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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Of CMI and VYOM

So! As my Facebook followers already know, I thought I didn't get into Chennai Mathematical Institute, but then I did... whew! I'll be leaving for Chennai soon to pursue my undergraduate studies there. Meanwhile I also flew for the first time. In the excitement of CMI and everything else, however, I forgot to write about VYOM 2015, so here goes.
For the uninitiated, VYOM is an annual felicitation programme organised by the Delhi-based coaching institute Aakash for its students who perform well in Engineering and Medical entrance exams. VYOM 2015 was held at Science City Auditorium, Kolkata, on 5th July 2015.
My fellow Aakashians Navonil, Souvik​ and others have already mentioned at length the scintillating Drumscape by Bikram Ghosh and team (too awesome), the medals and 'Proud to be an Aakashian' tees given to the awardees (also great), the massive photo op (not sure if I can be seen in it), and the excitement over the presence of boxing queen Mary Kom to give away cash awards to the top achievers (not-so-exciting for not-so-top achievers). The one important thing that I felt they missed, and on which I would like to elaborate, was the speech by the Managing Director of Aakash, Mr. J.C. Chaudhry.
When MD Sir took the stage, we were all expecting him to congratulate the awardees of 2015, encourage the 2016 batch, thank the faculty and management... all of which he did. But then came the unexpected. This man, who is at the very top of a premier educational institution that churns out so many brilliant students, stood there at the felicitation programme before those very students, and coolly told the achievers that all their achievements meant nothing if they did not become good people who held the hands of the unfortunate!
In today's world that is so driven by career, money, and showing off, I have often felt that academics has lost its true meaning, which is to enlighten people and make them better human beings who contribute towards society. In this line of thought, I have always felt unsupported and alone. But when the very MD of the institution which has goaded me for academic success for two years, speaks of the importance of humanity alongside academics... well, let it suffice to say that I salute this man; that I will remember his words forever; and that for once, I am not ashamed to admit that, despite the ensuing semi-religious rhetoric that would have ordinarily made me cringe, his words drove me to tears.
More importantly, however, I hope that his words humbled those people in the hall, if any, who had let their success go to their heads -- something that is far too undesirably common among humans, especially the young. I also hope that everyone present took his words seriously. I, for one, had always felt that something was different about Aakash's approach to education, and now I know what that is -- it is the pervading spirit of this man, who has his priorities in exactly the right place. Therefore, cheers to you, MD Sir. You da real MVP.

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