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If Beauty Is Skin Deep

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Time passes so quickly, I didn’t even realize when my first year of engineering was over and soon the second year had begun. It was the first lecture of the third semester and all of us were in the classroom like ‘good, obedient children’, of course, only because it was the first day. Just when the lecture was about to begin, there was a knock on the door followed by a sweet voice, “May I come in, Sir?”.  The voice was sweet enough to melt the hearts of all the guys in the room, but with no consequence on the Professor in class. He gave her a stern look and retorted in a disgusted voice, “It’s your wish.” She entered, followed by two other boys who were also new joinees. But who cared about them anyway. Bells were ringing, violins were playing and I’m sure you know what I mean. Sadly enough, the professor didn’t ask them to introduce themselves and I was just waiting to know her name.

Ms. Arundhati Pazhaniappan. I had fallen for her the moment I saw her. She was smart and clever and so she quickly became one of the favourites in college. She was also elected as the General Secretary. But, I never spoke to her. Not that she was too reserved or choosy about the people she spoke to. It was just that I was too shy to talk to her. But I was sure, she knew me. Once she came forward and complimented me for an answer I gave in class. I felt exuberant and my joy knew no bounds. Since that day, we spoke more often.

Things went well, we were good friends and gradually Semester 3 came to an end. It was now time for our Annual College Fest ‘Spandan’. At first, I was a bit apprehensive about participating in it. But Arundhati was a strong motivating force. She never said a word to me about participating but I wanted to participate, just so that I could impress her!! 😉 I knew I had a talent in singing & acting, so I registered for both. Call it bad luck, I messed up in the singing event. But…I rocked the mono-act!! Everyone was impressed, but I couldn’t care less. I was performing before an audience of one, and that was Arundhati. All I wanted to know was what she felt about my performance. I kept waiting backstage. She never came. And disheartened I was!

The next day, I was simply staring at the blackboard in class, when Arundhati came to me. I didn’t know what to expect! She gave me a broad, sweet smile and said, “I loved your performance yesterday. I think you should participate in the Persona event, too.” I had no idea what it was, but I was going to participate in it for sure, “Yeah, Thanks Arundhati, just tell me more about it.” Apparently, the Persona Event was to happen on the last day of Spandan and in three rounds. The first being the ramp walk, second-the talent round and the third one – the QnA round. I had no clue how to prepare for the show, but I was sure I didn’t want to back out.

The day of the Persona Event arrived. The entire college ground was bustling with students and professors. As scheduled, the show began at 11pm. All contestants walked down the ramp showcasing their special moves and features, each one contesting for the title of Mr. or Ms. Xavier. I had no clue whatsoever of what was happening! But, just then, a figure flashed in my mind – and….Rajnikanth it was!! I walked down the ramp, gave the trademark Rajini salute and walked back!! The crowd went into a frenzy, thanks to Rajini’s global appeal!!The talent round went well too, with me doing the mono-act. Then was the challenge – the Q&A round. Much to my surprise, all contestants were asked a common question, ‘What would you like to be in life and why?’ Everybody gave diverse answers; some said they wanted to be a singer, scientist, astronaut, and so on. And I said, “I want to be a Film Director and make movies on the issues in India in an entertaining manner. I believe a Film director has the power to change perceptions and bring a positive change in people’s mindsets, that is why I want to be a Film Director”. A unique answer it was, so it had to grab attention and applause! And I believed I had done a good job. All this while, Arundhati being the only source of motivation, I waited for the result with bated breath.

After much contemplation and discussion, the judges came on the dais.  Father Reggie – our principal announced Swati Nair to be Ms. Xavier. Unfortunately, among the boys, there was a tie and fortunately enough, the tie was between a guy called Francis and…ME!! Now that I was so close to winning, I felt all the more encouraged to see myself with the Mr. Xavier trophy in my hand.

I was tensed no doubt, but I was determined. I stayed calm as Father Reggie came forward to ask the tie-breaker question. He asked, “ If beauty is skin deep, then how deep is intellect?” Francis answered first. I felt he was way too verbose, but he did get a good round of applause. The thundering applause drowned the sound of my increasing heartbeats. Now, it was my turn. I thought for a while and answered, “ If beauty is skin deep, then intellect is tissue deep”. Everyone in the audience was silent. I explained, “ I am a Science Student, and that is why the analogy. Intellect goes much deeper than beauty. Without the tissues, the skin is of no significance. And so is the case of beauty without intellect.” Hearing this, there was a loud uproar among the audience; people were cheering and chanting  my name!! The feeling of joy was so great, that I forgot about everything else including the trophy. But one thing remained, what did Arundhati think about it? There were more than a thousand eyeballs staring at me and I could barely recognise anyone from the stage, leave alone spot Arundhati in the crowd.

I was deep in the world of my dreams when suddenly I heard a loud burst. Father Reggie walked towards me with a crown and a sash. I had no clue what was happening. He placed the crown on my head and congratulated me. I soon regained my senses and realised that I was Mr.Xavier for the year. I just couldn’t believe what was happening. While I was wondering whether I was still dreaming, I saw a sight that confirmed my belief – I saw Arundhati walk towards me with a bouquet. I couldn’t help but I pinched myself hard, slapped myself thrice and I still could see her. She came towards me with her ever-beautiful smile and handed the bouquet to me, General Secretary she was!!

That was the most blessed day of my life, a day that I’ll cherish forever, a day that saw the beginning of a beautiful relationship between Arundhati & me.

Sudhir Iyer
MMS Batch of 2011-13

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