“I’m not going to miss this train”, I said to myself.
I kept walking fast on the staircase of steps, leading to the platform. There was a little bit of acceleration on my heartbeat.
But, I don’t want to be desperate. I may end up walking too fast and fall off by missing the balance – injuring myself or the other co-passengers. It’s also okay for me if I’m going to miss this train, I can definitely go on the next one, or can even go to the nearby bus stop to catch a bus, there’s always a Plan B if we assess any situation carefully!
Making on time for any appointments scheduled for you, is good – but making it early is great, especially when you are going for your college admission interview!
I badly wanted a good start to the day! And yes, luckily I hopped onto the train and also found a seat where I can sit and relax.
Nungambakkam is just 5 stops away from Guindy – through local train! But on that day, I felt it like so much of time – I was quietly looking back on the different incidents in my life for the past 3 months.
Grade 12 Board examinations and the super relieving feeling once you complete them; The enjoyable holidays spent on my native place; Catching up with all the friends and playing hard under the sun; Solo trip for the first time and learning Yoga – It all went like a flash of happy memories!
Things on the other side of the spectrum also happened.
The arrival of the board results – ‘friendly’ calls from all your relatives – everyone asking ‘Which college you’re going to join?’ – You asking yourself “What next?” –Finishing up the schooling and finding what’s next is always a difficult phase of life for anyone.
The train stopped at the Nungambakkam railway station. The college campus was at a walking distance from the station, actually it’s not even a mile and I decided to walk!
The last time I visited the campus was to collect the enrolment application. I chose to travel in by bicycle then – I usually enjoy roaming around the city and getting to know the new driving routes and places within the town. But long journey in cycle are super tiring and I wanted appear fresh during the interview.
I realized that I’m nearing the entrance of the college. The security at the entrance allowed me after checking the email confirmation printout of mine for the interview round – I had a fabulous feeling as I was literally just one more step (of clearing the interview) to visit this campus every day for the next 3 years!
As I slowly walked towards the Visual Communication Block – there was a bunch of teenagers and elders standing with folders on their hands, which might have contained resume & certificates, I hope.
Some of them even had a ‘marriage album’ kind of bigger folders too. Later I learned that they were artists and the bigger folders were their design portfolio.
As I moved towards joining the crowd, I met an elderly person with a young boy next to him. He started off the conversation in a friendly voice.
“Entha course apply panniruka pa?” (Which course you have applied for?)
“B. Sc. Visual Communication, uncle.”
“Oh. Interview ku vanthiya pa.” (Oh. Have you come for attending interview?”)
“Ama. Uncle.” (Yes, uncle)
“Enna mark’u edutha pa 12th la?” (What’s your score in Grade XII?)
<My mind voice: “Innum ethane peru ithe kelviya ketpeenga” (No translation for this :P)>
“My mark was XXXX uncle.” (Intentionally hidden – I don’t want to brand it here.)
“Oh. Nalla mark’u pa” (Oh. That’s a good score, my boy!)
And then he starred at his son who’s standing next to him. His son looked sad and put his face down. From their reaction I noticed that he might have scored a lesser mark. I wanted to break the silence (and the stare :P) – I posed the question this time.
“So, neenga ethukaga VisCom choose pannenga.” (So, why did you choose Visual Communication)
Before his son reacted, the father replied back immediately.
“Intha college la VisCom, the best’u pa. Unakku theriyuma, the next gen’ directors, editors, cinematographers, actors intha building ullathan iruppaanga. They are the future of the industry.” (In this college, Visual Communication is the best. The next generation directions, editors, cinematographers and actors will all be studying here. They will be the future of the media industry.”
Wow! That was a fascinating response! My aspiration to pursue this course at this institution had increased after hearing his response. He continued the conversation.
“Nee ennapa thaniya vanthiruka.” (Have you come all alone?)
“Yes, uncle. I do college hunting on my own.”
After that he didn’t reply back. But, he gave me a stare from top to bottom.
“So, all the VisCom aspirants, we congratulate you and welcome to the final interview round! You have to show your original certificates and then move to the first floor to attend your personal interview scheduled in the order of your allocated numbers, one by one. Most importantly, switch off your mobile phones.”
That was a clear instruction. They’re going to do the interview one by one – and we have to wait!
Then the unexpected thing happened.
“And aspirants. We also have a surprise for you; we have one of our proud alumni and a leading director of Tamil Cinema doing the interview for all you.”
And then they announced the director’s name!
Suddenly, there was a lot of excitement and energy across the room. All of us, the VisCom aspirants, looked at everyone’s face with a surprise look! This was totally unexpected.
In my mind, I already started dancing for – “Otha sollala” 😀
I just can’t wait for the interview to happen.
“May I come in, sir?”
After so much of ‘waiting’ – the moment was about to come. I slowly slid the door open and in a meek voice pronounced the above words.
“Yes, please come in. Take your seat.”
He replied back to me in a calm and caring voice. The director was super humble and a radiant personality.
We had a starting initial conversation – where he enquired about my whereabouts and my family background.
I showed him my Grade 12 score card – he had a look at it and asked me the question, which I already anticipated would come up.
“You scored XXXX marks, which is pretty good. Why do you want to take up Visual Communication?”
I replied back instantly.
“Sir, I think both in career and life, passion matters. I want to study a course which I love, that will also help me in my career.”
I was able to see that he was quite surprised with that answer. Then, he asked me another unexpected question!
“So, let’s say – you don’t get this course, what will you then do? Do you have any other options on your mind?”
At that point, I just wanted to clear the interview and pursue the course that I aspired in the same college. At the same time, I had also thought of a ‘Plan B’ on my mind. But, I was not sure of what exactly to say – if I don’t share anything about my ‘Plan B’ I may sound desperate. In way it can show my commitment to study the course.
But at the end of the day, I wanted to be honest. I had genuinely planned for an alternative option and I wanted to talk about it.
“Sir, in case if I don’t get through, I have a Plan B on mind.”
I went on to explain the plan as well.
“I will go ahead and pursue Engineering – I always have a love for programming since my Grade XI – I belong to the Computer Science group. I will hopefully be doing Computer Science and Engineering.”
I told the truth!
As I was aspiring to be an editor and photographer after finishing up the visual communication course – he wanted to see some of my work.
I had brought a pen drive with some of the photographs I clicked over the past one year. I showed the same on the desktop that was available on his table. He had a glance through all my photos. (Added some of them below).
I was super excited – one of the leading directors of Tamil Cinema looking at the photos clicked by me. I never imagined it would happen even in my dream! 😀
The interview got completed approx. in 8-10 minutes. He asked me to take a leave – and told me I will get more information from the staff outside.
Before I left, I wanted use the chance and convey my regards to his good work.
“Sir, you’re just a fabulous director. I look forward to all your future movies.”
He nodded and smiled gently.
I left the room with so much of excitement – I just can’t believe what I was experiencing over the past 10 minutes!
End of story.
In the end, I had to execute my Plan B of doing Engineering. But being a part of the recruitment process, the interview and the different people I met at the Visual Communication department are still wonderful memories, whenever I look back!
The director went on to create so many ‘cult’ movies, including Vada Chennai, Asuran, etc. and took the fame of Tamil Cinema to another level. It was a great opportunity for me to sit and interact with him at an early age.
Very recently, I started editing promotional videos for EduRise workshops (an early-stage startup that I was working on). I totally enjoyed the experience of doing it from scratch – you can check out the video here. It was definitely a moment for me to connect back to my passion, after so many years!