After being an activist for two days, I managed to come out that state of mind and even from Karwar. Rao, Karthick, Durga and Amit moved towards Kumta, while myself, Dhaval, Shrikant, Tushar and Vishnu started towards Dandeli. The plan was to drop me in Dandeli to have a discussion with DCF and field work for two days (all alone) and others would move towards Yellapura.
Since it was 7th October, the last day of wildlife week, chances of meeting DCF was more than 100%, my only concern was whether he will be able to spare time for me! After having a cup of tea at Kumbarvada, I took driver's seat and reached Kulgi nature camp at 1:30pm. It was, in a sense, perfect timing, as lunch was being served on the occasion of wildlife week. Without any second thought, we all took our positions in the que and started having our lunch.
In the mean time, I met Dr. Bhat from forestry college and Sri. Balachandra Hegde. They asked few pictures of frog for the quiz competition. In next few minutes, I was in their tent with three photographs and three movies and at the back of my mind was my days in these wildlife week quiz! I turned a bit nostalgic, recounting the interesting event that made me to get into these quiz competitions.
It was in the year 1990, when I was studying 9th, I happened to attend a wildlife week interactive session held at ATNCC (Acharya Tulsi National College of Commerce) auditorium. There was one middle aged, short but stout person, telling about bird watching, what needs to be done, how one has to dress, what to bring etc for the next day's field visit. (He was none other than Prof. A.S.Chandrasekhar, Principal (retired), Sahyadri science college, under him I graduated from that college). In the same bench, was a senior friend from Ravindranagar locality, Purushotham (now Doctor) holding a book - A Pictorial guide to the birds of the Indian subcontinent. As a inquisitive boy, I asked him what is that book and how to use? He was probably overwhelmed as it was a prize he got in the quiz and not really bothered about my questions. But one good thing happened to me...I thought if I too win a prize in this wildlife week quiz, I will also get the same book and there will not be any struggle for me to search for bird information (I used to visit Balavana library, in the erstwhile Minizoo, where forest department has kept 'the Handbook of the birds of India and Pakistan', to cross check which bird I saw on that Sunday, and these books looked too heavy for my size, even the librarian was looking at me as though I would be crushed under its weight). This is probably the turning point in my life to attend quiz programs. Only hurdle was, I have to get into college to participate in Quiz as there was no quiz for high school students.
In the next year, our entire family got involved in various competitions of wildlife week, and got as many as five prizes, of which two to me (essay writing and slogan) and one each to my dad, brother and sister. Unfortunately, from that year onwards, the prizes were not Bird books, which I was aiming at, but books by C.H. Basappanavar's on tigers.
My first quiz program in the wildlife week was with my fellow senior friend Mr. Harish N.S., in 1993, I was in my second year Pre-University and he was in first year Bachelors. I still recount that event, quiz master was Sri. Raghavendra Rao, Teacher from Jayaprakash Narayan Highschool near McGann Hospital, shimoga. First two rounds we were struggling to get past 2o points, in the visual round, we gained 110 points and at the end of the event, we won with more than 130 points from the second place. It was my first ever, first in Quiz. Harish and myself became so good partners and we were regarded as nightmares in any quiz competitions held in the region.
Coming back to Dandeli event, I requested organizers, to have some prize for the audience too. As usual they made provisions for chocolates. First round first question was on Nilgiri tahr and chocolate came straight to me! After three chocolates, organizers said, you had taken enough and they provide only 'applause' for me! I changed my seat sat next to some forest officials, made them also to have some chocolates!! I felt as though my days of college is back and I am attending a quiz with the same zeal and enthu!
Thanks to DCF, Bhat and Hegde to accommodate this fully grown child in the quiz event and making me to cherish and relish those wonderful days of my college.