August 2007, Mumbai.
Attire: Yellow full shirt + blue shiny denims + Red Nike basketball shoe + 2-inch diameter digital watch | Phone: Samsung Guru 100 with FM radio & the super cool, one meter long white head-set | Song on Playlist: Whatever FM played. Personal playlist was still a luxury | Mindset: ‘A new beginning’ | Time: Excited’O’Clock.
I entered the campus & was awestruck, an ocean full of young boys and girls. (Correction: beautiful girls!). I stood tight just looking around for 5 minutes. This looks fun: Groups chit chatting, there was some kind of an energy, super positive one. I could see them all: the stud, the dumb, the fit, the bean bag, the smiling queen, the tom-boy, the sports personality, the ufff!! Babe, the literature stuck, the thick framed, the first bencher, the under-confident, the outspoken, the over confident, ‘the step up’ series inspired, the mawali, the senior with an accomplished look etc. I couldn’t locate myself in any of these categories. Though, it was about a week I would fall into one.
All alone, for the first time, for an academic purpose and that too without a designated uniform on you. This was altogether a different experience, you’ve been living for the last 12 years with just 3 to 5 pairs of the same school uniform, same set of shoes and related accessories. Well, in comes the biggest motivation, back then it was such a big fantasy.
*Good Morrrrrrrnnnnnninggggggg Sirrrrrrr* (That typical teacher’s greeting, Fresh out of school!!)… Came an Old man, definitely beyond age: 50, white hair, pouted lips and a thick black frame.
“Baith Jao”, (Sit down). Everyone was standing, except me and THE gentleman: *I love his existence*. We were on the third bench; he could notice us. He looked right into our eyes and said, “Good Morning Shaktimaan” (An Indian TV Super Hero character), the class started laughing. Was that even a joke? We were clueless how to react to this?
“Ab uth jao (Stand up), else, your career will sleep off”, said the prof, some of my yet alien to me colleagues were still giggling. We looked at him, stood up and looked down. Ok! So this is absolutely not the way I expected my college life to start. “Idiots”, he murmured and continued looking at the class and started speaking.
“Hello everyone, Myself *A Hindi Professor* and I welcome you all to the fresh and new stage of career. The beginning of your life & I shall be teaching you Hindi language which is the soul and heart of country. It is language one should know absolutely. Everyone speaks and you should take It seriously as learning for the betterment of country and promotion of national language.”
Though, he wasn’t the best English speaker out there. Sorry! Who am I to comment on this?. Even I don’t know the best English in the world, I adhered to what he said. I was a north Indian and Hindi was my mother tongue, I considered it a special language for it had that sweet touch, if spoken originally, the way it should be… and by originality, I refer to the one spoken in native Hindi-speaking homes and not the one spoken in Mumbai which has its own evolved version. The one which could anytime give a heart attack to a Varanasi based Hindi literary Professor.
Next up, as per protocol, there was a call for everyone to introduce themselves. One by one, everyone to shout out — their name, their school, and what they wanted to be in future. Yes! I could expect that coming, the ‘aspirational’ take on life, aims etc. It started from the 1st row, 1st bench. I was in 3rd row, 3rd bench. People started chanting aspirational, few genuine to few aiming to be NASA astronauts to few calling themselves ‘Bill Gates’. Yes! they did. By the time, we were at 2nd row which could accommodate close to 50 students, we already had 15 doctors, 25 engineers and allied fields, 9 out of the world profession which I wouldn’t want to mention here and 1 genuinely said, “I want to be a father”. The entire class laughed their ass off. When the Prof. asked him why? He replied, “I belong to a traditional Indian family and this should be my priority as per my last conversation on career with Papa”, he was sooooo true to himself :p
It was my row now, I started thinking on what would I say? My folks ensured I was only left with 2 choices: Engineer or Doctor. 2 benches done and my anxiety went high. I started thinking veraciously now — What would I say? Unclear on my ‘aim’ bit. My bench, I looked at *I love his existence*, he looked at me, both confused. He went first, I bowed my head down!
“Hi Amigos, I am *I love his existence* from *A posh school*. I want to be a chef, the one who could taste the world and make people taste the world.”
Wow!! — was the sound from the audience, because it was the first to be heard in class and second he said it with great style and those hands apart. I was impressed, this guy had some serious balls, though the Prof. didn’t. A future chef attending a class of science, he gave him a stern look. Ok! My turn, I stood up calmly, looked around, all eyes on me,
“Hi, I am Krishnakant Mishra from *My School*, *Pause for a second*, I am here to be a Doctor, but I also want to explore journalism as an industry & if possible even filmmaking as an option.”
I looked like this confused chap, like a 6ft tall, plum guy, with thick frames, & a tummy, aspiring for a Doctor’s degree, was day dreaming to be in the media industry which has no connections to where he is right now and POSSIBLY wants to even pursue ‘filmmaking’ as an option. I was counted amongst those 5000 odd people who jump into Mumbai every month to their luck in the field of entertainment.
Bad Start! Bad Perception!
*A Hindi professor* looked at me with a sarcastic smile on his face.
“Look class, we have a journalist/filmmaker & a chef with us. I thought students take bad decisions in life unknowingly, but look at them, sitting back in Japan, they are aspiring to learn Spanish. I am seriously concerned on what your parents would have to go through soon…”, and I lost him, remember ‘mute your ears if you want to’? My talent was instantly used here.
I sat down, looked at *I love his existence*, he laughed and gave me a side hug, “Killed it bro, you said your heart out”, I smiled back. The introductory session continued. By the end of it, we had, 55 Doctors, close to 70 engineers, 10 ‘X’/weird ones & 15 random ones, I was in both the doctor and the random field. Needless to say, today, my best set of friends are from those 15 random ones, fighting the game called: Life 😅
Though we threw some mad dreams in front of 150 odd people & he made a fool out of us. Today, presenting you Mr. *I love his existence*, a successful Chef working with one of the best hospitality properties in the world
And Me? well… not a Doctor for sure 😆…
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