It took me only a few seconds to realise that I was going to enjoy my two years at the Manipal Institute of Communication, and the reason behind that was MV Kamath.
As I was taking this Masters in Communications course and wanted to become a journalist, I knew all (well, that's maybe stretching it a bit), a bit, about MV Kamath, the man who would take my interview as I looked to seal the deal towards completing every students' dream – a few years of freedom in Manipal!
The first couple of questions in that interview was normal – you know, the "oh where are you from" and "what to do you want to become." And it was my answer to the second question that lit up Kamath's eyes.
Immediately there was that sparkle, which became his trademark for us students. And before I even knew what was happening, there was Kamath, in his 80s, standing next to me with an imaginary ball and miming a bowler while berating the no-ball rule in cricket.
The reason behind that sudden course of action, of course, was my answer to the "what do you want to become question," which was a sports journalist.
And the reaction, which I would come to learn the more I interacted with the great man, was typical Kamath sir.
We went on to have a really intense conversation about the no-ball rule, with Kamath deeming the front foot no-ball unnecessary, and insisting it was the back foot and where the bowler landed first that mattered.
I, initially was a little shocked, and didn't know how to move forward with the discussion. Should I go all-out and have a proper debate with the man who was taking my interview and would eventually decide if I studied (and I use that term loosely, considering the amount of studying I actually did during those two years) in his institution? Or should I just play it safe and agree with his every word?
Play it safe I definitely did not, and Kamath sir certainly did enjoy the fact that I did not hold back either. That no-ball conversation will be something that will always stay with me, and the first thing I go to when I think of him.
There were several other moments, of course, where he would make his feelings known – there was never any holding back with the man -- it was always full speed ahead, and I mean that in the most positive manner. He would crack that brilliant joke, which would cause everyone in the room to smile or chuckle.
Kamath sir's enthusiasm and love for life was infectious. I always used to say to myself, "If I'm as happy as he is when I'm in my 80s, I'll be a pretty happy man."
MIC will be a poorer institution in his absence, and it is a real pity that the next generation of students will never get to see the great man in the skin, jumping around like a teenager, and trying to make his point, while never letting go of that this-is-what-life-is-for smile.