Somehow at very early age when I was about 17 I figured it did not matter what others thought about me, I had be comfortable in what I am and what I do. As Yogi Bera would say “When you come to a fork in the road, take it” I have often taken decisions based on available information and never regretted the outcome. This one of early instances of me doing something not conventional.
Somewhere after I finished my matric and was in my eleventh Std (I took one peek into IIT JEE preparation effort and said not my cup of tea!), I came to conclusion that BE Comp. in TN Engineering college was not really good and B.Sc. (Comp. Sc) was better course to pursue if I wanted to become computer engineer. I told my father this was my thought and he basically said ok figure out what you want to do (one of the many times he gave me the freedom pursue what I wanted to do). When I started telling this to my classmates most of them where like ” are you kidding” behind my back there was snide remarks he trying to pull a fast one (aka pump fake), the thinking was “why would someone who scored really high (MPC was around 90) in Matric not want to pursue engineering?”. Anyhow based on my Matric performance, I had gotten overconfident (believed in Kool-aid that it was easy peasy to do state board 12th) was clearly struggling to catch-up my favorite subjects Math and Chemistry and scored below par MPC score of 75.
The more I did some research On B.Sc. (Comp. Sc) and found only one college in Madras University – New College offered Comp Sc. and it would be difficult to land a seat. My father did some checking around (New college conveniently had IOB branch), so we learnt in April time frame it would cost about 25,000 to land a seat, I said firm No as that was ridiculous amount of money to pay (college semester fees was like 1000s) and probably my dad would had to stretch a lot to pay it. So like any city kid in 80s, I religiously collected application forms and had applied to most city colleges and got admit card from Loyola B.sc Physics and Vivekanda B.Sc. Math , around that time I saw few weeks old advertisement for B.Sc. (Comp. Sc) from St Joseph’s Trichy and told my father about it.
Immediately my father called-up (oh yeah we were privileged to have phone in our home ) my mom’s second cousin -a Surgeon in Trichy and asked for help to procure application . Few days later life had bad twist my father suffered his first heart attack and was hospitalized. It so happened that my uncle in Trichy called to say he has been able to secure a seat but in evening college in Bishop Heber College. At that time my Mom’s first cousin and close buddy of my father just called me (my recollection is this happened in the Best Hospital lobby) and said go to Trichy pay fees for this course. I was happy landing B.Sc. (Comp. Sc) but really torn about about not going to college in Madras. Anyhow with my father hospitalized I just took a bus to Trichy and went to uncle’s house and was given an application form to fill (yep got admission without applying after admissions process was over) and go pay fees and Viola moved to centre of Tamil Nadu.
Overnight transformed from quintessential backbencher (students who do not ask questions nor volunteer answers in class, but also as tall student was seated in literally last row in school) to front row kid ( Bishop seated students by roll number, so I was assigned seat in first row and ended-up organizing club events, so got over my stage fright etc). It was probably one of the best decisions that was made for me, coming to Trichy opened my eyes and made me realize my privileged background and had so many advantages in life. It grounded me in reality and made some great friends.
Upon reflection years later, this was one of the first instance of life teaching me -“that however improbable the goal might be if you put your heart into it you might ZigZag along the way but inevitable land in the neighbourhood of the goal”.
In June 2018, we had small reunion of batch mates and as usual in a new place (not my bedroom) I woke-up @4:30am and started thinking about how I landed in Trichy then fired-up my laptop and wrote a draft of this post, required another hour to make this publish worthy. Interestingly I have struggled to recollect lots of precise details but this what I remember about what happened 30 years ago!