It’s always a fantastic feeling to revisit places you have been before, experienced and lived. Your old city, old house, old school, old college. But fun is also when you visit a place which is not the same place, but everything, or atleast most of the characteristics remain the same. The correlations that conjure up in the mind make contemplation interesting.
I happened to be invited for a small talk at a B-School. I accepted for three reasons. First, it gives an opportunity to go back to campus, interact with the current set of youth who constantly alert you of changing, well, fashion I should say. Second, there is always a chance to bring back some good memories as tokens, such as a silver plaque or a bronze plate which can be sold in times of distress. Third and most important, it’s one of the few times in your lives that more than two people actually hear you, if not listen, do not interrupt incessantly and even nod in affirmation sometimes! I love that sight.
Anyhow, I made sure I wore one of the best shirts, certainly the best tie and a fitting trouser. I also ensured I don’t forget my handkerchief as I am famous for treating my clothes made out of living organisms and feed them all curries & dry stuff that I taste. Although, I did polish my shoes, but it really did not matter as it was raining heavily and the run from my car to the auditorium porch took away all shine & glory. I was welcomed rather graciously, irrespective of my wet shirt, dirty shoes & dripping spectacles and immediately ushered in and before being I could request was shown the way to the washroom. I was impressed and guessed the placement season nearing, I was a rather good catch. I was told later, there are security dogs on campus of the Great Dane & German Shepherd breeds that are trained to smell dripping rain water mixed with sweat to trace trespassers.
Before the program began formally, all dignitaries were moved into a room, I feared, to assess who all could be made to sit on the dias and who were to be seated below. I was right. I was requested to sit in the first row of seats below. I agreed quickly as showing my wet self to an auditorium full of students, who had been probably pleaded, begged & threatened to fill seats, was not a bright idea. They would boo me away even before am formally introduced, I thought. By the time my turn came, there was a tea break, a lunch break, a long thank you session to all pioneers, academicians, sponsors and organizing committee. To top it all, four speakers had already spoken their mind, body & soul. When I reached the microphone I realized, most of the audience was sleeping! Miraculously, the video projector conked off! I was reminded of the popular dialogue penned by Mayur Puri, made famous by SRK in OSO, “blah blah….. puri kaaynat tumhe usse milaane mae…. blah blah”. By the time it was reinstated, I got an opportunity to make myself heard. I started, “I know we all are sleepy. I don’t blame you. My predecessors on the dais have always been front benchers. I can empathize with the ones dropping from your chairs. Now, that I am here, let me take you to the first place we go when we get up, the loo”. Lets take a loo break…. That got a few standing, and the ones dropping back to their back-rests of the chair. I knew I had got their attention.
It only helped that my slides were named bucket, bucket handle, tap, water & a fresh bath. I spoke a little over 10 minutes on “Career Growth”. I sensed, initially, I was not making much sense correlating loo with the careers of students. But as the slides unfolded, I could see shoulders shrugging up, heads raising and the whispers getting silent. Finally, I guess, I had started making sense.
I figured out, I was not the only one loo’nely in the crowd!