From a brilliant scholar to a dashing sportsperson, from the sports secretary of DBA to cultural secretary of SAC, from a “Discussing” personality to a shotput and hammer thrower; obviously it is none other than Abhisek Dash, the big strong guy whom all of you must have seen around the campus and specially in DTS (Dilip Tirkey Stadium) and the BBA for his dancing skills.
A fan of Salman Khan, who keeps his room studded with posters of this dynamic Bollywood hero, has the same kind of a sparkling personality. He can talk with any stranger around the campus like he has been friends with him/her for a long time. A person with whom if you talk for 5 minutes, you are bound to smile. No one would like to miss a chance to meet him at least once. A person with so much of talent yet having his feet on the ground. He is a true gem of the institute. Read on to find out some more interesting answers and about his experience in life.
MM: Tell us about your early life.
AD: First of all, I am a proud alumni of DAV Public School, Chandrasekharpur where I have studied for 14 years, after which I got admitted to Electrical Engineering stream at NIT Rourkela.
I was good at pre-college mathematics. I qualified for junior Mathematics, Physics, and Astronomy Olympiad at the state level. I also qualified for the Regional mathematics Olympiad and represented my state at the national level Mathematics project. I was also a good sportsman since my 8th class.
In our school there was a system of felicitating students who used to win any prize in any field either in the morning or the evening assembly. It was a matter of pride. I also wanted to be in the same position. I always wanted to do something other than studies. As I had no talent in singing or dancing, I never tried it out. But sports came into my life in 8th standard when I suddenly grew tall. The games period went as it was. One day my physical trainer passed a comment, “Tera itna achha height hai, kisi ka kaam ka nahi hai, ye sirf phool todne layek hai.” This comment somehow ignited the spirit inside me not to remain a flower pucker in the courtyard but to excel in the field of sports. Then I started participating in various competitions and later also won a lot of medals and trophies. I got the opportunity to represent my school in different sports meets and that is how it all started.
MM: You were the sports secretary of DBA hall of Residence in your first year. At that time there was no gym in the hall. How did you gain the confidence to approach the authority just in the second month of your stay in NIT Rourkela and make the mission successful?
AD: When I came to NITR, I was already into sports for the past four years and so it was kind of a necessity for me to go to the gym regularly. The first day, I went to the institute gym, I was allowed for the day but to my utter surprise I was asked not to visit the gym from the following day as it would get overcrowded by first years. To put in simple words, I was denied. That disheartened me a lot. The thought that came to my mind immediately after that was to establish a gym in DBA. I approached the authority and got the permissions and ultimately it came up in the month of March the next year. Though I could use it for a month only, as I had to move to the senior halls, I am happy that the new freshmen were awarded with the facility. The work was a lot easier for me as I was the sports secretary of DBA in that year.
MM: You were one of the candidates for SAC representatives in 2nd Year Constituency and from what we have heard, you cared more about campaigning for others. Eventually you were voted as a SAC representative. Were you very confident about your own election results in your very first year?
AD: I feel I’m not an outright political person. I can handle many different situations but election was completely new to me. However it’s not completely true that I didn't campaign for myself. It was definitely not confidence, but I had to be involved in campaigning for others because of the zonal segregation which was very prevalent back then. When it comes to winning the election, I feel people saw me as a leader as I had done a lot of work as the Sports Secretary in DBA Hall.
MM: Tell us about your experience as the cultural secretary and about NITRUTSAV conducted during your tenure as secretary.
AD: According to me, the fests conducted keep getting better with every passing year. NU conducted by us was the best NU back then. Hundred years of Bollywood cinema was celebrated in that year and the theme of NU was Bollyvaganza. That particular fest turned out to be a huge success. We did face a few challenges during the fest. One of them was the very unfortunate Afghan Event which took place on the first day of NU. The fest was on the verge of a shutdown due to the event. Coming back strongly even after all the obstacles we faced was an achievement for us.
As the cultural secretary, we conducted many activities throughout the year. In my year our team stressed on conducting regular workshops for different clubs in Literary and Cultural Society and we specifically emphasized conducting Inter Hall events and Intra Hall events, thus ensuring more participation and exposure to more number of students.
MM: Coming to sports, your achievements are innumerable. Be it record breaking performance in Annual Sports Meet every year, success in State Meet and Best Athlete Award in Inter NIT Sports Meet and many more. It is hard to imagine the amount of dedication and hard work you have shown for such achievements. Tell us how you feel about achieving so much in the field of sports.
AD: Actually once it was confirmed that I would join NIT Rourkela to pursue my B Tech, the first thing I did was checking the sports facilities on Internet. I checked the institute on Google Maps just to have a look at the grounds in the institute. Having a look at DTS was a sigh of relief for me. When I came here and I got some information about the institute record in Discus Throw it brought a broad smile to my face. The institute record was about 25m back then since 1971 and during that time my range throw was on an average of 34 m. Breaking a 40 year old record was definitely a wonderful feeling. Along with that I bagged gold in both Shot put and Hammer.
Moving on to Inter NIT I have achieved gold medals in discuss throw every year. Not only winning gold, I have beaten my own record every year in the Inter NIT Sports. From 33m the record has now reached to 39m in the Inter NIT Sports Meet. Along with this I have consistently won medals in Shot put and discus throw as well. I would say it’s not just my dedication but also the facilities provided here in NIT Rourkela that has helped me bloom as an athlete. The support from the institute has been one of the biggest motivation along with the support of my parents who have been very encouraging about my sports and my training.
Most of my special memories would be associated with the State Meet where I bagged Gold and Silver Medals. My happiest moment was when I threw 40.5m in State Meet. It is definitely one of the moments that I would cherish for my entire life. The 40.5m also has its own story. It was a challenge given to me by one of my closest friends which I took way too seriously. Once I am challenged, I leave no stone unturned to make that happen. I went through excessive training, months before the state meet last year. That moment came after months of slogging hard hence it is one of the most special one.
MM: You were Gym Captain in your third year and Athletics Team Captain in the final year. During your tenure as the athletics captain the team has the best performance in years. Tell us about the challenges faced by you during your tenure and the feeling of winning the overall championship title.
AD: As the gym captain, the institute bagged its first prize last year. A silver and two bronze medals was won in last year’s Inter NIT Meet. As the athletics captain I emphasized on the coaching of the first years. There is no provision of a coach for us throughout the year. Though I would not call myself a top class coach but I did my best to train and prepare a team that would be capable of winning the overall championship title. I would also like to mention Ajeet Singh and Dibya Shankar who helped with the training of the members. Every year there is a lack of participation from the girls. This year I focussed on making a strong girls team as well. Hence the hard work and dedication of the team showed in the results of inter NIT and our vow to win the Overall Championship title was finally accomplished.
MM: What would be your biggest motivation that kept you going?
AD: Vikas Gowda is one of the biggest inspirations. I have always followed his style of throwing through YouTube videos and learnt a lot. (Jokingly) Among other motivations I would say presence of girls around the discus pit during discus throw turns out to be a great motivation as well. (With an outburst of laughter) You can say motivation from the opposite gender is also necessary in sports.
On a serious note it was not easy to keep myself motivated while handling academics. But my hunger to improve always kept me going and I never felt like leaving sports until I reach a saturation level.
MM: We also know about you making your own discusing pit in the terrace of your residence. Your love for Discusing is something exceptional. Tell us something more about it.
AD: During my 12th I didn’t have much time to practice as I had to prepare for competitive exams as well. So during the renovation of my house some paint was left. So I just used it to make a pit in the terrace. I used it for the whole year to practice in early mornings and work out. Making that kept my practice on and I could keep learning my discusing style on my own.
MM: Well moving on from sports to dancing. Not many people knew you could until the lateral entry dance in the previous year’s Freshers. Your association with Synergy has been for two years continuously for Freshers. Tell us about the experience.
AD: The first time I danced was on Jingle Bell in my childhood. I was the tallest person and had the position in the last line. That jingle bell performance turned out to be disaster. Later I made a Christmas tree fall on the stage while laughing. Dancing on Fresher’s was an idea by Amit Kumar Das who was the president of Synergy Dance Club last year. He had seen dance on Hall day functions and copy Salman Khan’s steps, who is one of my favourites. His idea of bringing in a lateral entry turned out to be a huge entertaining factor for the performance. Being on stage was one of the most wonderful experiences of mine in NITR.
I am not good enough for competitive dancing. Since it was freshers, I performed with a lot of hesitation. Performing among good dancers was something I was very hesitant about, but all the people from Synergy were very supportive and turned out to be completely different from my expectations. Also I would say it is just the love of the people that they called me again this time to be a part of the fresher’s act again. I would say association with Synergy has been wonderful.
MM: You are one of the most humble persons and have been absolutely good when it comes to socializing with people. You are loved by everyone by your batch mate and especially juniors. How do you maintain this kind rapport with everyone? Is it your humble nature that makes you so much loved?
AD: I am what I am. I never like to pose as a superior to anyone. The most important thing is when you’re talking, always keep yourself in the other person’s position and think about the situation. I feel it is my far-sightedness which helps me in my portrayal as a good human being. It is very important to maintain your loveable personality in front of someone constantly. That’s what makes people shower so much of love.
Also what you call my humble nature many people might call it diplomacy. However it is never pre planned. I am very spontaneous in nature. I am just open with everyone. That might be called as a humble behaviour.
MM: Tell us about your favourite pastime which you do to refresh your mind.
AD: I am a guy with simple tastes. That’s why I call myself a ‘Sadharan Pila’(in Odia, 'simple person'). I am not a guy with a lot of knowledge of music. I just like listening to simple music and enjoy myself. The bass and trance music is what refreshes my mind. Listen to the music and dancing like no one’s in front is the best enjoyment for me.
MM: What plans do you have for your future?
AD: I want to continue with my sports but making a career out of it is doubtful. My primary motive is earning money. I would join TCS and simultaneously prepare for GATE so that I can join PSU late where I can get support to continue my passion. Discussing is a passion which I would never like to stop. It has been my Facebook profile name for the last five years. That’s how passionate I am about Discusing.
MM: Any message that you would like to pass on?
AD: I want to pass on a simple message to everyone,
Follow your passion.
One should always be prepared to do hard work and sacrifice the comfort because that is the key to success. Challenges will come your way and you should win over it. There is no point following the path of least resistance and stop giving excuses. Now the choice is yours, whether to dream and stay the whole life as a spectator, or wake up, work hard and live as a protagonist.