Friday, December 15, 2006

Sridhar - A Past Reminiscence, back in reality

4.00 pm, 11th Dec 2006
Intercity Express, Erode

Am waiting to board the train, talking with my brother in law who had come to see me off. As i was talking, my wandering eyes caught a glimpse of a familiar looking face, standing in front of the adjecent compartment.

It was a face i knew well, from the past, the very intense eyes with fire in them, the thick moustache and manly presence of a tiger - sigh, it has to be him - Sridhar. from my old NIIT days.

But is it REALLY him? or is it somebody else... may be my eyes are playing tricks on me.
It has been awhile since i have seen him but i've not forgotten him nevertheless. Sridhar was one of those figures whom i can't ever forget in my career/life. And despite my efforts to track him back, i've never been able to manage to do that, as my ties with the old NIIT days were very thin. Apart from mahesh & nisar i've no information about the others.

well, i think i should find out. after all it will be a long 6 hours haul, from erode to bangalore. If it is HIM, then i just couldn't believe my luck to meet him.

The train has started now. i bid my good byes to my BIL and walk back to my seat. The compartment is half empty - thanks to the busy monday. I was supposed to be returning the previous night on a different train and not on this. Some tiredness has crept over me, forcing me to stay back an extra day and to take a day off at office. Hence, this travel today - in intercity.

I started reading the r.k.narayan's tamil transilation of 'swamy and friends', but as i read past the first couple of pages, my curiosity wouldn't let me sit still for any further. I better walk to the next compartment and check this person out. worst come, i could just say a sorry and walk back.

So, i go, searching for him ... to find him seated there with his friend.

Errr., hello, are you sridhar ... coimbatore NIIT... ?

He looks up to me, with a question in his eyes.... and a moment of hesitation... and...

Yes, i am. I am sridhar, of coimbatore NIIT. and voila, he recognises me after a fleeting moment of silence ....

Hey come on, sit, and what do you do these days? - He says.

ahha! what a wild streak of co-incidence and luck. am overjoyed. i sit opposite to him.... and after that the conversation was like a broken dam. We spoke and spoke for a long while - exchanging stories - of all the years past, since our days out of NIIT.

Quite a memorable short journey that was. And i was literally jumping in joy. Was really really happy after a long time.

Sridhar was a co-ordinator (Faculty) at NIIT during my studies in 92-94. I was just a kid then, 16 something and had started learning computers (without ever a clue of what can be done with them, apart from playing games! :) ). And the next six months' period changed all that. Computers & Software became the fascinating world and everything for me, a young boy bubbling with energy.

Sridhar was a charismatic figure, much more than a faculty teaching software. He was a source of inspiration. With the command of his technical knowledge, persona he used to exude confidence and power. And a jolly good fellow on top of that.

His teaching style was different - never bookish - he'd treat you always with recklessly casual attitude. Ask him a question, he'd bounce back with a challenge addressed in stylish slang, in a buddy mode - making you think - and then get the solution/answer out of yourself. :) Smart, witty and charming and arrogant too (many a times).

Sridhar, along with Periya Ravi (Ravikumar G), Chander, Kutti ravi, GS (Girija Shankar) - were the other inspiring faculties, each one unique in their ways, technically and as individuals, who meant a lot to this young lad @ 16 something. :)

And then came Sathish Toshkani (ex. faculty NIIT), Alfi (Alfred) with whom i worked for a brief period @ Dyadic Systems (my first ever paid job!)

My day was made. Am glad to be in touch with sridhar again. Pity though is such a talented person had been shaken and stirred :) in the hands of life. After all his adventures, he is now settled back in coimbatore running a soft skills training co., (did i mention he is awesome, with people?! He IS!) and running his own co. called FindMind.

Way to go Sridhar. Glad to be back in touch.