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My story so far
I was born as the eldest son in a middle class family at a place in KERALA called Vazhakulam in Ernakulam district. True to the spirit of an aspiring parents, they searched for an English Medium school (which was not so common in our locality) for my studies. I landed up in the church run Nirmala School at Muvattupuzha which was 12 kilometers away from my home.
I used to go to school along with my father. My father himself a school teacher in another Church run school, used to drop me in my school in the initial years. Later on, the school managed to have a school bus and my journey became easier. I was good at studies but never the topper. I was a forced learner in the sense; I used to study mainly because of the pressure at home.
From 9th class onwards I became more self-driven and I scored 88% marks in 10th standard which was considered to be an above average score in those days. After 10th what followed is typical to almost all Indians. All well wishers told me that I should take Science stream so that I can be an ‘Engineer’!
I joined Nirmala College, Muvattupuzha, for my Pre- Degree (10+2 equivalent) during 1986-1988. The rigours of competition forced me to take up private tuition for all major subjects, and it was quiet enjoyable for me in those days. I learnt Physics, Chemistry and Maths from some of the best professors in my college (who were taking tuitions) and I still love these subjects mainly because of them.
Along with a friend of mine Bobby, I also joined a weekend course for Engineering Entrance Exam conducted by Kerala state. For this we traveled to Ernakulam, which was 50 km, away from our place. Every Sunday we used to start early in the morning for a 3 hour class and it gave me good exposure on all aspects of life. This was my first encounter with the city life.
'Those were the best days of my life....'
In the Entrance Exam my performance was average and I managed to secure around 900th rank, which was just sufficient to get an admission in a near by Engg college. Since there were only Govt. run colleges in those days even this rank was considered to be good.
But the real breakthrough in my life came when I got an interview call from Regional Engineering College (REC) Kozhikode (present day NIT). There were 17 RECs in those days and every state had a quota in each REC. The Interview for Kerala students were held at Kozhikode.
I was really thrilled, but my family members were not so because I already got an admission in a college which is less than 20 km from my house. I somehow persuaded my father to allow me to appear in the interview. In the interview, we found that there is vacancy only in the north Indian colleges because of my lower rank.
I insisted on joining for mechanical Engineering at REC Durgapur in West Bengal, to the horror of my father. He even warned me that if I failed to survive in Durgapur and returned back, then he will not support me for further studies.
My persistence paid and I landed up in this new world which was shockingly different from KERALA. The 4 years in Durgapur (1988-1992) has been the defining years of my life. I was one of the youngest in my batch and I newer developed any interest in studies. Food was a big problem because the hostel mess was very poorly managed. I landed up as the Mess secretary in the second months itself and this helped me in horning my skills in Hindi(while dealing with mess staff). I became the General Secretary of the Students’ Union in my 3rd year. I was the second south Indian to hold this post, which helped me a lot in understanding the nuances of man management.
I was one among the last in the class as far as academics is concerned, but never failed in any paper. I cleared all papers in first attempt itself and managed to get a first division in the overall score.