It was the afternoon of September 16, 2015 and I was in the lounge of Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, sitting next to a childhood memory. We had just finished a long chat and I was feeling what I always feel when am in the presence of pure authenticity, unpretentious goodness and for the lack of a more complete word, greatness. Uplifted. Cleansed and grateful beyond measure to life. I was sitting next to Tom Alter and he had just made my day by telling me, “You have done your research..we had a wonderful conversation.” And to think, I had almost missed the opportunity to have this interaction but as I have discovered time and again, fate always intervenes when you are meant to meet someone.
On September 14, I had received a mail that the students of IIMB’s Executive Post Graduate Programme in Management (EPGP), were hosting Padma Shri Tom Alter. Would I be keen to have a candid conversation with the ” multi-talented, veteran actor, writer, sports journalist and a cricket player” who would be delivering a talk on ‘Sports & Arts in Modern India’? I was working for a newspaper then and though I lived close to IIMB, my office was situated at the absolute other end of town and to manage a face- to -face interaction with him meant I would leave the desk in the middle of a frenzied page making session, commute for over an hour to meet Tom briefly and then rush back to work. But an email or phone interaction could not be arranged and so I headed towards IIMB at the designated hour. The moment Tom walked into the lounge, radiating warmth, I knew I could not have missed meeting him.