Being the judge; sitting on the ‘other side’ of the table is an ‘experience’ in itself. As a professional engineer, I’ve interviewed lots of people and have met lot of interesting person(alities). Each experience was different and the latest one was not any different. I mean, it was quite a different experience, as I had expected.
CEan – Ankit Virmani called me up and demanded that I should be the judge at VNIT’s Personality Contest. I could not say no; and why would I? I had nothing better to do (as usual) on Wednesday evening. Every year, VNIT, a premier engineering institute in India organizes their fest – Aarohi. It’s central India’s biggest college event! Very well organized and executed. Personality contest, “Cynosure”, is an important event in Aarohi.
Ankit called me up and asked for my bio-data; which is quite a technical (?) one. I gave him the points he could use while introducing me to the audience. I wore my favorite white polo – tee which says “I’m What You’re Not!” and a blue jeans. The event was scheduled @ 6:00 pm and being punctual; I reached the venue (the college auditorium) at 5:59.
Now, I am only 26 (at the time of writing this post). My appearance does not sync with my age. I have been told that I either look “just outta college” or “Final year engineering student”. Few months back, when I was invited to be the Chief Guest at a press conference; the invitee had not seen me before. His reaction was on seeing me was “You???, Really? Are you The Big K 😯 ??”. Meh! These are the times when I think I should look ‘older’. Anyway. Now, Ankit and I knew that people won’t let me in unless Ankit accompanies me. Ankit was waiting for me at the gate and escorted me to the place where three special chairs (with cushion) were waiting. I noticed that it would take another 30 minutes for the contest to start and decided to spend my time watching the street play competition “Halla Bol” in progress on the open ground.
Ankit arranged for a special seat for me. Ankit is a nice guy.
One of the first year students then escorted me to the judges waiting room. Dr. Bodhankar arrived two minutes later and shook hands with me. He, too, looked bit surprised to see me as his co-judge. Boy, I should have born in 1971! I felt. Ankit and his team explained the format of the contest and gave us the forms filled by the participants.
I looked at the first form – all written in cursive writing! Now while I was trying my best to decipher the form, Dr. Bodhankar had already started marking something in the form. He could read it easily! (yeh! He’s a doctor and doctors have bad handwriting – but I didn’t know they can read bad handwriting without any problem). I will not say that the handwriting in the first form was ‘bad’, it was good. I haven’t yet mastered the art of reading cursive handwriting.
The first year guy, who was all attentive, announced that the contest will begin in 2 minutes. He escorted us back to the auditorium. Three special chairs were waiting for us. I decided that Dr. Bodhankar, being the senior judge, should occupy the center seat. I took the one on the left.
[To Be Continued…]
–The Big K–