Thursday, March 29, 2007

Project 1 - The Banker's Daughter

Objective - Introduce yourself and learn to speak before an audience

The year is 1966. The fifth from among Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s films is running in cinema theatres all over India. One among the thousands watching the film is an 18-year-old boy. He loves it…so much so that he decides if he ever has a daughter, he will name her after the film.

18 years later, that boy grows up to be a banker and does have a daughter. And he stands by the decision he made all the same.

The banker was my father and the movie was the 1966 classic - Anupama.

Anupama comes from the Sanskrit root ‘Upama’ which means comparison or very loosely, title. ‘an’ is a negative Sanskrit prefix and it means without. So, the word Anupama means without comparison or incomparable. It means unique. And I hope I will have lived up to the name by the end of my days.

Born and brought up in Nagpur - the Orange City of India, I have lived there most of my life. I studied in a school whose motto was ‘Sa Vidya Ya Vimuktaye’ – ‘Knowledge is that which liberates’…and true to the words, my school gave me enough opportunities to broaden my horizons and liberate my mind. I am indebted to my school for most of what I am today.

I have always performed decently in school and college exams. But I believe it only enabled me to fill the educational qualifications table in most of the forms. I believe in what Mark Twain said “Don’t let your schooling come in the way of your Education.” It’s what I did apart from studying that defines me as I am.

I underwent 7 rigorous years of Basketball Coaching and had a short stint with Korfball when I was in school. I played State-Level Inter-School tournaments and explored quite a few cities in Maharashtra as part of the tours. Basketball has taught me important lessons that are not a part of school curricula. Teamwork, sportsman spirit and power of practice are just a few of them.

I also learnt Hindustani Classical Music but ironically I am the English Vocalist for the office band Vocals n Chords. Music – all genres right from Indian Classical to Hard Rock – is my lifeblood. It is the way it transcends boundaries and prejudices, the way it can be enjoyed in solitude as well as in a group, the way it can take you to a spiritual plane that attracts me. Music is one of my most loved indulgences!

I was always involved in one or the other oratory activity in school and college. The zenith was when I won the National Science Seminar in 1999. It was not so much the seminar itself as the participants that benefited me. I met 31 other students – one from each state of India and came to know of various cultural aspects of the lesser-known states like the seven sisters of the North East. The seminar and the science are long forgotten but the precious friendships continue to enrich my life.

I am an electrical engineer from Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, Nagpur. And engineering too was not without it’s fair share of life lessons. For example, the Fourier Transforms that help an electrical engineer to analyze the most complex of waveforms by breaking them down into simpler and fundamental waves taught me this: any problem in life can be broken into simpler components and then it doesn’t seem as daunting. All through college also I was constantly involved in extra-curricular activities like public speaking, singing, sports and being a member of various student bodies. All of them have ameliorated my life and sculpted my personality in their own way.

My other interests include reading and writing. I read indiscriminately and enjoy it thoroughly. My favourite book remains ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’. It is the story of a dying professor and one of his old students. It is about realizing what the really important things in life are – nature, the people around you, their emotions…and not maddening success and money that leave you completely disconnected from your family and friends.

That is about my hobbies and interests and in effect about me.

I would like to end with a few lines from one of my two favourite poems ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling, the other being Anyway. The whole poem is worth being etched in Gold and read like a prayer but the last lines summarize it well…

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,

And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!