The smartest dude I have ever come across. The sharpest mind whose brilliance needs to be experienced first hand to really appreciate what I am writing.
Watching him perform was like watching a divine mixture of Sampras and Federer, Don and the Little Master, Pele and Maradona. He was simply the best.
As one of my friend had put it, "Avan Deivam da" (He is God). He is the finest example of an intellect. Brilliant and Ecletic.
He was a classmate I never had. He was the competition I never truly had at my school. His was the brilliance, that was unmatched by any other head I have come across in my life. A head which did not make empty noises. A head which never made noice, for light it was. There was no arrogance or ego.
I met him in one of those inter college competitions at Madurai. I was representing Bishop Heber College and he represented St. Josephs College. (As fate had it, I did not get a seat at St. Josephs College). Two lads from Trichy, meeting at Madurai for the first time (I think it was March 2000, a week before or a week after I flunked for the first time in my life). That was not the time I knew of his abilities and ruthless efficiency. After a courteous self introduction, we got along really well, as both of us were doing CA Foundation, both of us were from Trichy, from CBSE Background, and both of us were not attending any classes for CA Foundation.
No highflying performance could come up then, for the entire event was dominated by the so called seniors. Four five months later, when the CA Foundation results were out, only 6 had passed in Trichy out of some 150 odd students. Me, Ranga and four others. This result brought us together. Though our class mates used to compare both of us, the difference was like Chalk and Cheese, and I was not the cheese. (I am not trying to be modest, but plain honest).
His real quality came up in one of the other events when he simply walked over all the opponents in the entire competition. Whichever event he participated, he had won the first prize. And I was struggling for a third here, second there et al. In terms of wide array of knowledge, speaking style (backed by substance), and an fantastic attitude to carry it all, only Krishna was any close to him. The rest of us, the mortals, were competing to be second best.
It was a matter of routine, that whenever we competed in any event, we used to fight only for the second place. First Prize was his prerogative. He had exclusive right to it. Though on five or six occasions we had dismantled him from his favourite position. The most famous one came in our Final Year.
When me and Balaji, thrashed his team by a whopping 150 points in a Quiz Competition in American College, Madurai. Our entire college team celebrated. Not because we had won the First Prize. But because, we had beaten "Deivam".
One bad day does not tell anything. He was a monster performer, though he stayed away from Theatre events and all those expressive endeavours. He always outperformed me, and oh boy, that too with a huge difference. Let it be events, competitions (quiz, dumb charades, elocution, debates etc.) or exams (Class X, Class XII, CA Foundation, CA Intermediate, not in CA Final)
He is the example (or probably an exception to the rule in the contrary) that people who are really really good in studies can also be really really good in anything they do. He was, for lack of a better word, Perfect.
He is also the reminder to me that people who score lower marks than you are not lower than you (I had overtook him in CA Final). He had cleared his exams without any of the high profile, overtly hyped up classroom education at a Metro. I simply wonder what would have happened had he been at Chennai. He would have eaten me for lunch (well for breakfast or dinner or brunch, whatever he thought I was fit to be).
First shot at IIM, and he had made it. Once again no high profile classroom education at a Metro. Self preparation.
I have no regrets or feel ashamed in saying that he can beat me any day, with his hands tied, eyes blindfolded, his entire torso fastened to a pillar. He can do to me what Rajni Kanth does to all the bad guys "Solli Solli Adipaen".
For it is the truth.
He was the best.
My respects to you Ranga. You are a Hero.