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Homecoming: A Tête-à-tête with Anant Talaulicar

Ashish Sharma

Reminiscing on the best days of our lives happens better with a walk down memory lane in our alma mater. In this fitting spirit, the college invited Mr. Anant Talaulicar, Mr. Sachin Menon, and Mr. Thomas Cherakara, three extremely successful alumni, to inaugurate the Diamond Jubliee ceremony.

Mr. Talaulicar, Chairman & Managing Director (Cummins India Ltd.) and Chief Guest of the opening ceremony, set the evening in motion by singing Pinball Wizard by The Who. In fact, he had played that very song with his friends nearly thirty years ago at Quadrangle – where he stood now, as an industry leader and proud alumnus. Sinking into reminiscence, he spoke about how – apart from his technical competency – MIT had also contributed in shaping his opinion in matters of spirituality and religion. His previous life in a comparatively monocultural Mumbai locality was shaken upon arrival to Manipal; he encountered diverse and diversely talented people, had to step out of his comfort zone, and even survive on the mess food – all of which, he said, are reasons he can adapt himself to any place and culture easily. He talked of the changes he saw in the layout of his alma mater – how the hostels have become more comfortable and obviously, have multiplied, as have the academic blocks and messes.

Midway through his speech he expressed his desire to become the brand ambassador for the college that helped him take his first steps towards what he is today. He inspired the students to continuously strive for excellence beyond their own field. Mr. Talaulicar reiterated the need for integrity as well as self-grooming; urging the students to be themselves – for they are all unique and special in their own ways. He insisted on every student having hobbies, staying healthy, and maintaining friendly relations with all their peers. He concluded his speech with a song called ‘Ek Aise Gagan Ke Tale’ , by Kishore Kumar.

Following this was a Presidential address delivered by Dr. H Vinod Bhat, Vice Chancellor MU. He informed students of the several international conferences that had been scheduled for the Jubilee year, and the two tech incubators that have been planned. He pointed that the college’s main focus this year would be research. He highlighted the success story of Manipal University, not just as an educational institute, but as one that gives back to its society as much as it takes. MU has played a major role in reducing the infant mortality rate to nearly zero in Udupi district, and has taken Uttara Karnataka district under its wing. He acknowledged the relentless efforts of the MU staff and faculty that have placed our university in the top 800 in the world, while of course, the aim remains to rank under 200 globally by 2020.

Ending on a lighter note, Dr. Bhat displayed commendable knowledge about music by appreciatively commenting on the songs Mr. Talaulicar sang earlier in the evening.  Following this, was a video message by Mr. Rajiv Suri, who did not want to be left out of the Sixty Years Celebration.

Later, Kartikeya Rastogi, a third-year student, was presented with a memento for designing the Diamond Jubilee logo. Along with this, other alumni present at the occasion were also felicitated – of whom Mr. Thomas Cherakara and Mr. Sachin Menon gave speeches regarding basic life skills. The ceremony came to a grand close with a vote of thanks by the Joint Director, Dr. BHV Pai.

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