“है रास्ता तुझको पता, अब ढूंढ ले मंज़िल के निशान……”
These catalytical lines belong to none other but our very own IIT Delhi Endowment Fund Song, the one we all have been sharing delightfully with our family and friends. The song was an outcome of Vikram Gupta’s relentless efforts on establishing an Institute Endowment Fund, something whose truancy was in stark contrast to other premier institutions of the world. When we ask Vikram how he came about something so seemingly daunting, he gave us a bright smile, the one with which you could see him playing the guitar in our Seminar Hall during his golden days at IITD.
“There wasn’t any organised structure to these funds, and endowment funds are the most crucial of all. So, the best way to socialise that struck me at that time was through a song. I had a penchant for music right from my college days. We used to have monthly music nights in the Seminar Hall, which were usually jam-packed. All of it came handy while I composed and sang “The Endowment Song”. And finding contacts was easy since I was in touch with most of the people who appear in the video.”
Strolling around the insti area, we start to tilt our interview towards the less formal side. And he accepts the sudden change with his usual charming smile.
We ask him about his hang-out spots while in college. Vikram stops for a while, looks atop the main building and resumes, with eyes brimmed full of memories and anecdotes.
“There used to be a canteen at the top floor of the main building, our go-to eatery, like you guys have Nescafe and Amul these days.”
There’s a grin on his face now,
“We had 350 people in our batch at that time with just one or two girls in some branches. It was a damn-skewed ratio, much worse than it is now, but still, college never seemed sour to me in these terms. I was one of the “talked-about” guys in my batch because of my fanatical involvement with the music club, in fact, I served as the Music Club Secretary in my third year, and organized a show by Hariharan in the Rendezvous of” he scratches his head for a moment ” ’92 I guess. ”
The next few strolls under the WindT were spent talking about professors (some of them even serving till date), inter-hostel rivalries, Socials with DU Colleges and hangouts around the city.
While discussing the junior-senior interactions during his college days, there’s this particular instance which made us go haywire.
“So, I used to play for Delhi under-17 cricket team. And I was a leg-spinner. The seniors would ask me to spin my leg every time I greeted them” Vikram introduces himself and spins his leg at the leg spinner part, we all crack up.
Coming towards the end of our conversation, we discuss something that a lot of us worry about: the road after college.
“We didn’t have a flourishing entrepreneurial culture back then. I graduated with a 7ish GPA, did Masters twice and worked in IBM for around four years before founding Ivy Capitals”.
He adds, “these are the golden days for budding entrepreneurs, with great heights to soar and such intricate support from the government as well as their mentor firms.”
Vikram has a meeting to attend. He needs to leave in five.
We ask him our final question, his message to students.
“Follow what your heart says you to. Realise your passion and work towards fulfilling it. You might not have a plan in hand, but it’s okay. It’s completely fine to go with the flow and take it as it comes.”
Interviewed and written by Raunaq Saraswat & Animesh Parihar