Jack of all trades, master of...

  • Kirti Dua, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Oct 09, 2014 12:05 IST

The world comprises two kinds of people - the gifted ones who excel in academics, sports, literature and fine arts, and those who have to struggle to acquire some skill. I fall in the latter category.

In 1978, I took admission in the veterinary college of Punjab Agricultural University. I thought of doing something special and in this effort made up my mind to learn instrumental music. I went to the university music teacher and told him about my desire to learn guitar. He enquired if I was interested in Spanish or Hawaiian guitar. Frankly speaking, I did not know the difference but wanted to feel like a rock star. Soon, I realised that in order to learn music one must have its basic understanding which I lacked, so I dropped the idea.

I didn't have an athletic body. In all PAU campus races, the winners were Yurinder Singh Hayer, now a senior police officer in Punjab, and Sanjay Jaiswal. While participating in a race, I would always look back to see if anybody was behind me. In college, I was member of almost all major sports teams but mostly as an extra and got a chance to play only in the absence of a main player. In the swimming pool, after a lot of practice, when I could not complete one length, the coach told me that I was a natural sinker. In yoga too, I could hardly do any of the difficult asanas and was comfortable only with Shavasan (a lie-down posture).

My wish for playing golf with the elite of Ludhiana did not last long as soon after I bought a golf set, our university administration removed all the greens from the campus. During my stint in horse-riding, I was allotted a horse named Nawab. It had a cool temperament and avoided hard work like gallop and jumps. At that time, Jalandhar Doordarshan was making a documentary on Mirza-Sahiban based on a script by Surjit Patar. I was selected to play Mirza but due to my horse's temperament, all gallop scenes were done by my duplicate. By falling from horseback I dislocated my shoulder and this closed my riding chapter. I furthered my love for the theatre with friends Jaswinder Bhalla and Balmukand Sharma but never went beyond inter-university competitions. My debacle with debate, declamation and photography competitions met with a similar fate.

My latest adventure is to write middles for newspapers, but frequent regret mails from the editors force me to think of exploring new fields. But one thing is sure -- participation in these events was fun and a great learning experience.

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