Slogged for three months after failing Class X
Ace music director S Koti recalls how his teacher played God to him, getting caught for cheating in exams and practising guitar for five hours at a...
Ace music director S Koti recalls how his teacher played God to him, getting caught for cheating in exams and practising guitar for five hours at a stretch on his terrace I studied LKG and UKG in Shantam High School in Chennai, but due to financial issues, I had to shift to Kesari High School in T Nagar, Chennai. Kesari High school was a Telugu medium school which was open for students from different communities and statures. One memorable moment in the school is still fresh in my mind. A boy sitting in front of me looked dirty with a torn pant and without a shirt. I was well-dressed and always loved to dress well. I asked the boy why he was not wearing clothes. He didn't respond and left. A day before Diwali, my father bought me a new dress which I wore it on Diwali and enjoyed to the fullest. That day, a thought struck me. I wanted to gift the new dress to that boy. The next morning, without my parent's consent, I wrapped the dress in a newspaper and took it to school. The boy refused to take the clothes, but I insisted him to take. The next day, when I entered my class, I saw a poor couple standing in front of my class. The boy whom I gifted the clothes pointed his finger at me. The couple asked me if I had given the clothes to him. I admitted that I gifted him. They insisted me to take it back but I refused and I appealed them to accept my gift. They agreed and blessed me whole heartedly. I am grateful to them because their blessings where so powerful that from that day I never had financial issues. I was a rowdy in my high school days. My teachers were petrified of me as I would puncture their cycles or make fun of them. I was like a gang leader. My friends too encouraged me and treated me like a leader as I was heftily built. I was a shy person when it came to girls but when somebody teased them or troubled them; I used to rescue them. I can't forget the days when I used to sing in the class. I used to borrow money from teachers and watch movies. When I was in Class VIII, my sports teacher said that he would take us to Tirupati for trekking and asked us to reach his place by 4.30 am. I along with eight of my friends went to his house, but he postponed the programme saying he was unwell. We were all disappointed over the postponement of the programme . Suddenly, one of my friends proposed that we all share expenses and go to Tirupati. We loved his idea and decided to go to Tirupati. When we reached the Pushkarni Lake, they all started to swim. I was standing and watching them swim as I could not swim. Suddenly, one of my friends pushed me from behind into the lake. I started to drown and I thought I was dead. Unexpectedly, somebody dragged me out of the lake and saved me. To my surprise, it was my Telugu Teacher. He came to rescue me like a God. I can never forget that moment. He was like Lord Venkateswara for me. It was like my re-birth. I was interested in other activities like cricket, diving, somersault etc but not academics. During my Class X exams, I did not study; I carried chits along with me. I thought I would copy and I was certain that my teachers would also co-operate in the exam but unfortunately squad turned up for inspection. My teachers couldn't help me in the exam and so I didn't write anything. I failed and later realised my mistake. I worked hard for three months and passed in the second attempt, but lost interest in studies. I was a drummer from my childhood. I have four brothers and four sisters. All my brothers were into music, my father was also into music but he didn't want me to pursue music. Instead, he wanted to see me as an IAS or IPS officer. I aspired to become a marine engineer and went to Vizag once but I was dejected for not having enough qualification. There was a pressure from the family to work and earn but I used to steal money from home and watch movies. I was a hardcore MG Ramachandran fan and used to watch his movies 9 to 10 times. One day, I took my guitar and went to terrace and started to play it for 4-5 hours continuously. From then, I started to practice day and night. I used to ignore my friends and concentrate on guitar. I became a guitarist in three months. A few great people gave me opportunities in the music industry. I was with RD Burman for 40 days and learnt a lot of things. What I am today is because of my parents. Children are the reflection of their parents and I thank them and also the couple who blessed me that day. - (As told to Purnima Sriram)