My greatest teenage hero

“Please underline all the sections before you submit your book” declared Ms.Bhuvanesvari, my mathematics teacher. I never had the habit of carrying a pencil and scale so I immediately dug deep into my school bag, pretending as if I were searching for it. No scale and pencil. I turned to Nitin my new deskmate (we had moved to 12th grade a week before this happened). “yaar, can i borrow your pencil and…” even before I could complete my sentence nitin lunged forward like a leaping monkey and swayed away with the pencil n scale in his hand, he completed his villianous act with a snnobing “NO”. It came as a slap on my face. I was like “Macha, it’s not a candy I won’t eat it. He said “NO you will break it”, I was like @#!$%@$#$%@$& .eat it..saala.

After that incident I felt I made a huge mistake by exchanging seat with fellow classmate to sit next to him. Nitin was a topper in 11th grade, smart, intelligent, tactful, popular among teachers n students. I thought it would be cool to be his deskmate, just imagine toppers deskmate.Wow. I was really thrilled and excited about the visibility I would get among my classmates and teachers but after this, I wasn’t too sure if I made the right decision. Those were days when I was meek and used to cave in the moment I experienced external pressure. I didn’t have a choice I had to share the desk with this moron, I sulked, I rued, I was disgusted.

As weeks went by our rapport did improve but nothing ground breaking and yah he still wouldn’t allow me to touch his pencil and scale. I could sense that somewhere deep inside his heart he knew he was far superior than rest of our classmates (esp the guys). I must acknowledge his assessment was absolutely right but this took him to a pedestal where there was no challenger to his clout, he was powerful, guys were a no match to him ( to be precise at academics) He commaded a celebrity like status among teachers, it seemed like he lived life his way and in his world duds like me had no place…So why is he my hero?

a) He shares birthday with Mahatma Gandhi
b) He is a Libran too
c) His name also starts with letters “N” and “R”
d) He was my deskmate
Well, none of the above..

His ways, his craft, his mastery all inspires me . If I were Ekalavya, he was my dronacharya, I sought immense amounts of gyaan and learnings from him. Yes,without his knowledge and I learnt it the hard way, he wasn’t too kind to me. He Constantly taunted me, ridiculed me, dodged me, yelled at me, pushed me to be part of his crazy mocking sessions (he used to make the poor girls cry, I pity Seema, Jayashree, Krithika and others) however Nitin is not all about a wild child. He had the touch of godliness in him, his aura and energy made up for all his mortal deficiencies. I surely wasn’t comfortable being his neighbour but it was worth the hassle.

I thought I could share couple of events attached to my hero. People who know him would be able to relate to his eccentricities. Nitin as always scored more than me in all subjects. But for some strange reason he always scored a 10 on 15 and I scored 9.5 in english essay. I assumed my teacher was biased untill once I happened to secretly look into his english test paper. As I read through the essay, I was blown away by the content. It was simply outstanding. His clarity of thought, his delivery, economy of words, phrases were too good for a 12th grader.I thought he deserved much more. From that day onwards I use to secretly go through most of his test papers, I am sure he would have refused me to glance into his papers if I had asked for it. I was in total awe of his presentation skills. I wanted to write like him, score like him, emmulate him. Doing that wasn’t an easy task. I neither had the skill nor the talent but I sought this silent inspiration from him, the urge to match him, the urge to beat him ( I always knew it was impossible but I wanted to try). I could never match him forget about beating him, not even once. However, in the quest to to dethorne him, I surprised myself by raising my standards. As a matter of fact I stood 4th in my group and fell short of his mark by 4%. My hero won, he would have won in any case. I was left stranded, tantalisingly close from picking up a proficieny award. However, I am satisfied I could push myself beyond my abilities.

He had a steady impact throughout the 12th grade but the defining moment was the Y2K seminar, which he delivered towards the end of the year. If I were to pick my life changing moments this would be among my top 5. I knew he could speak well but on that day for 45 minutes he left all of us spell bound. It was pure listeners delight the command over the subject, humor, examples, the build up. It was ummmmmmmm..I don’t have enough words to explain that emotion. I was speechless. It was perhaps the best ever presentations I have sat through till date and I am sure I would never see anything better than that in futue. Nitin was just 17 then and he had enough fire power to take on fully bred professionals. As he finished his exhibition. We kids applauded, teacher praised, bell rang, we went home but his sorcery on stage left a deep impression on my sub-conscious mind. It gave me the much needed hope, for a dud like me it was an eye opener to look into myself and discover the spark. Nitin triggered the biggest ever chain reaction in my mind, I wanted to be like him, I wanted to learn wizadry, I wanted to cast my spell, win accolades, I wanted to be appreciated by classmates, teachers and perhaps become an inspiration to duds like me. Thankfully it partially worked in long term. Thanks to Nitin.

Nitin unfortunately would never understand his contribution to my life, he still thinks I am mocking at him but only I and I alone know the life altering impact he had on me. I wouldn’t have been half as confident as I am today if he were not my deskmate. Despite few minor disappointments Nitin Rajkumar remains my greatest Teenage hero.