‘It was God-given’
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‘It was God-given’

Raised and schooled in Delhi, the Christ College alumnus says he ‘was fortunate and blessed to study and have a social life too’

education Updated: Jul 17, 2012 16:03 IST
Rahat Bano
Rahat Bano
Hindustan Times

Circa 2001. Timothy Sean Rufus was one among thousands who hope to study at the University of Delhi or DU. The St Columba’s School alumnus applied for a few courses “here and there” under DU. However, seeing the cut-offs, he figured out where he stood in the competition. He had scored 68% in aggregate and 72% in best of subjects, which included commerce with informatics practice and marketing (and no mathematics).

“The first cut-off was 85 or so,” says Rufus. “I knew it would be difficult to get in.” Just then a window opened for him about 2,500km away.

“My sister, who was studying in Pune, knew someone who was a Christ College student. He recommended Christ to me,” says Rufus, 29. So, one day, he found himself embarking on a more than 40-hour train journey with his sister and not much information except the brief word-of-mouth – it’s a “good course, a good college and Bangalore is a good place to study.”

Rufus says he had no inkling of Christ College’s cut-off marks says he knew that DU had the highest entry bar in the country, so anywhere else had to be lower. (Later, he says, “I think it was 60%.”)

On June 29, 2001, the siblings alighted in Bangalore on a weekend. On Monday, the duo, along with a local acquaintance, went to the college and met Fr Jose, a senior official involved in admissions which almost seem like “you walk in andvoila! You are in”.

“He said, ‘Why do you want to join here.’ I said I was interested in English literature, writing and journalism. I have heard about this course and I think it would be interesting. He asked for my mark sheet. I showed him my portfolio which had certificates from my participation in quizzes, plays and music (I was part of the school band),” he recounts. The official told him to go to the office, get the admission form and come the next day to deposit the fee, Rufus adds, and the rest, as they say, is history. “It was a God-given” opportunity.

“I wasn’t disappointed,” declares the 29-year-old, who received a BA in journalism, psychology, and English literature in 2004. “It was a good course. I had never heard of it (Christ College) but down south, it was known,” he says about his alma mater. How did he find out? “By meeting people. People knew about it. I saw the prospectus. It had international students from the Middle East and others from different parts of India as well.”

The first day of the session began with the authorities holding an orientation programme, including the principal’s address, an invocation ceremony and a cultural performance by seniors, for all fresh enrolees on the college terrace.

That day in college, Rufus was surprised to see a fellow old Columban who, too, had enrolled there.

He is all praise for the institution. About the entire period of staying there, working towards his degree, he sums up, “It was really about the experience. I was fortunate and blessed to study and have a social life too.”

Things you’ll not find in the official college prospectus
* “I didn’t play any sport in college. But Bangalore is big on sports,” says Rufus
* The authorities are strict about attendance. It’s only if a student has a really compelling reason for having missed classes, such as participation in extra-curricular activities, that s/he might be able to get away with it after paying a fine as Rufus once did
* Travel tips are the same as for any other place. “Look after your stuff. Be on your guard,” says Rufus. “Be nice to everyone”
* “Everywhere there’s a place for second-hand books. In Bangalore, one such spot is on Museum Road and the Eloor library where you can read a book for 10% of its price

What you must eat
* Andhra meal (thali) at Gangura, Nagarjuna, Nandini etc
* Kerala thali at Kairali
* Kesri bhath (halwa)
* Bisi bele bath at MPR group restaurant
* Filter coffee (South Indian)

If you love meat, there’s a lot on offer, says Rufus

Where you must go/visit
* Vidhana Soudha
* Cubbon Park
* Ravishankara Theatre
* Nehru Museum

What you must carry
* “Travel light because you can always pick things you need at that place itself,” says Rufus
* One item you must lug with you is a good backpack, he suggests
* If you are tech-savvy, you might wish to carry a laptop

What you must know (local language/cultural aspects)
* Bangalore is a melting pot of south India, says the young copywriter. He didn’t face any language barrier because “most people, including auto-rickshaw drivers, there speak English.” Generally Bangaloreans are cosmopolitan.
* Depending on your stream, there’s a dress code at Christ University. The common rules were: no shorts, and no sleeveless outfits and skirts for girls, says Rufus.

Key learning from college
Christ College (now university), Bangalore

Rufus “wasn’t disappointed” with his choice. The faculty was good, he says. “Over the course of three years our journalism professor - he had an MS in journalism from the US - took apart the newspaper.”

“I was happy to be there. I learnt how to be responsible and how to deal with my responsibility. Staying there helped me grow up in certain ways,” he says. Back then, there was no student residence on campus, so the freshman put up in a PG accommodation about 7km from college. Being in the melting pot” of south India was an

“eye-opener” — everyone down south is not a Madrasi as many in the north think

Work-life balance
Their work hours are 9.30-6pm, five days a week with late nights sometimes. Outside the profesisonal sphere, Rufus has a fairly regular church life. He is involved with the non-denominational Delhi Bible Fellowship, which has three-four prayer services per week. “I attend at least two services in a week,” he says. Besides this, he likes to read a lot, especially a few blogs about “what kind of advertising is happening around the world.” He also goes cycling to areas near his place

Let’s talk about my job
Grey Group, Gurgaon

iWrite, that’s how this Apple-fan sums up his calling.

“We conceptualise and create innovative solutions for our clients spread across various industries... I’m a ‘salesman’. I need to persuade people to buy my (clients’) products and services,” says Rufus, a copywriter at the Grey Group. His profile on a professional networking website says, “Advertising’s not as easy as I thought.

Genetics don’t help either (he’s born to an advertiser dad). What does help is a pen, a notebook, and a brain full of ideas. Not mere thoughts. But thoughts translated into workable ideas that help sell the product/service”

First Published: Jul 17, 2012 15:55 IST