August 2011, I packed my bags and shifted to Pune to pursue my masters in Computer Sciences thinking that I’ll land up with a plush IT job in Bengaluru or in Pune itself. I didn’t know what was in the stores for me until I went to attend my college (It’s more of a factory that produces professional degree holders but more about that later). On the very first day, I was told that I would have to meet the Principal and seek her permission to attend the orientation program because I didn’t wear formals. Till that point, I didn’t know that jeans didn’t qualify as formal attire and being dressed formally is a pre-requisite of being a corporate sellout. My tussle with the course I was about to pursue must’ve began at this very moment.
A weeklong orientation program where people from the IT industry came and delivered speeches how IT would make you richer, throwing the management jargon such as career, growth etc. They also told us how English was important and good communication skills are the “key to success in the corporate world”. As the classes started, we knew we had the most incompetent teachers to teach us. None of them could speak proper English nor were sure about what they were teaching. It was sickening. To have studied in an NAAC accredited college and then straightway landing up into this factory called Sinhgad Institutes which manufactured degree holders by giving them cheap quality blazers to wear was frustrating. Within a month, I knew I had to quit and was looking for other options. But it didn’t materialize.
I was getting disinterested in pursuing the course day by day. In the second year, I shifted out of hostel and started staying in an apartment in Karvenagar. Thus I could keep myself busy doing other things that interested me instead of attending college. The turning point in my life came when I directed a play for the college at the prestigious Purushottam Karandak one act play competition. It was an average show and received mix response but that night, something had changed. The high you get when audience applauds your performance is infectious. Well, love for theatre wasn’t something new for me for it came inherently and ran in family. My grandfather started his theatre company in 1950 which is functioning till date. My father and uncles are well known playwrights and theatre makers in Goa and yet I was apprehensive and chose a safe option to get on the IT bandwagon. But this whole experience of Purushottam Karandak and overall theatre scene in Pune, I rediscovered my love for theatre with a new sense of understanding.
Thus began my quest to explore what I wanted to with my life. Direction, dramaturgy, writing, criticism and research were my prime interests and so I started looking out for options to pursue these interests. I launched an online portal titled “Pune Theatre Guide” where I would write about theatre scene in Pune. Soon, Sunil Chandurkar offered me space at his pan Indian online theatre magazine, My Theatre Café, which took me to places and gave me an opportunity to meet some amazing people doing great work in theatre. Dr. Ajay Joshi, a dentist and a theatre scholar, has been a wonderful mentor throughout this journey and working with him has been a much learning experience. While on this quest, I visited and studied at some creatively charged spaces such as FTII, NINASAM and met some of the most wonderful people from all over the country, all of whom have collectively contributed to who I am or what I’ll become henceforth.
These and many things happened over a period of two years and I’m officially making a switch from wanting to be an IT guy to someone who would study arts and write about it because he loves to do so. I got selected for a two year Masters program in Performance Studies at Ambedkar University in Delhi and thus begins a new chapter in my life.