The world was a stage

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The world was a stage

This photograph, taken around 1984-85 at Cubbon Park, is very close to my heart. It features the skit group of Visvesvaraya College of Engineering, where I went to. I was an integral part of the group. It was taken soon after we won the first place in an inter-college competition in the same year. We returned to our college with a shield and after a quick round of celebrations, captured the moment on camera. The journey of how I got interested in skits and scriptwriting takes me back to my school days.

My official name in school was G Ramesh. The ‘Aravind’ tag was added after I entered films. I went to National High School in Basavangudi and was an active member of Deepika Children's League that organised several competitions in schools and imparted training in various literary activities such as debates and skits. I vividly remember when I was in class eight (1978-79), Deepika Children’s League had organised a competition and I stood first and won prizes in eight competitions. The then Governor, Govind Narain, gave away the awards and congratulated me. The applause was deafening and I was thrilled to bits. I continued to stand first in all the competitions through my high school and joined Visvesvaraya College of Engineering. There I found people with similar interests and we formed a skit group. We would represent the college in all skit competitions and would invariably win the first place in all inter-collegiate festivals.

We would practise skits in corridors, classrooms, canteen… but the lush green space and calm atmosphere of Cubbon Park, opposite the college, is where we would enjoy our practice sessions and write all their scripts. The environment was just perfect to inspire creative minds. There were eight to 10 of us in the group. We would write sitting on the footpath of Cubbon Park over a cup of tea and biscuits.

Today, most of the members of our group are CEOs and have made a name for themselves. The former president of Infosys, BG Srinivas, was also part of the same troupe. I remember him playing a helicopter in the skits. The sound of applause at the end of every show gave us a high. The others in this photo found their fortune elsewhere, but I entered the ‘magical world of claps’ — the cinema.

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