The day dawned with nothing much planned in my schedule. There was still that one report I had promised to deliver to Sanjay by last Friday but then we both knew deadlines were there only to be broken. As usual I had decided what to write in the report and had been googling the whole of last week in search of facts to validate my judgement. Today the mood was more like "I'm feeling lucky" and Google seemed to respond kindly. The task at hand accomplished, in the absence of anything useful to do I resolved to clean up my crowded inbox. Quickly deleted most of the newsletters and subscriptions and replied to a few old friends when my eyes chanced on a huge pile of mails from Chemi99. Now this yahoogroup which had been totally inactive for a couple of years after we had graduated had suddenly got a new lease of life in the last 4 months. Thanks to this tremendous spurt of mails, I had finally managed to catch up with the lives of some of my really good friends most notably Iyer. (Or should I call you Ram now considering thats hows you sign yourself dude ? :-))
Now, Iyer was one of the really bright lads in the whole batch of 1995-99 at RECT. At 5'3" with curly, unkempt hair, care-a-damn attitude (Mayira pochuu was his favorite mantra) and crumpled clothes that hadn't been washed for months, Iyer did not have what many would call a 'striking personality'. But as they say, there's more to it than what meets the eye. Behind that vagabond exterior was a razor sharp brain that took RECT and more specifically, Chemical Department by storm. Academically, there was nothing that Iyer didn't conquer - he was so good that even when he downed 2 pegs of whisky 20 mts before appearing for a test, he would still beat us all - and by a wide margin too. Unfortunately for the rest of us though, Iyer wanted to be the best in everything. So he spent long hours in the TT room trying to become Jan 'Ove Waldner only to get thrashed by all and sundry. However, defeat after defeat would stil not deter Iyer from trying his hand at every game from cricket to volleyball to football. To his credit, Iyer was also smart at identifying people from whom he could learn something and so we forged an enduring parternship that helped us team up and win many a crossword and quiz competition in our 4 years :-) There was also that one paper presentation we did together in 3 rd year at Annamalai where we came first and Iyer promptly blew all the prize money away by drinking and puking at the hostel there. I could go on and on anout his exploits but it would be best to sum it all up by saying that Iyer was one helluva all-rounder, someone we all expected and knew would go places. However time had its own way of dictating terms to its travellers and Iyer, who joined Wipro (where he came to office drunk and still set right bugs in 20 mts what his peers did in 3 days) from college, soon got bored of work and decided that Management might be the place for him. After a few unsuccessful (by my stds - for anything less than IIMA would have to classify as failure) at CAT, he decided to pursue his Doctorate in Management from the United States and left last August. Its been a year and a half now and I have read stories of his (mis)adventures with alternating fear, amusement, concern and bewilderment. There are days when he mails us all in a very cheerful mood and its a delight reading his musings and reflecting on how much his thought process has changed over the years. And then there are days when he scares the shit outta me with his moodiness and melancholy.
Some say he is a flawed genius. Some of them call him misguided. There are a few who call him a-talent-gone-wasted. And there are others who think he's gone mad and have just given up on him. I can't stand such judgemental people. Why can't they just let him be what he is ? Why is it that we always need to live upto the burden to meeting other's expectations ? Why do we always have to bear the cross of what others define as success ? So does that mean unless you win a Nobel or an Olympic Gold, you don't know to write or run. Think about it.
Iyer, I just hope you are reading this. I've read every mail you've sent these last few months and I know a lot of people are replying back to you and I am not one of them. Since you are one of the very few people I like(d), admire(d) AND respect(ed), here's one bit of unsolicited advice - Shut off what the rest of the world says and thinks: just follow your heart, you will do great !! (the world is full of hypocrites who will blindly do the 'politicaly right" thing - any non conformist is branded MAD - screw them - And I strongly, strongly reccommend you to read Paulo Coelho's Veronika Decides to Die)
The next time you come to India, do drop in here at Bangalore. Maybe we will have a drink or two together and even go down to RECT and show the middle finger to PSSH and VVR. Till then keep mailing machaan !
ps: If IMDB quotes fascinate you so much, read up some from Good Will Hunting. Matt Damon reminds me soooo much of you ;-)