core. I’ll go read up on that, and that’s what is the biggest reward from quizzing for me.”

Knowledge is the foundation of his life. He mentions that his understanding of life, his world view, come from all the stuff he’s read and learnt, and informs every decision he makes, and every opinion he forms. Knowledge (and not half-baked learning), he believes, is the key to understanding – and overcoming – much of the political and socio-economic morass that are currently existing in the world.

Other Hobbies and Passions..

A part from his serious inclination for writing, (“I am trying to make a living from it, it’s very difficult!”), he enjoys creating games and sometimes, sometimes, the games are quizzing based, like ‘Around the World in 30 Questions’, in which a world map with a route map is projected onto a wall / screen, teams throw a giant die to move across stops on the route, answering questions related to the countries they land on.

True to his diverse interest since the very beginning, he dabbles in the occasional design project, though only for people whose causes he feel strongly about.

“I decided a long time ago that using my skills to help corporate entities sell things that did little good for the world at large was not my idea of making a responsible living.”

His other interests include animal welfare, travelling, cricket and football, cooking and eating (of course) food. And you thought what you read up till now was varied enough!

Photo Credit – The International Centre, Goa

His travels with his pet dogs across the length and breadth of the country form the basis of the book he is currently working on, which “combines the travelogue-y narrative of some of these journeys with authentic advice to people wanting to go places with their pets.”

Aniruddha has published a couple of books in a children’s adventure series- the ‘Fundoo 4 mysteries’; a graphic guidebook on environmental issues- ‘Our Toxic World’; and comics, stories and articles in numerous anthologies, magazines, etc.


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