Whether you think you can, or you think you can't—you're right.
Bhujji was my inn-mate in Bangalore . He may not be in the class of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs. But he is surely in his own class that I talk about Bhujji wherever I get opportunity, including my own kids.
He graduated in science in 2nd class from a non-descript college in Dharwad in Karnataka. He worked as a sales man in some paint company. That he got into the company of people like us was itself a big thing for him. When I say 'we', this was a crowd of people from IITs and RECs working in Wipro, Infosys, TI, ISRO etc.
The likes of Yash and Sukh who were from IITs and would talk about all scientific theories in the world, with abstract mathematical proof, whenever they got a chance to showcase their brain, even though they were simply writing some 'C' programs in abysmal Hinglis in their jobs.
And his English was royal. In the sense he referred to himself as third party always. Conjunctions, propositions, tenses were never taught in his school or college. "We go hotel" would mean that he was going to hotel or he went to a hotel or just about anything.
The only problem was that his English was highly infectious. Two days with him on a weekend, you would find it difficult to talk in your office. The mathematics that Yash or Sukh talked would make him hit the bottle first. Only in that state could he tolerate the non-sense that these people used to talk.
I still remember the day when we were all partying in one of the rooms. Sukh was sitting on the floor, Yash on cot, I on a chair and Bhujji was standing.
Sukh let the CAT out of the bag. This is no feline cat, but a much more ferocious one at that, as I understood it later. It had occupied Sukh's mind for long and had made him perspire day and night. The CAT of IIM. Sukh started talking about the glorious future he was going to have with an IIM weapon on his shoulders. If one were to believe him, with an IIM MBA, he would conquer the entire world. No matter, how much I remind Sukh that 90% of IIM MBA's are salaried class, he did not stop.
Sukh boasted that it was possible to achieve only for a very few of the ilk. Like Sukh can get it, Yash can also with a try. Regarding myself, he was a bit generous; he thought I can get in after 2 or 3 trials. And Bhujji could never get into it.
This irked Bhujji to a great extent. He was standing and sipping his part of the alcohol. In a bit of rage, he threw the tumbler down on the floor. "What the f..k are u talking..?"- Bhujji must have been in high spirits. Normally he talked to us on a very polite submissive note. "I was inside ten ranks in my college. I can really do it." - He said.
Sukh and Yash laughed loudly. I could not control my smile. "Bhujii, neither you, nor your father, nor your son can get into IIM. Forget it. And sell that paint, you are selling." - Sukh said.
"When is the examination" - asked Bhujji. This made us laugh more. This guy does not even know what that exam is, what goes in its preparation, he is asking as if he is going to write it tomorrow.
"In November" - said Yash. "Bhujji cool down yaar. You can't even read and write English properly. Your mathematics is also very poor. CAT is not for you. Forget it. I did not mean to de-mean you. Certain things are possible only by certain people. That is all. Don't worry. You can start a company and employ IIM guys in that."
Bhujji was not satisfied. "What if I show to u people, that I can get through CAT?" he said. "If I say I will do something, I will do it. No one can stop me. "
"Want to take a bet? " - asked Sukh..
"No. I don't bet on such things. I will show you that I can do an IIM- MBA. It will be my dream from now on. I will show u people that I am not an idiot. Neither my father is. Nor my son will be." - saying this bhujji tried to get out of that place.
But being drunk that much, he managed to settle down in the corner and started sleeping.
Bhujji took that insult so seriously that he started preparing for IIM- MBA examination. He joined an English teaching course to begin with. He also joined a CAT training institute.
But the going was tough. First Bhujji lacked basics. Many times he would have doubts on simple things like ratios and proportions. And every time he asked a question to Yash or Sukh, they would ridicule him. But they would help him also after ridiculing.
Over a period I found a marked improvement in his capabilities. Once he showed me a problem and asked me to solve it. Generally I would solve any problem that he gives. But I could not solve it. He got it back from me and started working on it again and solved it himself.
He would come late in the night at 11pm to his room. He would start playing a song from Rajinikant starrer 'Annamalai'. The song goes like this "Vetri Nichayam.. Idhu Vedha Sathiyam.." with a good beat. It meant victory is sure and promised. He made a cassette only with that song and played that alone in the background.
That was the time I got Mani to our room. Mani just came in to look at our inn, so that he can get a room, if he liked the inn.
Mani, apart from his accountancy, was skilled in palmistry. Every one in my office knew of mani's palmistry skills. At first, I did not believe him. Once I showed my palm to him. Almost 100% he was able to decipher my past. He told me of how my married life would be. He told me of my kids, my professional life. Almost everything.
I did not know whether what he says is so general, that it is true for anyone, but everyone translates it specifically and understand it to them. But my respect for him went up manifold after that incident.
I introduced Mani to Bhujji in his room. And how can I introduce Mani, without a word on his palmistry skills? As soon as I said that, Bhujji was up on his feet and showed his palm to Mani.
Mani did not expect this. But he accepted it. He carefully looked at Bhujji's palm for a long time. He asked "Do you have any specific question to ask..?"
Bhujji said "Yes.. I am preparing for IIM. Will I get in?"
Mani observed the palm for a long time. "See Bhujji, you are an adamant character. If you aim for something, you will get it at any cost. I can see that behavior in you. You will win in many places because of your hard work.. Regarding education, I am sorry. Further education is not indicated in your palm."
Bhujji was disappointed. Disappointment is the least word. His face was completely dark. "Why do u say that?"- he asked.
"See here.. This is the line indicating your education. It is short this much.. approx. X cms. If you want you can measure it. I can find it out just on seeing. Hence even in your undergraduate program, u would have just passed. But you would have passed them. Something as high an education as IIM, is not possible" - said Mani.
Bhujji smiled and kept quite. As we left the room, I started hearing that Rajinikant song again "Vetri nichayam.. idhu Vedha Sathiyam.." Probably, Bhujji played it every time he wanted to boot-strap himself.
"Poor chap," I thought, "I am sure his educational goals are not going to be achieved. May be what Sukh said will become true.."
After that I did not meet Bhujji for a long time. I vacated my Inn and went out of Bangalore . After some 8 years, I was in Sao Palo , Brazil for some technical talking with our customer.
I tried to get an Indian Restaurant and found one. I entered the restaurant and was ordering something, when another Indian figure entered the Restaurant.
Since it appeared familiar, I keenly looked at the figure. He was none other than Bhujji. I stood up, went near to him. Bhujji identified me. We embraced and had a long evening amongst us.
Bhujji had indeed done management from IIM-A. After his management, he worked for some Indian companies, followed by an American telecom company that does billing solutions. He had come to Brazil from U.S. for the same project for which I had come, but he was working on the billing side.
I was astonished. "Bhujji.. I am not surprised that you proved Yash or Sukh wrong. But I am surprised that you proved Mani wrong. Whatever Mani said has always happened in my life. You are really a fate-defining guy. You have proved Mani and his palmistry wrong."
"No.. No," said Bhujji, "In fact Mr. Mani was right. I have a great respect for him," he said.
"But how?" "He told you your line for education was short and you could never do IIM-MBA. You have disproved him," I said.
"See here," said Bhujji, "see my education line. Since then it has grown longer. What he said at that time was right. It was short. But see now. It has grown longer," he showed his palm..
As I looked at his palm, I exclaimed "Wow." The line indicating education had really grown longer on Bhujji's palm.