Vinod Nagappa – You got to be inked…

I think I need to write this cause I don’t want to forget how I met the most wonderful human being in 22 years of my life. I would like to walk down the memory lane, to the amazing personality you had Vinod. I would like to take this as a story…

So the curtain opens…

On 13th Sept 2015, I joined my MBA at PES University, which was around 23kms from home, a solid 4 hours  journey up and down. I got used to the new settings and made a couple of friends, life was going good.

img_20151114_132317 I liked the new way of teaching, being from a technical background (engineering) the MBA presentations and class activities were a great joy to me.. I hadn’t been on stage or much active every after school, cause of academics being pushed into me by Dad at home. Now here I was making the most of all the chances and compensating the 6 years of zero stage life.

One saturday evening when I was on my evening walk, a classmate named Shiv Teja called me over the phone and inquired if I was interested in participating in a fest for HR domain. I wanted to give it a try, but I had zero knowledge of even how a management fest would look like, I was empty inside-out. Yet, I thought it would be fun!

I was told, a senior by name Vinod would be my team mate for the HR vertical and I had absolutely no clue who he was.. Cause putting up a stage show needed some synchronization of thoughts and ability to work together. Well I was put into a Whatsapp group and Vinod’s number was passed on… Due to sheer confusion I texted him over whatsapp and sincerely mentioned I was totally not aware of how fests ( whether management or engineering) happens and also said it was okay to replace me if he found a better co-partner. Well I was fixed into the deal, Monday being “The Day” .

That is when I realized I had to be there in formals, and my new college uniform is all that I had(which was given just that Saturday in college), next challenge I didn’t have formal shoes(time for panic) neither the stockings… With all this I also didn’t know how to make my tie and had to undergo rigorous shouting and partial training’s for the same from Dad. Late Sunday evening, Vinod mailed me 5 PPT’s with around 300-350 slides and asked me to go through. He then told me in the light of his previous fest experiences to prepare my resume, boy-O-boy… I asked him to mail me his resume as a reference. Well that instigated more panic in me, than relief. That was when I realized, that Vinod was one of the so called brainy guys with 2.5 years of work experience and host of other crazy achievements! and also that 2nd Nov was his birthday(That was the fest Monday). I was in such a fix I couldn’t even back-off. Well the finale would be in an international location and he checked if I had a passport, well I started laughing over the phone, cause I thought that was too much to be thinking off considering my experience…

Well it was Monday morning (2nd Nov), first time in my coat and suite and tie and shoe and every other stuff… I set out at 6:30am cause I had reach CMS Jain, JP Nagar and yes BMTC. Well, I made it by 8:10am to some place in JP Nagar where my friends(Cranium Team) were waiting…   So, there finally I met Vinod Nagappa, strangely wishing him Happy Birthday instead of the initial introduction. The team finished off with breakfast. Well I think I need to mention The Team all amazing people – Vinod, Tejas A V, Sharan Makam, Arun, Anadhakrishnan, Ashwin, Ananya, Chandhana, Ajay Sai, Shiv Teja, Rakesh Bhat, Pranav.

Then we had loads of rounds – initial Ice breaker and then moving into vertical wise events.

cranium-2015-6Since it was HR we had payroll making, some jumbled up puzzles may be fillers, CSR presentations(night task), head hunting and compensation negotiation… Well my favorite was the Stress Round. We had been put in a situation where there was a fire in our manufacturing unit and employees are injured(This what was told outside). Well inside it was us landing into the house of an employee who lost his life in the accident, the main aim of the stress creators was to make us laugh and then attack us saying the same. With the dead corpse(scene) we had the dead persons friends mock us singing – “Just Chill… Chill… Just Chill…” I was able to put up a serious face for some time, but more than 3mins they just kept singing and taking selfies with us, and I could no longer hold the laughter, in order to gain some composure I decided to look at Vinod and grab some seriousness, well he was already laughing…lol! The day of the results I had to leave by 8pm and results were taking more time… So I reached home. The result was not on our side. The top 3 teams which qualified for the international finale at Dubai were- XIME, Vanguard and St. Joseph’s. Well we were all very disappointed and felt we had the niche to be there in the top three. Never the less, we continued after a few remarks on their Cranium page to clarify the results and our positioning. So that was the end to our Nov 2 and Nov 3 efforts, we thought.

Surprisingly, we got to know on 9th Nov that St Joseph’s backed off from the trip stating trimester exams and we were upgraded from the 4th to the 3rd place, eventually qualifying for the finale. Well Vinod was picked and then they wanted a female team member representing PES at the finale. Unfortunately, for the most deserving Ananya and Chandhana they didn’t have their passports and couldn’t get those made in three days as there were festive holidays. Well, then since I had a passport and so I was picked. The finale was at The Palm Atlantis, Dubai fully sponsored for the finalists a 6 days 5 nights trip. They had a team of 60 students for whom this was a study tour sort of a thing. On 11th Nov we got our first assignment of what has to presented and a report made about 60 pages for the finale. They had plagiarism tests as well, so Vinod divided work, he did take in the major 4 units and gave me the lighter 4 units. A couple of his core friends helped in with the report making (Siddu, Sharan, Arun … if I’m not wrong). I was working 22 hours straight that whole week. With just 2 hours of sleep. I reached a point where it was not excitement anymore, there was no time to pack neither to think of the trip. Just finishing reports mailing them up and down – to Vinod and to me… Well on Vinod’s end it was sister’s wedding ( ring ceremony on Nov 15th). The trip was from 16th Nov to 21st Nov. We still had the presentation to make, I had to exchange money and also pack… I was totally exhausted and presentation was definitely not happening then, that’s when a kind friend of mine Prithvi helped me out. And I was frightened that Vinod would be furious about that, well on inquiring about his PPT progress, I realised he had a lot of guests at home and was totally lost. Well I offered him my helpful friend and also showcased his exemplary PPT talents, anyhow he denied. Well at 5 pm in the evening he did want Prithvi to help him out. Well, we were done up packing etc by 12am on Nov16th… and Prithvi said he would mail in the PPT by early morning, referring to report. He kept up his word… an amazingly creative creature- Prithvi.

img_20151119_100845Next morning all set reached the airport and the journey began – to the land of Sand -Dubai. What began as a experiment was turning to be gold… (actually literally too…lol). A huge team of 60 members CMS college students – man that was crowd and we six finalist. Flying for 4 hours straight – Emirates- Crazy flight and beautiful air hostesses( Jaw dropping). We had an itinerary planned. We landed at the Fortune Pearl Hotel, Omar Bin Khattab Road, After Naif Signal, Deira- UAE at 2:30pm UAE time.

Day 1 – 16th Nov 2015 – Dhow Cruise

That was how the evening rolled open. With dance, magic show and awesome food.

Day 2 – 17th Nov 2015 – Dessert Safari

img_20151117_172013       img_20151117_172110

Early morning we worked on our assignment 2 which was given to us on Nov 14th. Then we were taken shopping where Vinod bought a selfie stick post my Tamil bargaining skills… hahah… Evening – Well that was the first time, I was at a dessert and crazy that evening was… crazy. There was quad bike!! camel ride and Belly dancing and hooka and dinner…

Day 3 – 18th Nov 2015 – Abu Dhabi City tour

We traveled for long – Started with Grand Mosque – Huge magnificent and beautiful and calm and cool( at a 40 deg centigrade).  Followed by Ferrari World – World’s faster roller coaster… and loads of other games – simulation – it was fun.

Day 4 – 19th Nov 2015 – Day of Victory – Finale

We got ready and headed into to Finale Day all set yet anxious. The day began with a treasure hunt .. With Vinod and I decoding clues and running around in our finale formals, at the hotel. Then we headed to The Palm Atlantis, Dubai – Ballroom. We were the last team to present and were kept waiting outside in the dinning area. Our presentation (thanks to Prithvi and financial part a big thanks to Praveen – considering both of us being from engineering background and marketing specialisation) was fab!! I did make a mistake with the Maslow’s Hierarchy, thanks to the last minute addition of that slide in the morning. We were the winner’s – PES University won the Cranium 2015. That was such a proud moment!!! Very proud… The trophy was a replica of the Burj Khalifa, world’s tallest building – Dubai.

Post lunch we visited the Dubai Mall – again world’s largest mall. Then, Burj Khalifa 124th floor – What a view!!! Phew! At the Top!

Day 5 – 20th Nov 2015 – Family

Being a malayalee, definitely, Dubai had to have a few contacts of mine… Dad’s Brother – Mr. Johnson,  another uncle – Mr. Varghese and a few cousins – Lijohn, Derick, Charles. Vinod wanted to join in – and Yes definitely that was time to chill. My uncle couldn’t make it as his place was really far from where I stayed, however his acquaintance made it to the hotel where I stayed and gifted me UAE 2000 Dirham (Rs. 36k Indian money). That was indeed so kind of him to appreciate my victory and yes a good time to spend as well.. My uncle Mr. Varghese landed to the hotel at 11am and we went to the Gold souk – as Dad wanted me to buy gold(typical shopping at Dubai). Well since it was a Friday – shops were closed as it was Jumma time. We then shopped at malls – Loads of lovely chocolates, dry nuts and Christmas decorations. Well then we landed back to the hotel with loads of chocolates and packed in all those into the box. Since it was treat from my uncle, it was Biryani time. Then we went to the gold souk. My uncle Mr. Varghese and Vinod helped in with the price negotiations and Mr. Varghese shelled out 1500 Dirham + Dad’s 1500 Dirham. That marked the end of gold rush- One necklace and one daily use chain. We then had a Burj Khalifa Drink and then my cousins landed in… Vinod’s only prayer being let them get a car – and Yes they did.. We went shopping for clothes at the cheapest outlets, these guys had those joints figured out perfectly… We should have met them earlier – Well destiny has it all… Vinod shopped for himself and I helped him choose a few clothes for his sister. He damn loved his sister and was very anxious of her getting wedded. He told me that she was the life of the house…And he would be missing her crazy… We had Pizza’s for dinner and were dropped at our hotel at 1 am in the night. Vinod and I packed in all the stuff purchased… Sat and spoke till 2 am… Bought gift’s for our beautiful team whose performance was excellent! My best team♥.

I sat down until 3am writing down expenses and later collapsing onto the bed to wake up at 5am… Then dressed, packed, had breakfast and headed to the Dubai Airport. Landed at 6:30pm IST and were received by our fest team and other friends at the airport. Spoke to Vinod’s parents, Rani aunty was such a sweet heart. Arun dropped me home and that marked the end of the fest.

I’m a very keen observer and Yes! Vinod was my topic of study. Vinod had his final exams in 15 days after getting back and I had it in a months time.

In the mean while I was into another fest – Synetics Nov 27th and 28th – Kristu Jayanti, very close to home the campus was and yes! my best team pulled me in…  We were runner ups there!  It was a time being – High on Fests…

After internals ended we opened our packaged Trophy – Burj Khalifa – It was in pieces, yes, that hurt me.. I did cry… Felt better after a little melt down…

Well then semester happened – With me struggling with finance, I was there for Unit 1 and then for Unit 5, so that was the end of understanding, then shortage of attendance and somehow I managed to roll out of 1st semester with a 8.21 sgpa, thanks to Ramya Shivappa and a couple of other friends. Well Vinod managed a 9.34 sgpa only for me to get embarrassed at home. Yes! he’s too damn ambitious and also a smart worker.

Soon my exams got over and Vinod was there, with his brain child – Siastra – Survive – Our College fest – PES University. I was into content writing for the sponsorship letter and slabs and stuff which however didn’t materialize into printed form, but that was the first time I realized what was sponsorship, honestly.

Then Vinod was in between of the whole thing, handling the sponsorship, court paperworks, fixing dates of the fest, financial budgeting( 20 lakhs for a management fest !!), print work  and me getting people involved in the idea of the fest. Things were happening the Vice Chancellor approved the fest and sanctioned 12 lakhs on 30th Jan 2016. Our Sponsorship team – mainly Ajay Sai and Shiv Teja tirelessly worked towards the other 8 lakhs. There were a lot of people involved to put things in place, my entire best team and few others too…

With so much of tasks Vinod also had his sister’s engagement and wedding all lined up… His IIM Shillong academic paper presentation(which happened to coincide with the fest dates), an interview out of campus, sponsorship work, term paper and freelance research. He asked for help with his term paper due to be submitted on 6th Feb 2016. Well, I finished that and mailed it in by 18th Jan 2016. I traded his slides and other MBA 2nd and 3rd semester in return but wanted it in a pendrive and not the mail( My adamant way of having a clean inbox).

We had another event Prakalpa on 31st Jan 2016, that’s when our trophy Burj Khalifa was repaired and restored and thanks to him – Our names engraved on the trophy for ages to come. My Dad spoke to Vinod over the phone and commended his brains of putting in the names and all the insights he had given to me.

Then came February my birthday month and whole bunch of my friend’s were also Feb borns. Vinod had been continuously  crying around stating I never gave him cake for Christmas( I had semester exams and he had holidays then). This month was an open invite for him, the whistle blew with Anadhakrishnan’s birthday on 6th Feb, to be followed by Ramya’s birthday on Feb 12th and then .. then … and me…Feb 25th.

On Feb 7th Vinod along with a group of his batchmates, came into a sequence of how tasks should be handled for the fast approaching fest on 17th March. On Feb 8th, we had plans of meeting the lawyer and he had certain rounds in mind for the HR vertical of the fest, which he wanted to tell me. That day, 8th Feb 2016 he was on his way to the college, when he met with an accident. The cop called me over the phone and told me Vinod had met with an accident, I initially thought he could handle it way better than I and was cool, gradually he began telling me he was unconscious, later ICU and then said that he was no more… They told me his body was in the mortuary..

I was at the mortuary, still believing he could wake up, definitely God could have given him a chance… To see his sister’s wedding, to live all his dreams, he always wanted to return something for the society, to be there for his parents, to have been a good human touching a thousand lives…His biggest dream was the fest – Siastra – Survive.

siastraTons of thanks to all the wonderful people involved – It was a hard phase, yet we all stood by each other.. I had a set of wonderful wonderful friends who made time to cheer me up. I still don’t like how things ended up. That win, that trophy, was definitely the highest point of my life till now, and definitely he was a gem of a person.. The victory feels incomplete without him..

However, he taught me a lot – as a friend, a mentor and lessons of an able leader. He, more strongly established in me the spirit of humbleness, patience to learn, to never give up, to make the best of every day –

Vinod DN 01FM14MBA200 you will remain the best human being I’ve ever met…

The Very Best – Victory Bells – Vinod Domlur Nagappa.

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Lost Light…

You were indeed the rose…
Came in too fast… Walked through my life…
Mentored me… Made me a better person…
I always thought why things were so fast and intense with you – – I realize you had very little time to spend…
You asked me to write… You asked me to sing… You taught me to continuously move ahead with rapid pace… To never leave any stone unturned..
Nobody has ever gifted me so many memories in such a short time…

You came and shined like the dew drop on a rose petal…
Your positiveness and humbleness came forth as your fragrance…
You were that guiding light…
Every minute, every second you were getting to be a better person…
Never met anyone like you.. and neither will I ever meet…

And finally like the thorn on the rose.. you pricked a sharp intense pain…
We have a million undone deals…
Why did I ever know you???

Come back… Your d fighter!! The champion!!
Come back!!

 

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