Shirish was always clear on graduating from 12th class ,that he would only join a premier institute in India or study abroad .He did get into St Stephens College , Delhi , as premier an institution as they come , with Maths Honours as his main subjects . He also, on his own initiative ,applied to McGill University , Montreal for a Batchelors degree in Electrical Engg . The day he received his admission advise from McGill ,he had no hesitation in leaving St Stephens and commenced prep for going to Canada.
I had always believed that The Shri Ram School , where Shirish studied was a good school ,which would give him a strong foundation and all round development .Deepa did have some reservations ; thought the school was not academic enough and that the ICSC system may prove a problem in his latter educational quest .I had always felt that the environment and friends circle he grew up in, would stand him in good stead. It was through The Shri Ram school that Shirish decided to apply to McGill as some of his seniors had gone there and had sent back good reports of the Institution .All we knew was that it had a very good reputation and was rated very high particularly for Electrical Engg. I was happy that Shirish had choosen McGill and Elec Engg and hoped that he would settle down in Montreal ,and in the field of Engineering ,and would make a mark of him self .
The rush to go through all the formalities , the application for bank loans , student visa , awaiting all the documents from Canada were nerve racking .Less for us but I’m sure it must have been so for Shirish .He didnt show any signs of irritability or impatience though .. he has a very cool temperament and takes life as it comes .Eventually all the formalities were completed , the air ticketing secured , a meeting with Madhav’s parents , a senior at Shri Ram School, who fortunately also got admission into an Arts course at McGill and like Shirish was joining in the Fall Session ,Sept ’02.It was good that Shirish had company as he set off for Montreal .The boys were on their own , had no hostel accommodation ,had to fend for themselves and had only the confidence of old schoolmates already at McGill who could help them when they reached . And they were just short of 19 yrs old !! What must have gone through the boys minds .. excitement , apprehension , uncertainty , the exhiliration of making a leap into the unknown??? Will have to ask Shirish to comment on what he felt as he set off by air that faithfull day. As we retuned from the airport ,Deepa sobbed alot worried as all Mother’s would be !! She would continue to be consantly in touch with Shirish almost on a daily basis .Todays technology allows this so easily .And as Shirish would some times say ,she worries too much !!! But that’s how mother’s are .. reallly the heart of the family !!
Shirish , settled in quickly and seemed to enjoy the environment he had got into.He and Madhav spent the first week in a temporary accommodation where the beds were bunker style .They then took up an apartment close to the College, expensive but comfortable .Shirish woulds continue to live reasonably comfortably and while being a trifle expensive it was ok for us .He changed accommodation every year and in later years breaking past the Indian barrier and living with first a Belgian and now with a pair of Britishers !!! He learned to handle his finance quickly and so far has managed admirably .
If there was one nagging worry I had , it was if he would like his engineering subjects and do well .I hoped he wouldnt drop out or any such thing .Shirish however seemed to like the academic environment and the courses and started doing well .So far he has been doing reasonably well and is at the fag end of his course .Also very good was that he got selected for a 16 month internship at Research In Motion (RIM ) the Blackberry people He has just completed this internship successfully and has now a job in his hand.When he graduates ,and gets the Engineers ring presented to him by his Ex Dean , he would head off to Waterloo in Canada to join RIM.I’m really glad Shirish had this excellant working experience , more so that he settled down well ,liked his working environment and his colleagues and is well on his way to building a professional career.
We, Deepa & I, had an opportunity to be with Shirish in Montreal in September this year and got to see the environment he was living in and how he was managing .It was heartening to se how well he had fitted in into the international environment he was into .We even got to see him play football .. in a game his team won 2 goals to nil and he had little to do as the opposition didnt get any where near his goal line .Nevertheless he gave us glimpses of his acrobatic goal keeping in the practice sessions .Like in other aspects of his life , his sporting abilities had also moved up considerably .
The international exposure and upbringing ( as it was such ) will hold him in very good stead in his future career. Surely his horizon has broadened beyond belief .Now it is for him to consolidate and make a great mark for himself in his profession. On one of his holidays back to India he came home with his hair streaked and looking very much a foreigner !!! Even the street urchins would chase after him thinking he was one . He wouldnt need those trappings of differentiation any more, the last five years have given him the right exposure to live and work successfully in an international environmemt. From now the moves he makes and the advancements he makes as he grows into his professional career , will make him stand out much much more .