He looked like an “Ankur Gupta”.
I smiled and said to myself “You’re mean”. I was rather pleased at my observation, and patted myself on my shoulders, disregarding my own principles that tell me not to stereotype people.
I couldn’t help it. When I saw him from afar, he fit that description perfectly. That description of a boy who studied at an IIT. Specifically IIT Delhi. With medium roast skin, thin rimmed spectacles, and a sharp jaw. 5 feet 9 inches and lean. They even come in all permutations of Ankush/Abhisheik/Ankit with Aggarwal/Goel/Jain/Gupta/Sharma. They. Yes, “They”. This piece d’ art, was a typical candidate for an “Ankur Gupta” from IIT Delhi.
I can even guess his life history.
He was probably not from Kota. He had the confidence of a luck-struck intelligent Delhi guy, who went to a regular school. Probably not your DPS or Bombay Scottish.
If he came from Meerut, (the Solapur/Sangli of UP), he doubtlessly was the most celebrated child in his neighbourhood, when the JEE results were declared. Those 10 yr old kids that play cricket outside, stopped briefly and turned their heads to look at him walk out of his house gate, and resumed play after a few moments. After 1-2 years, they went their own way and the social glory faded, but our man ‘Ankur Gupta’ was still the celebrated boy of his house.
Everytime he left home after a short vacation, his mother probably circled a 100 rupee note around his head and applied a valiant tilak in one stroke, threw rice on him, and shed a dozen tears, having not a clue that Ankur would be off to his hostel to hunch over the computer to stalk a girl in the junior class, exchange porn cd’s with his roomate and call his friends b*****d.
He probably never had a girlfriend. He must have had a fling. Of course. With a girl from a local college, who he met at the college festival. He must be a decent guy, not ‘that type’, so let’s not judge him! Let’s assume he took her to the cinemas, kissed her, exchanged a few romantic sms’s and called it off because his exams were near, and he wanted to focus on his studies.
Let’s give him a 8.6 GPA. Not a flunkie, but not a diamond either. He had his strengths (stock market, cricket stats and he knew his gadgets). His pet name was kept by his roomate, which went like ‘patlu’ or ‘feku’ or something characteristic, yet hardly unique to him, because he wasn’t so much of a striking personality himself. Dispite that, he did gather close friends in those 4 years: his roommate, 2 classmates and 2-3 guys in his hostel wing.
His life moved fast after he graduated. He got to a mid tier university in the United States, which he entered with his head high; full confidence on his IIT training, and even more confidence on the stupidity of the non-IIT crowd which he decidedly had no faith in (he was only happy about the girls that the non-IIT colleges supplied to his university).
Very soon his chest was partially deflated, after he woke up to the fact that he wasn’t treated special because of his IIT tag. The other half of his chest was still a little inflated because he wasn’t struggling academically as much as the others… after all we have to give him the benefit of an IIT training.
When that chest truly deflated, was when he started to work. His ‘startup’ job in silicon valley exposed him to all sorts of people, and learnt that they’re either as good as him. Or, that after all his hardwork, he landed up in the same place as them. Either he did something wrong, or they did something really right. But his feelings surprised him. He actually liked them!
So as I spot him getting out of the car, in front of “Madras Cafe”, he continues life. He’s given up finding a girl friend. The IIT tag no longer works here…. he gets trumped by the ‘Stanford’/’Google’ guys, and he doesn’t care anymore. He’ll settle for his mummy’s choice. That pretty Delhi girl (called Pooja or Neha) who’ll love to be the girl chosen for this stellar IIT profile. His mind is blank, as he waits with his 3 friends in the checkout line. He has lived his glory.