I write this post with a sense of happiness and relief. My first sense of this feeling was at around 8 this morning, after I read an e-mail in my yahoo account inbox. As I finished reading the mail, I rewound myself to my first semester days at SRM University.
“Hi, I am Anirudh”, was how a fair complexioned, decent looking, and an average built teenager introduced himself. Apart from his character, the one thing that has not changed is the goatee on his chin - those whiskers have been part of all the trials and tribulations, in all these years - conspicuous indeed. And if they had had the ability to speak, they, for sure, would have told him this morning, “Ani, it was really worth the wait.” And since they are not gifted to share such nice words, I take this opportunity to tell him, “Ani, it was really worth the wait”. Though I rewound to August 2005, I couldn’t resist myself from getting back to June 2009. Ok, now, let’s get back to 2005 again.
Ani, the once-upon-a-time owner of a Nokia 1100, always remained an average student in my opinion, (but I suppose, he calls himself a below average student) and his academia never lived up to his expectations. But when I say that, I seriously wonder if he had any expectations from himself; because he just moved on with life. Just like how the 30th of June is happy to accept ‘sunrise’ from 29th June, Ani too, never complained about the yesterday events, and accepted ‘today’, with not great exuberance, but with a rather laidback attitude. Now let’s talk about the other aspects of him.
He’s one of the very few guys in college to be dressed in pucca formals. The Anirudh I remember, at this moment, is the guy dressed in an olive green shirt and a black trouser, carrying a very heavy bag over his shoulders, arriving in college, walking towards the Mech PG block all alone (sometimes with his bus mate Bhargav). When one peeps into those thick bound ‘classmate’ notebooks inside his bag, and the childish handwriting penned using an ever deep blue ink, one gets a feeling if the owner of the notebooks is a studious guy, waiting to rewrite history by scoring a ten pointer, or rather a nine pointer at least, but Ani never managed anything above 8 tilll the eighth semester.
The ever bubbly Mechanical ‘A’ section during lunch breaks, is also the home for the reserved Anirudh Kaushik, who remains subdued, even when someone pulls his leg. A corner smile with the goatee widening its area on the chin, would be his response. Years passed, and he still found it tough to clear a few arrears, whose exams he claimed to have done reasonably well; the most prominent of them being Operations Research. That misfortune made him not eligible for campus placements during the seventh semester. I remember, it was a pleasant September afternoon, and I was weeks away from appearing for CAT ’08. After sipping water from the filter outside his class, I was standing on the lobby in the second floor, looking down, hoping to glimpse at a good looking girl passing by.
He walked out from his class, smiled at me, and asked,“So Rajesh,CAT preparations in full swing?”
“Not really” I blushed. “The percentile scores are never crossing 80 in the mock CATs”
“Anyway, you have Tech Mahindra as a backup, right?” he consoled. “Unlike me”
“Hey you apply for CAT, man” I suggested. “Give it a shot”
“Hey I can’t attempt the math part, for sure. And I am not too keen on doing higher studies. I am not able to manage even this B.Tech” he laughed.
Though I tried to convince him saying he could make up with a decent score in the verbal section, considering the fact that he was too good at English, he seemed relentless. While his friends foresaw their futures by getting placed in renowned IT & Manufacturing companies, and by scoring good scores in GRE and receiving admits from well-known Universities in the US, his future still remained a question mark, and however hard he tried, he couldn’t find an answer.
Finally, a relief! The seventh semester results were announced, and fortunately, he cleared his Operations Research paper, ensuring he had no standing arrears; but unfortunately, with the economic recession hitting the corporate world hard, going to campus to recruit a fresher was the last thing on the mind of every HR. With time, I got a feeling if he had begun to find himself lonely in the crowd, and if the worry in his eyes made him blind to other joyous things in life. The Eighth semester exams arrived; and it was on the afternoon of the Industrial Engineering & TQM exam, the first of the three exams, when I found him standing alone at the railway station, opposite my college campus. He asked me about my future plans; with my MBA aspirations doomed for the following academic year, I informed him that I was definitely going to take up the job offer from Tech M. Though I wished to ask about his’, I knew he would have nothing to say. Without delay, he opened up, saying he would give LAFARGE, a cement manufacturing company based in Qatar, a shot.
“Don’t worry man” I consoled. “You’ll get through this one.”
“Let’s see” he snapped a regretful corner smile.
“Mark my words; you are destined to leave for Qatar.” I affirmed. “And which is why God has made you not eligible for the other companies. Everything in life happens for a reason.”
He smiled back, unaware of the fact that he was going to be one among the seven in the shortlist, which was to be announced on June 30 2009.
And this morning, as soon as I received the yahoo groups email about the shortlist, I moved to the next window with great anticipation, to see if his name was present; and just as I had expected, he was one among the five selected from the Mech department. I text messaged him right away, but the 'Kumbakarnan' he is, replied to me late in the forenoon after waking up from a sound sleep. But trust me; tonight’s sleep will be the most peaceful of all, for him. And in his reply message, he had said ‘Everything you said that day in station has finally come true’
And after a while, he messaged me again, ‘write something about me in your blog.’
I thought, “If these words in my blog post are going to make him feel happier, I don’t want to deprive him of that”
So Ani, this post is for you, mate.
While we guys are still awaiting our call letters (unsure if we’ll ever get), he’s scheduled to leave for Qatar in the first week of August to join work.
Bon Voyage, dude! May the coming years be more memorable for you!