When I reached Hyderabad in 2006, I was a young chap with raging adrenalin. Although the adrenalin was focused on only one thing – ‘Making money and supporting my family’. When I got through to a financial services company in Hyderabad, I was in Chennai. I clearly remember calling my father and telling him “Nanagaru (dad in telugu), I got through!” . He was so proud!
I can still vividly remember that out of 200 odd students who applied for the the company only 4 got through. I was one among them. We became superstars instantly. That’s what the company hiring logo said, “We hire Superstars!”. Some of the students (especially girls) who hardly spoke to me in 3 years suddenly were interested in whether I am taking the job or no? I would just nod and smile.
In May 2006, when I reached my office in Hyderabad (G. Pulla Reddy building, Begumpet), I couldn’t help but notice “The Hindu” office located right next to my current office. Flashes of me waking up early in the morning in Tambaram, Chennai, to gather newspapers around 5 am and eventually deliver them as a make-shift newspaper boy flashed right in front of my eyes. I delivered newspapers between 2002 and 2003 so that my family could come out of a bad financial patch, even my father did. The day when I saw that my office was right next to The Hindu office, I made up my mind that some day I would visit this office for a unique reason.
Fast forward 12 years >>
August-2018 : I receive an email from the features reporter who is interested in covering my article as a Dating Coach. I see 4 questions and I answered them through email so that when I meet the features reporter in person, it would save time for both of us.
I was asked to reach The Hindu office in Hyderabad at 5 pm on a Friday. I reached the office at sharp 5 pm, wrote down my details at the security register. Once I entered, I got to know that my reporter was held up in a meeting and that I need to wait for 15 minutes at the reception.
I sat at the reception reading a weekend edition that educated me about volcanoes in the Antarctic! I was amazed that there are volcanoes even in Antarctic. After 15 minutes, I got the call from the reporter and she asked me to come up to the 2nd floor. I went and met her. She started off saying “I do not belong to your generation, so tell me everything in detail. What you do as a dating coach, how it all started?”
We were supposed to wrap it up in 15 minutes, however we spoke for 90 minutes! During the conversation I mentioned how my Paternal grandfather always wanted to see his grandchildren’s photo in The Hindu newspaper, for merit reasons obviously (say if I were to top the Tenth grade at state level).
When it was time for me to leave, the reporter asked where does my grandfather stay. I told her he passed away 2 years ago. To which she responded, I think you would still make him proud!
5 days later my article was out in the metroplus along with my photo.
This one is for you Tatagaru (Grandfather in Telugu)!
–Varun Gowtham Mannava