" If I could recollect the exact day, it was July the 28th,
1989 that I first happened to meet this guy, Manish Narayan. It was my
first day at I.I.Sc. We were supposed to assemble at the TATA INSTITUTE
main lobby near the Main Entrance by 8.00 AM and I was late by about an
hour. The hall was Jam-packed and the Chairman had completed his
introductory speech by then. I felt nervous when a section of the
audience turned back and starred at me for being late. The function was
nearly getting over when I noticed a guy walking into the hall through
the rear entrance. He immediately caught my attention. A typical
Bangalorian guy, wearing a leather Jacket and a goggles. I had never
been to bangalore before but had heard that most of the guys in Bangalore
were typically a freak-out character.
After the function, I never had a chance to meet this guy for
some days. I did not see him in the hostel during the ragging sessions
when the seniors were terrorizing us. Being a localite, I presume, he
avoided staying at the hostel during the ragging sessions. I dont
recollect seeing him at Metallurgy department during that time. Only
after a couple of weeks I started hearing about Manish Narayan. The
seniors judged him as one of the few pleasing guys who joined along
with me. Probably he covered the seniors with his innocent looks and
smile. He had tremendous sense of humor. He spoke Tamil quite
differently from us (Kannada mixed Tamil) and this made him the center of
attraction during any discussion. He ability to communicate fluently in
Hindi, Kannada (only person to speak Kannada in our class) and ofcourse
English, landed him in trouble. He would be the guy to enter the
Professors room first when the students decide to get the Prof.s
permission to postpone an exam or cancel a class. I swear, we have been
quite successful in those and the credit obviously goes to Manish. Most
of us do the planning behind the scene, but when it comes to performing
the act, he would lead us through.
Manish was the only student in my class who pursued an academic
career after a short stint with Titan Watches. A brilliant chap who
gave his best in anything he did. I was in touch with him when he came
to States for his doctorate. He had a couple of publications under his
belt and I am quite sure, a few more were due. I used to make fun of him
saying that he would surely be finding his academic life pretty tough for
not being able to cope up with the research-pressure, but inside me I was
knew that with his brilliance, he would come out with flying colors. And
he did! He shifted to Lehigh for his doctorate.
Coming to my personal experiences, he was always the target when
I return home for holidays. I would seek his help in getting some
quality sweets from Shivaji Nagar. He had that old TVS-50 (his friends
use it more often than him) on which he would take me to shop around for
sweets. He never refused to come with me. All he would ask in return is
a glass of Badam Milk. I soon realized that he was becoming close to
everyone in the whole batch. Any Video session or any trips around
Bangalore, Manish would be the target. As an Organizer, he did a great
job. The trips we made to Mercara, Ooty and Kemmangundi are still in
our minds. It makes me laugh even now when I see those snaps taken
during those trips. Manish, with his long dark-blue shorts under the
waterfalls, cannot be easily forgotten.
Recalling the Sports we played at I.I.Sc, Manish was not a good
athlete, but was always part of any team we formed. Who can forget those
Tennis-Ball tournaments at I.I.Sc., where some of us, who were left out
from the mainstream formed a Cricket team. I swear, we did not perform
badly, but were repeatedly knocked out after the league matches (quite
obvious). We had guys in our team, who found it difficult to complete
his over after the ball failed to go to the stumps but preferred the
direction of the leg-umpire. Manish was one of the striking bowler and a
middle order batsman for the team. Though he didnt score many runs, it
was a real fun. He was also part of the Volleyball team which we played.
Though not in the first 6, he encouraged us from the bench. During a
match, when he was in the bench, he had to be carried away to the Health
Center after he got excited, made a jump and sprained his ankle. I
later come to know that he kept telling guys (who did not watch that
match) that he has sprained his ankle while trying to volley a shot.
Clever chap but unfortunately could not keep it a secret for that long.
He contested for the post of Vice-President during our second
year. Not that he was very keen to win but had to accept it because of
the compulsion of some of the guys who also contested for different
posts. These guys were obviously relying on him for their victory
because Manish had a wide range of contacts in the institute. The sad
part is that, each of them lost their deposit including Manish, probably
because no one took him seriously when he contested. I am sure, with
his leadership qualities, he would have performed very well if he had won that
His parents gave us the best hospitality we could ever imagine by
repeatedly inviting us home. We had a good time at his place. Those
delicious home-cooked food cant be easily forgotten. Its really sad
that he isnt with us anymore. I just find it difficult to believe that!
His memories would remain in our minds for ever.
Thinking back, I realize how I had mis-judged the guy who
entered the hall (on my first day at I.I.Sc) with a freaky outfit. He
turned out to be the most likable guy I have ever met."