Thursday, 25 May 2006

He inspired me then he inspires me now

( Sid is in the extreme left)
I just saw Siddhartha on Asia Today on BBC and got to know that he has acted a key role in highly successful and discussed Bollywood movie “Rang De Basanti” directed by Rakesh Mehra. Indian Bollywood superstar Amir Khan has played a key role in the movie. The movie is about the expression of youth anger against the social and political problems in today’s India. Lies below what I wrote in my yet unpublished book “Three Generations” (lying with publishers since the last 6 weeks) about Siddhartha I knew in College days…

In the beginning of the second year at the College things were looking bright. I became member of the Debating Society (DebSoc) and took up serious debating. DebSoc was led by a very warm person full of wit and humor Siddhartha Suryanarayan who had been to Rome to represent KM College in the World Debating Championship. He was on the stage on the College annual Day to receive awards for his excellence in debating. He was our leader and prepared us to face tough debates. He had his eyes on the next debating championship to be held in Manila, Philippines. He wanted to prepare a good team and send us for the world debates at the end of the year 1998. I had just joined the DebSoc so I had never even thought about making it to Manila. During the most part of the first year in the college I had spend reading newspapers to improve my English. It had a very useful side-effect – my knowledge of the Indian and world affairs had become substantial and I had developed a good command over the facts. This often helped me while I debated. My communication skills were not excellent but the facts gave the whole debate the due weight and effect. Siddhartha had seen in the last World Debates what was really needed during the testing hours and was looking for someone who was strong in facts and not just a phony chatterbox. This helped me to get on the board. We practiced together wherever we could. We convinced the Principal to give us the keys of the air-conditioned seminar room so that we could practice even in hot Indian summer of June and July. Our Principal Bhim Sen Singh, a former student of the KM College himself was very enthusiastic about the college’s participation in a world event and gave us the seminar room with pleasure. We practiced for hours and for many months. Finally the time came to select the KMC Debating Team. There were many contenders. Only 5 were to make it to Manila. Siddhartha had decided to give himself a break and let others have the opportunity. He, after consulting with the college authorities prepared a test consisting of both written and verbal skills. I did excellently in the written test and not too badly in the verbal one and stood third in the test. I was selected to represent KM College in the XIXth World Universities Debating Championship in Manila. The World Debating Council (WDC) needed both debaters and the judges to participate in the world championship. So now we started the special preparation for the World Debates- at times debating while at others to judge how others debated. The WDC follows a parliamentary style of debating in which one side consists of the Government while the other side of Opposition. The Government side consists of the Prime Minister, who has the responsibility to introduce the topic and define it, deputy PM and two other members. The Opposition consists of the Leader of Opposition who speaks against the motion and is assisted by the other three members. Anyone can stop anybody at any point of time and ask a question starting with “On that point sir”. On the judgment panel there is a speaker of the house who presides over the session and is assisted by two judges. In the end the average scores of the three are taken.
We practiced sometimes at Siddhartha’s home. World Debates were to take place in December end and we had to work out our travel plans. Sid asked us about our travel plans and he found that I did not have the passport. He asked me-‘why did I not have a passport?’ I had no answer because frankly I did not know that I needed a passport to travel outside India and getting a passport could be a lengthy process. Moreover I had never imagined that I would have to go out of India so soon. My parents had never owned passports. I had no clue how to get one at such a short notice. Finally one of my teammates Amitabh came to rescue. His parents were joint-secretaries in NewDelhi. I got a letter signed by his father for a tatkal passport and I got my passport in a week’s time. What a relief it was!

Seven years have passed by since I saw him or wrote or talked to each other but this man still inspires me and today’s seeing him on BBC has brought me extreme joy. May God bless him!

6 Comments:

Blogger mab said...

what a lovely tribute to an old acquaintance...you did him proud! Your words painted a lovely remembrance.

mab

26/5/06 12:13 am  
Blogger abhay k said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

26/5/06 5:43 pm  
Blogger abhay k said...

Hi mab,
Thanks,
I am so happy you see it that way.
seeing him after such a long time unexpectedely took be back to my College days...what a journey it was..

26/5/06 5:52 pm  
Anonymous arulba said...

That must have been exciting and also a full circle experience. It was fun to read about your debating experience with him.

26/5/06 8:35 pm  
Blogger abhay k said...

Hi Arulba,
Ya, it was very exciting..he has grown some gotee and a little moustache to look slightly macho but he still has the same body language as he had in college days.That made me laugh..

27/5/06 1:03 am  
Blogger inchara said...

HI ABHAY,MY NAMES INCHARA AND IM A DIE HARD FAN OF SIDDHARTH.IVE NEARLY LOST COUNT OF HOW MANY TIMES I MUST HAVE SEEN ALL HIS MOVIES.I CAME BY THIS ONLY BY CHANCE AND IT FEELS SO NICE YO KNOW ABOUT SIDS COLLEGE DAYS AND ALSO MEET SOMEONE LIKE U ASSOCIATED WITH SID.HE HAS COME A LONG WAY FROM WHEN U KNEW HIM.HE HAS BEEN THE NDTV MANAGER OF THE YEAR 2000.HE IS ONE OF THE BEST ACTORS IN THE TELUGU FILM INDUSTRY AND HAS DIRECTED A FILM WITH MANI RATNAM.HE HAS WON THE BEST ACTOR AWARD FOR SOUTH INDIAS FILMFARE AND ALL HIS 6 FILMS SO FAR AND THE ONES TO CAME HAVE BEEN HITS.ITS ONLY TOO SAD THAT HE IS GETTING DIVORSED TO HIS WIFE MEGHNA.
I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR MORE ABOUT SID .SO PLEASE CAN U TELL ME.U CAN ALSO SEND ME MAILS AT inchara.v@gmail.com.THANKYOU

27/3/07 2:22 pm  

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